Letter from the Founder: Martha Joy Rose
I’ll admit, I am mostly an observer on social media. Hanging back, commenting occasionally, and mostly tuning in when it seems interesting friend-wise, geographically or plant/food-wise. My kids send me weird stuff all the time from here and occasionally I get lost in the weirdness.
Recently, there has been an outcry in the broader social media community and in the news regarding a plethora of topics having to do with mothers.
I’ve been immersed in the world of M/otherhood for a very long time as a scholar, a family person, and a museum curator. I think a lot more could be done, with our group here at the museum, and in our new Membership Community to collectively empower us.
For today I would just like to put it out there, that the formula crisis- or I should say the ‘lack’ of infant formula crisis is a reflection on how we treat those to procreate in general in America.
I want to avoid any hot responses or trolling type of things and just generally assert that for the population that makes humankind viable (mothers), for better or worse, who live in a country with no Social Security benefits for their time at home, an ongoing non-equitable pay situation, and a lack of federally mandated parental leave, the formula crisis is just another tip of the iceberg (among many other things). For many this is a life and death situation that begins with birth and ends, in the case of many, with death. I am specifically noting the fact that the US has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation.
Now I recognize that social media is often a place to vent and occasionally to also problem solve with positive suggestions. Advocating that women should simply breast-feed is not really in tune with everybody’s reality. There are a myriad of reasons for this, so I would be in favor of those with experience, sharing their strength and hope.
For example, the New York Milk Bank has been working for years to distribute donated breast milk. Another recent news story I stumbled on suggested that mother’s milk may soon be able to be grown in a lab (?), and when my kids were infants I sometimes supplemented with a homegrown mixture of powdered goats milk, carrot juice and molasses (the recipe can still be found online), though I am not advocating with for a specific solution as the founder of MOM, but rather raising the bar on visibility of those with experience in this area.
MOM’s own Journal of Mother Studies, too has been a really interesting source of shared scholarship on the subject. Catherine Ma wrote a piece on breastfeeding exposure and results for JourMS in 2016 and in 2017, Shannon K. Carter and Beatriz Reyes-Foster wrote the piece Peer Breast Milk Sharing as Resistance to Patriarchal Control about the informal network of mothers who do share milk between cohorts.
Tonight, May 22nd from 7-8:30PM, MOM shares 90 minutes with filmmaker and scholar Bonnie Silvestri online on Zoom: her film addresses American family policy among other things. The screening and talk back are free. The best way to participate is to sign up at our Community and then RSVP to join us for the 34 minute film, followed by open discussion.
Before, I sign off today, I also want to share the work of one fierce, feminist advocate Jul who created the banner for this blog and also creates awesome items which we’ve added to our store onsite at the MOM Art Annex, because, well, because every little bit helps. We need the next generation of women artists, leaders, moms, and advocates to rise. Here is Jul, in her own words:
My name is Jul and I am the artist and owner of Jul Uncensored—a Shop and Podcast centered around body positivity, sex education and social issues! I sell art, pussy pillows, badass t-shirts, funny feminist finds, and so much more in order to create awareness, spread positivity, and maybe even make people smile and laugh! The majority of the goods sold are made with up/cycled, reused, repurposed materials in order to cut down on environmental waste. You can follow me on my journey on my socials @jul_uncensored or on my website: http://www.juluncensored.com
For me personally, and for the Museum and our members collectively, whatever we can do to spread the good word, create collaborations and to encourage community, is a win-win. At least we’re not suffering alone, and who knows – we just might find solutions if we work together?!
What are your thoughts and how might we collaboratively move ahead to support each other and to solve these kinds of problems? Hope you can join us for the film tonight. Here’s the link again. Once you join the FREE community, you will have access to the event ‘Funnel of Dreams’. It would be awesome to see you there. Because, really – Motherhood IS one fuck of a journey!