The other day, after teaching an aerobics class, one of my regular participants stopped me to chat. She’s in her early 60s, and has been taking class with me for a couple of years. We got to talking, as we usually do, about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. We were talking about why there are so many interventions in birth, why people choose not to breastfeed babies and why some people’s circumstances make breastfeeding virtually impossible. We talked about things we have done, and things we’d like to do, to try to make things better.
On the topic of breastfeeding, I said something about breastfeeding having so many benefits for children, it’s hard for me to understand why people without obstacles in the way choose not to do that for their babies.
She put her hand on my arm and said, “Yes, but it’s the women that matter. The babies, too, of course, but honestly, I really care about the women.” She then went on to talk about things like breastfeeding lowering the risk for breast cancer, helping the uterus contract back to non-pregnant size after birth, and so on. She finished her comments by repeating, “I really care mostly about women. It’s the women that matter.”
It’s the women that matter.
No apologies, no qualifications. She wasn’t talking about ‘good mothering,’ or living up to this or that ideal, or observing a parenting trend. She was talking about women, and her matter-of-fact belief in the central importance of our health and experiences.
We need more people like her.