Faith Nyokabi has made news for demanding that her hubby pays her Sh100,000 to breastfeed her own child. As expected, various schools of thought have emerged with most expressing their disgust and annoyance that any mother should use breastfeeding to blackmail her man. It has become widely accepted that women automatically fall in love with their children.
The truth is that there are some mothers who take naturally to the process and challenges of motherhood and there are many others who struggle. The transition to the practical aspects of motherhood is not easy- and it is not as glamorous as the movies make it out to be. Let us start with this breastfeeding manenos.
For those who may not know it, breasts (and hair, and in some cases backsides) have been the main bastions of female pride. When it comes to breasts, it is not only about the size (just for clarity there is huge gap between 34A and 34B in real breast terms), it is also about pertness and resistance to gravity. Women take a lot of pride in having breasts that point upwards to the heavens-hence the exuberant displays at the Swazi reed dance, the investments in Wonderbra and in silicone.
Every new mother knows that motherhood and breastfeeding is bound to slash elasticity, pertness by not less than 80 per cent. Many women know that once the journey of breastfeeding starts, then the journey of droopy pendulous boobs begin- and this dramatically reduces their female appeal. Society might label these women vain, but I tell you there are many women who will stay away from breast feeding because they know that it will dent their attractiveness. Historians tell us that aristocrats and royalty in the past preferred to enlist the services of wet nurses so that they could be spare the burden of breastfeeding. So, there is nothing really that weird about a woman not wanting to breastfeed in this day and age.
Despite all the advances, we have made in modernity, we still have a long way to go in reducing the stigma that comes with public breastfeeding. Women still get weird looks when they are spotted breastfeeding their children in public. Any time, a woman attempts to breastfeed her child in public, she is bound to receive very strange looks- some from men whose looks border on lustful wistful looks as if they want to go back to their younger days of breastfeeding.
Sometimes, the most menacing and judgemental looks come from other women who behave as if breastfeeding one’s child is the most unnatural act in the universe. Once a woman leaves her house, there are very few places where she can breastfeed without feeling like she is committing a crime as scandalous as constructing on Riparian land. It is no wonder then that many women given a choice would gladly opt out of breastfeeding.
It is not only breastfeeding that drives new mothers round the bend- it is all other challenges that come with motherhood. It is the raging hormones, the endless crying from the tiny tots and the constant diaper changes. So, new mothers are allowed to lose it once in a while just because their minds and bodies cannot wrap themselves around the hectic demands that come with a new baby. So, someone should cut Faith some slack and figure out what strange emotions have led her to shy away from feeding her offspring.
What I also found very interesting about this Faith story is how she had to resort to blackmail to get money from her husband. Once again, some may think that Faith is a monster, but I can tell you that there are times women have to deploy strange tactics to get their men to part with any form of money. You see, there are some men who are downright stingy, who take amount of pride in taking care of their women and households. These men treat all requests for cash and expenditure with a resounding no- yet they expect to enjoy the benefits that are supposed to be part of normal relationships such as good food and great sex. Women therefore come up with smart tactics bordering on blackmail to get the men to part with some cash.
The oldest and most effective trick has always been withholding conjugal rights to the said man. However, based on Faith’s approach, occasionally children become collateral damage when trying to get men to cough up some cash. At the end of the day, cut mums some slack when it comes to breastfeeding and give them money when they ask for it.