It was the “International Breastfeeding Week” last week and the “World Organ Donation Day” today. The sole reason why I like particular days or weeks for good causes celebrated is because they really do enhance awareness and can help get more people on board. Also they can point us towards the direction of the problems involved with these issues.
Breastfeeding is something that was almost taken for granted in my mother’s generation as most women did not work outside the home. But as more women got working things got complicated. Hopefully, more people around the world are now aware of the great health benefits that you can pass on to your baby when you breastfeed. It is so much easier too when both you and your child form a routine as compared to boiling and sterilizing bottles, pumping, storing and reheating. Luckily for me, I was in the US when my elder one was born. I had a lactation consultant to help me with the confusion. It was a frustrating experience initially, and a new mom is clearly at her wit’s ends as to how to cope with a frantic, hungry baby who is unable to latch. I remember crying and feeling inept. But it wasn’t my fault. It takes time to get comfortable in the routine. One thing you understand when you become a parent is that most things don’t happen naturally. You don’t know how to breastfeed or calm a frantic child or burp or massage them. You have to even learn the right way to change a diaper and to dress a baby. You don’t get enlightenment by virtue of the fact that you’ve become a mother or a father. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It is okay to make mistakes and seek help! There were groups online that helped me a lot. I was a part of the Babycenter.com community where I could share and cope from others’ experiences.
I also came across a lifesaver called breast pump. It is available in India too now. The cost is still a deterrent. Most women will not be able to afford it. But if you can, it is a huge help especially for moms like us who are not cloistered at home at all times. And I was not very open to breastfeeding in public. You are in a rush. You don’t find the right spaces. You have to mostly do it in your car all uncomfortable as you are covered up. So pumped milk came to my rescue! I didn’t work after both my kids were born so that helped a lot. But, if you live in India and join work immediately after your maternity leave, you will find it very hard to continue breastfeeding. The logistics involved are almost never addressed. A nursing mother will need a private and comfortable place at work where she could setup her pumping equipment and pump. She would need breaks every few hours. She would then need a refrigerator where she could store the milk and then a cold container for the commute home. She needs access to nutritious food as well. She also needs encouraging and understanding colleagues. Now how many offices have that? If they don’t, she has no choice but to wean her baby very early on. Very often, the circumstances force her to stop very soon!
So, it is time changes are brought in our environment. You don’t find clean restrooms in most shopping places except high-end malls. Only some of them do have changing stations for babies and a place for moms. But most women do not have access to such facilities while on the go. It is high time that this aspect of declining breastfeeding is addressed.
I have pledged my organs for donation. And I sincerely hope that each one of you does that. The simplest reason is that I would want to help someone after I am gone. It takes nothing from me once my life has ebbed out. I guess there is no point in being possessive of my mortal form. And I am sure you can get a lot of statistics about how most healthy people suffering from diseases or accidents die due to paucity of organs. Think if it is your ailing family member that is the one waiting for an organ to be donated. It requires courage for a grieving family member to think of this at the time of the tragedy. So, it helps to take that step now and inform your loved ones, maybe even carry a donor card in your pocket!
Often, we are not sure how to go about it. This is a detailed post on this subject by Cybernag.in http://cybernag.in/2012/12/the-gift-of-life-organ-transplants/ Do have a look. She gives detailed links on how and where to pledge your organs. There is another link here: http://apps.facebook.com/organdonationday
Now let us look at some real hurdles to the initiative. Relatives are often worried that the bodies of their loved ones will be mutilated in the process. It must be told that the organs are taken out compassionately and with minimal damage in respect of your sentiments. Mostly, you need to inform the hospital or the number on your donor card to do the process. It is important that organ donation be done as close to the time of death as possible to preserve their usefulness. And remember to convey your wishes to your loved ones about organ donation. Even with a donor card, the legal right lies with the family whether or not they wish to donate the organs. The donor card per se does not encompass a legal right on its own.
I hope with this information more of us will make an informed choice about these very important decisions in our life and also look at addressing some of the problems here!