Kveller readers, I have two questions based on recent responses to blog posts:
2. How’d you turn out?
I am assuming that most of you readers out there have baby-boomer parents. So, what about your moms–did they use pain relief? Did they breastfeed? And how do you think you turned out? Do you suffer from “asthma, allergies, cancer, obesity or diabetes?” And if you do, can you pinpoint the cause as your mom’s epidural or that formula you guzzled? If you don’t, can you thank your mom for her non-medicated delivery or her breast milk? What is your real-life experience? Are you angry at your mother?
My breastfed son was sick all the goddamned time with respiratory infections, ear infections, and croup. The third time I was in the pediatrician’s office in the same week with the same kid, my normally formal, somewhat taciturn doctor said with a smile, “Mrs. Septimus, they’re going to start talking about us!”
Despite the fact that breastfeeding began to increase from the 1970’s and on (I looked it up), the first generations to suffer so alarmingly from obesity, diabetes, and asthma are your children’s generation and the younger members of your own. Definitely not my generation. And my generation was overwhelmingly bottle-fed and we were delivered by mothers who were out cold.
I was pregnant every two and a half years for a while. Each time, I got a different set of instructions about what to eat, what not to drink. I bet you did, too. Women have been having babies since time began and no one really knows much more than they did decades, even centuries, ago. It’s complicated. There is no one–to-one set of truths and consequences.
And–enough with the half-baked statistics. No one’s got that down, either. Many studies are done on children who sadly are compromised. Of course those statistics will be skewed. There are just too many variables for which there are no controls to come to ironclad conclusions about birthing and nursing.
Healthy people can come from what may seem to be unhealthy circumstances and the reverse is true, too.
So–you want pain relief, go to a good medical center with well-trained anesthesiologists. You want to use formula–make sure the water is good and that you use the correct amount of powder. You don’t want pain relief, make sure you have good support. You want to breastfeed, go for it.
But, really, whether you were breastfed or bottle-fed, whether your mom used pain relief while giving birth to you, or not–I bet you came out pretty darn okay.
And regardless of your own particular choices in these areas, I bet your kids will, too.