Thursday, September 15, 2011

Got Guilt? Motherhood, Sacrifice, Breastfeeding, and Dairy

Motherhood and sacrifice - where to start? Google it for 2.8 million hits and keep on going.

The story of Jesus's sacrifice is known worldwide - yet first Jesus's mother Mary gave of her body to him by breastfeeding.  There is an entire genre of art dedicated to this - Maria Lactans.

While we modern mothers sometimes resent the constant sacrifice of our own needs to our babies, mothering instinct is biological and strong.  A happy breastfeeding mother and baby dyad is a testament to the future of the human race.
Mammals and our milk

All of us mammals produce milk for their young - it's why we're called mammals.

Mothering young and feeding them is common to humans, cats, dogs, horses, lions, tigers, goats, and of course, cows.

Cows as Mothers

Cows normally live about 20-25 years ... and one lived to 49!  Like us, cows carry their calves for nine months. Calves nurse for six months, then remain with their mothers for an additional six months.

Calves learn to recognize their mother and are able to stand and walk soon after birth. The bond between mother and calf is very strong. They cry and scream when separated and one mother even walked seven miles to reunite with her calf after being sold at auction.

Cows as Mothers in the Dairy Industry

Cassie just gave birth
Cows are kept perpetually pregnant from as early as possible - usually artificially inseminated on a rack with many other cows.

Their calves are taken from them so that their milk can be sold to humans like you. Their daughters become more dairy cows. Their sons become beef or  veal.  

cowcalf.jpgLike any female, a cow's body is often fatally stressed by being constantly pregnant from a young age. Cows are specially bred, and sometimes genetically engineered or drugged with hormones, to encourage even higher milk production from their bodies.

25% of dairy cattle are killed before they are 3 years old (about 10% of normal lifespan).  

It is standard procedure, even for organic and free range dairying, for dairy cows to be killed at 5-6 years old when their productivity declines. They are sold as lower quality beef.

This is my body given for you...and the bodies of my children.
Personal Choice

Enjoy your personal choice - please use it wisely and kindly.


  1. Oh this breaks my heart. I'm trying to go vegetarian, no meat since I saw the trailer to earthlings and another I posted on my blog last June. Dairy is the most difficult to avoid.

    Blogs like yours help me greatly.

    Bless you!

  2. Hi Amelia,

    Awareness and compassion like yours is the key.

    Glad to have you here.


  3. I see what you did there!
    I thought this was going to be one of those articles about how mothers should stop feeling guilty about choices, but you totally turned it around and put them back in their place.

  4. Beaver, I hope we can all keep learning more and more, and take responsibility for the choices we make.

  5. Got Ice Cream ?

    1. I'm glad you asked...

    2. Or maybe you wanted breast milk ice cream? Weird, but it takes all kinds...