You often hear about the judgement that occurs between moms on the best way to raise a family (often touted as the “Mommy Wars”). But truth is, the hyper-criticism of mothers begins long before you yourself may become one. When I was younger, I made a lot of snap judgements about the moms I saw around me. The important thing is that we realize that, for the most part, we shouldn’t be so harsh (especially until we’ve been there). Like the case with this next new mom who is now apologizing for ever judging anyone breastfeeding in public by way of a viral Instagram post.
Jenny Tamas is a popular Instagrammer (she’s got over 27k followers on her @gypsynspice account) as well as a new mom. You can see her entire journey from pre-pregnancy all the way to breastfeeding mama. But in a recent viral post, she confessed that she used to believe that moms breastfeeding in public were only doing it for attention.
“I mean why else would you pull out a boob in public?” she said in the post. It’s actually not that surprising to hear, though. Tamas mentions she never saw women breastfeeding while she was growing up, save for a photo in National Geographic. I grew up in much the same way. And when I finally did encounter a mom who is breastfeeding in public, it was pretty eye opening, even uncomfortable (not uncomfortable enough to tell them to stop, but just uncomfortable in that I was forced to recognize I’ve probably been viewing this the wrong way the whole time).
Learning That Breastfeeding in Public Is Not About Attention
That’s basically what happened to Tamas. In her post, she makes the biggest issue clear:
“…somewhere in those pivotal years of learning about my body, I learned something that I am still trying to unlearn: that my body and my breasts, are for one purpose only— to turn him on.”
I think like many, growing up, I never saw women breastfeed. Besides seeing the odd photo in National Geographic here and there, I never, not ever, saw women breastfeeding. Like ever. And I think thats one of the main reasons I am such an advocate for breastfeeding— in a sense, its my apology to all women. I was filled with ignorance and judgments. I used to believe breastfeeding moms did it for attention, I mean why else would you pull out a boob in public? But if you’ve never exposed to something, how can you learn about it? Normalize it? Grow because of it? And then somewhere in those pivotal years of learning about my body, I learned something that I am still trying to unlearn: that my body and my breasts, are for one purpose only— to turn him on. And so here I am now, so, so passionate about breastfeeding because that lie has been one of the most destructive I've ever known. Its scarred me and an entire generation of girls. I won't let Lilly to be one of those girls. And then now, You know how little kids entire bodies shake with excitement, when they do something huge, like learn how to ride a bike all on their own? Well thats like me when I feed Lilly. I am so damn proud of myself that I am a part of normalizing something that was not normal for me growing up. I am a part of motherhood, yes, but also a part of breastfeeding, which requires unspoken acts of self sacrifice as I say goodbye to my once succulent perky breasts, that I used to believe were only for him, and say hello to something different. Something for me. What they should have always been about. I am now learning that my tugged out, stretched out, milk filled, lopsided breasts are so, so much more. Its like its been literally staring me in the face this whole time, but I finally learned something so wise and beautiful and deep and wide and ancient and significant— that I just want to share it with everyone. The whole world. #worldbreastfeedingweek #normalizebreastfeeding #motherhoodrising #feedingwithlove . . . . #tribedemama #birthofamama #motherhood #postpartum #postpartumbody #photography #sunset #littlestlilly
Like many of us, the only breasts she ever saw growing up were sexualized and fetishized as something that’s meant to be ogled by men. But that’s not the purpose of breasts. Not even close. Yes, they can be used as sexual objects as we, the owners, see fit. They also have other purposes, though, and for those who choose to procreate—mainly to feed babies.
“And so here I am now, so, so passionate about breastfeeding because that lie has been one of the most destructive I’ve ever known. Its scarred me and an entire generation of girls. I won’t let (my daughter) Lilly to be one of those girls.”
Great to hear. As mamas, we should all be supporting our feeding choices, and especially not sexualizing the very natural and normal and beautiful act of breastfeeding.
- If You Have a Nipple Piercing Can You Still Breastfeed?
- A Love Letter to Boppy, My Pregnancy Pillow
- Breastfeeding Mom Smokes Weed, Snaps a Photo and Shares It on Facebook
(Image: Facebook / Gypsynspice- Jenny Tamas)