Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sense of Value and Worth - a Rat Race in itself

In today's modern day Indian society, women are being taught about a sense of value and worth that is measured by the money they earn on their own. Various practices that transpired in the 50-60 years prior to the turn of the century, have resulted in this scenario in which a woman who does not take up paid work assignments feels a reduced sense of worth and value.  I, my younger self, have gone through this state of mind, and it left me quite distressed. While it is a sound idea to instill a concept of self-esteem, the concept of hard work and working to earn your bread, generalisation of this idea has led to a mass mentality of aspirationalism - if that is a word. What is all this ranting driving at, you may ask... The fact that it is okay to be not working for money, even if it is for some duration of your life - has gotten buried and is getting lost in the minds of people in today's society. 

This ranting drives in the direction of my present state - I recently delivered a healthy baby boy. Mentally I have been preparing for the fact that this will mean that I will not have a 9-5 office schedule for a few years atleast. And I am glad that I have been able to develop that stable state of mind. I have been interacting with some mothers on a couple of community forums. The above rant emerges from the interactions I see in those forums. The quest for financial independence today is at a state where a child's need for its mother's attention and care in the early years of its life is a tradable commodity.  And because this has become a mindset at the societal level, it has become an accepted norm to find substitutes for all aspects of mothering. Starting right at the first touch point for the child - its food - breastmilk and breastfeeding.  I see enough mothers in the groups who even before delivering their child hope to substitute the breast with a nipple. The rat race driven way of life for the child begins right there when the mother keeps hoping that her child will accept a bottle with an artificial nipple on it. What bottle to buy, what size nipple to use, what type of pump to buy, what type of pump accessories to buy - these deliberations take up the entire mind space of a lot of new mothers today.  Having brought the child into this planet, the effort then begins to teach the child to go against its nature given knowledge of how to extract milk from a human nipple. From being a means to an end, this becomes the end itself, where people forget that one must attempt to feed the child directly when possible. I am not referring to the section of people who have medical compulsions to do so, I am referring to the majority of normal mothers who introduce their children to this rat race as early as 2-3 months because they have their own rat race to catch up with. And after the ordeal of getting the baby to accept the artificial nipple, the next immediate lament is that now the baby prefers the bottle over the breast!!

The point of this post is merely an observation of the state of the society today, and in no way an attempt to claim moral highground against these present practices. Just that as member of this society myself, I feel like a hypocrite when people cry loud against the industrial ways in which dairy farms extract milk from cows, and then in the same breath go about prescribing appropriate pump brands that will extract milk from yourself.

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