My Story and the Power of Breastfeeding In Candidates’ Ads [VIDEO]
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I wanted to be prepared. I bought the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book and studied baby development to anticipate what she would be doing and needing from month to month. I nested like a mofo knowing that chaos was soon to come but try to organize command central like I've got some control over the situation.
But what was most important to me as a new mother was to breastfeed my baby. The research says it is beneficial in so many ways, both for the baby and the mother, why would anybody choose to not do it?
Despite my preparations, however, it quickly became apparent that breastfeeding was not going to be an easy task for me. I learned while at the hospital with my first child that my body couldn't take the demands needed of my child but I also learned and felt how much it meant to me to not be able to perform this primal task.
A couple years went by and we had another beautiful baby girl, who I was unable to breastfeed, too. I was so disappointed after choosing to switch to formula for both of them after only a few days after their births. I felt I failed as a mother, I was unable to provide the most essential thing to their little growing bodies.
When my third baby came along I felt I had another chance to try again, but had low expectations. But, this story was different. We kept nursing throughout our hospital stay without much pain then, once we got home, I kept nursing without much pain still.
It is then that I realized my dream had come true. My biological existence was to serve this, of many, utilitarian functions and, now, it was happening. I was able to make him thrive and I realized that he's instinct, and correct latching, led the way to this success.
Throughout this life trial I thought this achievement was the final step in my breastfeeding saga. But, what I didn't anticipate, was questioning what I would do while out in public and I had to feed the baby.
I went out to eat with my family at a restaurant and the baby got hungry. So, I tried to casually get him onto my breast while I covered myself with a blanket. The blanket kept slipping off my shoulder, which was distracting and creating a hassle. Also, we were sat at a table that was difficult to navigate due to my large postpartum bod while sitting close to my other child and surrounded by a purse, diaper bag, car seat and my winter coat and who knows what else.
I think I started crying out of stress, embarrassment, and frustration.
As a nursing mother, I often found myself ostracized in the backseat of my Toyota RAV 4 while out and about, trying to conceal my goods from passers-by, trying to hide my nursing from the masses. I look back now and think, "WTF is that!!!" Something I was so proud to achieve I now needed to shield from public eyes for fear of their possible offense. And I cared!
So, knowing my breastfeeding saga, imagine my curiosity to see women running for office and showcasing their breastfeeding skills as part of their ad.
The power of these ads speak for themselves. These are nurturing, intelligent, passionate woman doing what women's bodies do best. I am in hopes that normalizing this act in front of a camera is something that could change a nation stunned, ashamed, astounded and aghast by nipples. But, more importantly, show a confident woman unashamed by something so essential to her purpose on this earth.
These are people with priorities.
- Babies eating > the embarrassment I feel of you possibly looking at my ta-tas
- Babies gaining antibodies > someone else's possible offense
- Close connection for baby and mother > societies fear of my nipple
Charge on, ladies. Let's normalize both breastfeeding for the public eye as well as smart, vibrant lady candidates for the public vote.