We know for sure that one of the key ways that breastfeeding classes are failing women is by sugar coating the process of establishing feeding leaving them with an unrealistic view of how the first few days with their baby may feel.  It’s something we all need to give some serious thought to both in any advocacy work that we’re doing and as friends and fellow mothers.

This evening I’ve been chatting with one of my beautiful friends who also happens to be a reformed lactivist, or, in her words “I want to punch the year ago me in the face”.  That’s the sort of stuff I say when I when I get home from ALDI and the Mao Feng pyramid teabags turn out to be actually pretty poor and they’d run out of that nice granola I’d gone for in the first place anyway, but for her, it’s strong. Looking back over her pre-baby self, who simply knew that she would breastfeed perfectly and pitied those who didn’t based on the wisdom of the breastfeeding classes she had been to, made her furious.  

I completely sympathise with that anger. After a life of my own painful mediocrity, being told that breastfeeding would probably propel my children to the child genius status of Mozart, but sooner, made me a lactivist too. I don’t know that we should be directing this emotion back onto ourselves though. The pre-baby promises of a beautiful and natural, all important breastfeeding relationship are so very seductive that it’s easy to get swept away with them and feel real anger if things don’t go well.  Even if things to go well, the reality of life with a new baby can hit hard. 

From our descaled perspective we started to consider some of the things we were told and wondered how on earth we ever believed or accepted it? Belief can be excused by our inexperience, it’s almost impossible to know what breastfeeding is like before doing it.  But acceptance? In any other realm of healthcare you would not expect to be told “if it hurts you’re doing it wrong”, you would rightfully be appalled by the inherent ableism.

We set to work and came up with a handy analogy to lactivist ablism, The Optomivist.

The Optomivist, you understand, has your very best interests at heart. The Optomivist knows that everyone can see if they just try hard enough and feels sorry for you that the patriarchy (or ‘BigSpecs’) has made you stop believing your own eyes, those Specsaver adds aren’t so innocent now, eh? The Optomivist would like you to know that if you are artificially reading this, it’s OK, you can always re-see.  Here are some handy hints to help you along your way:

#Humaneyesforhumanheads  #humaneyesforhumannorm  #eyesarethenorm

Reducing everything into a cute hashtag can get your point across quickly, glasses aren’t natural therefore, people who use them can’t be natural, or normal either.  If you have that running through your head every time you walk past the opticians, you’ll be sure to look at the poor spec users inside with pity.  If only they knew…

If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.

Everyone can see if they try hard enough. Seeing a good Optomivist for optimal positioning is all that you need. If the headaches last for longer than the first few hours of reading, you should just go back.  Don’t go to BigGlasses, they only have their own interests at heart.

Reading glasses once, varifocals for LIFE.

It’s a slippery slope my eagle-eyed buddies

Using glasses creates dependency. Just one look through a lens can cause you to believe you need glasses for sight. There’s no coming back.

Glasses can cause short-sightedness, long-sightedness and stigmatisms.

Studies have shown that people who use glasses are also those more likely to suffer from the above conditions.  Remarkably, meta analyses of these same studies have also shown this. No smoke, no fire, right!

Little boy with glasses

Ban Advertising!

It hurts my heart to see how many people don’t believe in their own eyes, they’re subjected to relentless advertising with so many of the colours and sometimes cute animals, including children. Truth is, if you really do need glasses, and that is a minority of 1-2% of people, most of that stuff is unnecessary.  It doesn’t matter if your frames are blue, purple or tortoiseshell and ‘face shape’ is just  a hook to get you sucked in.  Optomivists campaign tirelessly to ensure that this confusing choice is taken away and silenced so you don’t have to worry. Until then, just take those twenty twenties and look away!

Artificial Reading.

If you are already artificially reading this with lenses then all is not lost.  

It is possible to re-see, with the help of an Optomivist and a specialised looking plan! Sure you might suffer from migraines but natural’s best. 

Keep Lookin’!

Seeing’s Free!

BigSpecs will have you spend thousands over your life time on eye checks, frames, lenses and other unnecessary paraphernalia. Optomivists only charge you for their books and their time.  OK, so establishing a good looking relationship with your eyes may take hours of dedication and tension headaches, and you could be slower to complete looking tasks than some others to start with, but it’s only time and what’s a little extra time worth?   

So, when you’re talking to a pregnant or breast feeding woman and anything you say sounds like it could have come from the office of The Optomivist.

Stop, think and rephrase with empathy.