Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gisele Bundchen = Stoopid?

Last night Twitter was abuzz with tweeps 'booing' Gisele Bundchen.

I had to ask what she said and then did some Googling and found this...

Isn't she a clever lady?
What an excellent idea!
Mother's should be forced by law to breastfeed for at least six months.
Her words,

'There should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.'

Of course, they a perfect world.

But who's living in a perfect world?

I had trouble getting breastfeeding started with both of my babies.
Neither would attach properly for days.
I'm not going to go into details but I'll just say it was incredibly frustrating being a new mum, having a gazillion midwives telling me different things, grabbing me, poking me, prodding me. And my husband was even more frustrated...with me...for not 'just doing it!'

Anyhow, we got there. I fed my first for 10 months and my second baby for 13 months.

But I'll never forget that both times, during the battle with the babies, I was praised by two different midwives for not giving up.

At the time I thought..
What do they mean, not giving up?
How can you give up??
You can't just not try to feed your baby.

It never occurred to me to try the bottle.

I can empathise with those women who try and try and it just never works.
Thank God we have other ways to feed babies.
Thank God we live in a time where babies can be nourished with a bottle.
Because, you know what Gisele?
One size doesn't fit all.

And what of the women who (*gasp* shock, horror) choose not to breastfeed?
Or choose to give up after a very short time?
I suppose these are the women Gisele was referring to.
But again, shouldn't we be thankful that we can choose?
I know a woman who chose not to breastfeed, not for any reason other than...
she didn't want to.
She has three, beautiful, healthy children who look normal even...imagine!

And then I read on...but wait...there's more...
She follows up on this magnificent idea with these words...

'Not for one second did it cross my mind that I was not going to have my baby at home.

I am not the first person to give birth naturally. Billions of other women have come before me and have done this - so why can't I do it?'

Again, all good and well in a perfect world.
But I, for one, would have been in a heap of trouble had I decided on home births for my babies.
My first baby decided he wouldn't come out unless the ventouse was involved.
And after my second baby, some of the placenta remained inside and I bled a bit...well a fair bit, really. It's an awful feeling to be lying in a pool of your own blood. I was urgently rushed into theatre to have it removed.

So, I'm actually very glad I was in the hospital on both occasions.

But again, it's a choice thing.
We should be celebrating the fact that as women, we have choices.
Not smugly telling everyone your way is not only the best way, but the only way.

Having ranted said all that
I just want to leave you with this...

What if Gisele forgot for a moment she was speaking to a journalist?
What if she was just good naturedly chatting with another 'person' and tongue in cheek made these sweeping statements because she is still feeling the afterglow of new motherhood?
Maybe her words have been taken out of context.
Like that's never happened before!
It's possible, right?
Perhaps we I shouldn't be judging her so harshly for her words because that is just as ugly as this whole debate.
Smug is not pretty on anyone.
But who's being smug?

Food for thought.


  1. All this from the woman that claimed childbirth didn't hurt one bit.

    Yeah... right.

  2. I'm with you Thea - it's all about CHOICE. That's what women fought for all these years, and that's what we have. Not everyone can do/chooses to do things the way she has.

    I often say to people, why can't mothers focus on the one thing we have in common? That is, we all want to do the best we can. Again, maybe in a perfect world...

  3. I really hope that she's been taken out of context...... It's wonderful for her that so far everything has gone so well for her. Honestly. She had a painless birth and her body just snapped back in about a week..... ? Now she's able to effortlessly breast feed: woo hoo for her. I was blessed to be able to give birth naturally to both my girls (not painlessly!) and I was also blessed to be able to breast feed both my girls for roughly 18 months (though this wasn't effortless.... it was very painful at the start and I walked around with frozen cabbage leaves cupping my Pammy Anderson boobs!) but I would never assume that my situation reflects other peoples situations. There are REAL reasons why people cannot have natural births and why they can't breastfeed and judging them on that is simply STUPID! My friend had breast cancer and had to have both breasts removed. She gets 'looks' from other Mums 'cos she's bottle feeding her new born but she doesn't tell them why 'cos she doesn't feel that she needs to justify herself to anyone and says that it's none of thier business. Another friend couldn't 'work through' mastitis as the doctor said she was getting high blood pressure and it wasn't good for her or the baby, someone else I know was physically abused as child and still has issues with any sort of breast touching so emotionally she just couldn't do it........ need I go on? I won't go into the birth side of things because anyone with half a brain cold see the different complications associated with that which are of no fault of the mother (even if you're fit, you do yoga, you eat healthy and you do 'everything' right.... there can still be complications!) Really, really hope that she's been taken out of context!

  4. I had trouble breastfreeding my oldest daughter in the end I had to end up putting her onto the bottle. I personally don't feel that their should be a law if parent(s) want to breastfeed their baby good, if people want to bottle feed the baby then good as long as the baby is happy & is getting feed then what does it matter if it's boob or bottle.

    On a side note when having my daughter it didn't hurt me to give birth to her, it just felt like I had to go to the loo all the time to do number 2's.

    I've heard of other women also say it didn't hurt them either but a lot of women who have said it did. A small portion say it didn't but more say it does hurt

  5. Thea, I am sure you have heard me bang on about this before, but for me, parents shuld be gentle with their children and most importantly be gentle with each other. Always. Smug doesn't partner well with gentle. Choice, and confidence in our choices, should rule.

    (Needless to say, I love this post of yours.)

  6. Well said.
    Mothers should be supporting and encouraging each other, no matter what choices they make. Sometimes it isn't even a choice. We all just do what we have to do.
    Whatever gets us and our kids through to the next day; safe, happy, loved and nourished.

  7. I agree with all of it Thea, especially the last part. We all say things that we would hate to be picked up and taken, out of context, and placed in the media. God forbid. Who are we to judge.

    I tried to breastfeed both my children and had trouble. Worked and worked with lactation consultants but they just weren't getting enough milk. Failure to thrive. The pediatrician made me put them on the bottle. I cried both times. The first time the woman (her assistant) told me it was God's will that I shouldn't breastfeed. I suppose this was mean to comfort me. I was staggered by the comment. As if God looked down at my baby and said "Thou shalt have Enfamil". Of all the things.

  8. The main problem I have with this kind of comment is that it's not necessarily helpful on any side of the argument. I agree that in an ideal world babies would get their mums' milk for at least six months, but to bring the idea of 'law' into it implies the need to 'force' people rather than 'educate' and 'support'. It's great that it's all been so easy for her (perhaps because she's young, incredibly fit, not stressed and has plenty of money to take time off and employ expert help if she needs it) - obviously many people are not in this position and it seems as though she is displaying an incredible lack of empathy by making these comments.

    Every one's situation is different and if a mother chooses not to breastfeed even after knowing all the facts and receiving all the right support, then that's her choice. For me, on a broader context the worrying thing is not the individual mother's choice (which I would never dispute) but the overall statistics that show only one in five women breastfeed for six months. I'm sure if given the right support and information, many more would choose/be able to do this.It's easy to forget that not every one has access to the same resourcs.
    So what I would say is, it's about choice - but choice based on correct information and adequate support.That's what I think our society needs. Not an international law!

  9. Well, where do I start? Everyone keeps banging on about 'choice'...rightio..what about when it's not 'choice'??? I didn't CHOOSE to have gallstones during the pregnancy, I didn't CHOOSE to not have enough milk for my bub because i couldn't actually eat anything as all food was causing gallstone attacks, (yes i literally starved myself in the weeks after birth to avoid further attacks) I didn't CHOOSE to get carted off in the middle of the night by ambo to hospital on a regular basis post birth (leaving a screaming baby behind with daddy and a kind neighbour who went to the supermarket at midnight to buy a tin of formula so someone could at least try to feed the baby), I didn't CHOOSE to have surgery 6 weeks post birth to correct this situation and then have to spend weeks barely being able to walk or hold the baby (and i was up all night walking the baby up and down to settle him) I also didn't CHOOSE to have a reflux baby who NEVER slept and i did not actually get to lay down (other than when sedated in hospital)for the first months of my baby's life.

    So throughout all this the only CHOICE i made, was to fight to regain my health and my sanity, and feed my baby however i could, and i must say, the HUGE emotional and physical relief i felt when my baby took to formula bottles instantly, and that was ONE less thing for me to be in a total state of panic over, was so beneficial to my health and wellbeing that it was only then, i was able to pick up the pieces and actually start to enjoy my beautiful son.

    SO, to Gisele, I dare you to experience what i went through, without all the hired hands i expect she would have, and do 6 months of compulsory breastfeeding.

  10. I was adopted and bottle fed (as I imagine most were unless they had a wet nurse). I think I turned out ok.

    Each to their own.

    She needs to stick to her own mothering.

    In a perfect world there wouldn't be poverty or homeless people. But it's nowhere near perfect.

    Great post Thea xx

  11. Ah, the perfect world... perhaps if Giselle has it she should give us all the map to get there... a world where child birth doesn't hurt, and all babies are born healthy, alive, and they thrive on the ample supply of breast milk their mother has. Because in a perfect world there would be no infant death, no mothers would die in child birth, there would be no poverty, and every pre and post natal mother & child would have access to health services and support.

    But instead of that, lets legislate to make it the law all mothers breast feed for 6 months. Much better idea. That should fix everything.

    Great post Thea. x

    PS... yes, I have my cranky pants on today! & they are pulled up high!

  12. Silly Giselle. If you hadn't already alienated yourself from the 99% of mothers who aren't modelling in their lingerie weeks after giving birth, you certainly have now.

    I'm genuinely thrilled to hear of a women with a beautiful birthing experience and who finds breastfeeding second nature. You can't ask for more than that. But when used as a template for what 'should' happen is just plain insensitive, and quite frankly offensively ignorant.

    Look, I'm as pro-breastfeeding as they come, and believe all women should be encouraged to breastfeed, and given adequate support to make it a mutually wonderful experience. However, I also believe that women have the right to decide what is right for them, and should never be made to feel guilty about their decision. I was a formula fed baby, and I've turned out just fine, thank you very much :)

    I realised how blessed I am to have had an easy run with breastfeeding. I fed my son until he was 2 years & 7 months, and am still going strong with my daughter, who is 12 months. I'll feed her until she self-weans. Funnily enough, if you breastfeed a child over 2, society turns full circle and then dicates you are doing it 'too long'. It's crazy stuff, but of course I couldn't give two shits what anyone thought of my 'extended breastfeeding' choices.

    Sadly my birthing experiences weren't so easy, and I endured long, traumatic labours with both my kids, unlike my mother who literally popped her kids out inbetween putting a load of washing on and hanging it out to dry.

    Giselle, I too will give you the benefit of the doubt. Those sneaky journos do have a way of misquoting you, or editing to amp up a story. I'm waiting to hear your response to the global uproar over your alleged comments. Please redeem yourself.

    Oh, and whilst you are at, please stop telling us you got into your bikini, in public, weeks after birth. That is just cruel :-D

  13. Yeah, I'm thinking, hoping it was taken out of context ... because birthing and breastfeeding, and even parenting and dieting isn't perfect. Everyone is different. It's just crazy to assume everyone else has it as easy as she claims she did, and to belittle their own experiences. I'm sick of celebrities banging on about stuff they aren't really qualified to talk about. Having said that, having worked as a journo, if you ask a question, generally someone answers it unless their PR is there saying they don't have to.
    Regardless, I'm over smug parents. We all struggle sometimes, and importantly, we all get it right sometimes. Why can't we just accept and encourage each other instead of having to feel superior?


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