A Response to M. Turner
First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on my previous blog post, on here and on Facebook. It means a lot to me to have so much support. Being a mother is difficult enough as it is without having a good support system cheering you on. So, thank you!
I wanted to quickly respond to a comment left by M. Turner.
I'm totally not trying to be a crazy controversialist and I'm a dude so I might just be weirded out by this whole thing.Thanks for commenting and expressing your concern. I don't think you are a misogynist, but I do think you're mistaken in a few areas. You compared breastfeeding to sexual relations between a man and a woman and going to the bathroom to relieve yourself. Breastfeeding is not like either of these things. Take the first example, what a man and woman do in the privacy of their own bedroom is sexual in nature, breastfeeding isn't. Believe me, there is nothing sexual about me feeding my son. My breasts are not sexual objects, they are a tool to keep my son alive by providing him the nutrients that he needs. America has really oversexualized breasts and made them taboo, but I really don't see my breasts as sexual objects. Their main purpose is to feed my son. Now, can they pull double duty and become sexual? Yes. But again, that is not their main purpose. And if we didn't make breasts so taboo, then breastfeeding in public wouldn't be such a big deal. The second example, relieving oneself in the bathroom...well, it's gross. Let's face it, human excrement is just nasty. It smells, it isn't pleasant to look at, it's best left in a toilet and flushed away where no one ever has to see or smell it...ever. There is nothing gross about my baby eating his dinner. As I said in my previous post, if a bottle-fed baby can have his dinner in public then so can a breastfed baby.
But... don't you think that there are a lot of other natural things that are not shameful but are best left in private? I think of husband and wife activities or bathroom habits as two particular examples.
Again, I think your blog emphasizes modesty and discreetness so I am not really opposed to what you are saying. I have just been in a few situations (once on a train ride to Philadelphia and another in a shopping mall) where it seemed that a mother was being totally immodest and awkward.
Please, please, please see my comments as those from a confused husband rather than a criticizing misogynist.
I'd like to also mention that being confined to your home because you're breastfeeding your baby can really lead to depression issues. Right now Liam eats about every two hours, like clockwork! That's every two hours from the time he starts! Meaning if he eats at 12, by 2 o'clock he's ready for another round. And it can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to feed him. That means if he ate at 12 and finished at 1 that leaves me an hour of freedom before he's back at the breast. An hour is not enough time to go to the grocery store or have lunch with friends. What am I supposed to do? Become a hermit? As I mentioned above, being a mother is hard, especially when you're new to the game, being stuck at home can only fuel feelings of loneliness and desperation, which isn't healthy for anyone. The mother suffers, the baby suffers, and the spouse will also suffer.
Maybe if more public places were more accommodating to nursing mothers, providing a nice space to feed your baby, I could understand...but most places don't have much more than a public restroom to offer. And I'm sorry, but we all know public restrooms are disgusting. I barely want to take my baby in there to change his diaper, much less feed him!
Again, thank you for your comment, M. Turner. I hope my response has helped to change your mind about breastfeeding a little bit...and if it hasnt then all I can say is, next time you're on the train and a woman takes her breast out to feed her hungry baby, just look away (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). I guarantee you that she doesn't want to be stared at. She doesn't even want to make a political statement. She just wants to make sure her baby isnt starving and wants to give him the best nutrition possible. And if that means that she must courageously expose her breast and be ridiculed and judged for it, so be it. But baby comes first. And if baby wants the boob, baby gets the boob. :-)
Also, thank you to Jenni for her words of wisdom on the matter...check out her comment in my previous post for her perspective.