I am sorry.
I am sorry that breastfeeding is a scary and offensive thing that you did not get to grow up with, that you didn’t get to see your mother, your aunts and your cousins do. That you didn’t get to see your siblings do. That you didn’t see a newborn grow into an infant at his mother’s breast, and into a toddler and into a small child that slowly weaned away.
I am sorry that you learned about the sexuality of breasts before you learned about the nurturing. That your first exposure to breasts as a child was one that came with shame rather than growing up with them as a source of comfort and nourishment.
I am sorry that you think that breastfeeding is private.
But it isn’t.
It is nothing sacred, as it happens every hour for an hour, sometimes. Ain’t nobody got enough time in their day for that amount of sacred. Not even monks spend that much of their day to day life on sacred things.
It is nothing unusual, as it is what every infant is born expecting. While things happen in this culture that make it rare, and while there are conditions that make breastfeeding impossible (as there have been throughout all of history) it is not a thing that is meant to be rare. It is a thing that once was a part of the beginning of every man and woman born. It should not be as unusual at it is.
It is nothing private. It poses no risk to anyone. It is self contained and clean and quiet. I am sorry that you have not grown up with the knowledge of how clean, how simple breastfeeding is. It is not like the other things that come to mind. It is not like urine or feces, it is not like vomit or semen. It is one of nature’s cleanest things.
I am sorry that you feel that a child should wean when they start to speak, and that you likely have no clue about why a mother would nurse beyond that point. That the idea so shocks you that you can’t deal with finding out. That you don’t know about the antibodies, the nutrients. That you don’t know it is what a child’s body expects and what they need.
I am sorry that we are on such different pages. That you find breastfeeding to be so scary and shocking, and that I find it to be what it is. Something humdrum and ordinary that weaves its way through the pattern of those early days.
I am sorry that I cannot come to meet you where you are. I cannot un-learn the things that I know about breastfeeding and I cannot come to a place of shock and outrage about something that is so simple, so clean, and so needed.
I am sorry, though.
I am not sorry for breastfeeding. I am not sorry for each toddler that I have nursed. I am not sorry that I breastfeed in public.
I am sorry for each and every woman that wishes deeply to do those things, but that fears…
Because your thoughts about breastfeeding are a violence against them. A violence against these women and their babies.
I wish you were sorry, too.