I almost cried in the juice aisle today. Let me back up for a minute and tell you about a time when Big Sister was 5 months old (over 3 years ago). I breastfed her from the start but around 5 months old, the milk I was pumping was not meeting her need at daycare. We had to buy formula. I clearly remember standing in the formula aisle at Target just crying and crying, and my husband rubbing my back and telling me that it was ok, we had no choice, our daughter needed to eat. I felt like a failure. I felt like a bad mom. I wanted to provide everything she needed and this was the 'writing on the wall' that I couldn't do that. The end of the story is boring. We bought the organic formula because it just sounded the best, she got hooked on it, wouldn't drink the cheap stuff, and we still nursed until she was a year old.
Fast forward to today. I didn't really cry. I almost did. I was trying to buy apple juice. To get you up to speed, there is recent news about excess arsenic in apple juice due to unregulated pesticides used in orchards overseas. ARSENIC?? What mother would want to buy something that has arsenic in it??? Well, my kids love apple juice. They are snobs about it. No other juice will do. The stuff is good. So I'm thinking - "I can do this. Surely I can find juice made from organic apples grown in the United States." I read the labels on every bottle. I know other customers thought I was crazy. Slowly, I felt the stinging behind my eyes. Clear sign that tears are coming. What is wrong with me? I thought. Why am I crying about this? It was the same feeling I had years ago in Target. I want to provide the best for my kids but I feel like I don't have a choice.
I had no freakin' clue which apple juice to buy.
I landed on an expensive organic apple juice. I brought it home. Big Sister loved it. I now feel like a good mom, like I've done the best I can.
The problem with both of these stories is, while I did the best I could, I wouldn't say the same of the formula or juice companies or those who regular their sale and the process that gets the apple, turns it into juice and gets it on the store shelf. Months after we bought the formula, it was recalled for being contaminated with bug parts. None of the juice companies put on the label where their apples were grown.
So many people think that health and well-being is all about personal choice and personal responsibility. I feel like both of these stories, and my emotional reactions, illustrate that the personal is political. Even in the juice aisle.