Plant-Based Mama: How Becoming a Mother Helped Me Become a Vegan Too

In an effort to replace the foods I had previously enjoyed, I joined a number of Facebook groups where people shared dairy-free recipes. And there I was, down the veritable rabbit hole. It struck me that many of the women I encountered who had given up breastfeeding, or were struggling with it, used phrases along the lines of “I felt like a dairy cow” to describe their negative feelings about feeding their baby.

I realised then, that I had not, ever, given any thought to the process of dairy, and how the cows whose milk we consumed felt about spending a good portion of their lives in the process of milk production. That all the things I felt, the heady rush of oxytocin, the adrenalin when separated from my baby in those early days, were something those cows experienced too, and I was contributing to the process by buying dairy products. The first time I watched a video in regards to dairy farming, I was devastated. These animals were mothers too, and even the most humane farms deal in some kind of mother-baby separation.

It wasn’t until two years later, after a heartfelt discussion with a friend, I realised my own hypocrisy in supporting the consumption, or purchase, of ANY animal products in light of my views of animal sentience and motherhood. And thus, my journey to veganism began.

Since then, I have been met with a general cry of “won’t somebody think of the children!”, and I hope that everyone who judges my choices can understand that that is exactly what I am doing. I am thinking of my children, who have watched their mother shake her fist at the news at the dog trade in Bali, at the whaling ships in Japan, at yet another litter of kittens dumped at the local RSPCA, just to turn around and eat a plate of chicken for dinner.

I don’t want to be that kind of mother. I want to show my children that they CAN make a difference and that if they feel strongly about something, they have a voice and a say. As our friend, Dr. Seuss would say, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.

Haylee Hackenberg is a writer, a pre-service teacher and a mama to two. Striving for gentle, and sharing adventures of their little life on Instagram and Facebook

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