Dear Person(s) Unknown,
You make me far more uncomfortable than I make you. Think about it. I have no way of knowing if you’re lurking there in the corner thinking terrible things. I have no idea if you’re sitting there thinking sexual thoughts. I have no idea if you are thinking about calling the manager and trying to have me removed. I have no idea if you ARE the manager and if you plan on having me removed.
When I nurse in public sometimes I’m nursing in a train station with hundreds of people. Sometimes I am nursing in a restaurant with dozens. Sometimes I am nursing on a street or in a park.
And I have no way of knowing if you are there.
I have no way of knowing if you’re a public television persona that will use your platform to shame me. I have no idea if you’re a writer at some major magazine or newspaper that will do the same.
You may encounter me or someone like me once in a blue moon. If you saw nursing mothers on any sort of a regular basis I’m certain your head would explode.
I have to worry about YOU every. single. day.
I have to worry if you’re about to ruin my meal.
I have to worry if you’re about to have me removed from the bus. Or the plane. Or the train.
I have to worry if you’re about to call the police.
I have to worry if you’re going to say the most vulgar and nasty things about my nursing child.
I worry about you even when you’re probably not in the room.
I may make you uncomfortable for a moment or two here and there. I might “ruin a meal”.
Over the course of three children and many year of breastfeeding you have made for a ridiculous number of uncomfortable moments and many ruined meals.
The truth. The real truth of it is.. You’re in the minority. Most people don’t care. You are not in most of the places that I go. You are not in most of the places where my baby eats.
But since I can’t see you, and you don’t wear a T-Shirt or a hat or some form of easy to ID badge that says “I DON’T LIKE SEEING BABIES EAT” I have no way to know if you’re there until you suddenly pop out that opinion of yours and rub it in my face.
You have some idea that I am in the room before I begin to nurse. There’s a baby there. Maybe the diaper bag is suspiciously small. You have the option of leaving quietly without fuss or drama to go elsewhere with your thoughts. I have no idea that you’re in the room until you choose to react. Until you choose to take a picture of a nursing mother to share on Twitter. Until you choose to bad-mouth me or mothers like me on your television show. You’re an invisible plague.
I, at least, have some kind of a good reason for the discomfort that I may momentarily cause. A child that needs to nurse. A child that needs comfort, or food. You’ve got an OPINION. A thing that you don’t want to see. A sense of entitlement and privilege that says your ideas about how things should be done is the most important thing in the room.
I could launch into a miles long list of all the reasons why I should be allowed to nurse in public. The laws involved. The health reasons. But the truth is? If you haven’t heard it already you’ve had your head under that blanket of yours a bit too long. You already know the reasons. You just don’t care about anyone but yourself.
And you’re making me uncomfortable. And I find it disgusting.
Please keep that opinion of yours in your head under a blanket where it belongs. You’re making a lot of people uncomfortable. Even when you’re not in the room.
-A Nursing Mother