A few days ago a meme was showing up on my Facebook account about a lovely story concerning a mother’s meal being paid for to show support for the mother’s public breastfeeding. It’s a great story and deserves to be shared. I believe we need to normalize breastfeeding in the eyes of the public so that mothers don’t feel like they cannot leave the home for their children’s first year or two for fear of retaliation. I completely agree that breast is best in almost all situations where a mother is educated and supported, and I say this as an educated, supported mother who chose to formula-feed.***
*** For those new here a brief recap of my situation. Due to my own struggles with severe anxiety and depression during pregnancy I chose formula-feeding to insure that my mental state would not impede my child’s health and safety; it was a decision I needed to make to help me be the best mother I could be. I plan on breastfeeding in the future, and stand proud in my decision for my first child.
However, the article reminded me of something that happened while I was working a retail job while pregnant with my first child.
I was about 7 months pregnant and working the register at the friendly, neighborhood department store and had a couple customers in my line. Next up was a woman probably in her thirties with a fairly normal pile of items to purchase. At the end of her purchase were a number of containers of formula; quite a stock actually. I rang them up without a word already knowing in my mind that this was going to be me in a few months. My battle with my depression was not improving and I was terrified that my child’s health would be affected severely if I could not care and feed myself properly after he was born. I had already made the decision to formula-feed.
This day and that purchase would have slipped out of my memory had it not been for the next customer in line. It was an older woman, probably in her 70’s or more and she was quick to pounce as soon as the younger woman was out of earshot. She looked right at me and sneered, “In my day we knew how to feed our babies! Can you imagine feeding your children that stuff.”
I was in shock at the vitriol in her voice and to my regret I think I just shrugged her off while the anger bubbled under my skin. If I could relive that moment I now know exactly what I would have said to that lady.
I hope all of us would buy a meal for a breastfeeding mother, it is a lovely sign of support and solidarity just as I would hope that we would stand up for that women ahead of us in the checkout line because, clearly, she deserves our support as well.