I’ve been back and forth all weekend with this note. Should I write it? Should I just keep the beliefs of many individuals quiet because of a human right? In the end, I do believe this note has nothing to do with Human Rights but the human respect we show to our children.
This weekend, I found myself at a crossroads in my beliefs. After reading the article, posted below, and having a friend endure an incident at the local Walmart, I’m at odds about when and what is respectful in terms of breastfeeding. I have chosen the word respectful opposed to right because breastfeeding already a human right in the Province of Ontario.
I was thoroughly against the request my friend endured in Cambridge, ON, from a Walmart employee, to go breast feed her child in the public washrooms instead of breast feeding in a private area in the back of the store. How unsanitary and degrading to have to feed a child on the toilet!
However, it is my considered opinion, that this other woman, who was breastfeeding, on the ledge, beside a water slide, at a public pool goes beyond disrespectful to the several, if not hundreds, of children between the ages of 6 and 10 present. My opinion is based on the fact that these children have not taken one sexual education course educating them about the woman’s body. Why does she have to pursue her right into the eyes of those innocent faces? Does she believes her right trumps the respect of a child?
As well, what in the world is that mother doing feeding her baby on the ledge, beside a water slide, where there is highly chlorinated water splashing around? In today’s day and age, most of us can’t live without a bottle of hand cleaner in our purse. What in the world is she doing in that particular spot?
God, my children’s eyes burn all night after enduring a day at an outdoor pool. The only phrase I think appropriate for this disrespectful act is exhibitionism for the Human Rights of Breastfeeding women.
Now grant you, we, as parent’s can certainly pull our children out of the pool and leave immediately if it causes discomfort as it’s been deemed a “Natural Thing”. However, aren’t these pools designed for children who want to unite with other friend’s on a hot, humid day? Sandwiches, popsicles, and drinks are allowed no where near the ledge of a pool. Isn’t a child eating a right as well? A Natural Thing? However, we respect the caretakers who put the time into this pool and we just don’t do it.
After much thought and discussion, because I really did have a hard time with my feelings, I quickly realized that in the first year of my children’s life, I only had to pull out a bottle from the children’s diaper bag twice as I had urgent needs to tend to that couldn’t wait. I would wake in the morning, feed the baby, get dressed and say to my husband “We have three good hours, let’s move.” If by chance the baby awoke, most of the time, I would take the baby back home (they didn’t get dehydrated or die from waiting, if anything, the crying affected us), feed them, and put them back in their beds where nature intended on them sleeping.
The difference? We worked around their schedules. Life stopped for us until they ate three times a day, snacked twice, and slept 8 hours.
While I’m very much pro-breastfeeding and I do regret not doing it, however, I do believe that there is a time and place for everything. I’m sure some mom’s wanted to get some good photo’s of their children on that water slide, but was deterred from doing so. Those children didn’t deserve the disruption (or perhaps they had a good uncomfortable giggle between friends) as no doubt, there was a bench close by, a piece of grass to relax on or the car was in functional order.
There are so many natural things we don’t do because it may make people uncomfortable or shows signs of disrespect. Sex is a natural thing but we don’t make out in public if we are respectful to those around us. Defecating and urinating is natural too, but we don’t whip off our child’s diaper and expose their business and private parts for all the world to see. I know to this day, I would have been respectful to my father and to my friend’s husbands and children should I have chosen to breastfeed. Some would have said that breastfeeding my child wouldn’t have bothered them, but it’s so clear to see who’s bothered by it and who’s not. I have always taken the respect before right approach in my life.
I always say if you’re in my house, I do what I want….and I do, no matter if you like it, comment about it or give me your opinion! However, deciding what’s respectful to the public starts the minute you walk outside your door.
In regards to this incident at the pool, she has all the rights in the world to breastfeed and I respect her rights. However, those children, our young innocent beings, do not need to get a first hand view of the functions of a woman’s body until a much older age. It’s all about respect.
The reason we do not have The Human Respect Act of Canada is due to the fact that respect…is also a natural thing.