Yesterday I sat and breastfed my lovely two year old in *front* of the "modesty screen" in a large cafe. When Martin came back with our drinks he found us happily nursing under a large sign indicating the area behind the screens as being "for nursing mothers".
This made my day, in some small way. The freedom to say, quietly and politely, that I will feed my toddler wherever I am comfortable.
A young mother on a table close by eventually came past us to nurse her own tiny baby behind the screens. I wonder how she felt to sit behind there, away from the rest of her family, if she felt she had no choice or if she wanted the peace and quiet. I wonder whether seeing us there made her feel she could choose to stay at her table if she wanted to.
If Morgan had been very distracted I might have decided to seek out somewhere quiet myself (or, now that she's older, more likely just stopped the nursing session). I didn't make the decision to nurse, not to nurse, where to nurse, based on making a statement either - she climbed onto my lap and I knew she was tired and fed up, so I offered her the milk.
It *shouldn't* make a statement. It should just be normal. It should simply be OK for me to feed Morgan wherever I'm comfortable being with Morgan, without thinking about what anyone else might think. But nursing my toddler is a political statement in itself. Let alone where anyone might see us!
I haven't had enough sleep. I'd probably make more sense if I had... Yesterday, I felt simply happy that I felt safe and confident enough to be normal with my toddler. Today I feel sad that this isn't always the case, not for me and not for anyone else. Today I wonder how the world will ever be changed.
Is it possible that my daughters will be permitted to mother in public without fear of the consequences? At least, I suppose, it is possible that in this family they can grow up with some kind of emotional immunisation against the world and who it thinks they ought to be. After all, my mum gave me this gift - not only by having breastfed me. By sharing with me my whole life the values that made her want to breastfeed, succeed at breastfeeding, and learn from that relationship.
Breastfeeding taught me a lot of my mothering. It taught my own mum a lot of HER mothering too. And my own mother passed on her mothering skills, and her breastfeeding skills. What a gift! OK, now I feel blessed again. :)