Words from a mother in fear

It was Monday night. Almost bathtime. Still trying to process the Orlando attack, I listened to live French news. A father, police officer was stabbed to death on his way home. The attacker entered the home to take the mother and their 3 years old son hostages. Four hours later, only he survived, orphan. One more in the name of radical Islamism.

49 – Orlando, FL. USA

32 – Brussels, Belgium.

37 – Ankara, Turkey

129 – Paris, France.

14 – San Bernardino, CA. USA.

….

I am sorry for all the ones I forget. My mind does not process anymore.

I am starting my motherhood life dealing with atrocity I can’t understand and handle. The shock started when I was 4 months pregnant with the Charlie Hebdo attack. Our daughter was 3 months old at the time of the Paris attacks. And it continues. One after the other, here and there, as she grows and as I (try to) gain confidence in my daily mother’s job. Read More »

Breastfeeding: France’s apathy , USA’s pressure and UNICEF’s misleading data

Formula vs breast milk. I have decided to write about it as soon as I witnessed the stress women were facing with today’s society view on breastfeeding.

I was a breastfed baby, and always heard positive talks about it from my mother. This pretty much summarizes my knowledge on the subject. Besides my mother, none of the mothers in my family breastfed. By choice. Because in France, we are not ashamed nor pressured to say “I do not want to breastfeed my baby”. No judgement whatsoever. On the other hand: the USA. The country is well known for having a strong opinion about it. It is a public opinion often broadcast on TV-shows and movies.

Personally, I felt like giving it a try. I educated myself on the subject towards the end of my pregnancy. I didn’t want to pressure myself by reading tons of potentially scary stories. I wanted it to come naturally.  And it did. I loved it.

But, the more I nursed my daughter, the more pressure I felt from the outside (among Americans). For personal/medical reasons, I had to feed my baby half breast milk/half formula.  I sometimes felt embarrassed talking about it. I would here: “do you still give her formula?”. Well, you know… my baby has to eat at some point so…Yes I still feed her with formula. I felt like I had to justify myself for it.

Long story short. It was clear to me that the two countries were not on the same page. Pamela Druckerman (author of Bringing up bébé) confirmed my first impression: “French mothers barely breastfeed. About 63 percent of French mothers do some breastfeeding. A bit more than half are still nursing when they leave the maternity hospital, and most abandon it altogether soon after that. Long-term nursing is extremely rare. In the United States, 74 percent of mothers do at least some breastfeeding, and a third are still nursing exclusively at four months.”

She is an American in Paris, I am a French in Boston. We had the same feeling.

Until I decided to do some research to understand what was really happening. And here are the numbers from governmental sources:Read More »