TIME movies

Peter Pan Live‘s Allison Williams Joins a Long Tradition: Women Playing Pan

Peter Pan
Pauline Chase in a theatre production of 'Peter Pan' in 1855 Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The boy who won't grow up has rarely been played by a real boy

It’s pretty much the single most important plot point in Peter Pan: the main character will, in the words of one of the signature songs from the musical based on his story, “stay a boy forever.”

Except that he hasn’t. When Allison Williams—the actress best known, appropriately, for her role on Girls—takes to the skies Thursday night for the live televised version of the play, she’ll be joining a long line of grown women who have played the ever-youthful boy.

In fact, it’s been an even century since Nina Boucicault played the starring role in the original 1904 London production, which came to New York the following year with Maude Adams in the lead. As Slate has reported, there were several reasons to cast women in the role, from the logistics of dealing with child-labor laws to the thought that an adult man wouldn’t seem boyish enough and a real boy wouldn’t be capable. Furthermore, casting an adult as Peter meant the child actors around her could be relatively older too. And the actresses cast as Peter were fully on board with the decision: TIME reported in 1950 that, in her day, Adams would leave the theater in costume, so as not to let young fans know she was a grown-up and a woman.

Other grown women followed her in the stage role, like Marilyn Miller, Eva Le Gallienne and Jean Arthur.

When the musical version of the play arrived in 1954, the tradition—complete with music suited for a female singer—continued. Mary Martin quickly came to be a favorite, and is still associated with the role to this day. “She looks as boyish as can be expected of any grownup of the opposite sex,” TIME noted a review of the Broadway production.

There has, however, been a truly noteworthy deviation from the norm: Disney’s 1953 animated version, not constrained by the demands of live human actors, was able to do what no play could. In that movie Peter is voiced by child actor Bobby Driscoll.

TIME India

Indian State Bans Mass Sterilization After Surgeon Uses Bicycle Pump in Operations

Surgeon claims he never faced “a mishap or complication” during the dangerous procedure

A state in India issued a ban on mass sterilizations on Tuesday, a few days after it was revealed that a surgeon had used a bicycle pump in 56 operations last week.

Women undergoing tubectomies for sterilization are required to have their abdomens inflated, but this is generally done through the introduction of carbon dioxide rather than outside air.

Officials from the East Indian state of Odisha said using a pump for the procedure can be extremely risky, the BBC reports.

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Rout, the surgeon accused of breaking protocol, told the BBC that pumps are routinely used in Odisha during such procedures and that he had never faced “a mishap or complication.”

Tuesday’s ban is another addition to the controversy surrounding India’s mass sterilization drives, which are conducted widely and frequently to curb the country’s rapidly growing population.

Over a dozen women died during a sterilization drive in the state of Chattisgarh last month, a tragedy that was later blamed on substandard drugs.

TIME

Women Are Now Dyeing Their Armpit Hair

Keeping it natural and neon all at once

Women have only been shaving their armpits for about a century. Before the advent of the sleeveless dress — and an ad in Harper’s Bazaar for depilatory powder that removed “objectionable hair — American women rarely bared their underarms in public, anyway. One hundred years later, if a celebrity is caught on camera with a little fuzz where it’s not expected, it becomes a news story and the subject of disgust, an unseemly act of laziness or a charged political statement.

It’s nothing new for women to decide not to shave, for either personal or political reasons. But a new trend celebrates the hair under there with a little more glamour by livening it up with some color. Credit for the trend goes to Roxie Hunt, a hairstylist at Seattle salon Vain. Hunt celebrates armpit hair as “direct-action feminism.” “By having hairy pits,” she writes, “I am exercising my right to make my own choices about my own body.”

Her pit proclamation made, Hunt set about dying her co-worker’s armpit hair a vibrant shade of aquamarine and detailed the process in a blog post. The hashtags #dyedpits and #ladypithair, though they appeared before Hunt’s manifesto, have seen an uptick in recent months, with the colorful results on full display.

Hunt was so pleased with the results of her first underarm dye job that she hopes to do it again. “Maybe some day we can try a different shade,” she writes.

 

#ASTROTURF⛳️

A photo posted by Whitney Stephens (@thehoneyedcat) on

Blue haired/pitted freak. Roxie is the coolest! To find out how to DIY, check out howtohairgirl.com!

A photo posted by Rain Sissel (@glittrkittn) on

TIME politics

Elizabeth Lauten Still Doesn’t Seem to Get How She Dehumanized Young Black Girls on Facebook

Elizabeth Lauten
Elizabeth Lauten Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

I'm glad she resigned. But her statement speaks to a much larger problem

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

Following a long, hard weekend that included much “shade” and reportedly even more prayer, Elizabeth Lauten has finally done the right thing and resigned from her job as spokeswoman for Representative Stephen Fincher (R., Tenn.) after posting inappropriate criticisms of First Daughters Sasha and Malia Obama on Facebook.

This is great because America wasn’t really in the market for a Troll in Chief, and the subsequent apology Lauten offered didn’t help win friends and influence people. The long weekend was a tender time that had already left a lot of people feeling exposed as many Americans wrestled with the meaning of the secret proceedings that led to the Ferguson Decision.

Then, as now, is not the time to revel in shades of racism and mean-girl snark to make a political point, which is exactly what Lauten did. Spectacularly tone-deaf to where we’re at as a country right now, she went all in on Malia and Sasha, Michelle and Barack’s daughters, and Marion Robinson’s grands for their seeming and refreshing disinterest in the corny tradition that is the annual White House Thanksgiving turkey pardon.

“I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class,” Lauten wrote.

What she neglects to acknowledge is just how awful those teen years can be. Instead, she piles on. These young ladies are shown standing exposed to the world when everything about them is changing and adjusting at a rapid pace in ways they might not understand because that is what it means to be an adolescent.

Worst of all, Lauten needlessly sexualized the girls by saying, “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”

Girls have a hard enough time feeling good about their developing bodies without creepy, inappropriate and out-of-context comments like these. This comment felt just as bad as any leering guy on the street wolf-whistling to female passers-by.

It has never been more important to value a young woman’s humanity as she works to be vital and relevant, living and loving, hoping one day she’ll be valued for her efforts and be paid fairly and rewarded accordingly.

And in a society where bullying is rampant, it’s honestly unbelievable to me that Lauten so blindly bullied these girls. Did Lauten not even see the movie Bully? I still cry thinking about it.

While I appreciate that Lauten later tried to apologize, to me it was a failure.

By not directly addressing her apology to the First Daughters (notice how her initial heartless critique was directly addressed to them, though?), Lauten ascribed “superhuman” qualities to them. Meaning, she didn’t consider how her comments might make them or other girls feel, bearing out what Adam Waytz and his research team revealed in a recent study about white attitudes toward blacks.

“Today, a subtler form of dehumanization of blacks persists, with powerful consequences; it increases endorsement of police brutality against blacks and reduces altruism toward blacks,” according to the paper published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

It is no surprise to me that social media went apoplectic over the weekend upon learning what Lauten had done and how she handled it. It shows that the public has had it up to here with the nastiness of political discourse, especially when race, gender and sexuality are involved.

In her position as the spokeswoman (now former) for Representative Fincher, it was Lauten’s very job to be a communications expert, yet she proved incapable of reading the signs of the times and the particularly sensitive moment happening in this nation right now.

Lauten appears to be one of those women who vote against their own interests, mistaking proximity to the white power structure for real power.

It isn’t.

The lack of respect in her original Facebook post and the subsequent half-hearted apology was unforgivable and unforgettable. Regardless of what Lauten meant, her bad behavior is a reckoning moment for so many other things.

Now that Lauten has given up her job, perhaps she can spend more time reclaiming her own humanity — on her way to seeing ours.

Douglas is a journalist living in Chicago.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY sex discrimination

Everything Working Women Need to Know About Pregnancy Discrimination

U.S. Supreme Court Peggy Young UPS
Raimund Koch—Getty Images

The high court is hearing arguments on Wednesday on a case in which a UPS worker was forced to take unpaid leave when she got pregnant. Here's what every woman should know about this case and her rights in the workplace.

Any woman in the vicinity of her child-bearing years will want to pay attention to a case that’s being heard by the Supreme Court today.

The high court’s findings on Young v. United Parcel Service should address the gray areas of what workplace protections are guaranteed for pregnant women.

The least you need to know:

What’s the case about, anyway?

The plaintiff in the case is Peggy Young of Lorton, Va., who had worked as a delivery truck driver for UPS.

As part of her job description, she needed to be able to lift packages weighing up to 70 pounds. But when she got pregnant, her midwife wrote her a note that said she should not lift more than 20 pounds.

Young asked for a temporary “light-duty” assignment, but the company’s occupational health manager determined that she was ineligible.

Young says the division manager then told her she was “too much of a liability,” and she was not allowed to return to work until after she had given birth. So Young had to take an extended unpaid leave of absence, which caused her to lose her health coverage.

Wasn’t that discrimination?

That’s the question the court has to answer.

In 1978, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act which clarifies that discrimination against pregnant women is a form of sex discrimination. That means your employer can’t fire you or deny you job benefits because you’re pregnant, you might become pregnant, you’ve given birth, or you have any related medical problems. Your employer has to treat you the same as people who are not pregnant but similar in their ability to work.

To prove sex discrimination, however, Young needed to show four things.

First, that she was a woman. Second, that she was qualified for the job, or the job benefit. Third, her employer denied her the job or benefit she wanted. And fourth, a similarly situated man received the job or benefit that she wanted.

The fourth presents a particular challenge: Since men can’t get pregnant, which men are in a similar situation?

Young says UPS did give some other workers—employees who were injured on the job or had their drivers’ licenses were temporarily revoked—the light duty she wanted. Therefore, Young says UPS owed her the same accommodations.

However, lower courts disagreed with Young.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reasoned that UPS’s policy was “pregnancy-blind.” UPS wouldn’t have offered light duty assignments to, say, a man who threw his back out by lifting his kid or a woman who injured herself during a volunteer firefighter shift. Since UPS didn’t give all its temporarily-disabled workers light duty, the court found that UPS didn’t have to give light duty to Young.

Many women’s groups, health providers, labor advocates and even pro-life activists strongly disagreed with that ruling.

“If at some point during her pregnancy, a pregnant worker needs a minor adjustment to her job duties in order to continue doing her job safely, the employer has an obligation to provide that,” says Liz Watson, director of Workplace Justice for Women at the National Women’s Law Center.

What happens next?

Young appealed. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Wednesday and issue a ruling sometime before the end of this term, in late June.

But in a “friend of the court” brief, the Justice Department argues that it might be a moot point.

In 2008, Congress passed a law amending the Americans with Disabilities Act that should make it even easier for pregnant women to qualify for accommodations like the one Young sought. Now, injuries that temporarily limit your ability to lift, stand, or bend should also qualify you for accommodations under the ADA.

And UPS has already reversed its policy. “While UPS’s denial of [Young’s] accommodation request was lawful at the time it was made (and thus cannot give rise to a claim for damages), pregnant UPS employees will prospectively be eligible for light-duty assignments,” the company’s brief says.

In the meantime, what are my rights if I’m pregnant or plan to become pregnant?

You are afforded the same protections as Young through the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. So you can’t be fired or denied benefits. Also, depending upon the size of the company, you may be entitled by law to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Additionally, under Obamacare, employers are required to allow mothers reasonable break time and a private space to express breast milk, Watson says.

I think an employer violated my rights. What can I do?

You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a complaint, Watson says.

You’ll have more company than you might expect: From 1997 to 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 74,000 complaints of pregnancy discrimination.

You can also contact your state’s fair employment practice agency. Some states and municipalities have even stronger protections for pregnant women in the workplace. In the past 18 months, Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, West Virginia, Philadelphia, New York City, Providence and Pittsburg have all passed new laws, Watson says.

Or call a lawyer. “We unfortunately speak to women a lot who have suffered pregnancy discrimination,” Watson says. “What happened to Peggy Young, being forced off the job because she brought in a doctor’s note, is happening to women all across the country.”

TIME feminism

The Complicated History Behind the Fight for Pregnant Women’s Equality

Lillian Garland [& Family]
Lillian Garland (front), who won a Supreme Court case which supports pregnancy leave, with her daughter in 1986 Alan Levenson—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Two Supreme Court cases have helped define the struggle

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Peggy Young, a former UPS driver who had to go on unpaid leave — rather than paid leave or adjusted duty — when she got pregnant and a doctor told her to stop lifting heavy packages. Though UPS has since adjusted its leave policy for pregnant workers, the company maintains and a lower court agreed that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn’t make it illegal to give pregnant employees different leave policies than non-pregnant ones. If the act did make such treatment illegal, they say, it would constitute special treatment. Young’s side, on the other hand, argues that making accommodations for pregnant workers is to treat them the same as other workers, not specially.

Unsurprisingly, several women’s rights organizations, like the Women’s Law Project and Legal Momentum, which is associated with the National Organization for Women (NOW), have filed an amicus brief in support of Young.

But, despite all the women’s-rights oomph behind Young’s case, the history of feminism and pregnancy discrimination isn’t so clear cut.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has pointed out, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978 to specify that discriminating against pregnant people is a kind of sex discrimination (after the Supreme Court case had earlier decided the opposite). It was less than three decades ago — in 1986 — that NOW, as well as the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, came out on the side of the employer in a case that sounds very similar to Young v. United Parcel Service. They aren’t exactly parallel, but many of the deep questions raised by the earlier case remain pertinent today. How much should childbearing be connected to a woman’s identity? Does respecting women require making allowances for that undeniable difference? Or would doing so hold women back by linking their legal identities to their function as mothers? How much inequality can be tolerated in the service of big-picture equality?

At issue was a challenge to a 1978 California law that required businesses to offer unpaid maternity leave. Lillian Garland had been a receptionist at a California bank when she took advantage of the state law and went on unpaid leave to have a baby in 1982; when she was ready to return to work, the position had been filled. Without her income, she was soon evicted and lost custody of her daughter, leading her to bring a suit against her former employer.

As TIME reported during the dispute, NOW and the ACLU ended up taking the bank’s side, preferring that employee benefits not be sex or gender-specific. “The question is, Should a woman with a pregnancy disability get her job back when other employees with disabilities get fired? You undermine your argument unless you say everyone is equally entitled to this benefit,” explained the ACLU’s Joan Bertin. In other words, anything that keeps an employee from working should be treated the same, whether or not it’s pregnancy, and no law should apply only to women. Meanwhile, feminist icon Betty Friedan and her allies saw things differently: in her view, the law treated everyone equally because it made clear that anyone, male or female, should be able to make decisions about having a family without the risk of losing his or her job.

“The time has come to acknowledge that women are different from men,’’ Friedan said. ‘’There has to be a concept of equality that takes into account that women are the ones who have the babies.’’

The next year, in 1987, the Supreme Court sided with Friedan, finding that the California law neither discriminated against men nor forced employers to treat women specially, as it did not bar companies from extending unpaid leave benefits to men as well.

TIME Business

How to Run a Billion Dollar Brand Before You’re 35

ÒLocalÓ: The After-School All-Stars Atlanta program extended its services to City of Refuge, a transitional living center for previously homeless women and children.Walt ThompsonElgin
Kat Cole has been President of Cinnabon since 2010 (Photo courtesy of Kat Cole) Meg Buscema—Georgia State University/Chanell

Kat Cole says curiosity and helpfulness drove her to the top of her industry

Kat Cole dropped out of college to open international Hooters franchises at 20, became a vice president of Hooters at 26 and was appointed president of Cinnabon before she’d even completed her MBA. What’s the secret to her rapid ascent? Be curious, and be helpful.

Cole’s career began at 17, when she was hired as a hostess at Hooters in Jacksonville, Fla. When she turned 18, she became a waitress and a Hooters girl. One day, the kitchen employees walked out to protest management, which meant there was nobody to cook the food. “If the food didn’t get made, it wouldn’t get delivered, and I wouldn’t get paid, and I couldn’t pay my bills,” Cole says. So she and a few of her colleagues went into the kitchen and picked up where the cooks had left off, frying the chicken wings. “I did it because I wanted to be helpful,” she says. “But I also did it because I was curious to see if I could do it.”

Besides, “cooking chicken wings is not difficult — when they float, they’re done.”

Cole helped out when a bartender needed to leave early to pick up her kid. She pitched in when a manager was coming in late and needed someone to open the restaurant. Over the course of six months, she became so knowledgable about each role at Hooters that she could train new employees to do all of them.

At that point, Cole wasn’t thinking about moving up in the restaurant industry — she was just using her job at Hooters to pay the bills while she put herself through school. She was an engineering major at the University of North Florida, the first in her family to go to college. But soon Hooters started asking her to go around to other franchises in the Jacksonville area to train new employees. She became a manager, then a regional trainer and was soon overseeing employee training for the entire region, even though she was still a college student.

Then, when she was 19, she got a phone call from the Hooters corporate office that changed everything. They wanted her to go to join a team of people going to Australia to open the first-ever Hooters on the continent. “I had never been on a plane, I didn’t have a passport, I had never been out of the country, and I had only been out of the state two times in my life for cheerleading competitions on a schoolbus,” she says. “But despite all of that I still said yes.”

After Cole got back from Australia, she worked to make up all her classes to continue toward her degree. But a few weeks later, another call came. This time, they wanted her to go Mexico City to open the first Hooters in central America. Then another call came. They wanted her to go to Buenos Aires to open the first Hooters in South America, but this time she’d be running the entire show — setting up the supply chain, training the franchisees, hiring of employees, then bringing the training team down, leading those people and staying on site to make sure restaurants opened properly. She was 20.

When she got back to college, Cole was failing her classes. Her professors told her she could only stay in school if she stopped traveling and worked less. So she dropped out. Even though she would later get her MBA, Cole never finished her undergraduate degree.

MORE: How Cinnabon President Kat Cole went from Hostess to COO: 9 tips for success

“I dropped out not because I had any assurances of anything, but I did have a compelling alternative,” she says. “At a minimum, I hoped I could continue doing what I had been doing, and continue taking on more responsibility.”

And that’s what happened. A few months later, she got another phone call, this time to interview for a corporate job. So at the age of 20, Kat Cole became the Global Employee Training Coordinator for Hooters restaurants. She had to give up working restaurant shifts, which meant taking a 50% pay cut.

She quickly worked her way up, and by 26, she was a Vice President of Hooters, reporting directly to the CEO. So was it just simple curiosity and helpfulness propelled a 26-year old college dropout to the executive level of one of America’s biggest food franchises? In Kat Cole’s case, yes. But she also says she never would have risen so fast if she hadn’t been involved in industry organizations.

She attended her first conference for the Women’s Foodservice Forum when she was 25-years-old. “It was the first time I had ever seen that many women in a room, it was the first time I had ever seen anywhere near that many women in suits, and it was the first time I’d ever met any female presidents or CEOs,” Cole says. “In one moment, I saw what was possible.”

She started volunteering on committees with other industry leaders, building relationships with other people working in the business. Somebody recommended she join the Georgia Restaurant Association. So she did and soon Cole was on the board of directors.

But how did this industry volunteer positions really contribute to her success? “Because I was being curious and helpful, over the course of months and skills I amassed a resume of leadership skills that I never would have gotten that fast if I only worked one job,” she explains. “It was almost like I had this unfair leadership advantage, because I was leading two or three leadership lives.” And starting in January, Cole will be taking over as chair of the board of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the same organization that showed her what was possible 10 years ago.

Cole also says her work with the WFF and the Georgia Restaurant Association gave her a competitive edge that helped offset her lack of a college degree. “I was the daughter of an alcoholic and a single parent, I worked at Hooters most of my life, and I dropped out of college,” she explains. “You tell me if that inspires you to want to have me run your company.”

Her reputation as a volunteer and leader in the industry would help push Cole’s career to the next level. She eventually got recruited by a private equity firm, Roark Capital. She was about to leave Hooters for Roark when she found out Hooters was being sold. There’s never a good time to leave a company that’s become like a family, she says, but “that would be a really crappy time.”

So she stayed to help the company through the sale, and it ended up opening even more doors for her. “Funny things happen when you are just curious and helpful. Instead of leaving to go to one private equity company I ended up staying to present to 15 of them, and about half of them recruited me.”

That’s when Roark called her back, asking her to interview to be the new President of Cinnabon. “I thought, hey, I‘ll give it a whirl,” she says, but assumed the job would go to someone more seasoned, like someone who already had an MBA — Cole was still working through hers at Georgia State University at the time. But despite the fact she had no college degree or MBA (yet,) she got the job. She co-signed the Hooters sale on a Friday, and she started at Cinnabon the next Monday.

Now, four years after Cole took the reins at Cinnabon, year-by-year sales have been improving faster than they have in over a decade, and the company broke the $1 billion mark in annual global multi-channel product sales, with more than 1,200 locations in 56 countries. And even over Thankgiving, Cole wasn’t taking a break. Malls across the country were open, which means Cinnabons were open, too. “If the people in our franchises have to work, so do I,” she says.

TIME India

Watch 2 Women Beat Their Alleged Harassers on a Bus in India

The men have been arrested and charged with assault

Two students in the northern state of Haryana wailed on three men on a bus who they say sexually harassed them.

The women, two sisters named Aarti and Pooja, were on their way home in the Rohtak district when 19-year old Pooja says the men “threatened and abused” them, according to the BBC. When the men wouldn’t stop touching them, and after no other passengers came to their aid, Pooja and her sister started beating them with their belts.

The men have since been arrested and charged with assault.

[BBC]

TIME politics

The Woman Who Broke the U.K.’s Parliamentary Gender Barrier Wasn’t Even Trying

Lady Astor
Lady Nancy Astor in Plymouth, England, in November of 1923 Gill / Getty Images

Dec. 1, 1919: American-born socialite Lady Astor is sworn in as the first female member of the British House of Commons

Lady Astor was an unlikely candidate to break the gender barrier in the U.K. Parliament. For one thing, she wasn’t British; for another, she wasn’t a suffragist. She took her seat in the House of Commons on this day, Dec. 1, in 1919, after running for her husband’s vacant spot when he was given the title of Viscount and elevated to the House of Lords. (She was the second woman to have been elected to the House of Commons, but the first to accept the position.)

She barely wanted the job, according to her election pamphlet. At times she seemed to go out of her way to alienate voters, as when she ended a campaign speech in front of a working-class crowd by saying, according to the New York Times, “And now, my dears, I’m going back to one of my beautiful palaces to sit down in my tiara and do nothing, and when I roll out in my car I will splash you all with mud and look the other way.”

But Nancy Astor had a flair for upending expectations. The Virginia native, whose father was a tobacco auctioneer, ascended to the upper crust of the British aristocracy but never lost her frank, outspoken manner or her earthy sense of humor. The latter was even more jarring when combined with her conservative politics: she was a strict teetotaler and a staunch anti-socialist.

History does not cast her as a particularly influential MP. Although she was re-elected seven times before retiring in 1945, the Times notes, “she accomplished nothing more noteworthy than the forcing through of a bill barring teenagers from entering pubs.”

Still, her witticisms made waves. Her sharp tongue could get her in trouble, but its overall effect was, if not endearing, then at least entertaining. Per the Times, “…she was capable in the House of Commons of doing anything from whistling to calling a fellow member a donkey.”

If she hadn’t pursued politics, Astor could have had a promising career as an insult comic. Her best lines became known as Astorisms, and they tended to take harsh aim at her rivals as well as her friends. According to her 1964 obituary in TIME, her favorite targets included “fellow politicians, her fellow rich (“The only thing I like about them is their money”), Communists, Socialists, Nazis, Yankees, liquor manufacturers, newspapers (her husband’s family owned two), antifeminists, the cult of the Common Man.”

Sometimes her attacks were personal — and borderline cruel. After voting to oust Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, an old friend and former political ally, she famously said, “Duds must be got rid of, even if they are one’s dearest friends.”

Her vote against Chamberlain helped pave the way for Winston Churchill to take office, but she had few kind words for him either. Churchill was, at least, her equal in trading barbs. In one exchange, she is said to have told him, “If I were married to you, I’d put poison in your coffee.” He replied, “If I were married to you, I’d drink it.”

Read the full obituary for Lady Astor, here in the TIME Vault: The Ginger Woman

TIME Parenting

Problems With Breastfeeding Triggered My Postpartum Depression

baby and milk
Getty Images

I really felt that my inability to exclusively breastfeed my son was a complete personal failure that would affect him for the rest of his life

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

When I was pregnant, I was all about breastfeeding. I knew it was the best, healthiest, smartest way to feed my unborn baby. I read “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” and I was convinced that my baby and I would be naturals at it. I scoffed at the price of formula in the pharmacy. I wondered who would choose to buy it when you have perfectly good, milk-producing boobs attached to you, giving out baby food for FREE.

I planned to nurse my baby wherever I was if he or she needed to eat and I DARED anyone to say anything nasty or ignorant. I even looked up the damn laws regarding public breastfeeding in NYC and whether anyone could legally ask you to cover up. I was just so sure that breastfeeding would come so easily to us; I didn’t even acknowledge the fact that it might not work out.

Then my son was born. The blissful, drug-free birth I hoped for turned into an elective C-section when my OB demonstrated for me exactly how small the opening between my hip bones was during a painful pelvic exam. Basically, there was little chance my 8lb 13oz baby was going to come out without significant trauma to both of us.

I went past my due date with my cervix still high, closed and tight. My doctor advised that we could induce (which I was not a good candidate for given the state of my cervix) where I would go through painful, drug-induced contractions for up to three days. If my big baby didn’t come out by then, I would have to get a cesarean. Or, we could just cut to the chase (pun intended) and I could have the C-section without the three days of hell prior to it. It was a no-brainer — I scheduled the surgery for the next day.

The C-section was successful and my beautiful, healthy boy was born kicking and screaming. In fact, he gave a brilliant demonstration of how well his kidneys were functioning by peeing on the doctor seconds after he took his first breath. We did skin-to-skin contact to stimulate milk production and he latched on like a champ as soon as we hit the recovery room. He nursed contentedly and everything was going just as I hoped it would, until our first night home from the hospital.

He nursed for close to two hours before we went to bed. Being the naive first-time parents that we were, we assumed he would sleep for HOURS after eating that much. We were quickly proved wrong when he woke up screaming 20 minutes later. After diapering him, burping him, rocking him, swaddling him, and trying every other trick the nurses in the hospital taught us to soothe his cries, we realized he must be hungry. I put him to the breast and he popped off, screaming.

After trying this for close to an hour with no success, and both my husband and I nearing exhaustion, we fed him a bottle of the ready-to-feed formula gifted to us by the hospital “just in case” he had trouble nursing when we got home. He sucked it down as if he hadn’t eaten in days and slept peacefully for hours, but I lay awake guiltily crying at how I had failed my son.

Things didn’t get easier as time passed. Even if he would nurse, he would scream minutes after finishing. It was clear he wasn’t getting the nourishment he needed from me. I used a breast pump round the clock since he continued to refuse my breast but had no trouble drinking from a bottle. Every mommy-blog I read said to withhold bottle feedings so he would take the breast but it broke my heart every time I heard his hungry cries and I would give in and feed him either pumped breast milk or formula. I became totally exhausted because the only time I could pump was when he slept, going against the age-old “sleep when baby sleeps” maxim.

When I wasn’t pumping, I was poring over articles about how to increase milk supply and drinking teas designed to increase production.

Exhaustion is one of the main contributing factors to postpartum depression and before I knew it I was crying multiple times a day about my perceived failings as a mother. I felt so much guilt every time I gave him a bottle that wasn’t breast milk, but pumping doesn’t maintain a milk supply the way that a baby nursing directly from the breast does.

In addition to my guilt, I felt rejected since my son wouldn’t nurse from me. I felt like there was something fundamentally wrong with me that I couldn’t master breastfeeding, which I foolishly thought would be the most natural thing in the world. The blogs stressed that I should just continue to offer the breast and pump every two hours. I felt weak when I would choose a short nap over pumping. I hated myself whenever I allowed someone else to give him a bottle so I could get a few hours of sleep.

I constantly second guessed myself and my abilities as a mother. In my darkest moments, I wondered if it was a mistake to have a baby in the first place. I wondered where I got off thinking I was capable of caring for another human being. I wept for my poor son who was stuck with a mother who was so woefully unable to give him the care he deserved. It felt like a cruel joke. I felt miserable during the time in my life that should have been the most joyful.

I saw a lactation consultant and she confirmed that my baby was only getting a fraction of the milk that he needed by nursing. My milk supply was plentiful at that time as a result of my round the clock pumping, my baby’s latch was perfect, and his sucking reflex was strong. We just couldn’t find a reason why nursing was unsuccessful.

I felt some relief that my problems with breastfeeding weren’t entirely my fault. But I couldn’t get over the idea that maybe if I just tried a little harder or read a few more articles that I could get it right. I really felt that my inability to exclusively breastfeed my son was a complete personal failure that would affect him for the rest of his life. Every time he refused the breast and I had to give him formula, I was devastated.

This went on for two weeks, although it felt much longer. I didn’t know if I would ever feel happy again. I went to my OB to have my stitches removed and when she asked me how I was feeling, I completely broke down. Somehow she convinced me that giving my son formula didn’t make me a bad mother while dabbing my tears away with gauze.

She reminded me that motherhood didn’t equal martyr-hood and that I needed to take care of myself in order to give my sweet baby the best care possible.

Once I took that to heart, and allowed myself to sleep without feeling guilty that I wasn’t pumping, I felt better within days. I felt like my pre-baby self again and for the first time since we got home from the hospital, I really enjoyed being a mom.

My son just turned three months old and he is thriving. I still pump, and I still feel guilty sometimes. But my baby is happy and healthy and I know I’m doing the very best I can, for both of us.

My copious middle of the night research on formula vs. breast milk lead to me recent studies which suggest that maybe breast milk isn’t that superior to formula after all. I know that every time I heard “breast is best,” a little piece of my heart broke that I had to give my baby less than the best.

So much of the literature on baby care completely ignores self-care for mothers. Maybe instead of pushing something that is unattainable for so many mothers, we as a society should just advocate whatever is best for baby AND mom — even if that means formula feeding.

Kaity Garcia is an executive assistant working for an international investment bank in New York.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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