My daughter needs to eat 6-8 times per day. Minimum. That means if I can’t breastfeed in public, whenever, wherever, then I can’t leave the house. For two years or more.
If I can’t leave the house, I can’t make money.
If I can’t make money, I can’t fully contribute to my household.
If I can’t fully contribute to my household, I have a lot less power and say.
If I have a lot less power and say, I am less likely to make big decisions.
If I am less likely to make big decisions, I am not equal.
As long as I am not equal, I will challenge the norms that got us here.
Normalizing breastfeeding in public is one small thing, among many others, that we can do to bring equality. If there were more appropriate spaces and less awkward conversations/stares at breastfeeding mamas in public, well maybe the mamas wouldn’t feel the need to press a huge PAUSE button on their careers, their interests, their hobbies and social life. You know, everything else other than the baby. You know, things that men aren’t expected to actually sacrifice. You know.
If more workplaces were adept at accommodating new mothers, maybe parenthood wouldn’t often mean the death of the mother’s career (or their schooling!). Sorry. Tough luck. One or the other. Come back in a few years. We’ll save you a spot. Deciding to becoming a parent shouldn’t punish the mother, no. She shouldn’t take a hit, in any area of her life. For she is smart enough, and strong enough, to work, feed, raise, repeat.
Get used to her. See how she has evolved to become the working mother. She how she moves confidently through the world. Breastfeeding her child while crossing crosswalks, shopping, having brunch with friends, working at the computer in an office, studying for the big exam, doing whatever it is that she does best. Whatever it is that defines the woman–other than motherhood (!!)–in this world.
I got to thinking…why not normalize infants and children too? Like instead of wishing they weren’t around…in our restaurants, coffee shops, concerts, offices, work spaces, lecture halls, why not embrace them and the mothers who are raising them? Why not provide education and opportunities for all and really mean it?
Just a thought. A vote.