**Read more about how to have a great bottle-feeding experience in the next post.**
One of the things I do for Intact Houston (local affiliate of the volunteer-based grassroots organization, The Intact Network/Saving Our Sons) is not only advocate for genital autonomy by sharing thought-provoking images, but by creating original ones too.
Above is the most recent graphic I made for the chapter. I expect it to be my last original graphic of 2015.
So in honor of the year’s baby-saving successes with Intact Houston, I’m listing the top 21 most popular original images I created and posted on the chapter page in 2015.
(Each image is prefaced with the text and links that accompanied it when it was first published).
My breasts enjoyed a low-profile life before their eventual employment in the food industry (specializing in the Kids Menu, of course). I like to think of this 23-year long period of inconspicuousness as a special favor to me from genetics that seem to favor physical minimalism.
I hadn’t expected this, though: What served that long as basic decoration had, in the birth of a moment, become the absolute rulers of my body and my days — and the body and days of another tiny human being too, for countless flips of the calendar’s months.
Even more so… I hadn’t expected how reforming my attitude about a single body part could void most of my earliest ideas about self-image, self-appreciation, power, and purpose.
Anyone who follows this site will understand this post is *OBVIOUSLY SATIRICAL.*
Newcomers, take a moment to think about what the above picture symbolizes to you. The mother, naked and vulnerable, preserves a bubble of peace with her baby, in seemingly necessary quarantine from the bold, harsh words that hope to infiltrate their haven with little concern for the affect it might have upon them.
Here are not-so-uncommon perspectives (inspired by actual commentary I’ve seen or heard) that demonstrate how to upset and further isolate yourself from the not-so-uncommon kind of woman described above.
1). Let him cry… it’s good for his lungs.
Then try to convince her that dropping him on his head is good for his brain.
2). You’ll spoil her.
A baby spoils by being carried just like an apple spoils simply by being carried. That’s how it works.
3). She’ll never learn to walk.
Then you can explain how it’s better for both of them if the child is forced to walk everywhere. It’s not like it’d inhibit the mother from moving about in a timely manner or result in the child feeling abandoned. Read More
Many women holding that positive Home Pregnancy Test meet intense pressure to tell others who’d feel left out otherwise. Others feel great pressure to zip their lips until the calendar hits 12 weeks.
**Spoiler alert** (since that’s what this post is about, right?): Based on some hyper-scientific and extensive research, I’ve concluded that the best time to announce your pregnancy is…whenever YOU feel like it! No explanations, defenses, or peer-reviewed supporting hypotheses necessary.
I see nothing wrong with waiting to spill the news of pregnancy… even up to the moment of birth! If a woman doesn’t want to tell anyone about her pregnancy, I wish her influences (society, family, what-have-you) wouldn’t oblige her to believe she must do so. No woman should feel the need to inform others of her pregnancy before she’s ready.
Likewise, she also needn’t wait the standard 12 weeks to share her news if she feels like she’s unwillingly fighting an invisible muzzle.
The first time around, we waited until nearly the close of the first trimester to inform the general public that we were expecting. This time we tried something a bit different.
There are many things I didn’t get about the history of Black Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 25th-31st. To my credit, I can barely keep up with the history of breastfeeding in general (I mean, the practice does date all the way back to the beginning of mammal-kind).
Prior to looking into the celebration that is Black Breastfeeding Week, I already knew why White Breastfeeding Week doesn’t exist: because all of National Breastfeeding Month is about support and understanding for every last breastfeeding mother, and whites aren’t a minority group.
Note: Before I continue, please be aware I’m no expert in racial discrimination and though I try my best to overcome my own ignorance at any opportunity, I’m a work in progress here. So I ask for gentleness if I’ve unknowingly represented cultural inaccuracies; my heart is in the right place. ❤ 🙂
Emily Medley, public programs director for Houston’s Health Museum, looked out from the podium to explain what led her to this place of passion for normalizing breastfeeding in public.
She recalled a time she went into the museum bathroom, and an uncomfortable scuffling drew her attention from one of the farthest stalls. She realized almost immediately there was a mother inside that stall, breastfeeding her baby on the toilet. It broke her heart.
Emily was pained to realize a mother could so greatly fear the stigma and criticisms (whether quiet or loud) that come with public nursing, that even with laws to protect her right to naturally feed in many states, she still doesn’t feel welcome enough to care for her baby where people can see her. A place of isolation and privacy only… a toilet.
She planned to close out this year’s World Breastfeeding Week in a very special way by hosting this museum presentation by Leilani Rogers, an Austin photographer and founder of The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project. The exhibit called “Cradle Me Here” featured mothers nursing their babies and children throughout the museum on demand –“live breastfeeding art,” if you will — in response to a need, just like they would any other day or place.
Emily wanted us to know how thrilled she felt to host the event for us and that the museum not only welcomes breastfeeding mothers and our “SO beautiful babies!” but cherishes and respects us, too. After all, the museum board is on track to refocus what their education is “all about.” Now the museum touches most upon “the things that make us human,” and recognizes breastfeeding as one of the first major (and most normal) impressions upon childhood and lifelong physical and emotional health.
Despite all the attention given to those who just don’t “get it,” many people like Emily and Leilani do commiserate with the plight of a publicly breastfeeding mother. I myself have endured a few disappointing experiences breastfeeding in public (read about two here and here), but I’ve enjoyed some memorably positive ones too.
By sharing a few personal stories of positive NIP experiences, I hope that any mother who fears or hesitates to feed her child in public may be encouraged to do what she feels is best for her child — which will never be, at any age or level of publicity or food type, to serve him a meal on the toilet.