Saturday, July 22, 2017
'When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself...In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejection is the heartbeat of all things." --Pema Chodron
Last night my dream seemed so real that it felt like a memory rather than a dream. In my dream I was in a big city and I was walking with someone who was pointing out the long line of people in every block. The line went on and on. It reminded me of going to the movies in Toronto back in the fifties. There would often be a line to see a new movie that would wind around a city block. Waiting to see a new Disney movie, the atmosphere would be one of excitement. But in my dream this huge line was in the USA. It was filled with hungry, disheveled and desperate people waiting to be fed. Since waking I can't get the dream out of my head. A premonition? Symbolic of my frustration with the current political atmosphere? Or is it my frustration with the politics of infant feeding and how blinded people seem to be? Politically we are heading into hard times for everyone but the wealthy 1 per cent. The kind of economic and social policies being promulgated by a republican administration will in all likelihood create an economic recession and more likely a depression. Or maybe it is the food shortages/crisis in Venezuela that triggered my dream? Venezuela was once a wealthy country with much promise that is now in the midst of a serious food crisis. What was the cause of this crisis? A dictatorship? Who would have predicted that a wealthy country could be brought down so easily?
How prepared are people for such an event? We take for granted that our grocery stores will always have shelves full of food that we can buy. And that we will have the money to buy what is on the shelves. Or that if worse came to worse our benevolent and loving government would make sure we got fed. It is pretty clear to me that it is an illusion to believe in the benevolence of our current government. Maybe if you are white and wealthy and/or a corporation, you will be protected from the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." How much our current political scenery reminds me of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The political corruption, anti-women attitude ("Get thee to a nunnery," Hamlet says to Ophelia) and incestuous relationships in Hamlet; seemed far-fetched when I read it in my teen years. But now I feel that Shakespeare had great insight. Insight that is still relevant to this day and age.
And so I dreamed a dream and suddenly felt like writing in my blog. It has been a few months without any wish to write in this blog. Depressed by the state of the world, and depressed by my inability to communicate the importance of patenting of human milk components, I just drifted reading one horrible news article after another. I started a post to this blog in May and entitled it, Fed Up. It was about being fed up with the Fed Is Best organization. And I couldn't finish the post. It seemed irrelevant, like fighting against a run-out in the ocean. Amazing that the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine lets the Fed Is Best kind of critics post their delusions to the Academy website. Not that I am for stopping their posts, because I believe in discussions, in the dialectic of thought. Just that when I post a response to some of Fed Is Best delusional thinking, there is no response. Blessed silence. So what I am saying is either on target or others just think I am crazy. Crazy? The patents are legal documents and the infant formula industry is either stating one crazy thing after another about human milk components being so beneficial or they are speaking some truths. Maybe its a mixture of lies and truth or science gone nuts. But I am in a state of Fed Up. And my dream last night triggered the thought that breastfeeding is a vital, dynamic necessity in a "world gone mad." We believe rather erroneously that nothing changes, that what has been, will continue to be. That the US will never face hunger or starvation of its populace. Yet even now in the US children go to bed hungry and homeless. Just it isn't visible poverty, so we are blinded to that reality. After Hurricane Katrina there were accounts of young babies dying in New Orleans because the mothers didn't have infant formula to fed them. If only, if only they had breastfed-the only worry would be that the mother has water and food. We seem to be blinded by the past, that the US is a prosperous nation. But of course that is a white prosperous nation. Nowadays poverty seems to be a crime as well as being black or brown or female. Heaven forbid you are a poor black female in this country. My dream made me realize how critical it is for breastfeeding to be promoted and protected in the US right now. The current government has made it obvious that if you fit into the criteria of being poor, nonwhite, female or of a religion other than Christian, no assistance will be available. Immigrants are to be scorned, some will be imprisoned and deported without a trial. Life is getting brutal for the have-nots. And for those who think that their middle-class status will save them from this savagery, please re-read history or better yet read Shakespeare.
"We are such stuff as dreams are made on..." The Tempest, William Shakespeare
And as Nestle says about its new infant formula patent,
"Mother's milk is recommended for all infants. However, in some cases breast feeding is inadequate or unsuccessful for medical reasons or the mother chooses not to breast feed. Infant formulas have been developed for these situations. However, bovine milk which is usually used as the basis of commercially available infant formulas has a much lower content of sialylated oligosaccharides than human milk. As the structure of human milk and the functions of the individual components thereof becomes better understood, it has become apparent that it may be desirable to improve the sialic acid content of infant formulas based on bovine milk. "
As Shakespeare said, "Dreams, indeed, are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream..." Time to rethink our current reality and work to protect those who will not be protected by a government bereft of concern for those in need.
Copyright 2017 Valerie W. McClain