Birth, breastfeeding, and women’s choices
Zeynep Gurtin (The myths behind late motherhood, Journal, 18 April) omits one reason why there appears to be atrend for women to leave having babies until their late 30s/early 40s: that in their 20s and early 30s they may not have decided whether they want children at all, rather than just delaying having them. They may be enjoying life free of the ties and responsibility of children, working at jobs they love and have studied for and struggled to obtain – jobs they know will be touched by having children in ways that a man’s career won’t.
Women are more than their biological ability to give birth, and I salute those who choose to explore and reach their own potential before deciding if they want to undertake the huge task of producing and raising another human being.
• I’m sorry that Zoe Williams, or anyone, felt or feels diminished over breastfeeding (The ‘breast is best’ lobby has failed women, Journal, 23 April). I’m pleased the National Childbirth Trust, or anyone, is able to devote resources to postnatal mental health. I’d like to say more, but the purpose of this letter is to object to the Guardian’s identification, in a front-page trail for this article, of advocates of breastfeeding as a “mafia”.
Peebles, Scottish Borders
• Glorifying the sexualisation of women’s breasts to slag off breastfeeding campaigns is hardly a feminist strategy. Neither is pretending it’s all about individual choice. The breastfeeding debate, like that of climate change, would benefit from more systemic analysis. They have the same root problem – an economic system that aims to turn everything (water, air, life, child-rearing) into a commodity for profit and relies on the free labour of women to succeed.
Formula corporations operate like fossil-fuel ones, ruthlessly pursuing billions in profits and lobbying hard against international guidelines on breast milk. If we realise the climate crisis needs structural solutions, why not this? Is it because picking apart women’s choices is always fair game?
• Join the debate – email [email protected]
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters
• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition