Have you ever heard anything so pointless?

I don’t often read the news because it’s usually a combination of celebrity gossip and depressing stuff, but this afternoon an article on Yahoo News caught my eye. The headline read “Pay Pregnant Smokers £10 A Week To Quit“.  The article suggests that “pregnant women who give up smoking should be given a £10-a-week “reward”, according to a political think tank.”

You would think that not harming their unborn child with their bad habit would be reward enough.

If ever there was a good time and reason to stop smoking, it’s because you’re pregnant and want what’s best for your child. I know not everyone can manage it, but surely all pregnant smokers should at least want to try, and not just because of a cash “reward”.

How about a reward for all those pregnant ladies who already don’t smoke?

Let’s take it further.

There are already schemes in some parts of the country that reward parents for making the environmentally ethical choice when it comes to nappies by reimbursing part of the cost of cloth nappies, which is great, but how about rewarding Mums who breastfeed? At the moment it’s all back to front with vouchers to go towards formula when surely it makes financial, medical and common sense to encourage breastfeeding over formula feeding?

I know there are some women who cannot or choose not to breastfeed their babies and that is entirely up to them – I do not refute their right to choose – but from a government point of view, are they really doing enough to promote breastfeeding?

During “breastfeeding week” an advert is broadcast in Scotland about breastfeeding, but you never see it the rest of the year. It’s a shame that breastfeeding needs a national awareness week when it’s something that should really be the norm, after all human beings are mammals – mammals have mammary glands with which to feed their young. That is the true primary function of the female breast. Sexual pleasure is a mere secondary consideration and it’s only the western so-called civilisations that have sexualized the female breast to the point where it is seen as obscene to show them in public. Not that I’m advocating just “whipping them out” when you’re walking down the street, but feeding a baby or toddler is completely different and is completely non-sexual – there is no comparison. A nursing mother’s intention is not exhibitionism, it is the nourishment, comfort and wellbeing of her child that is foremost in her mind and you can bet she’s trying to flash as little of her post-pregnancy flesh as she can manage!

Anyway, to go back to the point I was originally trying to make – there are far better ways for the government to spend money when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood.

They should be channeling it into getting accurate information and proper support to all mothers and making sure that all health practitioners are on the same page, so that the quality of care and information isn’t wildly different depending on which person you happen to see.

It should be channelled into setting up milk banks for premature babies (I would gladly have donated milk form my over-productive boobies when I was nursing Xan, but the closest milk bank to Aberdeen is in Glasgow and they do not collect this far north).

It should be channelled into educating mothers from all walks of life on just how capable they are and what their bodies are capable of doing (really, many would be amazed to discover it’s a very low percentage of women who are genetically predisposed to not producing enough breast milk to nourish their babies, but poor support and inaccurate information which undermines the efforts of a nursing mum result in declining milk production!).

And finally, it should be put towards educating the public to the fact that when it comes to feeding your baby, breast really is best, so anyone who sees a nursing mum should be thinking “Good on you!” rather than harassing her and making her feel uncomfortable.

£10 a week to reward smoking mums for quitting? Come off it! What will happen is you’ll get chancers saying they smoke (or even starting to smoke!) in order to get an extra tenner off the government.

Is that really what we want or need?


9 responses to “Have you ever heard anything so pointless?

  1. if the Daily Mail gets hold of it, it could be amusing to see how they link it to cancer, aids, immigrants and the housing market.

  2. Hi Kell!

    While I agree that women should do what is right and healthy for their baby just for the sake of it (this is a whole other post btw)…you also have to understand that most laws/initiatives like this are couched in the idea of “it’s for the children!” when a lot of it has more to do with wanting to control women and what women do with their bodies.

    This is why they don’t offer money to women who breastfeed. Because too many people don’t like it and find it offensive, and while people are willing to “allow” a woman to do it, they don’t want to see it. If they paid women to breastfeed then it would be socially acceptable for those women to breastfeed in public (gasp the horror!). With all the craziness out there when a woman bf in public…while it isn’t illegal it is obvious it still isn’t socially acceptable.

    Society in general is permitting of some things as long as they don’t have to witness it. Think of it. In general women are the only ones that have been singled out for being “obese” and now women are being singled out for the cause of obesity in children (bad mother!). While it is bad for someone to be morbidly obese, there have been study after study showing that a little fat on you isn’t going to hurt and may help you as long as you keep up a healthy lifestyle (eat well and exercise moderately to keep your heart working properly). It is also a fact that many children also grow out of said obesity. To clarify I am not talking about 14 year olds that are 300+ lbs (I know you don’t use pounds there but not sure how to convert it so I can only assume you know what I am talking about!). I am talking about women and children that are barely over the “obese” range in the useless measure of BMI.

    Let’s flip it…being too thin can cause just as much damage and actually be deadlier sooner than obesity…but how many laws are there for educating people or having them undergo some kind of lame initiative to make sure their weight is high enough? Do you know how many teenage girls (and now boys) die of anorexia or bulimia related complications? BUT…since being thin is the socially acceptable trait no one says a word. When you see a teen die in the paper it is of cardiac arrest or stroke and their weight NEVER mentioned…but when an obese person dies it is due to obesity and their weight is mentioned.

    Let’s take it a step further…Men are almost never implicated in any societal moral issue. So, they want the women to stop smoking, what about the men in the house? Second hand smoke and third hand smoke is just if not more dangerous. Second hand smoke isn’t filtered and so called third hand smoke is the residue that is left over on the surfaces of yourself and your house. Third hand smoke is extremely toxic, can hang around for days and has been known to lead to cancer. Babies and toddlers are susceptible because they are always crawling around grabbing things and putting them in their mouth.

    But…you don’t see them offering money for dads or other caregivers to stop smoking due to the hazards of the third hand smoke residue even though it is just as toxic.

    While it is admirable to want pregnant women to stop smoking (I do believe that…I also believe everyone should stop, but again that is another post)…you have to put this piece of news where it belongs. It isn’t about the health of the mother or baby, it is about the autonomy of the mother over her own body.

    When they start trying to get MEN to be just as responsible in their behavior…then it won’t be an issue (for me at least).

    Just a little more something to think about.

    One article on 3rd hand smoke…you can also search it.

  3. I always love it when I get a comment from you, Sandy – it’s always full of useful and interesting information! Thank you. 🙂

  4. LOL I am always scared I am going to offend you! 😛 But I always think it is worth putting another point of view out there.

    Another thing…I also think it is just a way to make the government look better too. They can say, “Hey look! We care about babies!” when there is a ton of other things they probably could be doing like, say, I don’t know…helping women with PPD or depression. Of course, if it effects the mother then it just isn’t that important and still goes along with women’s rights.

  5. PPD and PND would be fantastic things to plough money into – after all, a happy Mummy usually equals a happy baby! The mental health of any country should be a priority.

    And never worry about offending me, Sandy – your comments are always very well thought out and balanced, so I always love reading them. 🙂

  6. LOL Kell! The people that need mental health services are also marginalized especially when you have a lot of people like Tom Cruise who think that all you need is vitamins.

    Most people’s answer to depression after baby is to just take away the baby even though there is such a small number of women that actually injure their children. Being a PPD survivor myself, this really hits home for me that soo many women can’t get help for it. I couldn’t get help for it after going to doctors and searching for a therapist…I suffered for a very long time . But, that is another story! I actually follow a website called Postpartum Progress (http://postpartumprogress.typepad.com/weblog/) I am not sure if they follow new in the UK as I just simply can’t remember…but you can always take a look. She does have some good info there. She is dedicated to raising awareness of it.

  7. Oh, and BTW all this got me to thinking and I snagged my comment for my own blog post on all this though I may end up taking a few days to get everything together…I did link to your post. Not like anyone really reads mine. 😛


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