Dear Pro-Choice NYer, You Got What You Asked For

Monday, July 30, AD 2012

Dear Pro-Choice NYer,

You wanted to do whatever you wanted to do with your body, and then claim you had a right to kill your own children when you conceived them because it was just so unfair for anyone to expect you to let a child ever use you against your will. You said you needed your choices, and you needed them without judgement or criticism. You tossed God’s law aside and said that your rights come from man’s law, and that worked for you as long as you thought you were getting your way. Motherhood be damned.

Image credit: The Center for Consumer Freedom (http://www.consumerfreedom.com/)

When the New York City abortion rate was reported (God only knows what it really is) to be 41%, meaning that nearly 2 in 5 pregnancies end in abortion, you didn’t even wince. You were proud those women were exercising their so-called right to choose even when the city health officials made condescending excuses that the high rate was due to the “ignorance” and “ambivalence” of women who hadn’t been indoctrinated in the methods of birth control, or who were too stupid and poor to chose stable relationships.

Even decades ago when your feminist and pro-choice philosophies collided over sex-selective abortion right in your own city, you quieted the voice in your head that was screaming, “No. STOP! You should not,” because you feared that making moral judgments would take away the high and mighty right for you to profit from the ambivalent under the guise of caring about women. In a mind-seering display of mental gymnastics you sought to rephrase the question by separating the chooser from the choice, so that you could justify killing girls in the womb even as you condemned misogyny.

Let me tell you something: Truth does not condescend the human person, male or female of any age, nor does it contradict itself. That should have been warning enough, but you were too blinded by the tenets of the reproductive rights movement and the power you thought it gave you.

And now, the man you trusted to guard your pseudo-freedom in New York City has decided to dictate to new mothers how they will feed their own babies. Starting September 3, Mayor Bloomberg will enforce what is being called “the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation” which requires formula to be locked up and rationed out only if medical professionals can submit a medical reason for needing it. If the mother gets the formula from the state, she also gets a lecture. Why? It seems the people in power don’t really think women can make good choices for themselves or their children, especially the women who give birth.

Sure some of you will support this anti-choice program and justify it based on some feigned concern for the health of newborn babies. Some of you will speak out against it because you see it for the over-imposition of government into private lives that it is. However, I predict that not a single one of you will see the monumental contradiction before you once again.

Like happy and willing slaves, you conceded all your rights to the decisions of the people in power, and now they are dictating that those in charge do what you’ve been fighting against your whole lives – force a woman to let her child use her body. You may justify it as some caring act on the part of the government, but that’s nonsense. Governments don’t care for people; people care for people, and you’ve been advocating for generations that the most extreme bond between the have’s and the have not’s – the bond between mothers and their children – is meaningless unless the individual mother chooses to care for the greedy little thing.

Some people are calling your Mayor Bloomberg a nanny for turning NYC into a nanny-state, but at least nannies care for individual children. I hate to break it to you, Pro-Choice NYer, but you aren’t a child and Mayor Bloomberg and his officials don’t care for you (or the children you decide are worthy of life) individually. This isn’t about caring; it’s about control. It’s Marxism.

This is social materialism, utilitarian ideology about the worth of a human person in the big chemical equation of society. Feeding people taxes the system, just as pregnancy taxes a woman’s body. If it were about caring for the babies, there wouldn’t also exist a law that allowed late-term abortion past the point of viability. There wouldn’t be a law allowing any unborn child to be killed. The same child the state says must be breastfed for it’s health could have been killed the trimester, the month, the week, the day, and the minute before birth with impunity. Wake up! The same people are also busy telling you what you can and cannot eat or drink. They don’t really think you can be trusted to chose wisely for yourself; they see you as objects to be managed.

As pro-life people have said for as long as they’ve needed to use that title, if you promote that one group of humans can treat another dependent group like individual blobs of mindless tissue, don’t be surprised if the day comes when it’s your turn to be grouped as such too. You got what you asked for. Welcome to the world of your choices.

If you want to fix it, start by reaffirming unconditional love between mother and child, and by defending the primary and natural rights of the family.

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37 Responses to Dear Pro-Choice NYer, You Got What You Asked For

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  • Wow. The reach of the government never ends. Unbelievable.

  • Great writ! My heart goes out to the new mothers that cannot breast feed but wish they could. Now these mothers will have to hear from the government.

  • Considering the nagging, false information and borderline bulling I’ve experienced at both hospitals that I gave birth at– I do and did breastfeed willingly, and the ladies were trying to do the right thing, and it didn’t cause actual harm so I didn’t speak up at that point– this is especially bothersome.

  • God brings good out of evil. Next Bloomberg will be outlawing contraceptive pills because the hormones are polluting our drinking water and men’s breast are getting to big to fit in their t -shirts.
    Breastfeeding babies is conducive to spiritual maturity. It is the milk of human kindness made physical nourishment. Babies need to be fondled and caressed at the breast and upon the lap.

  • The same child the state says must be breastfed for it’s health could have been killed the trimester, the month, the week, the day, and the minute before birth with impunity. Wake up!

    Excellent point, one that I had not even considered.

  • The underlying philosophy is very old. As Rousseau says, ““Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.”

    His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.”

  • Don’t tell me, let me guess: the “official” rationale behind this is that breastfed babies are healthier and therefore less of a burden on the healthcare system. Which is the same rationale behind anti-obesity and anti-smoking campaigns and other relentless campaigns to stamp out every bad health habit (except those involving sex, of course). What you do with your own body becomes everybody’s business when “everybody” is paying for your healthcare.

  • Elaine Krewer makes a valid point, but I believe this logic goes back much further, to the French Revolution and the levée en masse.

    If, as Holmes J mordantly observed, “the state has the right to drag the citizen from his home and occupation, put him into uniform and march him into battle, with bayonets at his back,” as well as using “directed labour” in essential industries on the significantly named “home front,” then a concern for the nation’s health becomes a matter of strategic and political significance.

    I believe the first hospital built by the US government was for merchant seamen; precisely the class that could be impressed into the navy, in the event of war.

    Stacey Trasancos is right enough; disinterested philanthropy is seldom the motive of government action.

  • “His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.”

    We give citizenship to our country, not the citizens. Citizenship is endowed by the state at birth, and citizenship is the tribute that the sovereign person returns to the state. No person can be forced to be free. FREEDOM is from God and is returned to God though the free will of the person. God owns the person. The general will of the people, the will of the goverment, will not go to hell for any citizen. We have to be responsible for our own choices, and in doing so, a person exercises his free will endowed by our Creator. Rousseau did not beleieve in our Creator, so, Rousseau invented this silliness.

  • God is LOVE. Man must love or be lost to God. No human being comes into existence without the creation of his soul by our Creator.
    The atheist demands proof of the existence of God. God is the Supreme Sovereign Being. God is EXISTENCE. God is BEING. God is beauty. Beauty does not need a reason to exist.
    So, the atheist who falls in love has God.

  • “If, as Holmes J mordantly observed, “the state has the right to drag the citizen from his home and occupation, put him into uniform and march him into battle, with bayonets at his back,” as well as using “directed labour” in essential industries on the significantly named “home front,” then a concern for the nation’s health becomes a matter of strategic and political significance.”

    Only under martial law and it is the Congess who declares war for the people. It is the people who choose to defend themselves, when, where and how.

  • Let us remind the government that we, the people, are their employers and they are our employees. The breastmilk of the mother must not be tainted by tyranny. The nourishment of the infant must be real human milk. Breastfeeding an infant must be voluntary, or it will be bitter.

  • “Rousseau did not beleieve in our Creator, so, Rousseau invented this silliness.”

    Why Mary de Voe imagines Rousseau was an atheist, I do not know – “There remains therefore the religion of man or Christianity — not the Christianity of to-day, but that of the Gospel, which is entirely different. By means of this holy, sublime, and real religion all men, being children of one God, recognise one another as brothers, and the society that unites them is not dissolved even at death.” [Du Contrat Social IV:8]

    He was for banishing those who did not believe in “the existence of a mighty, intelligent and beneficent Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence, the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and the laws” [ibid]

  • His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.” WHO gives each citizen to his country and by what right is another person given to anyone else? Rousseau my have believed in God but he did not apply his belief to his citizenship. Now, this is not intended to be nasty cause it sounds nasty, but how did Rousseau avoid addressing his own citizenship?

  • Awesome post. You split atoms with your precision.

  • No, no, no, DA Howard, I am the nuclear engineer here. I split atoms in my day job (well, used to; now I just do engineering). 😉

    But Stacy’s post is awesome!

    😀

  • Stacy, thanks for the reflections immersed in genuine Christian belief. I will for sure translate part of your post into Portuguese to share. God bless.

  • Very well written, Stacy. And timely, too, in this election year.
    I wonder if the liberals, especially those on the right, realise that if the Marxists or their sympathisers gain control they (the libs) will be crushed.

  • It seems to me that the abortion genocide is being encouraged by a bunch of lesbians who envy men and who have contempt or desire for girly women. I had an opportunity to visit an abortion clinic to repair a roof. There were gay looking women in the clinic’s waiting room that seemed to be just hanging out, the way guys hang out at bars looking for women. Some of them had shirts that put men down as slimy, dirty, etc. It was an eye opening experience for me. I did not know it was an abortion clinic since I was working for the landlord. I never went back. Has this observation ever been documented before? I would like to know if it was just this clinic or are there others. I have seen some the women that seem to be pushing the abortion issue and maybe its me but they seem more butch. Is it because these women seem to gravitate toward the women issues in general?nCould someone tell me? From a social science standpoint, how does a lesbian population feel about pregnant women and abortions?

  • I love the great Q-Beam of shining light found in the illuminating use of the word marxism. Idolatry of individual rights in the absence of moral truth clearly invites marxism to fill the void.

  • “Past the point of viability?” What the hell does that mean coming from one who presents herself as a Catholic pro-lifer? The quote above seems gratuitous, jarring. I would’ve expected it from the under-informed twenty and thirty-somethings that this piece was hopefully aimed at. Also, as an aside, please don’t type so fast that you’re oblivious to spelling. Too much of it these days on the internet. But, having said all that, your post is sharp and well-done, and i obviously comcur with the points made here. GOD BLESS ALL, MARKRITE

  • So predictable. More encroachment form the biggest corporate body of them all – the Government. This dole & control thing is getting really intolerable. Didn’t the UK in the 1940s attempt to mandate career paths for their citizens? USSR redux? That British mandate was promptly rebuffed, thank God. Don’t be surprised if such government maneuvering someday gets tried here. But, why not? In the spirit of the general welfare and domestic tranquility, it’s for their our own good? Less responsiblity = less freedom.

  • Bill

    Perhaps you are thinking of “Directed Labour,” introduced in the UK under DORA (The Defence of the Realm Act) 1940, whereby workers could be, in effect, conscripted into “essential industries,” or, more often in practice, prevented from leaving them. It remained in place during post-war reconstruction, but was finally repealed in 1951.

    What rendered it largely ineffective is that most “essential industries” had pre-entry closed shop agreements with the Trade Unions, meaning that no one could be hired, who was not already a member of the union. The attempt to introduce “Bevin Boys” into the Lanarkshire coal-fields caused a widespread strike, with the railwaymen “blacking” (refusing to handle) coal from the affected pits. It was only after the attack on the “workers’ fatherland” in July 1941 that the unions gave up their objections for “the duration.”

  • I am a sidewalk counselor at an abortion clinic in New Jersey. We are urban, and have the same population demographics as New York City. Since I am a man, I spend more time talking to the men. Just this past week, Greg (name changed) and his girlfriend were sent to the clinic by the hospital. She had miscarried, and the doctors sent her to the clinic to have the already dead fetus removed. Yeah, I can see the medical logic in that; the same abortionist that kills a child in the womb and evacuates the dead child is medically skilled to perform this procedure. But what a hell hole to send a woman who has miscarried! God help us; what emotional ignorance on the part of the medical professionals that sent this couple to a ghetto of infanticide.

    Greg had to go outside while she was in the procedure. He just could not stand being in there. What made it nauseating was the laughing and humor of the “repeaters”. One young woman was having her fifth abortion. Here, his girlfriend told Greg that she felt worthless about not being physically able to sustain the life, and now this couple was thrown in with the hardcore. The poor guy was numb at first, but when he started talking the pain and the sorrow came out. He and his girlfriend will be OK. They have been together seven years, and now plan to marry and start a family within a context of a Catholic family. We gave him Rachel’s Vineyard literature, and assured him that God loves them both, and that great people, like Dorothy Day, have been in worse and turned it around.

    Msgr. Reilly of “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants” says that for those hardcore, before the woman physically aborts her child, she spiritually aborts it. Often we are not effective to change their choice in the 30-45 seconds we have to talk to them before they enter the clinic. All we can do is try to prevent the next one. I have to say, the 41% abortion rate is chilling. From my own observations, I have to believe that many of these are the 4-5 abortion repeaters that we see. Not every woman who walks into a clinic is sobered by the choice. Worse, many walk out without any personal resolution to change habits or sexual activity.

  • Markrite, I think her comment, “there wouldn’t also exist a law that allowed late-term abortion past the point of viability” was meant to make very clear the fact that the gov’t doesn’t really care about children, by allowing EVEN those that could live survive outside the womb (were they to be born at that point) to be aborted.

    I agree with her making that point, if for no other reason than it shows that ‘if you allow X, then Y and Z must also be allowed’. There are so many Catholic women that, unfortunately, believe in the woman’s right to choose; if they buy into the belief that a ‘fetus’ is not really a baby, then it is difficult to make them understand the Pro-Life position. However, if you can get them to understand that their belief also makes ‘Y and Z’ acceptable, then It may cause them to rethink their position.

    I was one of those who, upon seeing that people were appalled that female babies were specificaly being aborted, immediately made the connection – if you believe that abortion AT ANY STAGE OF LIFE should be legal, you have NO right to have any say in who or what type of baby is aborted. Abortions based on sex, mental abnormalities and even physical characteristics all are fair game.

    It needs to be made very clear that to believe in abortion means allowing all these other things.

    I read a paper recently, I believe th doctors were out of Austria, saying that post birth killing should be legal, if there was some abnormality. They stated correctly that if a country allowed abortion, the point at which it was allowed (up to 4, 5, or 6 months) was merely a line in the sand. They were correct. If we allow taking a life for any reason, then taking a life for any reason must follow.

    Right now we are having this discussion about the unborn. How much longer before the discussion will be about the elderly?

  • Joash M. wrote, “It seems to me that the abortion genocide is being encouraged by a bunch of lesbians who envy men and who have contempt or desire for girly women.”

    Oh, it’s not just contempt. It’s lust.

    “24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. ” Romans 1:24-27

    While there are some heroic homosexuals and lesbians who try to remain chaste and celibate, living lives in conformance to St. Paul’s admonition that we offer up our bodies as living sacrifices, these militant homosexuals and lesbians are godless, reprobate perverts who need to be relegated back into the closet from whence they came.

  • “I read a paper recently, I believe th doctors were out of Austria, saying that post birth killing should be legal, if there was some abnormality.”

    Can you provide a link or citation to this paper? This is EXACTLY how the Jewish Holocaust started. This information would be useful.

  • Here you go: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

    Thanks everyone for the comments, I’m reading them from email and truly appreciate it.

  • Paul: “While there are some heroic homosexuals and lesbians who try to remain chaste and celibate, living lives in conformance to St. Paul’s admonition that we offer up our bodies as living sacrifices, these militant homosexuals and lesbians are godless, reprobate perverts who need to be relegated back into the closet from whence they came.”

    There are many, many heroic homosexuals and lesbians who remain chaste and celibate and there are many, many heterosexuals who remain chaste and celibate starting with our leader, Jesus Christ. The evil side likes to pretend that there are few and that they are weird or abnormal, but I tell you there are multitudes, the norm and the blessed. If I do not get to heaven, and the good Lord leaves me on earth, I hope it is with a community of chaste and celibates, for such is the joy of innocence, to have recapitulated our original innocence.

  • Yes, Mary De Voe, as usual you are 100% correct. I wish I could write like you, but often I get too darn mad and fly off the handle. I think it was St. Peter – or maybe St. Paul or both – who said that such anger is not of God. I got a lot of work to do on myself.

  • I think it could be that New York State is pulling these measures as an economic response to the extra burden it will have to carry in medicare. In other words, it is not ideology driving this, but state economic survival in the face of the HHS.

  • Well said, Stacy. The call to “wake up!” runs an unbroken line from Creation, through the prophets, and has culminated in Jesus’ continuing call to awaken to the Kingdom of God when and where we are. You have beautifully articulated this call in your piece; I hear Jesus’ words echoing in yours. Though many of us still sleep, let us pray that we awaken, that we hear and respond to God’s call upon our lives, and that more of us will humbly yet firmly choose to speak the wake-up call of God into the lives of those around us.

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Expert Advice on “Breastfeeding” Without Controversy

Friday, June 1, AD 2012

This is in response, sort of but in general whether you’re in the military or not, to this photo, and others, mentioned at Huffington Post, and elsewhereGo ahead, gawk and wince.

Nursing doesn’t have to be controversial. Too often the conflicts over breastfeeding in public turn into a debate about whether the woman has a right to expose herself in public or not. One side says it’s natural and the woman is justified, the other side says she isn’t because, frankly, it makes people uncomfortable.

When I was younger, I was in the first category, a me-first mentality and the media seems to encourage that mindset. “Look what a great mom I am!” For me, that need to show-off was a compensation for the compromises and insecurities of trying to appear liberated. As I nurse this seventh child now, I realize my approach to nursing has changed, drastically. [1] Age? Experience? Faith? (Exhaustion?) A lot of reasons.

First, that compulsion to prove myself vanished. I’m happy, confident, and proud in my home, and if I must go somewhere, then I am prepared to find an enclave. Nursing, like it or not, is private, and a woman is not oppressed if she has to excuse herself to feed her child. It’s a considerate gesture, an act of propriety, to acknowledge those around you — basic good manners. [2]

Second, because it will happen, when I have no choice but to nurse in front of other people, I do it discretely. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, and a woman’s attitude can put others at ease. Cover up with a blanket, focus on the baby, and do what needs to be done. This may seem insignificant, but refraining from eye contact will do much to maintain a little private bubble. [3] Chances are, no one will even notice, and your mini-withdrawal will put them at ease if they do. Once the baby’s situated, carry on. People don’t mind knowing you are nursing, it’s the risk of exposure that makes them nervous. Understandably so. Nursing is intimate.

Third, I simply let myself enjoy it. It’s not a competition and babies grow too fast anyway. These are precious moments. So what if you have to make temporary sacrifices? So what if you have to learn, by sometimes failing, to navigate uncomfortable scenarios graciously?

Last, using a more appropriate word helped me orient my thinking. “Breastfeeding” sounds so utilitarian. I prefer to call it “nursing” which implies loving care. Moms nurse the child in the womb, and into adulthood. Every stage comes with its challenges and joys, so let the first years be intimately special, and leave the controversy for another day. [4]

In other words, lighten up. You don’t need publicly published professional photography to capture the moment and rankle a non-issue.

 

What? Did you think I've violate what I just said with a photo of a bare-chested woman?

 

[1] More like, all pretense has been beaten out of me.

[2] No one posts pictures of changing poopy diapers.

[3] Shooting daring glances at strangers is a bad idea.

[4] Like those things Mr. Donald R. McClarey pointed out.

 

Image credit: Microsoft Powerpoint

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42 Responses to Expert Advice on “Breastfeeding” Without Controversy

  • “Cover up with a blanket, focus on the baby, and do what needs to be done. This may seem insignificant, but refraining from eye contact will do much to maintain a little private bubble.”

    You know, as a practical matter, unless you’re literally hiding in a corner, I don’t think this is actually true. I think it makes you *more* noticeable, if you happen to be out in public, to be “focusing on the baby” (not to mention that it’s not possible both to cover up with a blanket and focus on the baby unless the blanket is over your own head).

    I’m nursing my fourth child — I’ve been a nursing mother for almost 12 years straight now — and learning how to breastfeed casually and comfortably AND without showing a lot of skin was definitely a learning curve. I’m sure I was horrible at it when I was nursing my first newborn, and I have a terrible memory of leaking milk all over the grocery store once. But anyway, if I’m seated and have a small baby tucked well into a baby sling that provides its own cover, I find that once I get set up so to speak, the key to not being noticed is to NOT look at the baby — just look people in the eye and act normally. Most people assume, I think, that the baby is sleeping. OTOH, whenever I tried to fuss with one of those cover-up thingies I always felt like I had a big flashing sign over my head that read “THIS LADY HAS HER BOOB OUT UNDER HERE.” So I quit ’em.

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  • I love the idea of appropriate wording. I too call it nursing most of the time. It is an apt term.

    I’m still nursing my third child and have had changes in my attitude toward nursing in public over the years, but I think our attitudes are going in the opposite direction. When my oldest was born, I never nursed in front of anyone except my husband, mother, and sister. If anyone else was around, I would retreat somewhere else. It got old fast. I felt pretty lonely. If we were out in public, I would find sitting rooms in the bathroom or some place extremely private. Again lonely. Once while in the sitting room of the bathroom in a department store, I got treated to two women (old enough to know better) completely grossed out by my nursing. They just couldn’t believe anyone would do something like that especially in public (public being the restroom but not in a stall). So after that and over time I pretty much developed the attitude of ‘screw it.’ Not screw it to discretion or good manners and taste, but screw it to other people’s hang-ups. I decided to be discreet and nurse where ever I felt it was appropriate and not feel like I had a moral responsibility to go hide in a closet.

    I think a friendly confident attitude is the key to making everyone at ease when nursing in public. You shouldn’t have a defiant attitude daring someone to question you, a la TIME magazine, but you also shouldn’t be so uncomfortable that you project the attitude of “I am doing something weird and perhaps wrong here so please, please, please don’t look at me.” If you do your very best not to flash the world and not make a scene, I think you have fulfilled your moral obligation.

    I agree with bearing that a woman with a cover-up is usually more noticeable than the discreet non-covered nurser. I know I notice more. Especially with a baby unaccustomed to having a blanket on his head and very unhappy about it. Also I hate it when people compare nursing to dirty diapers. Not the same. Breastmilk is not hazardous waste.

  • Thank you for that advice! That last part was funny, yeah, I get what you mean. 😀

  • Loved the article. Breastmilk is not dairy. Diapers are slightly less gross.

  • There’s no reason that a child should be forced to have lunch in a public restroom … it’s not like any of us would chose to do so!

  • Fr Levi

    I recall a lady, who was helping me with the lambing, breaking off to nurse her baby on a straw bale in the corner of the lambing-shed. I remember thinking to myself, “That child will never suffer from allergies”

    Really, it astonishes me that anyone would feel squeamish about a child being nursed.

  • I have, on a few occasions, approached women who were discreetly nursing, in order to ask directions or some other innocuous thing, only to realize when I’m right in front of them what was happening. They were so good at simply not advertising their preoccupation that I didn’t even begin to notice. Most times, as well, they were quite comforatble in responding to what I was asking.

    I’ve never approached anybody doing what the soldier women were doing.

  • I’ve never approached anybody doing what the soldier women were doing.

    Both of them? I’ve looked at the picture and the woman with twins is quite exposed, but I have never had twins so it might be impossible to discreetly nurse twins. I don’t know that may be the best that can be done. Given that, I don’t think I would nurse twins in public if that is the best possible outcome because she really is very exposed and I would be very uncomfortable with it.

    But the woman on the right looks very discreet. Maybe she could have straightened her shirt there a bit, but I don’t see any flesh so that qualifies as a good job in my book. If the woman on the right is lumped in with the others as inappropriate public nursing, then, to me, she is an example of how nursing mothers should not be responsible for other people’s hang-ups.

  • I nursed my daughter until she was about eighteen months old. Never had any issue doing it in public, although I absolutely covered myself during. I’ve found that most people either don’t notice or don’t care so long as your breasts aren’t hanging out.

  • I’m with Bearing. If you have the knack for nursing with no flesh showing, the most discreet thing is to act like you’re just holding your baby. I’ve watch a pro mom do this (in her kitchen, when I *knew* she had just taken a fussy baby and put it to a breast), and had to mentally remind myself she was nursing, just because, well, looks like mom holding sleeping baby.

    I think the obvious retreat, blanket thrown over baby, etc., only draws attention to what is happening. Good second choice if you can’t physically manage to breastfeed discretely, but it’s a second choice.

  • Fittingly, about a week ago I was at the local Army BX and a lady was nursing in the baby area. I didn’t realize that was what she was doing when I called the Toddler Terrible back from her, just figured she was getting a feel for the baby blanket.

    FWIW, no, the ladies should NOT have been photographed in uniform to promote something or other for a non-military source. It’s beaten into your head as military, you do NOT use the uniform for ANYTHING that’s not military.

    The rule I use for nursing is “get what must be done done without hurting anybody.” And yes, flashing your boobies at a gazillion folks who just wanted to go shopping is a form of harm. Basic freaking manners, ladies. Nobody wants to see your boobies unless they’re married to you. I may be only on baby #2, but try to act like a civilized human. Someone gives you crud in spite of it? That’s their problem. They’re punished enough by being blankers.

  • WK Aiken, “I’ve never approached anybody doing what the soldier women were doing.” Exactly!

  • Jenny,

    “Given that, I don’t think I would nurse twins in public if that is the best possible outcome because she really is very exposed and I would be very uncomfortable with it.”

    That’s what I thought too.

    “But the woman on the right looks very discreet.”

    I think if the photo had only been of that woman, the photo never would have even been controversial.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Mandy P,

    “I’ve found that most people either don’t notice or don’t care so long as your breasts aren’t hanging out.”

    Yep. 😀

    Jennifer Fitz,

    “Good second choice if you can’t physically manage to breastfeed discretely, but it’s a second choice.”

    Exactly.

    These are great comments. Thank you.

  • Foxfier,

    “FWIW, no, the ladies should NOT have been photographed in uniform to promote something or other for a non-military source. It’s beaten into your head as military, you do NOT use the uniform for ANYTHING that’s not military.”

    Thank you for saying that.

    “The rule I use for nursing is get what must be done done without hurting anybody.”

    Perfect and AMEN. Yes, and if you are doing your best and someone gets offended anyway, it’s a YP not an MP (your problem/my problem). 😉

  • Yall must be a lot more refined than I am. 🙂 You have voiced my general idea much more charitably than I put it. My goal is to do the best for everyone involved in the situation. This includes me, the hungry baby, anyone nearby, and passing strangers. The person not on my priority list is the one who is disgusted by the very notion of a nursing baby.

    I won’t speak to the appropriateness of getting photographed in uniform. I don’t have any military experience so if you say it is not allowed to be photographed without permission, it is not unreasonable for these women to be punished for not seeking permission. I will say that in general it should not be required for women to change out of uniform to nurse their babies. Can you imagine having to change 8 to 12 times a day? Not reasonable. It does make me wonder if there are any military issue nursing shirts. They have maternity clothes, right?

    Funny story: I went to a baby shower when my son was about six weeks old. The expectant mother had a male relative (in his 50s?)who somehow got on the subject of nursing. He was absolutely repulsed by it. He loudly and with hostility declared that nursing was disgusting and it absolutely should not be done in public and he once saw a woman nursing at an airport and wanted to hit her in the face. And while this joyful man was blessing us with his opinions, I was sitting across the room from him nursing my baby and he had no idea.

  • They’re not going to get punished, the pictures just can’t be used. If they did it again they’d be punished, or if they’d embarassed the command or military. If the headline I’ve seen about “military mom ‘proud’ in spite of rebuke” is correct, she might get punished, but that’s because she’s hurting the chain of command. You don’t make a big public deal about how your chain is wrong to tell you something isn’t allowed, ESPECIALLY if they didn’t punish you when they could have. Of course, if she had any sense she wouldn’t have done it in the first place….

    You can nurse in uniform, the sticking point is that when you’re in uniform you’re representing the military. While you’re nursing, you’re technically out of uniform because it’s not in proper order. With every uniform I can think of, if you’re in a private area it’d make the most sense to take off the blouse (button-down shirt thing) and lift the undershirt. The lady I saw in the BX didn’t do that, but she didn’t have a private place, either– did the indian-style seat, drape a blanket over thing. No idea how she managed it, looked normal enough I didn’t realize what was going on immediately and once I figured it out I didn’t look again.
    There just aren’t a lot of times when you’d have to nurse in uniform– when you pick your baby up from care, if you do some shopping on base after work, that sort of thing.

    And yes, there are military maternity clothes. They’re ugly as sin, but that covers most of the unique female uniforms. ^.^ No nursing outfits that I know of, you’re supposed to be back in normal uniform not too long after giving birth. (I can’t remember if it’s when maternity leave ends, or six weeks after that.) There are lots of reasons I didn’t want to be a military mom!

    The AP article says that Captain Keith Kosik mentioned they won’t be disciplined, you just can’t use the uniform to promote causes. If the ANG is like the Navy, though, the women are REALLY going to get hell from their co-workers, though, because they’re going to have to have ANOTHER training day about not using the blanking uniform when speaking publicly. In addition to the yearly blessed training. Yay, wasted time! Hopefully they get away with just doing whatever the zoomies call quarters, though.

  • I don’t know why so many people are so skiddish about breasts in the US in Europe and Brasil people aren’t constantly trying to make them big but are also not trying to worry to much about them because the men there think of Breasts as baby feeders.

  • The milk of human kindness has been withheld from a whole generation.

  • Jenny

    A delightful story!

    Such attitudes seem to be more widespread than one would imagine. Here in Scotland, we actually have the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 that provides “it is an offence deliberately to prevent or stop a person in charge of a child from feeding milk to that child in a public place or on licensed premises.” “’Feeding’ includes— (a) breastfeeding; and (b) feeding from a bottle or other container.”

    Not only that, but the Act imposes a duty on the executive: “The Scottish Ministers shall make arrangements, to such extent as they consider necessary to meet all reasonable requirements, for the purpose of supporting and encouraging the breastfeeding of children by their mothers.”

    What is really shocking is that such legislation should be necessary.

  • Ever hear the expression, there’s a time and place for everything. The breasts are considered a private part of the woman’s body and should be used discreetly when nursing. A woman pulled out her breast in church and shoved it into her baby’s mouth. It was not discreet and very distracting. Sorry, but we don’t wear blinders in church and there was a “cry room” where she could have done this. It’s not that anything is wrong with breastfeeding, it’s a matter of propriety. Did you ever think that there may be young men battling issues of chastity or, conversely, dirty old men fantasizing about women’s bodies when they see this. Eliminating is also a natural function; will this be allowed in public as well?

  • Bearing, YES, exactly! You are SO more obvious with a blanket over the baby and mine would always tear it off only to leave me more exposed than I would be if I would have just discreetly nursed them.

    I don’t think we are doing anyone a service by leaving the room everytime a baby needs to nurse. We are treating nursing as being unnatural and as something to hide.

    This conversation, like the being excessively modest in dress one, can actually have the reverse effect. It can actually objectify women more and encourage wrong beliefs that breasts are purely sexual objects

  • I don’t think we are doing anyone a service by leaving the room everytime a baby needs to nurse. We are treating nursing as being unnatural and as something to hide.

    No, we’re treating publicly visible boobs as something to hide, out of recognition that the baby-food source also has a sexual aspect.

    Who cares if it’s obvious you’re nursing, so long as you’re not making a production of it?

  • First off, I was never breast fed because I was adopted at birth. As I understand it, it is possible to milk the breasts and store the milk in bottles for later use. Perhaps these can be used out in public and the actual breast feeding can be done in the privacy of one’s home. Also Michelle Duggar as successfully breast fed in public using a very special covering–not sure what’s it’s called or who makes them but I’m sure there is a way to find out.

  • “No, we’re treating publicly visible boobs as something to hide, out of recognition that the baby-food source also has a sexual aspect.”

    As Valentin pointed out, breasts having a “sexual aspect” is a (mostly uptight American) cultural thing and maybe it’s time to change that conotation by educating the misinformed public as to what breasts purposes are.

    “Who cares if it’s obvious you’re nursing, so long as you’re not making a production of it?”
    Exactly! So why would one leave the room or put on a “knocker blocker” when one can simply nurse discreetly.

    Iroy: Not all mothers can pump. I was one of them. Do you eat solely in the privacy of your own home?

  • “As I understand it, it is possible to milk the breasts and store the milk in bottles for later use. Perhaps these can be used out in public and the actual breast feeding can be done in the privacy of one’s home. Also Michelle Duggar as successfully breast fed in public using a very special covering.”

    I don’t want to be critical of this viewpoint but maybe I can offer something to help you understand. More and more, I’ve come to think more education is needed when it comes to breastfeeding (I see nothing wrong with that word. Breastfeeding, nursing, feeding — I often tell someone I’m feeding my baby). I think society needs to be more supportive and accepting of breastfeeding moms, especially those with little babies but, yes, todlers too, and I think we need more education for that.

    Specifically in regards to using bottles, yes, you can pump milk and store it in bottles, but I feel no woman should think she needs to pump and feed from a bottle when she is in public. First of all, some babies do not like bottles. I may not have tried much with my kids, especially my second, but I’ve even heard stories of babies who won’t take a bottle despite strong efforts. A mom shouldn’t have to force her baby to eat from a bottle when that baby wants to actually nurse. It’s different to take a bottle vs. to nurse. Second, a nursing baby is in control over how much he or she eats. The baby can nurse until done. With a bottle, either you have too much or not enough and it’s very easy to overfeed a baby with a bottle as they might just keep eatting even when full. Third, breastfeeding follows a rule of supply and demand. A mom’s body learns to make milk depending on how much the baby eats. If a mom has to use bottles when out in public, she’s kind of missing a feeding and possibly messing with her supply. Of course, to get milk for a bottle, she has to pump and that helps with supply, too, so maybe a moot point, but I kind of think there’s a difference. Not to say a woman can’t pump and feed baby a bottle when she’s not around, of course that’s great, but all the time when’s she’s out can’t be good. I’m sure some women do it because they feel more comfortable or think they need to because of what people will think, or it’s easier, but I just think that is sad.

    Nursing covers, that’s been mentioned a little. My first hated it. He’d scream and draw even more attention to us. And it is hard to see what you’re doing. I also think it’s a big sign that says hey, look at us over here. I’ve never bothered with my second.

    That being said, I also try to go someplace where we can be alone if possible. Sometimes I don’t like that because yes, it takes you away from the social gathering. Sometimes I like it because it’s nice to get away and have some quiet relaxing time. But I only do that because I have a very distracted nurser. I thought my first had some distraction problems, but I still could discreetly nurse him in church, on a park bench, at a restaurant, for the most part that I remember. It’s more of a scary thought with my second. We manage OK when we have to at playdates and I might try somewhere in public. Recently I fed him in the bathroom of a ballpark and I felt kind of uncomfortable there but was trying to be comfortable. I wish I could have been more comfortable to feed him in the stands because the bathroom also is not an ideal place, so super loud with all the flushing and water running and people coming and going. Like someone else said, I hope it is a practice thing and I’ll get better at it, too. I try my best to be discreet and I worry about it, but it’s what I have to do. It’s best for my baby. It’s best for me. I want to be respectful of people, but people also should not be so judgemental either. I’ve learned a lot through my experiences and I’ve done things differently that I thought I would (nurse an 18 month old? What? How wierd. I don’t think that now.) I’m in a rush to finish this up as my kids are up now but I hope I got some of my point across clearly.

  • As Valentin pointed out, breasts having a “sexual aspect” is a (mostly uptight American) cultural thing and maybe it’s time to change that conotation by educating the misinformed public as to what breasts purposes are.

    Yeah, because that is an incredibly polite reaction– wonderfully caring, and I’m generally swayed to a different way of thinking by people deliberately taking actions that are offensive to myself and the population at large. Including, for bonus points, those who DO support reasonable, polite breast feeding.

    FYI, turning feeding your kid into “educating” those “uptight” people who notice that breasts are sexual (I am not going to believe a random comment’s claim over what I already know) is making a production of it. Never mind if aspiring to become Europe in our social-sexual expectations is desirable.

    Michelle –
    neither of my girls like nursing covers, and it’s a booger to find one that would fit me, anyways. If there’s a nursing room, I’ll use that– just avoids distractions for the baby and discomfort for the adults, plus corrals the older kids. A blanket, though, can block line-of-sight if you can find a quiet corner, and a loose T-shirt does the rest. If there’s room, a stroller can strategically block sight, too.

    Iroy- besides the other problems, including how do you warm it up, some women’s milk doesn’t store well.

    There are a lot of tactics that you can use to make feeding your baby easy on everyone; some will work well for this woman but not for that, and even between kids it changes. There’s give and take involved, just like in any other human interaction.

  • I like the mother in the picture you put up. She has beautiful, long, red hair. 🙂 Her child takes after her too.

  • I nursed three kiddos, each til they were two years old. I’ve nursed in every conceivable setting and circumstance, and I never once had any trouble from the folks around me. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, and you use discretion when baby is latching on, and you keep yourself from being exposed, there’s no reason a woman should be made to leave the room or the plane or the restaurant or the office or the bus or the theater or church or wherever!

    As to this: [2] No one posts pictures of changing poopy diapers.

    I have to disagree with the analogy. No one posts pictures of adults using the restroom either (that would be unthinkable!), but we happily take pictures of each other at mealtime and share them publicly. Eating is a great part of the human experience and a great way of bonding with friends and family. There is nothing shameful about a baby eating the way babies were designed to eat. It should not be treated like something to be embarrassed by. It’s not the same thing as a diaper change.

  • Christopher Michael says:
    Thursday, June 7, 2012 A.D. at 5:38pm
    I like the mother in the picture you put up. She has beautiful, long, red hair. Her child takes after her too.
    ..but she and her child do not have rational, immortal souls

  • Marg there is a difference between feeding your child during the mass and on the park bench. Further more not as many people consider breasts as private parts in Brasil where Men think of them as baby feeders not play things like certain cads would.

  • Foxfier I was just pointing out much it it seems so babyish for men to yearn for breasts in the US. Further more sexual and erotic are two distinct things a boy feeding from his mothers breast is doing something sexual but not erotic. Sexual has to do with the difference between Men and Women and Boys and Girls. Erotic has to do with love for somebody you might become one with or are one with in the circumstance of marriage.

  • Marriage and procreation seem pretty important in more than just a private way considering that someone is going to enter into society, your wife will enter your family and your parents will become grandparents.

  • Foxfier if someone is raised in a large family they generally are not afraid around large groups people especially when feeding from their mother.

  • Foxfier I agree that it is rude for someone to say that the US is uptight especially since I know that quite a bit of both women slightly lesser men in the USA are both perfectly chaste and lighthearted about such a topic.

  • I’m with Foxfier: you city folk are way too uptight. When I want to nurse li’l Baby Darryl Lee, I just untie my checked cotton halter top and let him go to town, no matter where we are – cornfield, barn, kitchen, Grandma’s house, the general store, or even on our twice a year trip to the big city.

    On our last trip, Darryl Lee was hungry while we were riding on that there subway train. There I was, big as life, top open, feeding him, didn’t give a hoot, and the lady across the aisle kept giving me funny looks. Finally I said to her, “what’s the matter, lady? Hain’t you never seen a Momma nursing her baby afore?”

    You know what she said to me? “Sure, lady. Just not while she’s spittin’ chawin’ terbacky!”

    Does she expect me to throw away a perfectly good plug just because my baby wants his lunch?

    I bet she expects me to try to hide what I’m doing from folks, too. “Dis-crete”, they call it. Discrete, heck. I can’t be bothered! These city folk are uptight, uptight, uptight! What’s good enough for the hogs back home to see, is good enough for them, the way I figger it!

  • Valentin-
    the very laws of Brazil suggest that they are, indeed, recognized as sexual. (I know various parts of Europe also recognize the female chest as sexual, but somehow that never matters when talking about “Europe” as a collective. The UK is most famous for it.)

    A baby nursing is not “sexual” in the normal course of things, and “sexual” encompasses “erotic” as well as simple sex differences. (I’m not linking dictionary.com for all of those, folks are capable of looking it up themselves.)

    Frankly, none of the insults offered do anything to excuse disregarding basic manners in regard to either men who struggle with temptation when faced with a woman’s naked chest, nor to people in general who are uncomfortable with acultural nudity.

  • Yes, categorizing Americans on a whole as uptight is wrong. My sincere apologies.
    I do believe, however, that those who are offended by a mother feeding her baby are certainly uptight.
    How do we expect breastfeeding to be the acceptable norm when women and men have never seen a mother feeding her baby. It’s a sad situation that breastfeeding is so taboo, that often, the first time a woman experiences breastfeeding is when she attempts at nursing her own baby. And we wonder why only 25% of US babies are breastfed at 6 months. http://kellymom.com/fun/trivia/bf-numbers/
    Right on, take this as another random comment. I’ll do the same.

  • I do believe, however, that those who are offended by a mother feeding her baby are certainly uptight.

    That’s not what offends most people– it’s flipping out a part of the body that is covered in polite society to do so, especially when it’s not needed. Accusing people of being against feeding a baby when they’re objecting to the things done in the process is flatly dishonest.

    I don’t wonder why not everyone nurses their babies past 6 months– besides lifestyle angles such as mom going back to work, look at the history. A dear friend discussed it with me and mentioned that doctors had scolded her and ordered her to use formula, because that was better for the baby. Her kids now have teenage kids, so it’s probable that those who are a bit older had mothers in a similar situation.

    Breastfeeding is not taboo, no matter how much modern martyers-in-their-own-minds want it to be. Women like that idiot in Target that staged a “nurse-in” because she was “harassed”– when the Target employees first offered her a more comfortable place to nurse than setting on the floor, and when she told them to just ignore what she was doing, treated her exactly like every other customer and asked if she needed anything every few minutes. That is their policy for all “guests.”

  • Uptight.

    Well, I’m uptight I guess. I don’t want to see strangers with significant dandruff brushing it away, or talking about it. I don’t want to hear about a stranger’s dandruff shampoo and how well it works. I find the sight of strangers brushing their hair, running their fingers through their hair in public – repellent (beyond a quick touch-up) I don’t want to see a close-up of a strangers’ eye infections or hear about treatment of or symptoms of eye infections, or eye surgery. I don’t want to see people putting on make-up or curling their eyelashes or tweezing their eyebrows. I’ve sat next to someone who was endlessly picking at tiny, barely visible pimples on her arms, and I had to get up and move. It was gross. I don’t want to see or hear about bad teeth. I don’t want to see or hear about peoples’ gum infections or gum surgery. That’s gross.

    Overhearing strangers’ public discussions of waxing or shaving is distasteful. As soon as the words “bikini area” or “pubic” are mentioned, I am out of there. Observing strangers publicly demonstrating how many inches of flab they may pinch – under the upper arm, or at the love-handle area is disgusting.

    Seeing strangers clip their nails in public is unpleasant – if more than just a quick snip snip to repair a break. Less so, but also unpleasant is the sight of public nail filing. I’ve heard of strangers clipping and filing their toenails in the subway that serves the area where I live. Stomach-churning . . . as is public scratching, public nose picking, tooth-picking, flossing (other than an extremely quick and discrete touch-up in an emergency)

    I don’t want to see PDAs. I don’t want to see or hear about strangers’ sex lives in public. I find the sight of couples making out on the subway excruciating. Get a room! An adult religion teacher was once sharing with his 10th grade students the Church’s teachings on what is and is not acceptable for a dating couple to indulge in, and he shared with the class the details of some of his own early forays into romantic experimentation when he was their age. Almost in unison, the class screamed: “ Eeewwwww-wwww-wwww! T-M-I!”

    T.M.I. Too much information. I don’t want to hear the details about your gastric bypass surgery, your facelift, your pelvic infection, your psoriasis, your strep throat, your gallbladder surgery. It’s OK to mention them, but to present the gory details that, as the kids say, is: “Eww-www!”

    I don’t mind being around people who eat politely, small bites, chew with their mouths closed, wipe their mouth when needed. I can’t stand to be around anyone chewing with their mouth open, spitting food back onto their plate, stuffing their mouths, having clumps of food smeared on their lips and chins, seeing particles clinging to mustache or beard hairs (excuse me, I think I just made myself nauseous.)

    A nursing Mom who retreats to a quiet corner (still out in public, though is fine) and stays covered while baby nurses is being a good Mom and also a considerate member of society.