I don’t think that I’ve done a breastfeeding article in a LONG time. Well *cracks knuckles* here goes. Everyone, meet Karlesha Thomas who graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree a little time ago. Check out that huge smile that she has after walking across the stage to collect her degree and celebrate what I figure was a journey like most college grads. It had its ups and downs and some doozy nights full of studying.
Oh, wait a minute! She has a baby girl too. That’s awesome! Check out the fact that she is cuddling her while feeding her during what I’m sure was a LONG time to wait for her mamas milk. Upon further investigation, I found out that her daughter had been sitting with Karlesha’s mom and she scooped her up after collecting her diploma so that she could eat.
THEN I found out that this photo went viral and folk seemed to have turned this photo into a surrogate for the Salem Witch Trials. A few beauties about a mom breastfeeding her daughter in public were akin to:
“Common sense isn’t all that common”
“Makes no sense, at a graduation. SMH”
“There’s a time and place for everything. Graduation isn’t one of those places.”
“I bet she was graduating from high school”
While I know that everyone should have a right to their opinion, when will we as a society realize that nursing a baby…ANYWHERE…is not vile, sexual, or nasty? When will it be normal to see a mom nursing her child and just think, “Man, I’ve got to pick up the dry cleaning today,” instead of, “OMG! Breasts! Baby attached! My world is crumbling.” I’m so sick of this y’all and it’s been a full three years since the first time that I spoke of it on my blog.
I’m finding that it’s the generation of people born before the 1970’s and men (although NO MEN commented negatively or lewdly for that matter on any of my social media postings) that seem to take issue the most with the act of nursing in public. I recall a facebook status message made by someone on my friends list about a year ago. To sum it up it stated that if this person came to my house and I started nursing in front of her and her husband, she would be offended. Stating that I should go into another room or my bedroom to feed my child. In so many words I told her that the only person that would have to move rooms while I’m nursing my child IN MY HOUSE would be her and her husband.
The fact remains that the United States sucks with breastfeeding. We’re a country of convenience, and while we conveniently carry two breasts for the most part, that are filled with the perfect nourishment for our children, we’re goaded into feeling like we can’t use them because it makes everyone else feel uncomfortable. Make no mistake, I’m not bashing bottle feeding moms. I became one when I stopped producing milk with the twizzlers about 10 months in. It was a requirement. However, I was aware of the benefits of nursing, and did so for as long as I could. Let’s face it though, any amount of time we can get a mom to nurse is better than nothing. On top of the US statistics, the statistics for black women are even more dismal. Where is the support? Instead we get a dissection of whether someone has graduated from high school or college (when most folk recognize black graduation gowns as undergrad.) We get statements of how this was done for attention, and not really because she cares about feeding her daughter.
When will it stop? When will we as a society agree that the only people we can control are ourselves? Your comfort level is not mine. I nursed in church, on the bus stop, in the grocery store, while walking around, and at the Presidential Inauguration right on the mall. Covers bothered me, and called more attention to a nursing baby than necessary. I didn’t want you staring at me nursing as much as you didn’t want to see it. We don’t stare at patrons in restaurants while they eat, why do it to a baby?
Overall, what was supposed to be a moment to congratulate a mama on her graduation and making breastfeeding look so darn intelligent, turned into a witch hunt.
It needs to stop.
Too bad these same individuals didn’t pay attention to the lessons on Sesame Street.