|Joella Jarosh nurses Delilah.|
And I'm not alone. More than 7,000 people are attending the "nurse in" on Facebook. That's quite a haul for a four-day event that got little press publicity. For those of you unfamiliar with the cause, the nurse in is a cyber event in which breastfeeding mothers, or those who support them, change their profile pictures to show people nursing their children. You see, Facebook has a habit of taking them down. The pictures are flagged under pornography.
|Monika Whitney nurses Aias.|
Maybe people don't realize this, but babies get hungry, just like everybody else. And when a baby gets hungry, a baby cries. Hungry babies don't care if they are in the mall, at the beach, at the park, at a coffee shop, in a restaurant or on the moon. Hungry babies are hungry - regardless of location, they must eat. And people would deny a baby food because the act of eating offends their sensibilities? You don't have to hide your husbands or turn your older children away from the sight. It's not a lapdance, it's not a skin flick, it's food. Maybe we, as a society on a whole, should rethink our definition of porn.
Every time we go to the beach, we see string bikinis, lowcut suits, thongs. That's not publicly frowned upon, nor should it be. That is what the beach is for. Are those people walking around embarrassed and shamed? No. No one gives them the hairy eyeball, the judgemental frown. Why should mothers feel ashamed of nursing should their babies be hungry at the beach?
|Emily Walkerden nurses Molly at the beach.|
I only breastfed my twins for three months, and even then I exclusively pumped. My babies were born prematurely and would not latch. But you don't have to be a prolonged breastfeeder, or even a breastfeeder at all, to support those who are. Those mothers are doing the very best they can by their children. They are loving them, holding them, nurturing them and guiding them. Why can't they feed them?
We need to change our thinking. As a society, we need to reassess our priorities. The sooner we rid ourselves of the stigma that hinders a breastfeeding mother, the sooner we will be able to rid ourselves of the irrational fear that somewhere someone is getting off on the feeding of babies.
Facebook could start by leaving the pictures alone. More than 7,000 women banding together, fighting for "the cause," when really, there shouldn't be a cause to fight for. We don't have to fight over whether or not we eat a sandwich, do we?
Babies are beautiful. Feeding them is normal. I shouldn't have to write an essay plastered with breastfeeding pictures to say that. But I did. Maybe one day those women will win the battle that has been forced upon them. Until then, they'll continue to post their breastfeeding pictures in defiance.
|Nicole Erb nurses Javin.|
I can only hope that one day they will be posting them in celebration, with no foe in sight.
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For more on judgement and breastfeeding, check out Food for Thought.
And visit Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair for a touching personal story.