I know this may seem as though it’s coming out of left field seeing as how I stopped breastfeeding forever over 2 years ago. But I have a good deal of peers still in the Baby Trenches and through them on Pinterest and Facebook, I see breastfeeding and the public perception of it is still very much an issue. And that makes me so very disappointed in our society.
See, once up on a time I breastfed my daughter. Not to make some sort of statement or to try to ruffle people’s feathers, but to feed her as that was her sole source of nutrition. She did not like to drink from bottles AT ALL so it was breast or nothing. And anyone who knows Evie even today, you don’t let that girl get hungry. She’s a sweetheart, but when she gets hungry is when she.. turns.
Now, I was BORN modest. Just ask my older sister who was in charge of giving me baths when I was little. And I don’t think I wore a single white t-shirt during middle school. I wasn’t a big one for breastfeeding in public. I generally would go to the car (and even then, I was always on the lookout for people in the cars around me) or the bathroom or some other subservient sort of thing. I didn’t want to get The Looks. Which I know is stupid. But again: modest.
However, I allowed myself to relax and let down my guard around friends and family. I still wasn’t flashing in any sense of the word, but I didn’t hesitate to breastfeed in someone else’s presence. Because, being friends and family, I assumed it was okay. Until, at a friends house, I was pulled aside and asked to nurse in another room. Because one of my friends’ husbands was uncomfortable about it.
I had known that this guy had issues with breastfeeding and if I recall correctly, his wife didn’t with their children. He saw breasts as sex objects and nothing more. So breastfeeding ooked him out.
I felt horrified. Humiliated. Shamed.
And then I felt ANGRY. Because WHY is that MY issue? If he doesn’t like it, why doesn’t HE leave the room? It is his problem and making me feel ashamed and low was uncalled for. This many years later, that still angers me to think of it. How I gave in to it. I was a lot more willing to set myself aside for others then. Of course, I learned some lessons about giving others power over me when they don’t even respect me and I’m a different person now. I think now I would do a much better job at standing up for myself. At least I would hope so.
My biggest hope is that one day people will settle down about the whole thing. That they will start to see breastfeeding for what it is: caring for our babies. And that they will stop judging others and making them feel humiliated simply for feeding their children.