(archive) Gabrielle Palmer retirement letter

Tuesday, 1 December 2009  |  pinterandmartin

Gabrielle Palmer retired at the end of 2009. This is her retirement letter:

Dear Breastfeeding Campaigners,

I still feel passionate about the issue, but I have made a careful decision to retire at the end of 2009. There are many reasons for this, some listed below:

  • I want to be able to commit time to be with my grandchildren and support their parents. I cannot do this when I am buzzing about doing speaking engagements. It is only fair to say no to all invitations.
  • For environmental reasons I want to limit air travel as much as possible.
  • I have spent almost 40 years (my son's age next January) dealing with infant feeding issues. If my work has been of any use then younger, more energetic and talented people will be confident to push for the changes that are so necessary. If this is not the case then all my writing, teaching and campaigning has been a waste of effort. I believe that older people should make space for younger people to carry on important work.
  • My book is out there and benefits from having Pinter & Martin as publishers. Martin Wagner and Maria Pinter are committed to the issues of better childbirth and breastfeeding. They are rare among publishers in that they only publish books they believe in and their `freedom to think' statement is truly enacted.
  • I have a great many other things to do before I die and some I can only do while I am still physically able.
  • Please believe that you can make a difference (and this is a pessimist speaking). When I started, there was no WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing; baby deaths in poverty-stricken countries due to the commercial tactics of Nestlé and others were ignored. The word breastfeeding just made people giggle. When my son was born in 1970, only 30% of British babies were breastfed at all and many of these had just one breastfeed. There is still much to do but the momentum is there. The companies are more powerful than ever but mass movements make change. The more effectively you do your work the sooner governments will have to listen and keep the promises they make at World Health Assemblies.

Best wishes and good luck,

Gabrielle Palmer