in snagging that picture of the model and her baby, I got turned on to this whole insane debate. wow wow wow. it makes me pissed and sad. and embarassed to be American, which is nothing new.
I guess I have been living in such an Actively Chosen Bubble lately, meaning for the past, say, 6 years or more, that I kinda forgot that people still feel this way about moms and babies. Truly. It throws me back to all the old crazy emotions that I sort of buried and forgot from my days as a new Mama...all nervous and self righteous and defensive and alone...my only (imaginary) friends were the ladies quoted in the margins in the expensive Motherwear nursing clothes catalog talking about how they nursed in public with such freedom since they had the Motherwear clothes. When I finally ordered one of their hideous wide and short shirts, I hated the thing so much I cried. thankfully they have a great return policy and I used it right away. Apparantly you are not allowed to be tall and nursing a baby. i didnt know. somehow, ever since then my babies somehow got their milk without the use of clever boob-holes cut into ugly blouses. but I digress.
So there I was COMPLETLY alone in nursing my first baby, our friends werent even married yet alone having kids yet...I am sad to say that I would hide in filthy bathroom stalls, gagging sitting next to the people inches away from us who were doing what people in bathroom stalls are suppossed to be doing (poo, pee, ya know...) just to spare some imagined onlookers from seeing less flesh than most girls show on a summer day. I didnt know any better, and yet I did.
I knew at 22 that I wanted to nurse Greta, and that there was no way that I was going to have any part of the purchasing preparing or dealing with smelly cow's milk powders, bottles, nipples, warmers, sterile waters or whatever that was all about. I had two breasts, now was their time to do what they were meant to do, why on Earth would I not breastfeed the baby?
But it never got too Rock n Roll about it until I had my second baby, Mickey. He wanted nothing to do with Greta's perfect every hour and a half, 15 minutes, burp, and gurgle happily schedule. no. He wanted it all and then some. He wanted to sip and snooze and peek and cry and spit up and fart and poop and do it all over again, continuosly, for at least the first 8 weeks. There was NO WAY POSSIBLE for me to do anything BUT nurse him, and I had to tell our friends (almost exclusively single guys, who, when I would nurse Greta, would go outside and smoke, etc) "look, this baby isnt about to come up for air anytime soon, so basically, youre gonna see something along the way and so lets just get over it now." There was a good natured laughter amongst us all and there hasnt been an INKLING of discomfort ever since. We have a great group of mostly guy friends that come over several times a week for boardgames, movies, music, cameraderie and I am so glad they are the cool people that they are.
So, what is up with the whole Nursing in Public? Public? As Peggy O'Mara putit, WHOSE PUBLIC? Isnt public by definaition, for everyone? But thats just it. in using the wording, Breastfeeding in Public it becomes abundantly clear that this is about one thing and one thing only: keeping mothers isolated, because what isnt public? their own homes, curtain drawn tightly hsut, if you will, please.
. Your baby or your "life" seems to be the underlying threat to new Moms, at a time when their baby Is their life, and rightfully so.
Faced with the idea of being locked in their homes, chained to their couches or glidey chairs from day one until___??? could make the most well-intentioned would be nursing mamas say hey....whats that formula stuff all about? I gotta get the @#$ out of this house, and I dont want to be one of those GROSS nursing moms.
I havent even thought of those words together since, like I said, I was a first time paranoid 22 year old mommy with milk stains all over my Beastie Boys t-shirt, and "I love Steve" written in pen on my Chucks.
Mamas do not want to stay home any more than anyone else does, and Moms need to get out for their sanity, their jobs, their friendships, and all the errands that any other human does along their day. Going to places. With their babies and children in tow. The big kids get sandwhiches and the baby gets his nursey. WHATS THE BIG DEAL?????????????? Its still so hard to me to go back to that whole mentality. I have not even been in the company of someone who was anti-breastfeeding (at least to my knowledge) in many many years.
I still havent gotten to the point in my Lactivism where I will wear a sassy Tshirt, but mostly because I dont usually wear phrase t shirts. I hope that someone DOES come up to me sometime and tell me that me and my baby have to sit on a toilet to feed, I hope that someone DOES come up to me and tell me to put a big blanket on my child's head, or even better to tell me to get off the plane/outta the library---because now, after 9 and 1/2 years of continuous nursing (20 total baby-years so far!) I do have a pocketful of pearls-of-wisdom to throw at them.
But I dont see it happening. If it does, you the readers will be the first to know! in the meantime, ENJOY THESE GORGEOUS MAMABABIES--- scroll and scroll and scroll down until they all blend together in one happy blur of normalcy. it isnt about misty private moments. It isnt about a special magical time. Its just what babies do!
Get over it so we can all Rock On!