Breastfeeding in North America Feels Like Committing a Crime

As you must know by now, I am from Brazil. I have been living in Canada for over 7 years now, and up until the moment I started breastfeeding I had never noticed some people cover up when they are nursing. Seriously, I never noticed it. Perhaps because I don’t really stare at people when I am out and about. Growing up in Brazil allowed me to view breastfeeding for what it truly is: Natural and Beautiful.I had never heard a negative comment on it until I moved to Canada and had a kid. Helena is 14 months now and I am still amazed at how controversial the topic is. I did try to cover up to nurse, but Helena feels extremely uncomfortable to the point where she cries. So, let’s truly analyze the situation here.

First of all: It is healthy for babies and mothers.

The very basic information on breastfeeding is that it is extremely healthy for mothers and their babies. Not only it is extremely nourishing, but it also provides moms and babies with the opportunity to bond.

When I hear comments such as “If you can expose your breasts to nurse then it should be ok for me to take my penis out in public to pee.” Urine is a waste, it is something not even your own body wants to keep. Breastfeeding is everything to a baby: their food, comfort, and immunization. By comparing your urine to my milk, all you are proving is that you are ignorant.

Now, you are probably thinking “I am not against it, just don’t make me watch it.”

I am glad you said that. The only one who can make you watch it is yourself. Unless, of course, you find yourself in this position:

 

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 Second of all: Why is your comfort more important than a baby’s?

Why should my helpless baby be forced under a cover where she is clearly distressed just because it bothers you otherwise?

Or, even worse, why should my baby be fed in the restroom just to please you?

Seriously, just look away.

You probably show more skin in a warm summer day than I ever did nursing. You probably show more skin on a Friday night at the bar than I ever did nursing. This guy has showed more skin, and more boob for that matter, than I ever did nursing.

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Third of all: Anatomically/biologically speaking, breasts are not considered a sexual organ as they do not play a part in the procreation process. We, as a species, attributed them a sexual stigma. So, I am sorry, but, if you see anything sexual when a mother is nursing a child, perhaps it is time for you to try psychoanalysis. You know, maybe, Freud can shed a light.

Fourth of All: Have you thought that maybe your opinion is not your own opinion? That maybe it is a byproduct of the capitalist society we live in, in  favor of those who can profit by breaking a mother into giving up nursing over formula feeding?

No, there is nothing wrong with formula feeding. I am not looking to start a debate here. Each of us knows what is best for us, and what I am referring to does not apply to you. No worries there.

And above all,

Has it ever occurred to you that I would rather you did not watch me either?

Has it ever occurred to you that nursing is really demanding and that all of us should be supportive to these mothers who are doing nothing but trying to do their best and be their best?

We should be supporting nursing moms like we support our hock teams.

We should be looking up to them as we do our idols.

Is it really that hard for you to be selfless?

To be kind?

To be polite, look away and move on with your life?

Is it really? Because if it is so, then, perhaps, you should be the one covering your face.

Such an easy problem to solve. Just look away.

Look away.

Just look away .

Mind your own business.

Look away.

Just look away.

You don’t have to watch.

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Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a kid.

Yes, I said it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a kid. 

And no, I am NOT saying it because of the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and everything else that is related to the exhausting  job of being a mother.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a kid when I can’t ignore all the evil, mean things around us. Most of us live in denial, feeling like such things will never happen to us. You know, really bad things don’t happen to us! They happen to people we don’t know, people we see on t.v – not us. It turns out this is NOT true. It could happen to us, too. It might happen to us, too. This line of thinking is nothing but  a defence mechanism we resort to so we don’t hide away in fear.

I was, obviously, aware of the terrible things that happen every day around the world. How could I not? I am from Brazil, it is somewhat dangerous there, and I grew up with the constant sense of  caution. Of course I did not want anything bad to ever happen to me, but this fear didn’t consume me. Now, however, everything has changed since  becoming a parent. The way I see things, the way I fear things … it is from a completely different perspective. I don’t fear for myself. I fear for her.  It is almost as if I developed a newfound sensibility to events and to people. I don’t look at children the same. Somehow, I always see my daughter in them, and also in animals – they happen to be as helpless as children.  A lot of times when I look at my daughter I can’t help wondering “What if I die tomorrow, who will take care of her like I do?” or “What if she is ever hurt, either physically or emotionally?” I obviously cannot protect her all the time, and it will be even more so as she grows and becomes more independent.

I have also become more sensitive and more outraged by how shallow and hypocritical human beings are. All of us. Including myself, unfortunately. We tend to care so much about what matters so little, and so little about what matters so much. Perhaps we do so because, if we were to truly care about what needs to be tended to, that would assign us some responsibility over things. For instance, I fear my daughter might be disrespected because of her skin colour, or even her sexuality someday. She is not white, she is not latina. She is mixed. I don’t know if she was born heterosexual or homosexual (yes, I said born because, like it or not, it is biological). She is a small child and might turn out to be a small adult. My point is: is any of these anyone’s business? Really, it is not. Not even mine or her dad’s. But we make it our business, and we treat people differently because of these kinds of things THAT ARE NOT EVEN OF ANYONE’S BUSINESS but hers.

Children are so pure. Sometimes I observe her and how she loves everyone. She hugs and kisses our black cats just like she does any other cat. She says hi to everyone. She doesn’t care how old you are, what you look like, and so on. All she cares about is that you are nice to her. She is not the only baby to behave this way, so, what does it say about us as a species? It says we teach hate, we teach prejudice, we teach segregation to every new generation – that is what we do with our gift of thinking.  What a wonderful world would it be if we all behaved like a one year old.

I can certainly try and teach my daughter to be strong, to fight for her rights and not to care about things people can do that might hurt her. But, can I protect her from rape? From murder? From being hit by a drunk driver? I don’t think I can.  And as I am writing this to you, I am trembling, my heart is pounding, it is so hard to picture these scenarios, but I can not live thinking these are the kind of things that only happen to people I see on the 6 o’clock news. They are real.

And even though this concern eats me alive from inside out, it is still not the reason why I sometimes wish I didn’t have kids. Worrying is part of the parenthood package along with all of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers. So, no, this is still not the reason why.

The true reason why I sometimes wish I did not have a kid is because, if something really bad ever happened to her, I would feel so guilty. I would feel more guilty than the perpetrator, I would blame myself more than I’d blame the perpetrator for why on earth would I have planted the seed of the most beautiful flower into the grounds of such a broken garden?

Helena, meu amor, know that no matter what I love you and I will always be there for you.