painting by Mary Cassat
I'm only 18 weeks along and I know it's probably a wee bit early to start with this morning but I read something on twitter and I just can't shake it.
The person; a very talented photographer and blogger and Mother wrote:
At first, I read this and though it was a joke. I mean, surely a Mother, a woman, any grown person can not be disgusted by a woman breastfeeding and discreetly covering the act with a blanket, right?
We eat in airports, babies are bottle fed in airports, and sometimes a traveler only has a short time to get from one plane to the next. What happens if your baby needs to feed and you've got the next plane to catch? Do you go hide in a private place to breastfeed and miss your plane so you don't offend some random stranger?
I mean, I am not so naive-I know that people exist in the world that think public breastfeeding is gross. But after all, it is legal in every state to publicly breastfeed and forty four states even have laws allowing a woman to breastfeed in any public or private place. (For more info you can read about these laws at this website here).
I always figured that the people who had problems with public breastfeeding were upset when women breastfeed au natural, without cover (which I have no problem with-but I can *kind of * understand how a person with strict modesty issues may be offended). But I really never knew that people had a problem with women who were covered and breastfeeding...especially other mothers!
Ok, here's the deal-I grew up in a LDS (mormon) household where us eight girls were EXTREMELY modest. No two piece swimsuits, no tank tops or sleeveless shirts or dresses, no skirts or pants far above the knees, no rated R or even PG-13 movies...you get the picture. But I saw my sisters, friends, church leaders, sunday school teachers all nurse in public, at home, at church activities. I never thought anything of it. So to me, it is not even a modesty issue-its a baby needs to eat, so I will feed baby issue.
I guess my point is, I am just shocked and a little saddened that this woman who I sort of looked up to-was publicly bashing on another mother who was just feeding her infant. I guess it made me feel very scared. Being pregnant has made me feel a tight bond with other pregnant women and mothers already-and it was just sort of sad to see this attitude from a woman I admired.
But hey, I'm not going to agree with everyone on every issue, I guess I never realized that that WAS AN ISSUE to some people. I just thought of it as feeding your hungry baby.
By writing this I'm not exactly sure what I am trying to accomplish... I guess I just wanted to vent about my shock and frustration. And I am a little scared about potential backlash I may encounter when I feed Baby T in public.
For me I see breastfeeding as the best possible gift I can give my child. I hope that both the baby and I will be able to have a great breastfeeding relationship. I realize it is not for everyone and if I cannot do it, that will be okay. But I still plan on fervently supporting a woman's right to breastfeed her own baby whenever and where ever she needs to do it.
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edit May 5, 2011
Hi there! Thank you for all of your comments. I have decided to close comments on this post. I was receiving a lot of hateful spam comments and also some comments that I quite frankly-didn't want to publish. I appreciate differing viewpoints but felt that some comments attacked women who chose not to breastfeed and I felt those comments were rude and insensitive. It was not my intention to start a debate on why some women don't breastfeed-so I am leaving those out. As this is my personal blog and not a public forum, I decided to just close the comments for now/ Thank you for all your feedback.