In a wonderful post on Well and Good, Chelsea Clinton weighs in on two important topics related to the empowerment of women: acceptance of menstruation, and the acceptance of breastfeeding.
Chelsea discusses the social and economic barriers which impact menstruating women, and mothers attempting to breastfeed their children. Their importance cannot be denied. Having access to pads and tampons can go a long way towards helping women be comfortable in social settings while menstruating. Having access to a breast pump allows a mother to provide her child nourishment when social restrictions to public breastfeeding are strong. Encouraging discussion of these topics is vitally important for building awareness and generating support for change.
When supports such as breast pumps are unavailable, we encourage mothers affected by negative social stigmas to confront them. (When safe to do so.) To do that, we must deal with the internal barriers which confront many women who want to breastfeed their baby, such as feelings of shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt.
In Transformative Parenting®, parents practice confronting outdated, unnecessary, and counterproductive beliefs. This is made easier because we do it in the service of our child. Putting our child first naturally gives us access psychological strength that is otherwise unavailable.
In the case of breastfeeding, because they know it is necessary for their child’s well-being and growth, mothers are able to overcome initial feelings of embarrassment and self-doubt around exposing their breasts in public. As a result of pushing through this discomfort, they become more comfortable and confident as mothers, and as women in general.
Breastfeeding is one example in which placing a child’s well-being first, leads to the development of self-confidence and empowerment in a parent or caregiver.