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The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and other health focused organizations are working hard to increase breastfeeding rates world wide. America, in particular, has abysmal maternal child health outcomes. This is in part due to a ridiculous amount of misinformation out there, lack of evidence based medical care, and many other factors... but one senseless factor is society and the lack of understanding or respect of other human beings. Honestly... I can't pinpoint the issue with our society and breastfeeding... sexuality. It all comes down to women being painted as sexual objects who need to be hidden away, it seems. Somehow, though, in a society pushing for more and more inclusion and tolerance, public breastfeeding seems to be excluded from the conversation. Thankfully, Federal law and the state law in all 50 states is on the side of the mother. Generally speaking, women may breastfeed wherever they are otherwise authorized to be, covered or not, without being considered a nuisance, indecent, etc. Despite the law being on our side, many of us mothers find ourselves in situations where someone is "offended" by our feeding of our babies (clearly an act reserved for exhibitionist attention seekers...note the sarcasm). Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Olivia last weekend in Gettysburg, PA while breastfeeding in a restaurant. After being singled out, approached, and offered a kitchen apron as a nursing cover, Olivia alleges the owner of a restaurant she was dining at called her selfish. Selfish for feeding her baby? Selfish because she's minding her own business when "offended patrons" can't do the same? Selfish...? Really? I could go on all day, but I'll save the educating for another day... Olivia's Facebook post recounting the situation went viral and she was met with an outpouring of both support and backlash. For the life of us, we can not understand some of the ignorance and hate in the comments from some individuals. Between false (and honestly ludicrous) accusations made against Olivia, to strangers making threats, Facebook Warriors were out in full force ugly fighting to insist that breastfeeding a child in public is disgusting. Is this really what people need to be fighting about? I still don't understand why this conversation is taking place.
Of course you know it is our mission to change how the world (okay. Americans.) view breastfeeding and childbirth. So what else was left to do? Plan a nurse in and conduct a gorgeous and PUBLIC breastfeeding photo shoot! This photo shoot gave me life. I got to document a beautiful, strong mother's breastfeeding experience while breastfeeding my own baby. This session encompasses so much of what I stand for and turned out beautiful. So, surrounding the anniversary of our country's independence and the anniversary of the infamous Battle of Gettysburg, we take a stand to fight a different kind of battle. This battle is much less gruesome, thanks to the heroes who have come before us. But our battle is one I am sure our ancestors who depended on breastfeeding, childbirth, and postpartum support from their community never dreamed of...
Let's remember to CELEBRATE the wonders of womanhood, motherhood. Let's celebrate breastfeeding. Let's learn to respect breastfeeding. And most importantly, lets educate about breastfeeding, and hope that some people will learn to open their minds and their hearts. Let's take a moment to celebrate Olivia: a strong, beautiful mother with a noble cause: Making sure no other mother will be made to feel this way... Ensuring that a newer mom wouldn't be discouraged by such discrimination and harassment. Join The Movement. Celebrate your breastfeeding journey today!