The video shows the man angrily hurling insults at Jessie and asking for a refund for his food, due to having witnessed a mother breastfeeding her child in public:
Utterly ridiculous, right?
Yet my eyes didn’t fill up because of this insane and clearly bitterly-wounded man’s misguided and aggressive actions.
No, part of what moved me was knowing exactly how this mom was feeling in that moment.
In the video, we hear her commentate:
“Because I’m feeding my baby, this man is going crazy, and I’m shaking.”
Shaking. This mother is shaking while she feeds her infant. What world are we living in? Has the past week not shown us clearly enough that there is far too much hate and not enough acceptance?
No mother should fear feeding her baby. No mother should face social condemnation for the method by which she chooses to nourish her infant. Because what stings, what really truly stings, is the injustice at dealing with all of that drama while doing something that is so completely normal and necessary. Something that has been happening since the beginning of time and something that every single health authority across the globe advises mothers to partake in.
So often, we hear of moms being shamed for breastfeeding their babies. Earlier this year, I even launched the #NoShame project to counteract the negativity with positive stories of empowered breastfeeders.
And this notion of empowerment – of togetherness and sisterhood – is what gave my tear ducts their biggest nudge.
Because let’s just take a moment to celebrate the woman in the green shirt.
The woman who not only stood physically protecting this vulnerable mother, but who had the common sense and consideration to ask her, quite simply – “are you ok?”
“He has no right to be doing what he’s doing, you have a baby in your hands. Are you ok?...This is a beautiful moment right now. If he doesn’t like it, he can go.”
These women were strangers, not that it mattered. Because in times of crisis, sisterhood triumphs.
Know this, breastfeeding moms, I am the mom in the green shirt. Well, not literally, but in that same situation, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be. And I think we are many. Because the more we learn about breastfeeding and the more that breastfeeding is seen and normalized, the more breastfeeding advocates there will be.
And no, you don’t need a badge or a sticker to be a breastfeeding advocate.
We can advocate for normal infant feeding with as little as a smile and a nod at a new mom, sat quietly nursing her baby. We can choose to ignore the socially-contrived awkwardness associated with seeing a square inch of breast as a baby or toddler latches on and instead, happily and openly see breastfeeding for what it is: normal.
Yet know this, doubters. In times of injustice, we will stick together. And yes, I won’t hesitate to channel my inner green shirted badassery and stand strong beside any mother victimized by such mindless ignorance.
It’s time to stop shaming breastfeeding mothers.
Who is with me?
If you support breastfeeding, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!