Dear Mom Sitting Next to Us,
First off I'd like to commend you on taking three kids to the mall. I have 3 kids and would rather do almost anything; then take all of them to the mall, at the same time. Like seriously that sounds like torture!
As you sit down next to my older daughter and I, in the food court, I understand your struggles... "I don't like mustard today", and "how much do I have to eat to get a treat"... Awww yes. I understand all too well. Your littlest, a baby boy, is hungry. You whip out an "udder cover" and I can feel my 6 year olds interest peaking. You switch seats with one of your girls and try to angle yourself towards the wall, while you struggle to coerce your child beneath the boobie drape. Beside me my darling 6 year old sits up straighter, and stops chewing. "Mommy why is she stuffing her baby under a sheet... he just wants to nurse?" And there it is... the truth bomb, loudly spoken in the innocent tones of a sweet child. I try to explain that maybe the mom just wants a little privacy, in a hushed manner, but alas my wonderful girl doesn't get the subtle hint. "But nobody wants to eat under a sheet, doesn't she know that? You don't nurse our baby under a sheet. Isn't it easier without the sheet?" Now both of the other mom's girls have stopped eating and are evaluating the situation. "Mommy I don't think I'd like to eat under a sheet, so why does he have to?" More questions follow and the poor mom does her best to fumble out answers, that aren't satisfactory to her kids.
At this point the overly active voice in my head is conducting its own interior monologue... "I'm sorry that our overly sexualized society has driven you to think you have to put your baby under a blanket to nurse... I'm sorry that your older kids haven't seen other people's babies freely nursing, because it is biologically NORMAL... I'm sorry you sat next to us... I'm sorry I can't tell you what a wonderful job you are doing, without coming across as a weirdo at this point. Ugh." This internal speech is coupled with me manically trying to stuff fries into my daughter, in a futile attempt to get lunch done faster. Eventually she's finished and ready to depart. As we pack up to leave, I wink at the mom. She just stares blankly at me. She's doing a great job, even if she doesn't realize it. And you know what... I'm not sorry. Perhaps my 6 year old just planted the seeds of normalized breastfeeding in the other little girls' minds. Perhaps when they grow up and have babies they will ALL be bold enough to not use a blanket, or feel ashamed to nurse their hungry babies in public. Clearly our little darling will have few issues with being bold, and doing what she feels is right. Perhaps in their futures society will have taken a step forward... Perhaps moms will no longer be shamed into hiding their babies away to nurse. And perhaps we women will learn to support each other on a whole new level.
The One and Only "DoulaInTheWild"
Special thanks to the wonderful Gena Kirby for providing us with this lovely photo, taken by Sabrina Bean Photography.
By: Doula Sonja
Your one and only uncensored