Incidents in which moms are targeted and harassed by strangers for breastfeeding in public are all too common. But one woman recently took to social media to share that she was shamed in private -- by her own mother. On Sunday, November 26, moderators of the popular Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk shared the anonymous mom's story, describing it as "proof that even moms who have absolutely no boob exposed get harassed."
"Today, I took my 3 kids over to my mom's house to visit," the woman shared. "My youngest daughter is 3 weeks old and exclusively breastfed. She got hungry while we were having lunch so I took her in the living room, got her to latch and sat back down at the table to finish my meal while it was still warm. My mom didn't say anything at first, but when my stepdad came in from mowing the lawn, she threw me a dirty look and asked me to get my blanket and cover her."
She goes onto explain that she "politely declined" to cover up. "She told me it was her house and she wanted me to cover up," the mom shared. "I told her my daughter gets sweaty and uncomfortable under the blanket, and if it was that much of an issue that I wasn't going to do that to her, we would leave, and she said, 'Fine, leave.' So I started to get my kids ready to go, and she said, 'You're really going to leave because you're in MY house, and I want you to cover up? I don't care how you nurse in your own home, but at my house you need to cover up. No one wants to see that.'"
The nursing mom stuck to her guns and said "yes," she'd be leaving. "She made me look like the bad guy to my older 2 children by telling them I was leaving, because I was mad at her and she was sorry they couldn't stay to watch the end of the movie she just put on for them," the mom of three explained to Breastfeeding Mama Talk.
She also included an image of what she says she looked like while she was feeding her L.O.
Many moms on the page showed support for the nursing mother. "It's one thing for her to ask to cover up (which was uncalled for and rude) but to be so immature to make slide remarks to the kids, is completely unacceptable," one commenter noted. "I wouldn't return until she apologized." Another wrote, "I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that from your very own mother! That's so sad! Good for you for standing your ground and your kids will understand one day!"
Meanwhile, some did side with the grandma. "The mother is not in the wrong," one mom wrote. "I did not cover in public ... BUT if I was in someone’s private home where I was invited I would at least go to another room if asked. Obviously there’s an issue with the stepdad, this is their home and who are you to do something to make someone uncomfortable in THEIR OWN HOME. It doesn’t matter what it is. It is their home. Period."
One of the Breastfeeding Mama Talk moderators, Heather, weighed in, writing, "For those saying 'well, it’s her house, blah-blah' WE KNOW it’s Grandma’s house. She can feel how she wants, as sad as it is she can’t support her own daughter. But it was uncalled for to shame her in front of her children, bringing them into the situation unnecessarily. She’s upset because there was an ultimatum and this mama chose to do what was best for her and her baby at the time. She chose to leave, which IS the compromise to this situation. She wasn’t disrespectful, she CHOSE TO LEAVE to feed her child comfortably when she was told she couldn’t nurse here. And, by definition she’s covered in this picture. Baby’s head may not be, BUT SHE IS."
The story clearly stirred up a variety of strong opinions, and it's unfortunate to see an already ugly situation lead to a frustrating debate. If there's any silver lining to this unnerving experience, it's that so many moms are showing support for this woman -- and for every woman's right to do what's best for themselves and their children.