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:

breastfeeding

Courtesy: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

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.

Organ Donation

organ donation

Courtesy: www.fairtransplant.org

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!

 

Comments

comments

58 Thoughts on “The Gift of Life!

  1. Proud of you Rachna for being the change that you want to see. Hindu mythology and traditions do come in the way of organ donation but things are changing. It began with cornea donation and now people are pledging other body parts too.

  2. Hi Rachana,
    This is amazing!!!
    Because i am now
    getting intimation
    of your posts!!!

    Two Great Causes
    Great awareness
    you made here
    A must read for
    all especially the
    first one for mother
    and of course the
    second one is a
    wonderful one too
    We all need to think
    on this very seriously
    Thanks for the reminder
    Have a wonderful day
    Best Regards

  3. Proud of you. I have been thinking about pledging my organs too from quite sometime and I think it is about time to do that.

  4. It is about time that Society realized that women in public places and at work is here to stay and it is also a boon to Society that such is so. Only then will public places and work-spots be designed taking into account the needs of women.

    Kudos for organ donation as well as for propagating the idea.

    • Exactly Suresh! And no one even thinks of these issues. I guess it is easier to point a finger and say that the woman was materialistic and did not care. My question is why does she have to make a choice? Why not allow her to breastfeed and work together?

  5. I am certainly signing up for Organ Donation when I get back!
    .
    Spreading awareness is the first step towards change – well done, Rachna!

  6. Totally agree with you on dedicating particular days for a cause. They sensitize people about the issues at hand otherwise they get lost in the din of political headlines. Rachna very good effort to promote the idea.

  7. Honetly speaking I never pay attention to the days but I like the perspective you have put. At least thanks to these days we talk about these issues and talking/ creating awareness is 1st step towards change!

    Organ donation is something that I have never thought of…lemme think towards it. And yes breast feeding…u know for few days I knw that I was not doing something right (I was not latching rightly) and decided to see a video to help myself. Half of the time we don’t even talk about these issues with others not realising in the process that not talking doesn’t help.

    • Smita I agree with you. I am much more vocal now. Back then I did not have a group of friends that I could share the trials and tribulations with. Exactly, the problem is that we don’t talk or seek help with all the taboos that cloud our heads. And speaking out I do agree is the first step!

  8. Thanks to your link on FB, I pledged for organ donation too!

  9. Breast feeding is very important. When I had the first baby, I took leave for 6 months from work and then was feeding the baby in the morning and then in the evening. Storing facility was not there. I used to pump out in daytime and again feed in the evening. For the second child, I was at home. Both the children were hale and healthy always.

    I have already told my sons and husband to donate all my organs after my death. They have promised to do so, laughingly now! They will do it.

    • Yes, I have notified the husband too. He has always known my wishes in this regard. Yes, I breastfed my kids for a long time — the first one 9 months and the second one over a year! But the difficulties are real and many. Good to have you here after a long time, Sandhya! Hope you have adjusted well in your new home.

  10. Dagny on August 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm said:

    The points you’ve raise about breastfeeding are very valid. Neither our workplaces nor our entertainment/ utility hubs are at all convenient for nursing mothers… or for people with some kind of disability. Our workplace has treated its manpower too long as a commodity. It is time they realigned their policies to accommodate humans.

    Love to read you, always. 😀

    • Absolutely true, Dagny! Instead of just putting the onus on a woman on breastfeeding, it is high time that the society sees where it is faltering. Thanks for your patronage :)!

  11. suku07 on August 7, 2013 at 12:44 am said:

    I pledged mine too.. and just finished blogging about it… thank you so much Rachna for sharing this post.. I hope more and more people write about this and create awareness…

    • Thank you Suku! I am so glad you did it too and wrote about it! I hope that a lot of people do take the decision with increased awareness. Cheers!

  12. I had been thinking about Organ Donation too. Your post tells me it’s time to do what’s to be done. Thanks for the little nudge. Will definitely talk to my family about it too. It’s my birthday today and doing something good will surely make it meaningful. 🙂

  13. Bless you, Rachna, for a wonderful post. While I don’t believe in “days” except for fun, I am all for days related to causes. We have signed up for organ donation. You know my Mother wished to have her body donated to a medical college..and we carried out her wishes.

    Excellent read. Love you.

  14. Thought provoking post, Rachna. Breast feeding for working moms is a nightmare, i’ve been through the mill, had to wean the kids very young. Tough. Hope things change soon.

  15. Rahul on August 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm said:

    Taking the first step is such an important thing and that is what you have done Rachna!These things need to be promoted and mass education spread in an illiterate nation to see the benefits…… a long road to traverse

  16. Good to know that you have pledged your organs Rachna. Noble deed definitely , Kudos. And what you mentioned about breastfeeding is so true. Enough facilities are not there in India. But thats where women of yesteryears and some rural women were so different. The saree helped a big deal. They would tuck the baby in to feed and cover the baby under the pallu of their saree and nothing could be made out 🙂 With our modern attire, its very tough ha ha…On a serious note, yes we need proper facilities!

    • Modern attire is good actually. I was always comfortable in button-down shirts or tops. But lack of facilities for working women is really a huge problem for both urban and rural women.

  17. I haven’t yet.I see a lot of inspiritation here

  18. When my bua died, my dad was not in station. My cousins donated her body for medical research as per her wishes…this was something my dad did not like. The change has to come from within us and I too signed up for organ donation. Kudos!

    • You are right, Janu! Sometimes the family may object. I shared it with my husband immediately. I know he is one person who will honor my wishes. And kudos to you too!

  19. till alive we are busy claiming Mine .. 🙂 and even after death ? 🙂 I have been clear on this long back Rachna .. one life ..one body .. one death .. why think twice .. if it comes to use after I my soul departs .. what better ?
    Its nice to spread about this divine work one can do .. and all in fact !

  20. Yes, I have settled down in the new home, Rachna, Thank you!

  21. Well expressed. Professional life along wit bringing in money puts in lot of hurdles as well.

  22. Geet uses the breast pump at times when we have to go outside. It is a lifesaver. Nowadays there are so many things available like the steam sterilizer that you do not have to think of the hassles of boiling bottles. 🙂
    I have also filled the form for organ donation.

    • Yes, new things with passing time! But think of those women who cannot afford all this. What choice would they have? And our workplaces are still not awake to these requirements. Nice that you signed the form too. Kudos!

  23. Kudos to you Rachna and thanks for writing this post!! I always wanted to do this but didn’t know it could be done so easily. I am now a proud organ pledger.
    Priya recently posted…Jungle Magic Lunch Packz ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks, Priya. I am so glad that you took the step.It really is simple and imagine the number of lives we can collectively save. So proud of you as well.

  24. Really nice, Rachna that you shared all this info.
    Many people aren’t aware how to go about it.
    I too shared a post on Organ Donation. Let us create awareness. We have the power 🙂
    Anita recently posted…Feel Free To CelebrateMy Profile

  25. Harsha Kamath on November 18, 2014 at 9:04 am said:

    Great article.
    Back in my mother’s time, people used to breastfeed till 2 and 3 years of age and it would be considered as normal. Have you observed breast cancer was much less prevalent in those days compared to today? This must have been due to the breastfeeding practice those days by mothers.

    Today it is considered as a taboo and of course breasts have become super sexual compared to 35-40 years back . No doubt they have always been sexual but it has become even more prominent in the last 20 years or so.
    Breast pumps are a good idea to keep pumping and keep taking out the milk in case you feel heavy- For me nothing compares to the beautiful feeling you get as a mother when the baby suckles milk from your bosom. But that is just me- Pump or Direct feeding- Breastfeeding is a must and must be advertised and publicized by celebrities, politicans and general public through advertising

    However we are still a very regressive and backward nation( don’t be fooled by the new buildings, posh roads, metro trains and the hip hop yo culture among the whatsapp and facebook generation) – TOpics such as Breastfeeding, Organ donation are all not even in their infancy in India- Yes India is developing, but how many people are modern thinking like you? Very few. The ‘stuck in conservative culture’ still remains and is here to stay over the generations. We need someone who will explain people these modern concepts. We still have this class culture ( look at bollywood, the richest industry in the world- People who are full grown adults (in their 30s and 40s) address senior actors as ‘ XY- Sir’ ‘ ABC- Ma’am’ . Search Youtube for a video ‘ Mohit Raina Life OK awards’ where Mohit Raina ( famous TV Actor who plays Mahadev appears on the stage and starts speaking with SRK ( who is the host)- In the exchange Raina keeps calling SRK as “Shahruk Sir” about 500 times to the point that it starts to get irritating.( Do watch the video, its on youtube)- This itself sums it all up- We live in a culture where instead of addressing important liberal issues, all are time is wasted on worshipping- an age obsessed and class obsessed society – a Successfull TV actor doing Sir Sir Sir to a Film Star as if he is a small kid in school. If you want REAL development in India- START with the MEntality and not with technology.

    • Hi Harsha, Thank you for such a detailed comment. Yes, of course, women in my mother’s generation were breastfeeding their newborns longer simply because more of them were not working professionally. These days when women have to rejoin workforce, they have to quit breastfeeding. Not to mention that our workplaces are hardly friendly or equipped with amenities that can help them pump and store their breast milk. Now is wanting to go back to work wrong? No. Hence the solutions to continue breastfeeding must be thought out on all levels. Yes, our culture goes overboard with sycophancy as a way of showing respect. Showing respect to elders and those more experienced than us have always been in our social fabric. I really don’t know how we will come out of it unless those in positions of power insist about doing away with this “sir” “Madam” business. I do agree that we need to constantly educate our people about the benefits of organ donation and breastfeeding. Thanks for reading!

  26. Harsha Kamath on November 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm said:

    Hi Rachana

    Thanks for your reply. I Agree with you.

    I think more and more tv shows and films should show actors breastfeeding. So many film actresses and tv actresses have given birth, how many have actually spoken about breastfeeding? Very few ( compared to the west)

    Look at that hypocrite Smriti Irani. HRD Minister- Talks big about ‘Indian Culture’ all the time- has she even once in all these years ever spoken about breastfeeding or organ donation?

    Call me old fashioned but I think breastfeeding should continue passively ( if not actively) till the age of 2. Atleast occasional feeding should be done between the age of 1 and 2. ( even if it is done with breast pumps, it is fine)- It is very beneficial to both mother and child.

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