I had ZERO positive roll models for breast feeding in my family.
But I was lucky enough to have friends who were good at it and did it everywhere with no shame.
At first it was weird to chat on the couch next to a tiny person sucking on your best friend’s boob. And then it wasn’t.
Kinda like the first time someone who has only ever been exposed to heterosexual romance sees two men (two women, etc) kissing. It feels weird because it is different then what you have learned/seen/experienced. But, then, if you have an open mind, you realize it is just part of life. And the next time you see it seems less weird. And pretty soon you wonder why it seemed weird at all.
In order to breast feed in public I had to know in my very soul that it was my right, because if I had let space in my head for people judging me, I could never have done it. Not even with a blanket or whatever, because I would have been so nervous that it might have fallen off or been pushed off by inquisitive baby fingers, AND WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK?!?
I don’t just let it go, because I feel like women have to hear over and over that it is ok. I don’t want anyone making the choice not to breast feed because they are embarrassed about what people think. I know how it feels to be uncomfortable with your body or with other peoples bodies, but this is not an area where it is ok to just accept those feelings. This is about the greater public good. People who are uncomfortable with it have to challenge their comfort zone.
If I hadn’t been able to breast feed in public I would never have left my house. And that would have been bad for me and for Sylvia.
And just so this is totally clear: I love Rachel. I am not angry at her or anyone else who feels the same way, but, just like if someone I loved said something racist or homophobic, this is a topic I feel like I can’t be silent on. Feeding your child in public is a basic human right.
But honestly, people, man-up, as they say. I put up with all sorts of things I might prefer not to see (soft-core porn at the mall, those weird sandals that have tops but not ankles, the dancing lady at the Takoma Park 4th of July parade). I may not like to see those things, but I don’t question their right to share space with me. And none of those things are even providing a basic human need.
To the Janet Jackson nipple slip, but we want to make women feel bad for nipple slipping when feeding THEIR HELPLESS INFANT.
Honest to God, when I was breast feeding I never used a fucking blanket (do you know how much shit you already carry around when you have a baby?) and the number of people who saw my nipples? NOT VERY DAMN MANY.
I just had to lay down with Sylvia to get her to go to sleep for the first time in forever. She was crying and saying she was afraid she was going to die before Christmas. I told her she wasn’t going to die, and she responded, “That is a lot to promise someone.”