Fathers who breastfeed!? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-16-2007, 08:21 PM
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I'm confused by your comment. Are your refering to the rare (and therefore newsworthy) occurance of a man breastfeeding, or to cross-nursing being done "in some remote village somewhere"?
I was referring to the child who was pictured nursing on his father.

I don't think anybody has to worry about fathers taking over this traditionally women's domain, ladies. It obviously doesn't come easily to most and most men wouldn't care to do it. So why the huge backlash? Why so defensive?

Where ARE the dads here, anyway?
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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"Male lactation has been previously reported in highly inbred domestic animals and in men receiving hormone treatment or who have pathologies"

This seems to imply that male lactation is *not* normal. I do not doubt that it sometimes happens, but that does not mean that the exception should become (or be thought of) as the expected norm. One mom above wrote that her Dh knew that, if she died, Dh would *have* to lactate in order to feed their daughter. I think it's *great* that her Dh is willing to do this for their daughter if necessary, but I question whether this is commonly enough biologically possible that couples should be *planning* on its availability should a mother die.

"It obviously doesn't come easily to most and most men wouldn't care to do it. So why the huge backlash? Why so defensive?"

Because others have posted that this is *so* important and interesting *because* it makes us question gender roles. IMO, biological abnormalities do not justify reevaluating gender roles. Furthermore, I do *not* think that the biological feminization of males is a good thing. In my understanding, this is becoming an increasing problem (with average male sperm counts dropping dramatically over the past century [_Everything Conceivable_, Liz Mundy; I can't look up the exact page because it was a library book I've returned] One might think this is all jolly good *socially* (and I don't even think that), but the biological upshot is less fertility and fewer babies (Mundy points out that the average male today still has *plenty* of sperm, but the trend is decidedly towards a decrease, and if it continues it will become a problem). Not good.

Perhaps whatever is causing a decreased sperm count is also causing a rise in male lactation.

Bethany

Aspiring to 1 Thessalonians 4:11.Wife to Dh, 2004. Mother to DD 3/07.
So thankful for our healthy baby boy, born Easter morning, 2010!
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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And yes, I do count on my husband to rpoduce milk if I die. He'd do anything in his power...NOt many donors would live on the 2ish foods that will probably be required (I say probably b/c we're trialing a medication at the moment that theoretically allows a full diet). And knowing how important it is would be a great motivator.

But then again, I have an open mind to all things and can't classify all men or all men breastfeeding as bad or not right. Or even as people "I wouldn't want to marry". I really wish people would think about how stereotypical their comments are.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:00 PM
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read "Woman on the Edge of Time". It's an excellent story about a woman who has been in and out of mental institutions, and suddenly begins claiming to have been to the future. She travels back and forth between the present and what everyone else assumes to be a fantasy world.

In the fantasy/future, a man named Bee lovingly nurses his baby. At first I was a bit disgusted, but after reading it a few times, I began to see it for what it was. Love and nourishment.

Also, as a young teen I had this great doctor who used to discuss odd things with me, kinda like Dr. Oz. He told me once that there was a school of thought that supported the idea that MEN HAVE NIPPLES because they used to nurse, too.


I just asked dh if he would nurse our baby if I couldn't and he could. He said, "What do you mean?" I had to say it a few times before he understood I ws serious, then he said, "Of course!"


I don't see any probelm wiht it. Well, he'd have to wax but other than that, I thinkn it would be grand.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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First-- Kerri, I think what you are doing is awesome and amazing. What luckly DC's you have I hope the new medication works for you.

Nevertheless, if I came on this message board and posted, "Wow, having breasts is awesome! if I'm ever in a crisis situation, I'll focus very hard on my desire to relactate, and then I'll be able to feed my child no matter what!", I am sure someone (many someones) would point out to me how foolish a plan that was. I have never heard a story about induced lactation/relactation which did not involve supplemtation and *very* hard work that went on for months. The idea that men could easily do this, and that this ease should make us rethink gender roles... it doesn't seem based in reality. That is my issue, first and foremost.

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So thankful for our healthy baby boy, born Easter morning, 2010!
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:39 PM
 
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This is an awful link but it has the picture of the father and his baby nursing and a short article describing it.

http://www.crazylanka.com/pic194breastman.htm

It was a gentleman from Sri Lanka (not India as a PP said) whose wife died and he ended up breastfeeding their baby, and found that he was indeed producing milk.

From the study in the U.K., it seems only about 10% of men are capable of producing milk.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:56 AM
 
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I just stumbled acoss this thread, and all I have to say is HOLY CRAP! I can't believe that some men can brestfeed!!

April 5th grade teacher and wife to hubby Justin : is expecting her first in April 2010!! Finally!!:
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:49 AM
 
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I'm not going to jump into the fray, as I don't have a strong opinion on either side of this issue, but I was curious if there were any actual sources. With a little Googling, I found this site that has a bunch of links to other (reputable or not?) sources. I can't speak for the believability of any of these claims, or of the articles linked here, but it certainly is an intriguing concept!

http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/...s/milkmen.html
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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If someone could track down the 1995 Discover article listed on that page, we'd be able to see a summary of what science studies were done up until then. Unfortunately, I don't have access to that kind of library
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
I have never heard a story about induced lactation/relactation which did not involve supplemtation and *very* hard work that went on for months. The idea that men could easily do this, and that this ease should make us rethink gender roles... it doesn't seem based in reality.
I don't believe the 'I thought about it really hard and it happened ' method either, but it seems like there's a fair bit of evidence showing that some men can in some situations lactate well enough to feed infants.

So what if men can induce lactation with very hard work that went on for months (let's say, no hormonal supplements but lots of pumping or suckling)? IF it works, it's no more unnatural than a woman doing the same thing. IF some substaintial number of men can lactate with nothing more than nipple stimulation, it's not "unnatural'. Nature did it. *shrug* Blame Her if you think it's awful! (*of course, if all this evidence amounts to crap all, then that settles that, I'm making no claims as to how accurate the evidence for this is)

I'm actually pretty uncomfortable with the idea personally, but I don't think that "it's weird, that's for ladies" is a particularly convincing argument against either its existence or its appropriateness..
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:52 PM
 
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If someone could track down the 1995 Discover article listed on that page, we'd be able to see a summary of what science studies were done up until then. Unfortunately, I don't have access to that kind of library
I found it. PM me your e-mail address if you want me to send you the pdf. The article is by Jared Diamond, a well respected scientist.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:03 PM
 
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Male lactation has been previously reported in highly inbred domestic animals and in men receiving hormone
treatment or who have pathologies.
Okay, so there's that and possibly one type of bat.

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For the most part, women seem to be better suited to breastfeeding, although one authority in this film says men's milk has higher levels of protein.
Why on earth would higher levels of protein make a man's milk better?

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Male goats are known to occasionally produce milk. To the right of this goat's back leg are his testicles. To the left is an udder.
Occasionally. And the goat is intersexed. It happens with people too. That doesn't constitute a biological norm.

Biological Anomalies: Mammals II: A Catalog of Biological Anomalies
by William Corliss (1996)


Well that sounds like there should be a stellar endorsement of male breastfeeding in there

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Are you discounting the research that has been presented here and saying it is all false/rumours?
Um, what research? I honestly might have skipped over something, but I haven't seen any empirical evidence that male lactation is a biological norm and could adequately nourish a child. I see a lot of anecdotal evidence and some theories that maybe millions of years ago males could lactate, but that's about it.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:22 AM
 
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Wow, this has been interesting reading! I believe it can probably occur in rare cases. Perhaps it is not "normal" and results from a hormonal imbalance, or maybe it's a relic from a gazillion years ago, but if by some stroke of coincidence a man makes milk and actually wants to use it for his kid, then I say have at it. I seriously doubt my DH will be interested in trying, though...although would it ever blow our parents' minds!! I would love for him to try just to see their reaction. LOL!!
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantaja
..it would take a certain kind of man to be willing to breastfeed his child, and I wouldn't want to have his baby.


Thank goodness, since my dh IS that type of man, and he's MINE.

Sheesh, I wish I could post his pic and a biography. He's an industrial roofer in Boston, MA. Think hearty, tough, incredibly hard-working, big beard and mustache, tons of super hot muscles.

Are we all really THAT uptight? If a woman found she could produce sperm, would it be nasty for her to impregnate her mate? (Assuming that either the mate was a woman or a man with a uterus)
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:23 AM
 
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oh yeah, and umm, I don't think male lactation is normal (as in the norm.) I'm not sure why that matters, though.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:05 AM
 
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I find it interesting that so many are saying "I read an article/study on this, can't remember where or what it really said though..."


Not sure if this was directed at me, but since it was posted right after my post, Im guessing it was. Just wanted to clarify that I never said I didnt rember where I read it or what it really said though.... most of what I refrenced was right there in the op link, all anyone had to do to get most of that info was to read the entire thing and click on the links, like I did. The study that I learned about back in college, well, I do remember where I heard it, from my anthropology professor. But seriously, I know that there is another planet out there in our solar system past pluto. Do I know the exact publication and the exact date/issue that I originally read it in or the exact date of the newscast I heard about it on? Hmm...nope. Heck, for that matter, I dont recall the exact method I used for learning to walk and talk so maybe I don't *really* do those things afterall......

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Old 12-18-2007, 06:07 AM
 
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No, with his 'help' your baby would have suckled at your breast less, compromising your supply.



No it doesn't make sense IMO. Men cannot produce enough breastmilk to keep a baby alive and thriving. We are so immersed in this notion of nuclear family that we forget that OTHER NURSING MOTHERS are the people who can make sufficient quantities of breastmilk to keep our babies alive if we cannot make milk.
and yet there are more than one well documented cases of men doing exactly this

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Old 12-18-2007, 06:15 AM
 
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IMO, biological abnormalities do not justify reevaluating gender roles. Furthermore, I do *not* think that the biological feminization of males is a good thing. In my understanding, this is becoming an increasing problem (with average male sperm counts dropping dramatically over the past century [_Everything Conceivable_, Liz Mundy; I can't look up the exact page because it was a library book I've returned] One might think this is all jolly good *socially* (and I don't even think that), but the biological upshot is less fertility and fewer babies (Mundy points out thatthe average male today still has *plenty* of sperm, but the trend is decidedly towards a decrease, and if it continues it will become a problem). Not good.
IMO, I dont think it *is* a biological abnormality, but a latent trait. It's not a new phenomena and there is evidence to suggest that at one point in history it was fairly common, accepted, normal and even a sign of strength. And of course if MEN did it, it would be a sign of strenght, eh?

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Old 12-18-2007, 06:27 AM
 
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Okay, so there's that and possibly one type of bat.



Why on earth would higher levels of protein make a man's milk better?



Occasionally. And the goat is intersexed. It happens with people too. That doesn't constitute a biological norm.

Biological Anomalies: Mammals II: A Catalog of Biological Anomalies
by William Corliss (1996)


Well that sounds like there should be a stellar endorsement of male breastfeeding in there



Um, what research? I honestly might have skipped over something, but I haven't seen any empirical evidence that male lactation is a biological norm and could adequately nourish a child. I see a lot of anecdotal evidence and some theories that maybe millions of years ago males could lactate, but that's about it.

Ok, I hate repeating stuff I've already posted, but here goes again: the goats were normal males, who had impregnanted females and everything and then one day, the udders just grew and functioned. And its not uncommon.

I dont think anyone meant that if bats and goats do it, humans should do it. At least, my only point was, that if its so unnatural then it wouldnt happen in, you know, nature.

there are documented and current cases of male breastfeeding and adequately nourishing a child.........

The links are already posted within this thread.

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Old 12-18-2007, 10:18 AM
 
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I do not believe most (or really almost any) men without hormonal problems can make adequate milk to support the life and growth needs of a baby, without taking hormones and other drugs.
Agree. I find the idea unusual. I WISH my husband were biologically able to BF and it were the biological norm for both sexes to lactate enough to sustain a baby. But I don't think it is. I'm sure it's possible in a very small minority of men, but I don't think the average man is capable of it. Not the way a woman is. And mens nipples are nothing like a womans nipples. My husband has these little twee hairy nipples that barely protrude. I can't picture my DD trying to latch on to that.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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IMO, I dont think it *is* a biological abnormality, but a latent trait.
If anything, we could probably call it "vestigial lactation" and leave it at that. Whether it's a adaptive or a biological leftover from a stage of fetal development before sex traits seperate according to X or Y is pretty much irrelevant. If it's present and infants can get SOME use out of it, I don't see the problem.

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At least, my only point was, that if its so unnatural then it wouldnt happen in, you know, nature.
:
Weird or uncomfortable doesn't mean unnatural. Nature is freakin' bizarre.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:33 PM
 
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Ok, I hate repeating stuff I've already posted, but here goes again: the goats were normal males, who had impregnanted females and everything and then one day, the udders just grew and functioned. And its not uncommon.
"Normal" males (or females) do not just suddenly sprout sex organs of the opposite sex, unless that's already a characteristic of the species (like those frogs that can change sex if needed).

http://www.gainesvillesun.com/articl...21/-1/search01

I don't think "goat sprouts udders, probably 'cause of toxic sludge" proves anything.

And apparently increased prolactin and estrogen are big risk factors for breast cancer in males.

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there are documented and current cases of male breastfeeding and adequately nourishing a child.........
I haven't seen any documented cases of male "breast-milk" adequately nourishing a child. I've seen a lot of "a friend of a friend knows some guy who totally breastfed for like 5 months!" stories. But again, there's a lot of links posted, I might have missed the one where a man started breastfeeding a newborn immediately after birth and was able to be the sole source of nutrition and exclusively breastfeed for a minimum of 6 months. I'll double check.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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My husband has these little twee hairy nipples that barely protrude. I can't picture my DD trying to latch on to that.
I have those too, but, ya know, without the hairy part. It's normal (LESS normal, but still normal) for women to have small nipples that barely protrude. They are commonly reffered to as flat nipples (a poorly discriptive term), and are sometimes also inverted. You're right, it's not as easy for a newborn to latch onto them, and can cause lots of difficulties (you should have seen my SPD ds! ) but it can be done. my 4yo would be happy to show you.
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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Oddly enough, I had *one* nipple that was flat. I had to "tweak" it out for dd2 to be able to latch but eventually the tissue got stretched enough that it's no longer flat. (I didn't nurse dd1 long enough for that to happen )
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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oh CB! flat nipples and nursing problems suck! (non pune intended) We had to do all kinds of crazy things to get ds to latch - it was at least a two person job in the begening. I still have a scar on my right one from nearly loosing it. it's funny now, but it sure wasn't then.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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IMO, biological abnormalities do not justify reevaluating gender roles.
The thing is there isn't just one biological abnormality that blurs the lines between the "two sexes", there's a whole ton. It turns out, the closer we look at gender and sex, that people run the gamut. XX people's physiology and hormones run across a certain spectrum, same with XY. There are places where those spectrums meet, including in those individuals who cannot be clearly defined as one of two sexes. Sure, not all of those can reproduce--but they are all people and no one call will away their existence. If some of those people are XY and can still breastfeed and accept whatever risk to their bodies, what's it to you?

Obviously this is not the reality most people see or live. They see the vast majority of humanity fitting into two little neat boxes. Cool, if it works for you, go for it, color your world pink and blue--without any purple--but don't impose such a stilted worldview on me, because I live in that purple space between those two boxes. So, for me the existence of what you call "biological abnormalities" are evidence of how wonderfully diverse and beautiful we humans are. But, if you look around and expect to only see pink and blue, you'll convince yourself that every other color really does fit in your neat little boxes.

I'm not jumping up and down and cheerleading for immediate male BFing, just really interested in the level of emotional response to changing gender roles around child rearing. Maybe it's so fascinating because there are so many people who can't seem to interact with me like a normal human being when I wear a suit and tie with my butch dyke short hair or don't think I should be raising kids. Seems pretty similar to me--immediately reject or punish any suggestion of breaking out of the nice little boxes. Maybe those boxes are just too comfortable?

When it comes to BFing there are a lot of really good questions folks have raised that should be answered if anyone is seriously considering this (and gay men who adopt infants, are, btw: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/...families/77524 and as referenced by NARTH, who are obviously against it, http://www.narth.com/docs/brfeed.html). It seems there are three important questions to assess in terms of any real world use (1) is if there's any risk (hormone change, cancer) to a man using the Lact-Aid type thing with donor milk or formula? (2) if men do start lactating, what is the milk composition like? (3) Questions 1 and 2 for MTF women.

If this post is a little terse and snippy, it's just that I really react strongly to dismissing the real lives of people outside the nice two sex/gender boxes by just calling them "biological abnormalities" and refusing to take seriously the questions raised by their living as if we can sweep everyone who doesn't fit those boxes under the table and make us stay there. I refuse to stay under the table!!
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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If this post is a little terse and snippy, it's just that I really react strongly to dismissing the real lives of people outside the nice two sex/gender boxes by just calling them "biological abnormalities" and refusing to take seriously the questions raised by their living as if we can sweep everyone who doesn't fit those boxes under the table and make us stay there. I refuse to stay under the table!!

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:46 PM
 
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Being opposed to male breastfeeding does NOT equal seeing gender as binary or oppressing trans people. In any way.

We have had threads on this issue before, and for me that clouds my responses. I think women cheerleading this can go down a slippery, creepy road pretty quickly. Risks include the man 'comfort nursing' at his 'breast' in the name of being a 'sensitive man' and mama's supply is compromised, advocacy of use of drugs to increase male milk production, and men inserting themselves and interfering with mama-baby bonding in IMO an inappropriate way to the detriment of both mother (who can experience PPD) and baby (who may get nipple confusion or a mama without enough supply to meet his/her nutritional needs), etc etc.

I don't like this idea one bit, and I think it is not closed minded in the least to refrain from joining the cheerleading squad on this issue.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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I had posted a comment on this thread, and was even quoted by CherryBomb who agreed with me, but today my post is gone and I don't know why.

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~PurityLake~ is offline  
Old 12-18-2007, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
I had posted a comment on this thread, and was even quoted by CherryBomb who agreed with me, but today my post is gone and I don't know why.
That's odd purity lake. Are you sure it's gone?? Usually you will get a pm if they delete one of your posts.

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