I was publicly shamed for breastfeeding my baby
We went to my mom’s (in Paranaque) last weekend (like we always do every week). We then decided to go to a mall, also in the south, for a quick pasyal.
The first thing we did there was to ride the mini ferris wheel. It was Olivia’s first time. She was so amazed. She observed and observed what was going on. Like all parents, my husband and I felt so happy as that was one of the many firsts for our daughter.
My mom decided to have dinner first before we shop since it was already past 7pm. We dined in a casual restaurant. We asked to be seated in a corner as I know, Olivia will be asking for my milk soon.
Whenever we’re out, I always look for a corner so there’d be blind spots and I can go look at my baby while breastfeeding. She gets scared when she doesn’t see me.
Olivia was very playful that time. She keeps on smiling, babbling, moving around and she even acted as if she’s trying to read the menu while sitting on her own.
When the food was served, she then demanded for mommy’s milk. I asked my husband to help me put on my nursing cover and breastfed my girl immediately.
Everybody else were eating except me as I have to look at Olivia while nursing.
Then, there was this lady with blonde hair, about in her mid or late 30s across our table. I noticed that she kept looking at me (I have noticed her earlier as she was smiling at Olivia). I didn’t bother.
Suddenly, she turns towards the lady beside her (about in her mid or late 30s as well) and they started whispering at each other. I still didn’t mind. I acted oblivious of their existence.
Then, they started to stare at me with disgust as if I was doing something wrong.
My mom, my husband and my brother have finished eating. My husband asked me if I can hand him our baby so I’ll be able to eat. I told him that she’s not done nursing yet. I asked him to accompany mom instead. She has to buy something from a store. It was past 8pm then and the mall will close in less than an hour. So, it would be best for them to go ahead while Olivia’s still nursing.
My brother, on the other hand, went to the washroom. So, it was just my sister, Olivia and I who were left on the table. And then, the unthinkable happened.
The blonde girl across suddenly uttered these words (verbatim) “miss, wag ka dito magpadede! Nakakasuka. Dapat dun ka sa banyo. At ang laki na ng anak mo para dumede pa sayo” (“Miss, do not breastfeed here. It’s disgusting. You should be doing it in the restroom. Besides, your baby is way too old to be feeding from you”)
Her voice was way too loud and almost everyone (if not everyone) in the resto heard her. I was shocked. Literally. I was speechless for a few seconds. I then internalize what she had just said.
I smiled at her. Sarcastically of course. And said, “Do you eat where you shit? I don’t. My baby does not, too. I have the right to breastfeed my baby anytime, anywhere. Do you have kids? Weren’t they breastfed? I pity them. Their mom didn’t give them what’s best for them. Besides, my baby is only 8 months old. If you think she’s older because of her size and her mobility, those are all because of my milk.”
She didn’t answer me back. She just looked away and asked for their bill. Obviously, she felt humiliated. As for me, I did not. I did what’s right. I am sick with these kind of people.
Just a week ago, I blogged about breastfeeding in public and shaming. Who would have thought it would happen to me soon.
These people are not informed about breastfeeding benefits and/or closed minded. Some may be convinced, others may even be persuaded to breastfeed, while others will stand tall on their unbending principle.
What I’ve said to this woman may be harsh for some. I don’t think I went over the border, though. I did what I think is right. I even could have humiliated her more, but no. I still wanted to act the woman I am. I also have no intention of belittling the non-breastfeeding moms. As I said before, I respect them. Maybe, I simply wanted to defend myself and all the breastfeeding mama’s out there.
On the other hand, I noticed a pattern with these public shaming people. They will not shame you if you are in a group. Just like what happened to me. She didn’t speak out when my mom, husband and brother were there. She only had the guts when it was only my sister, baby and I who were left.
I’d say, just because she has the right to speak her mind, it doesn’t mean that she’ll be insensitive to other people’s feelings. Besides, she should have been ready to face the consequences for her acts. I don’t think she was ready for it, though.
How about you? What would you say/do when this happens to you?