Well it finally happened, after 3 plus years breastfeeding two infants, a toddler, and now a preschooler with a renewed love of nursing; I have been officially been told today that I am offending people and have been asked to cover up.
Of course, I know California State Law, my rights, and my position on the issue. I even carry copies of the law in my wallet so I never have to even get into a discussion with another about it, but would simply hand them the law and continue feeding my baby. I thought I was prepared for this situation, I thought I would not be surprised and would simply stand up for my rights and go on with my daily routine. What I did not consider is how this would make me feel. I always thought I would of course be angry and frustrated with our country's strange obsession with breasts. I knew I would want to shout from the roof tops, "I refuse to cover up!". What I did not expect was the feelings of hurt that I am now experiencing. I feel berated. I feel sad. I have a slight feeling of uncomfortableness now when I think of feeding my baby in that place again.
Because I feel so strongly about this issue, I know these feelings will soon pass, anger might remain for a while, but ultimately pride will be what endures.
I will feel pride in myself for being able to give my children the best possible nutrition and comfort that exists.
I will feel pride in what I have taught about our bodies to the younger girls around me and for that matter, the boys as well.
I will feel pride in continuing to nurse my baby in a situation where
others know that I was asked to cover up and refused to do so simply out of embarrassment or shame.
I will feel pride in my husband for telling me that by doing what I do, I have made the world slightly more tolerant of breastfeeding mothers and in a small way made it a better place.
I will feel pride in myself for that as well.
No woman should ever be made to feel that doing something so natural is shameful. No woman should ever have to feel like she has to cover up because covering up implies that what I am doing is in some way shameful or inappropriate and NOTHING could be further from the truth.