Sunday, December 30, 2012

Discretionary Feeding?

When I saw "I knew I hated Claire's for a reason" on twitter last night-together with a link, I knew I had to click it. The inevitable urge. Because, really? Who hates Claire's? Little girl's mothers? Shoplifters who can't get away with shoplifting? (they have the lowest shoplifting rate across the board)

How about breast feeding mothers in Nova Scotia?

It turns out that some breast feeding mother was kicked out of a Claire's store on Christmas Eve-for nursing her child. (link)

"she said the assistant manager asked Nugent to leave if she wished to continue breastfeeding.
"I left the store immediately. I was pretty shocked and I was upset. I felt bullied," Nugent said. "I [feel] that all mothers in Nova Scotia should have the right to breastfeed… and feel comfortable while doing so."

Here's some factoids that you should take into consideration...

-In 2000, the Province of Nova Scotia declared breast feeding a human right. Basically it is a human right to eat. If a child is being breast fed, they can be fed anywhere, anytime. Public space or privately owned. It is their right.

-Most of the 50 states, and a whole lot of Canadian provinces exclude breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws. So, technically, you are allowed to whip the girls out in public-so long as you are nursing your child.

-Public means public. Publicly owned, privately owned. Public means anything this is not the privacy of your own home.

Now, frankly, I see many sides to this issue. It has more sides than my son's 20 sided dice.

1. Nursing mom with fussy baby. We've all been there. You willingly feed your child wherever, just for some peace. Plus, the law is with her.

2. Claire's. Have you been in a Claire's store? They are small and they are jammed packed with merchandise. And it was Christmas Eve. They were probably crazy busy. Everywhere is crazy busy on Christmas Eve. There is no way they were the exception. Having a woman sitting on a chair in the back of their store was probably inconvenient, at the least.

3. I know there is desperation and stress all involved with holiday shopping, but get a grip. This smacks of selfishness and self-centeredness. All the way up to high heaven. Okay, so you had an issue, but calling the news station? What about calling/emailing the store manager?

4. Nugent felt bullied. Bullied, shocked and upset?! So, I really shouldn't question how someone felt. If Nugent says she felt bullied, shocked and upset, she probably did. But, I'm thinking she felt like jumping on the current news band wagon. This isn't the first case of breast feeding in recent news in Nova Scotia. There is also a well publicized case about a restaurant incident plus another incident about a woman's agricultural job.

What is the agenda here?

5. Because, it is an agenda. Read the comments on the article. They are all very high charged and emotional. If there wasn't an agenda behind all this, why is there a group of grown woman, nursing moms, descending on this very Claire's tomorrow to demonstration nurse. Really? That's mature.

I totally get the need to nurse in public. Like I said, I have nursed 4 kids. I don't think nursing moms should be relegated to bathrooms to nurse. Who eats in the bathroom?

But, surely there is a more gracious middle road. A road where you aren't baring all in public because you can. A road where you respect other people's property too? Other people's feelings?

It was something former generations called discretion and deference. These virtues are almost lost in our generation.

Our generation is all about tolerance. We insist on everyone else tolerating our particular stance on any particular issue. Flamboyant insistence on our rights. Because we can.

How about a little deference? See, deference is coming at an issue by looking from someone else's perspective. Deference is giving up what you have a right to do, what you would prefer to do, in order to show respect for someone else's preference. Deference is not being the proverbial carpet for someone to walk all over. But it is choosing to exercise your right to be the bigger person.

Which, no matter what side you may see in this situation, there is no way you would call Nugent's actions those of someone being the bigger person.

From Times Magazine to government sponsored billboards, breast feeding has become a ridiculously public issue. Where 100 years ago it was just what naturally happened, now it is our "right".

How about we take it down a notch? Take breastfeeding back from being an exhibition to being a basic human right. Let's feed our children-breastfeed our children-without an agenda. But because it is our right to feed them, however we deem best. I say, let's refuse to have this basic human right of women and our children be regulated and made an agenda by all parties.

Discretion is the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.

Let's take this private issue and make it private again.

Let's do what we are going to do, what we are allowed to do, and let's be gracious. Let's not go out of our way to offend someone else's sensibilities. Let's take the opportunity to be the bigger person.

What do you think? Is my stance reasonable? Do you agree or disagree?