Sometimes the broken parts of our society, our system, remain more subtle, more hidden, especially for those of us with any sort of privilege, especially race and class privilege. Now is a moment in time where there are earthquakes, where the reality of late stage capitalism, unchecked white supremacy, and ingrained patriarchy have cracked wide open, exposing deep caverns, broken earth, and a seemingly hopeless world. The formula shortage, the anti-trans laws, the fall of Roe, these tragedies are all connected, interrelated, and we must fight them as such.
The formula shortage is devastating to watch. My work with new parents involves a lot of support around feeding, around challenges with nursing, and around making decisions about the balance between nursing and a parents’ own mental health. Formula is a necessity for some but also a safety net for others. There is already so much pressure and judgement around how we feed our babies. For parents who are struggling with nursing, this added pressure to nurse at all costs, because maybe there wont be enough formula for their babies, is too much for anyone to bear. There are already so SO many ways in which we do not support new families, from inadequate paid time off to isolation, to insufficient medical and mental health care, and this formula shortage is truly just the nail in the coffin. No one should be surprised. Late stage capitalism, with its monopolies and disregard for public interest, has created a situation where the lives of actual babies and the well being of new parents do not matter as much as profits.
I consider the work I do to be part of a larger picture. The larger picture is one of autonomy for all bodies and autonomy for family creation. A dismantling of the white supremacist cishet patriarchy. The leaked draft from the Supreme Court about the ending of Roe reminds us how connected all of our struggles are. Reproductive justice means abortion is health care as well as compassionate and caring postpartum support. Reproductive justice is gender affirming health care. Reproductive justice is access to lactation consultants covered by insurance, birth environments that are empowering and competent, and the ability to feed your baby however you choose. I remember raising money for the EMA Fund when my oldest was a baby. Never before had I understood how important it was to be able to truly choose parenthood.
If you are feeling rage, sadness, overwhelm, apocalyptic existential grief, you are not alone. Let us continue to learn about how the ways we suffer are connected and focus on the societal oppression that hurts us. Our liberation is bound together. In the meantime, find some joy to keep hope alive. Here is mine.