Erasure of 'mother' in Breastfeeding groups

(61 Posts)
OhHolyJesus Tue 29-Dec-20 09:16:24

It's something I've noticed since the LA Leche League did it with 'nursing parent' and since SANDS called mothers 'birthing parents' but more and more breastfeeding networks appear to be doing it.

In the comments I've noticed most women rejecting the term and maybe just 5 women saying they appreciate the 'inclusivity' as they are gender queer or fluid or whatever.

I'm not surprised as such, I mean it's a female dominated space so of course men want access and women will 'be kind' and let them in, I suppose I struggle more with the mothers who have had elective mastectomies or have breasts and can breastfeed but don't consider themselves mothers, if they need help to breastfeed why would the language around breastfeeding as a whole need to change for them, they can still get help as breastfeeding mothers.

I realise it's for the few not the many but I'm struggling to understand why those running the groups do it and kick out the women who just want to use the word mother? It's our word, others get to use their words, why can't we have mother?

OP’s posts: |
MichelleScarn Tue 29-Dec-20 09:20:57

In all honesty? My opinion is its because they want to be seen as 'cool and with it,' which I think a lot of this boils down to!

RememberSelfCompassion Tue 29-Dec-20 09:25:19

I think its really sad. Having my first baby being "mother " was a huge part of my identity. I think we're devaluing the work of mother with the teminology. Erasure. sad .

Its more than just being cool. Its targeted erasure.

Hardbackwriter Tue 29-Dec-20 09:32:42

I saw a person I know who is very, very woke refer to a new mother (in the context of what present to buy for one) as a 'pushing person' recently - maybe I'm sensitive because I'm heavily pregnant and not having a great time, but it made me so cross. It feels so dismissive of what pregnancy and birth actually means for women, and as my friend said if you call new mothers 'pushing people' what do you call women who gave birth through caesarean?!

Babdoc Tue 29-Dec-20 09:32:44

If the woke community can insist on preferred pronouns, maybe it’s time the feminist community insisted on preferred nouns. Mine are “mother” “woman” and “doctor”.

highame Tue 29-Dec-20 09:34:53

Babdoc

If the woke community can insist on preferred pronouns, maybe it’s time the feminist community insisted on preferred nouns. Mine are “mother” “woman” and “doctor”.

Absolutely

DfEisashambles Tue 29-Dec-20 09:45:39

I’m new to all this I’m sorry in advance. So if breastfeeding groups is extended to people who cannot breastfeed, what do they actually do in the group? How are they included in something they cannot physically do?

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Soontobe60 Tue 29-Dec-20 09:57:25

DfEisashambles

I’m new to all this I’m sorry in advance. So if breastfeeding groups is extended to people who cannot breastfeed, what do they actually do in the group? How are they included in something they cannot physically do?

Some transmen who have not had any surgery could still potentially breastfeed, but as they see themselves as men, would object to being called mothers. They also object to the term ‘breastfeeding’ and use ‘chestfeeding’ instead.

DfEisashambles Tue 29-Dec-20 10:00:34

@Soontobe60

Thank you for explaining and being patient.

I think erasing the word ‘mother’ is so very wrong.

LolaSmiles Tue 29-Dec-20 10:00:40

Soontobe60
Then the solution would be to talk about mothers and birthing parents, or breastfeeding mothers and parents who chestfeed. There's ways to be inclusive of trans men that don't involve erasing breastfeeding/motherhood, and I'd be willing to bet that this push isn't coming from trans men.

DaisiesandButtercups Tue 29-Dec-20 10:12:47

In my experience the push is coming entirely from women who are keen to be seen to be kind, inclusive and “modern”.

DaisiesandButtercups Tue 29-Dec-20 10:20:57

I tend to observe that the women who are keen on the kind of inclusivity which disempowers women have been themselves oppressed and so their natural urge is towards appeasement and avoidance of conflict in order to keep safe. It is preemptive submission.

FannyCann Tue 29-Dec-20 10:38:56

The Call the Midwife Christmas special included a section with a woman who had suffered seven miscarriages and was very fearful approaching her birth. The midwife said to her "you are a mother, and you have been for many years". It was lovely and I hope SANDSUK took note.

It's incredibly important to hang on to our language. I am fearful that the future will see a downgrading of maternity pay, perhaps there might be 2-4 weeks gestational leave for birthing parents to recover and parental leave for everyone else to include adoption leave and new parents of babies acquired through surrogacy.

Women and babies will be the losers.

An old midwife saying - it takes nine months to make a baby and nine months to recover. Of course many if not most women will feel well recovered before then, but there is a lot going on internally like restoring iron stores (you can have a normal Hb and still have low ferritin levels, this will make a woman more vulnerable to anaemia in her next pregnancy until ferritin levels are back to normal), and ligaments and pelvic floor muscles regaining strength as well as mothers who are still breastfeeding and need to maintain a good diet and plenty of rest if possible.

OhHolyJesus Tue 29-Dec-20 10:51:23

@DfEisashambles

This might help explain more.

La Leche League will support males (of the male sex) who wish to breastfeed. http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4091356-La-Leche-League-will-support-males-of-the-male-sex-who-wish-to-breastfeed

OP’s posts: |
UppityPuppity Tue 29-Dec-20 11:02:05

Some transmen who have not had any surgery could still potentially breastfeed, but as they see themselves as men, would object to being called mothers. They also object to the term ‘breastfeeding’ and use ‘chestfeeding’ instead.

They object to being called mothers, but how are they not mothers?

Why should their discomfort about the use of words - despite being willing to conceive, carry, labour, birth and feed a baby, mean that important and accurate words for - woman, mother, breast, be removed from everyone else?

DaisiesandButtercups Tue 29-Dec-20 11:59:01

100% what you said UppityPuppity.

LittleTiger007 Tue 29-Dec-20 12:29:29

MichelleScarn

In all honesty? My opinion is its because they want to be seen as 'cool and with it,' which I think a lot of this boils down to!

Exactly my opinion too.

Just as no child aged 11-15 can’t call themselves straight anymore. It’s cool and only accepted to say that you are bi-curious or identify as binary and undetermined at this stage. 🤦‍♀️

I have many gay/lesbian friends. I am not homophobic or transphobic however we should be able to call ourselves women or straight without feeling judged.
Only women can actually breastfeed folks. This is craziness.

DaisiesandButtercups Tue 29-Dec-20 12:50:38

LittleTiger007

I also have secondary school age children and the emergence of gender ideology in this age group has been dramatic imo.

Like you say, it has even reached yr 7 (11 year olds).

I think it has really exploded during lockdown.

Since going back in September my DC have noticed it, the oldest remarks that exactly as you say, no one but no one would openly admit to being straight. There is much discussion of “how bi we all are because of how we dress, dye our hair, act etc”

Youngest has discovered that suddenly many classmates are “non binary” and has had a trans talk in RSE which was summarised as “try to accept trans people and be really careful what you say around them because it is really easy to offend them...” hmm

Oldest never had a trans talk and didn’t have any non binary friends in lower school.

Interesting that the older age group are mainly “bi” and the younger ones are mainly “non binary” and refer to themselves as “it”.

ClaireP20 Tue 29-Dec-20 13:48:35

Inthinknit's because they read twitter 'outraged' feedback and think it is what people genuinely think, rather than understanding that twitter is a very small amount of people who shout very loudly. Someone needs to tell them most people aren't on twitter.

DaisiesandButtercups Tue 29-Dec-20 13:55:26

They get it on training days too and in their own media.

The practising midwife has a policy something along the lines of using gender neutral language a certain number of times in every article they publish.

The believers are not experiencing much open resistance and so it is getting pushed through at every level. The more this goes on the more confident genderists become and the more those who believe that reality and sex specific language matters are afraid to speak.

The newspeak appears more in written language at the moment I think and less in spoken language at the front line of maternity and breastfeeding support.

TerribleCustomerCervix Tue 29-Dec-20 15:06:14

I thought that these organisations are trying to normalise breastfeeding and appeal to women of demographics that would lean heavily towards bottle feeding?

For someone who is not a middle class, navel gazing person from the SE, they might as well scream “Yes, breastfeeding is just as hippy dippy, crunchy and weird as you first thought” by refusing to speak plain fucking English.

Sheleg Tue 29-Dec-20 15:18:05

I now call this out every fucking time I see it. It's HUGELY disrespectful to women. I support transmen because they're women. but only to an extent; the moment you abdicate from the female struggle, I'm afraid you've lost my wholesale support and I won't stand for female-centric language being censored to "include" you.

AskingQuestionsAllTheTime Tue 29-Dec-20 15:31:37

Hardbackwriter
if you call new mothers 'pushing people' what do you call women who gave birth through caesarean?!

Mothers?

The first people I would think of as "pushing people" would be the ones who are employed in Japan to cram as many passengers as possible onto the trains in the rush-hour. I think they are called Oshiyas.

The other thing that would come to mind would be people who force their way in where they are neither welcome nor necessary, but that's more "pushy" than "pushing".

chicklingpixies Tue 29-Dec-20 15:48:13

I have been running breastfeeding support groups for many years in my liberal and diverse corner of London. I am not a member of LLL and I have never not once not ever come across women who used the term chestfeeding or insisted on pronouns.
Lots of lesbian couples, very few mums who had adopted babies or were relactating for other reasons. No trans identified males. It’s not a thing in the vast majority of RL breastfeeding support Settings but as always it’s happening in literature and conferences and training. Top down trickle.

Hardbackwriter Tue 29-Dec-20 16:03:02

@AskingQuestionsAllTheTime the first thing it made me think of was the sport of curling...

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