Friday, August 8, 2014

On Mothering: Normalize it?

 Although the main reason I keep this blog is for journaling purposes, I have said before that I don't want it just to be a 'here is something fun we did and pictures' I want it to be a place where I can write down my thoughts and joys and frustrations etc. Since my role and my day-in and day-out is being a mom right now, I decided that I want to do a little series on this blog about that-motherhood. Maybe once a week, maybe once a month, just whenever I have anything to say I guess.

So anyway, here's the first, lets do this.

You know when you have those incidents and in the moment you are stunned and don't know what to say?  And it isn't until after when re-playing the events fuming you think of all the things you should have said.

That happened to me a while back at the local splash pad...

{Prolougue} Ok so Everett is 17.5 months and yes I am still breast feeding him.  I have had such a great experience with breastfeeding (but that's all for another post) and although I didn't plan on breastfeeding for this long, it is just what has worked for us, especially with this summer being such a transition and all over the place.  We are planning on weaning when we get back to our home and routine in Provo in a few weeks.

Ok so we were at the splash pad, we go there almost every day and this particular day it was really busy, lots of kids and some older kids too (maybe 8 or 9 year olds).  Everett was doing his thing, playing in the water etc.  He came over to the little chair I was sitting on and I sat him beside me to eat some grapes and stuff.  He climbed on my lap and got into 'the position' I could tell he wanted to breastfeed.  He usually only does before naps and bedtime but I don't know maybe he was thirsty? maybe he wanted some comfort? I don't know and didn't mind.  I grabbed the GINORMOUS beach towel I had brought along and put him under it and he ate for like 1 minute, then back to playing in the water.

Well I could see this women kind of eye-ing me and getting closer.

She finally ended up next to me.

"What is he? Three years old?" (said very snottily)

"Oh no, he's only 16 months actually" nervous laugh

"Oh, still a little old to still be breastfeeding no?"

(caught really off guard) "Well, haha, ya, maybe, uh....he just really loves it so...."

"Well maybe you should just keep in mind that there are some older boys here today and maybe in the future be a little more respectful of others in public"

(Stunned) "Oh....ya....sorry...."

She walked away and I was kind of in shock.  She left maybe 10 minutes later.  Another 10 minutes passed and I see one of the security guard for the little outdoor mall place the splashpad is in coming towards me.  I was thinking no way is he coming to talk to me, I was nervous and my heart was beating fast like I was about to get in trouble.

"Hi Ma'am.  We just want to remind you that this is a public area and to remember to be modest and respectful of others"

(holy crap) "Hi, ya, that is why when I fed him, I covered him and I up in this huge beach towel (picked it up and showed it to him) No one could even tell what I was doing!"

"Oh I'm really sorry, she didn't say you covered up"

"Well ya, I did, I was completely covered"

"Oh ok well no worries then, have a nice day"

When I got home, I told my friend about it and she was furious for me, and then later when I told Ben he had the same reaction. That lady made me feel like I did something wrong....I didn't....AT ALL! Now I was really angry too, how dare she? And then tell on me?

I am a person who avoids confrontation at all costs, but in that moment I should have stuck up for myself, Everett, and moms everywhere! I wish I would have said:

"Excuse me, first off that is absolutely none of your business how long I wish to breastfeed MY child. And secondly, I was completely covered up and in no way making anyone uncomfortable except for maybe you who feels like she needs to make other mothers feel bad about themselves to make yourself feel better.  And even if I wasn't covered up, it is my right and privilege to nourish my child how I see fit.  So turn around, back up and worry about your own kids."

And then maybe I should have flashed her to really drive it home.  Ok probably not.

I like to cover up myself when breastfeeding in public, just for my own comfort, but there is a movement to normalize it more in public, not feeling the need to cover up.  Although I prefer to cover up, moms who don't want to or if the baby hates being covered-more power to you! It's what are bodies were made to do. We all know there is a lot more skin shown on TV or billboards and in a 'sex sells' manner.

What do you think about the #normalizeit movement?  Did you see the recent article in Glamour of Olivia Wilde breastfeeding her newborn? Pretty cool,  making strides!


mynameis tash said...

Oooo this is infuriating! I cannot believe people feel the need to share their opinion and then bother a security guard, you handled it so well! It is too bad you didn't flash your boob at her and said "oh no my son is actually 4 years old, see...?" haha
You are an awesome mom and I am sure you'll have plenty of (better) opportunities to stand up for you children.

Kristen Ruiz said...

Oh my lanta -- Cassie, I am absolutely livid for you. Plain and simple, that woman is a bully. I just can't understand why women, especially other mothers, are so judgmental and mean to each other. I envy moms that get to breastfeed, because I have to formula feed. And even when I'm feeding my baby completely covered out of a bottle, I still feel judged. I'm sure you have a thousand people who would gladly give that lady a piece of their mind for you. Keep on being an awesome mother.

Hands Full said...

Hi, I'm Jenny, Nancy Webster's niece. She sent me the link to your blog. What a horrible thing to go through. I have been breastfeeding for 7 years. Yes, 7 years. In that time I have tandem nursed for 3 years. I have long ago ditched the nursing covers, because I find it easier for me to do so, and I have nursed in almost conceivable situation (including Ward Council). Luckily I have never had anyone be rude to me about it, but I have my response ready, which is very much like the one you wish you had said. I don't know if in the moment I'd be able to say it, but I hope so. I agree that mothering needs to be normalized, and that the woman who said that to you (and the security guard, for that matter) need to learn to mind their own business (and, most likely, the law.)

Joan said...

Hi Cassie. You are doing so awesome. I haven't had anyone approach me whilst feeding in public. Perhaps because they can sense I would rip off their head and spit in the bloody hole if they did. I'm grateful for moms like you who feed their babies in public without shame. Much love.

Bailey@Lost&Found said...

it's just a boob. people are ridiculous. seriously, this makes me so sad. I hope one day all people will support the benefits of breastfeeding- even if that requires having it done in public (covered or NOT). good for you for breastfeeding for so long! I can only hope my son continues to enjoy breastfeeding for so long.

Rachel said...

Ugh. That makes me so angry. I would have told her what for. Good grief. Plus, on public land, the law says you don't even have to cover up. What a jerk. You do your thing.

Sydney said...

This is so frustrating! Why can't we all be respective of everyone else! I think you said it so perfectly, that its YOUR CHILD and anyone who's not Everett's parent should mind their own business. I'm sorry. That sucks. Its hard enough to be a mom! Why do we all judge each other? On a brighter note, you look amazing! So so beautiful. Love all the family photos in your newest post!

Jenni Holzhauer said...

Similar things have happened to me. And in that vulnerable moment, as a mother, it's hard to know what to say. For me, my initial reaction is, crying. I have been really trying to be more prepared with little quips and things to say. But it's easier said than done. How petty to tell on you. And also, it's against the LAW in most places to tell you not to nurse. In MN, wherever my child is allowed to be, I am allowed to breastfeed. Have you seen the meme of a giant cover up to hand to people like that woman and tell them to cover up? I have never been able to cover up because my poor son is like my husband, very hot and sweaty. And if he gets too hot he gets desperate and uncomfortable.
I always think that these things happen because God wants me to know what other women have gone through. And then we can collectively band together. And have a deeper sense of empathy also. Clearly, that woman has some major guilt and self esteem issues, that she needs to bully others. She definitely needs prayer. To say that your son looks 3, is extremely ignorant in and of itself. He's still very young.
Why is our society so interested in making kids grow up so fast? Seriously! Let them be babies! before we know it, we will be empty nested, just as my parents are! BOOM! In a flash parenting ends as quickly as it began! Way to go on nursing him this long and giving him all the DHA his brain needs to develop!!

Bry Peterson said...

I'm playing catch up and have loved all of your posts but this one in particular! I'll admit I am new to all this mom stuff and although I have become a lot more comfortable with my body, a lot of other people just aren't. That lady was way out of line though. Maybe if there were teenage boys or men around I'd be more concerned? Everyone is different though and people need to respect that so yea keep doing what you're doing!

D & DB said...

Okay, this is so embarrassing because I'm obviously going soooo far back {I never read blogs anymore and I miss it!} but anyway, just had to say that lady is so lucky she did not say something to me. It would have been everything in me to stay a Christian woman! Because, for real, that is SO messed up. Who knows her background, I just hope she doesn't do that to other women! I'm going to stop writing because I could go on for ages!

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