It was my usual mid-morning pumping session at the office: Pump in one hand, and cellphone in the other. I was reading to pass the time by, when I came across the article of Emily Slough in the UK.
I read it with my mouth open in complete disbelief. Where did we go wrong in society that someone would attempt to bully a mother for feeding her child?
Despite having full breasts, and all my pumping efforts, I had gotten so worked up by this article that my milk stopped flowing. I sat there completely flabbergasted that there are actually people out there that are that intellectually starved that they would do such a thing.
Emily Slough was going about her errands, when her eight month old baby needed to be nursed. And all mommies know that, when baby needs to nurse, there’s little negotiation about it. So she grabbed a seat on some steps to feed her child, when some douchebag stranger thought it was a good idea to snap a pic of her, and post it on Facebook, saying:
“‘I know the sun is out n all that but there’s no need to let your kid feast on your nipple in town!!! Tramp”
I don’t even know where to begin to respond to this, as this is just ridiculous that we even have to defend breastfeeding in public. I know my fuse may be short at times, but this is just unfathomable.
Truthfully and thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to have never been faced with this kind of treatment. And I feed publicly alot as we go about living our lives, and mostly without a cover, and not once have I had slander thrown my way, nor been given the evil eye. I always said I’d probably burst out laughing in the face of someone who would have something silly to say. But, thankfully it has never happened. I’d like to believe this is because South African society, in general, is more accepting of breastfeeding as nourishing your baby, and not some sexual act. (Possibly because we’re more accustomed to the tribal cultures, where ladies bear their breasts as a normal tribal custom, and not some sexual display. Maybe not. Who knows. ) So I certainly could not imagine living a life where I’d have to retreat to the toilet to feed my child. That’s just crazy.
Seriously, where has the humanity gone, that because some people believe breastfeeding is something so shameful, they’re willing to try and bully a mother about it. In the most cowardly manner ever, mind you.
What possesses u to humiliate a mother for nourishing her child? Something women were built to do?
My fear is of the possible repercussions that this attempted shaming act, may have on other women out there. Im worried about what effect this might have on other nursing moms. On other soon-to-be mothers. Would witnessing this kind of treatment put them off breastfeeding their newborns? They could possibly question whether it really is worth all the trouble mastering breastfeeding if this is what your going to be subjected to. Or what about other moms who are already so conscious about feeding publicly? This is enough to put them even more on edge. It’s their fears come to life!
Im not sure what that douchebag stranger was hoping to accomplish though. Must mothers now change the way we feed our babies purely because the ignorant minority have an issue with it? I didn’t realise their opinion meant so much that I would now have to starve my poor child, just because they have an uninformed notion of what breastfeeding is.
How is feeding your child vile? If she was bottle feeding her child would that be vile too?I need to understand what happened in our society that it became a disgusting act to feed your young in public? Please help me understand this?! Last I checked, God made women’s breasts to feed her child. To fulfil a basic human need. I need to understand what is it that these morons find so disgusting about this.
The only perverse facet in this whole debacle is the mind of the person who only sees a woman’s breasts as sexual objects. And that’s their problem, not the nursing mother’s. Even so, I know personally when I breastfeed, you see much less of me than you would of a woman just wearing a low cut top. And there’s nothing wrong with that either, by the way.
Being called a tramp because you’re seeing to your child’s basic needs is still mind boggling to me, hence all continuous questioning of the matter. In my personal opinion, the focus is all wrong. Too much is spent on the skin ‘n sexualisation, and not enough on the true sacredness of it all.
The strength and dedication of a mother who breastfeeds her child should be celebrated not be a point of harassment. Breastfeeding is a selfless act, and one filled with love. It is a divine gift, and there is no way it could or should possibly be associated with anything less.
It should be encouraged and promoted, not be discouraged with such pointless and stupid acts of attempted humiliation.
But you know, truth be told, as a bright silver lining, I feel that this couldn’t have happened to a better person. If ever there was someone to reignite the flames of “normalizing” breastfeeding, we’ve found her! Emily’s response was eloquent, sharp and constructive. Have a read, and start feeling the wheels of karma turning:
“The mentality of the individual that attempted to shame me for feeding my daughter makes me so angry. I am very confident and comfortable with my breast feeding, but I know plenty who aren’t and don’t even humour the idea of nursing because of some ridiculous stigma attached to it and fear of embarrassment, humiliation and non-acceptance.
I was initially going to ignore the post and laugh it off, but then I realised that this is a perfect example of what needs to be erased in modern day society. Why should mothers who are doing the best by their children feel that they should be confined to a toilet or changing room to provide their baby with nutrients? Would you eat in a toilet or with a blanket draped over your face?”
Doesn’t reading that alone just make you feel like this couldn’t have happened to more capable person?
Not only has she managed to provide a strong and graceful response to the indigent act against her, but has skillfully turned this into an opportunity to bring about some positivity to the breastfeeding plight. An opportunity for enlightenment, awareness and education about breastfeeding. How, you ask? Well, this brave young woman has organized a mass breastfeeding protest in Rugeley at 12pm on Saturday 15th March 2014. That’s tomorrow!
I swear, if I lived closer, I would join in for sure! I’m sure this has resonated with many women all around the world, whether they’ve experienced this kind of ill treatment or not. And no doubt would fully support Emily. I believe thats because, sadly, that “Spotted Rugeley” community is but a microcosm of our global society.
I’ve heard of sister mass feeds happening too, but none on this side of the world. Anyone else hear of anything locally, in Cape Town or South Africa in general?
A lot of mind-set changes could happen here, she’s setting the wheels turning, or at least adding some extra momentum to them. Cant wait to watch this unfold. I particularly love that she says you can “bring a bottle” to the mass feeding in support. “The more the merrier”. Because really, who knows where society will draw the line one day, if something so natural as breastfeeding is treated with such indignation.
Why not have a look at her FACEBOOK page for more updates. She’s been a busy little breastfeeding bee, what with all the radio shows, and interviews she’s been snapped up for.
I hope that her peaceful protest shall be a successful step towards breaking down the ignorance about breastfeeding that has been built up in the society.
If you know of any other means of showing your support from an international perspective please holler at me – I would join in heart beat!