I have just finished reading yet another book written by a man in which a main female character gives birth to a baby and just everything surrounding this aspect of the book is both vague to the point of absurdity and completely out of touch with reality.
The book I just read won one of the highest literary awards our country has and is in every other way amazing, which made this aspect stand out even more for me, particularly because this is a reoccurring issue in literature. The point of view jumps around in this book and when it lands on the main female protagonist within months of her giving birth for the first time (at age 16 no less) the scene is highly sexualized and focuses on her discovering her sexuality through masturbation and the realization that she likes her body. It's an entire chapter long. Absolutely no mention of her experience of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and the effects of that triad on her body, sense of herself and sexuality. The baby is somehow mysteriously not even in the bedroom with her… or maybe it's there but asleep?The chapter is told from HER perspective and there is no mention of the baby. Like… has this man ever in his life talked to a woman who has given birth? Where were the chapped, bleeding, leaking nipples in this scene, eh? How about her reflections about her stretch marks or incontinence? Or sleep deprivation? I can't even.
Okay, this book is an obscure reference for English readers, but how about Game of Thrones? A teenager gives birth after being raped by her father and then IMMEDIATELY treks through the snowy woods for several days with an infant. Yet there is not a single fucking mention of breastfeeding and how difficult that shit is or the fact that postpartum bleeding lasts for 6 weeks or like that absolute inhuman/superhuman concept of someone giving birth and then going on an epic neverending hike the next day. And I don't want to hear any stupid excuses like "the details don't matter" when Martin gives us pages and pages of details about pears, lemon pies and roast whatever the fuck. The man gives us incredibly detailed torture and rapes scenes. Detail is not something these books are shy on. Same with the show– dozens of boobs in every episode but never once do we see the mother of the infant breastfeeding.
When books I love written by incredibly talented authors do this shit, it drives me nuts.
Edit: I got carried away in ranting and chose a bad example for the English book. GRRM does mention that Gilly breastfeeds. Just mentions it. Nothing more. But it does get mentioned, so sorry for the mis-remembering on that one. I think my memory was influenced by watching the show. The Swedish book was Livläkarens Besök by the way. I was not intentionally being mysterious.