Sometime last week I came across a news story about yet another woman who was rudely asked to stop nursing her baby. This time it wasn't in a woman's only gym, or in Target. Nope- this momma was nursing her baby in the waiting room of the Texas Attorney General's office. That's right- she was in a government office and was told harshly that she needed to find another place to nurse.
You'd think, of all people, that those in public office or working for the government would be aware of the laws protecting breastfeeding moms. You'd think that government offices would be a safe place to exercise your legal rights without harassment. But apparently not, at least not in Julie Helmke's case.
Obviously I'm mad that yet another mom has been humiliated and harassed for nursing her baby. But you know what else makes me mad? The utter lack of support in this society for moms, especially new moms. Julie's baby was only 6 weeks old. I don't know Julie, so I'm not trying to make assumptions about her specifically, but for the vast majority of women, 6 weeks postpartum is a very trying time, both physically and emotionally. When Julie was harassed, she was in the child support waiting room of the attorney general's office. She was waiting to speak to her case worker, presumably about child support. (Again, I'm not trying to make personal assumptions about Julie, but why else would she be there?) If a woman is to be receiving child support, that can only mean one thing- that her relationship with the child's father is no longer intact. Add that to the fact that she was 6 weeks postpartum, and that's a lot of stress for one new momma to handle. She deserves society's support. She does not deserve to be harassed and humiliated for FEEDING HER BABY.
When is this going to stop? When will we finally realize that nursing is normal? When will we finally start to realize the value and importance of mothers, and give them the respect and support that they deserve?
Why is it culturally acceptable for Christina Aguilara to wear this on national tv, but it's not culturally acceptable for a mom to nurse her baby in public? The hypocrisy astounds me.