it's friday. did you know it's friday?? friday. friday friday friday.
sometimes i'm not sure why i get so excited about friday. do i have awesome weekend plans? no. in fact i have work to do over the weekend. but that's not the point. there's just something lovely about that word: friday.
anyway, moving on to my point, yesterday i read an article on mothering.com:
From Bashful to Brazen: The Indiscreet Breastfeeder's Manifesto
the author tells the story of a nasty encounter she had with an old lady in a grocery store, one where the woman said that by nursing (discreetly) she was "making a spectacle of herself"
but, the author went on to say this:
The encounter had the exact opposite effect on me than the woman had intended. It made me bound and determined never to use a tea towel--whatever that is. Her advice did not make me bashful; it made me brazen.
Since that day, I have nursed openly in some pretty amusing situations, including during an eye exam and while taking the written test for my driver's license. Neither the optometrist nor the DMV examiner asked me to stop. In fact, both were encouraging, if a little embarrassed, saying that it was a first for them, but that I should just go ahead and do what was best for my baby.
I have nursed while getting my hair cut and my oil changed. I have nursed in libraries, museums, and malls, at weddings and parties, in stores and waiting rooms, in line at the grocery store, and while waiting on customers in the bookstore where I work. Not to mention in restaurants, airports, parks, zoos, and the Morehead City Seafood Festival beer garden (I had juice, of course). Once I made myself at home on the patio furniture display at K-Mart. Another time I sat on the edge of the dairy case at the grocery store; a passing manager assured me I could sit there as long as I needed.
i have, since the early days, been a big fan of discreet nursing. i wrote my discreet nursing primer and i was very proud of it. but after reflecting on this article i'm not sure i'm going about this the right way.
there are, unfortunately, always going to be people out there who aren't fans of public nursing. however i don't think i have a hope of changing their perspectives if i don't set a good example. children need to see women breastfeeding, to know that our breasts are for nourishment and not just for swimsuits. if people saw women breastfeeding more often it wouldn't be such an issue. familiarity breeds comfort and acceptance. other cultures outside our puritanical regime don't seem to have these weird breastfeeding hangups, it's ridiculous.
at the same time it made me realize- i expect to be hassled. i've been so beaten down by a few angry jerks that i anticipate everyone to be anti-breastfeeding crazies. that's not the reality. a lot of people probably don't care, wouldn't notice, or would be (gasp!) nice about it.
we had a party a few months ago. lots of our friends came over and some brought their kids. while all the adults were chowing down and drinking in the kitchen i popped into the living room where the kids were playing to nurse jude. and one of our friend's little girls came up and sat by me. she reached over and patted jude's head. she leaned in close and cuddled up to my arm and said, "baby is having his milk!" and there was wonder in her eyes, as if she knew just how full and happy and comforted jude was at the moment. it was a happy place.
something about it broke my heart a little. because in their complete innocence children see breastfeeding as matter-of-fact, completely normal. they look at it without all our adult experiences skewing their inhibitions. jude could have been eating a pudding pack for all she cared. it was a moment in time that brought the sting of tears to my eyes, that i still think about now.
the article has me reflecting on my primer post. i don't think women should "have to cover up." i always wanted to be modest, not for other people's comfort, but for my own. if the impression that i gave was that you need to cover up your nasty boobs when you're doing that, well, that's not what i meant. maybe this will remind me to carry myself with a little more pride and expect the best in people, not the worst.