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AARGH...family stuff (very long rant) - Page 2

post #21 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Makes 4
I personally would respond with "Well, in that vein, X has only a year or two left to breastfeed so let's cut him a little slack too."

I'm sorry you are dealing with this closeminded attitude. Do you have to spend long there or is it just a dinner?
LOL!!

I really like this response...

Tammy
post #22 of 208
Very nicely written letters! My hat is off to your DH! Anyway, I guess what you should do is based off how you are feeling about all of this. Me personally, with my inlaws, if they said any of this to me then I just wouldn't attend a function at their home until my child weaned. They would be welcome at my home where things are done by my rules, but I would respect their rules by not attending as a nursing mother. There have been times that I have left a room to nurse my kiddos, but that has been based on my own comfort. If anyone ever requested that I leave the room I wouldn't go to their home again until my child weaned. But, if you are comfortable with the compramise to go and nurse in another room, then more power to you. I totally don't agree with your FIL's veiwpoints and do think you and your DH are in the right with nursing your child wherever and whenever she needs.
post #23 of 208
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mamas, for all of your insightful and of course the humorous responses as well, they've helped me to process this highly stressful situation.

I'm leaning towards not going tomorrow. As a previous poster stated, when it comes down to it, I feel very uncomfortable and compromised as a person thinking about having to quash my motherly instincts and parenting principles in order to pacify other's strange and frankly inappropriate ideals.

I spent 3 long hours today (naking of course...dd is growth-spurting right now) writing a huge response to FIL's email. I totally acknowledge that there are parts that are abrasive but it was so cathartic to write it all out. I am planning to ultimately speak to them in person about this, because I feel strongly in my own integrity and I want to be the one that puts an end to the behind the back conversations and exchanges that don't involve me personally. This is hard for me to do because I am a peacemaker by nature, however, I have been overwhelmed by the mama-bear instincts of wanting to do right by DD. Wow, mamas...we are so POWERFUL...I had no idea that I would feel so incredibly protective.

So here is the email that I wrote, please note that I am not planning to send this and it was enough for me to just write this all out and see it in black and white.

~~~~~~~~
After reading your response, I have to admit that I couldn’t disagree with you more on several different points and quite frankly I am quite offended by some of the statements that have been made. Up until now I’ve bitten my tongue about a lot of the pervasive attitudes that you convey through email as well as conversation, but in this case I am feeling a bit backed up into a corner thus cannot be silent any longer. W, I’m surprised…from all of your hunting experience, didn’t you learn not to mess with a mother bear and her cub ?

I find your pseudo-scientific “attitudes about breastfeeding in public” survey quite amusing. This is a perfect example of two phenomena that skews statistics…experimenter bias (what and how exactly did you ask your colleagues?) and a small non-randomized sample size. Of course you got the results that you did, you only asked a few people that happen to be in a similar age-social-economic-religious-philosophical-political cohort as yourself, did you really expect the answers to be any different from what you received? Come now, did you actually expect us to take this little experiment as a statement of fact of the general public’s attitudes towards nursing mothers?

Also, I find it terribly ironic in a funny sort of way that you deem this anti-nursing-in-public sentiment as “traditionalism”, when human mothers have been nursing their babies outside of their dwellings since time immemorial. If ANYTHING is tradition, this is, if we take the time and care to look outside of our ethno-centric points of view. I

I would be remiss in not bringing up the point that according your so-called “traditionalist” attitudes, breastfeeding is the intimate and special bond that a nursing pair shares as an act that is to be relegated to the private setting. I ask you then, on a practical level…what is an active nursing mother and baby like K and I to do? Stay at home all day? You know that this is nearly impossible and it would be highly inappropriate for me to banish myself and my baby to the confines of my home purely to avoid nursing while out and about. Nurse in the toilet or other out of the way confined space? Do you or anyone else you know consume their food in a smelly public toilet or some dusty back room? No? Well, your sweet granddaughter has the right to the same courtesy and should be able to eat freely and in peace. Anything less than that would be infringing upon her civil rights. Use a bottle? Without getting too much into the nitty gritty health reasons why we don’t do this although I’d be more than happy to expound on this if you would like, our little epicurean prefers her mama’s milk from the tap, and believe me it’s not for lack of trying. Some babies like K just simply do not take expressed breastmilk from the bottle and really, there’s nothing we can do about it because a baby cannot be forced to drink from a bottle. It is very important for you to understand that even if she did take a bottle, we would not be choosing to feed her this way because of the aforementioned health reasons as well as for convenience and comfort (frankly, pumping milk is no picnic, and I have better things to do with my time than wash and sanitize bottles) but I wanted to get this out on the table just in case you were considering this as a solution to this problem that we’re debating. I also need to state that if bottle-feeding K is acceptable yet breastfeeding is not, then we are actually being discriminated against and that is a violation of our civil rights.

As for your allegations of breastfeeding not being a spectator sport, most nursing mothers in the United States today don’t just “whip it out” and expose themselves entirely, and I count myself in this group. I feel that I am a very discreet nurser when I am out and about, and have taken it upon myself (thanks in no small part to the very generous and much appreciated gift certificate that you and J gave me at the beginning of my pregnancy) to purchase comfortable nursing clothing that allows me to nurse K with the utmost of discretion. Furthermore, I do conscientiously utilize a light blanket to cover K’s head especially while she’s latching on, honestly this is easier said than done with a very vibrant, bright, active and alert 5 month old such as our little precious one but my intention is to do my best. I also do everything I can to anticipate K’s needs so that she is not hungry to the point of being fussy and frantic, because if I am not paying attention to her hunger cues it becomes very difficult to simultaneously soothe and feed a hungry, crying infant. It might surprise you to learn that I have practiced nursing in front of a mirror and also in front of close friends and family, so that I have become skilled in holding K without exposing myself to others, not only to preserve my own sense of modesty but also to maintain a level of comfort in the presence of others, both of which are very important standards for me to uphold. Feeding my baby is something that I have to do as a mother, multiple times a day, and I have done my best to prepare myself in order to do so in the most discreet, comfortable way possible. Can you honestly tell me that you’ve actually seen my or any other nursing mother’s nipple while nursing her baby? Well, I can tell you that if you did, you were probably so close to her as to have been infringing upon her personal space, and what were you doing staring at her chest? I actually highly doubt that you or your buddies and neighbors have ever really seen a breast completely exposed during nursing. Furthermore, I can guarantee you that you’ve walked past many a nursing mom and you didn’t even know that she was breastfeeding.

I find your remarks about women’s breasts as curious and contradictory and your rationalizations an accurate reflection of the strangely puritanical American ideals regarding women’s bodies. In once sentence you state that you don’t “equate [this activity] with shame or lewdness”, yet several sentences later you admit that you expect to only see women’s breasts in the “bedroom, doctors office, a strip joint or Playboy magazine”. For once and for all, please be clear on what it is that you believe. I am not sure if they taught this in science class back in the day when you were in school, but humans are mammals, and the biological norm for feeding our offspring is by breastfeeding. By the comments that you’ve made, it is clear to me that you equate breasts mostly with sexual functions. Now I find it bizarre that this is a widespread attitude, as this implies that American men would become sexually aroused by the sight of a woman feeding her child. To me, that’s perversion.

Now that I’ve commenced getting this all out on the table and ceased to continue walking on eggshells while discussing the subject of breastfeeding, I seem to be on a roll here so I’m going to continue. Am I the only one that finds it fantastically interesting that the three women who are apparently voicing their opinions regarding how I am feeding my child all have NOT ONE DAY of nursing experience between them? Hmmm…I don’t mean anything rude by pointing out this somewhat disturbing fact but what can I make of it other than some ladies who are attempting to insidiously tamper with my parenting philosophies and breastfeeding relationship with my daughter? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, because quite frankly I am at a loss as to why women will attempt to sabotage another woman’s rights and principles in this way and the only reasons that I can come up with that someone would do this are misogynistic and sinister and I think it’s understandable that I feel ganged up against by people who can’t relate to me at all on the matter.

I am glad that our efforts to accommodate other’s wishes and comfort level are appreciated, and likewise I do appreciate your statement of defending us in the event that someone makes an untoward remark to us. I sincerely hope that this does not come to fruition as all I wish for ALL of us is a happy, relaxing weekend holiday and celebration, but if it does, it feels nice to have your support. So being The Nursing Mother In Question, after much discussion with my dear, courageous husband I have decided to retire to a private area in peace in order to feed K while at your home. To be perfectly honest, I will be doing this first and foremost to preserve MY OWN (and K’s) comfort level as I don’t feel good about doing something in front of other people knowing that I am being scrutinized and judged, the fact that other people will be more comfortable is a fortunate consequence. As you can deduce from what I’ve written here, I am very passionate about my somewhat hard-won breastfeeding relationship with K. Nursing is not easy, and contrary to popular belief, it does not come naturally to all women, myself very much included. After our difficult, traumatic birth and my subsequent complications and surgery, my breastfeeding relationship with my incredible daughter has been my calm in the storm, and is one of the few things that have gone right for me in the first months of being a mother. I cherish each moment that I have the opportunity to nourish and nurture my little one, as breastfeeding, besides being the superior form of nutrition for her little growing body and brain, is so much more than about food. I know this closeness and love that we share will follow us for the rest of our lives and for this I feel blessed.

If you've gotten this far, THANK YOU so much for reading and for any pearls of wisdom!!
post #24 of 208
Send it!! Please send it! He got to say his piece and lay his feelings all out on the table and I beg you to do the same. I don't think it was abrasive or rude at all, I feel that you expressed yourself in a coherrent, eloquent, polite but assertive way.

Let us know.





Ps.
Send the email.














send it

















Have you sent it yet?
post #25 of 208
:

It's fine. You aren't telling him *he* is a pervert you aren't telling him that those other women are evil for not breastfeeding and you aren't saying that you're going to come and not NIP yourself but rather are bringing along a group of mama friends who will sit on his front lawn and NIP for you.
post #26 of 208
Yes!!! PLEASE PROMISE US that you are going to send it!!!! DON'T CHANGE A THING!
post #27 of 208
Thread Starter 
you guys rock! thank you thank you thank you.

dh has suggested that i don't send the email because really, they won't 'get' most of what i wrote at best, and at worst i would possibly be instigating a huge fight.

i agree that i'm the only one that has to censor themself through all of this and that it's supremely unfair. however, it is dh's family and i don't want to open this can if it's going to make dh's life miserable.

again, aaargh!
post #28 of 208
I absolutely hate that this situation exists. It so terribly sad that any mama has to deal with it. I think you're going above and beyond trying to accomodate them. Although I really think that you should send your e-mail, I think that you are right to respect your dh and his wishes with his family. I have BTDT with similar situations with my dh's family. And I think that your dh is doing a fantastic and articulate job in expressing both your and his feelings about this matter.
I'm a pretty free-minded and not easily offended woman. But I have to say that it deeply bothers me that he's telling you that how you feed your baby isn'nt dirty or lewd or shameful, but that the part of your body used to feed your child is a part that should only be seen by men while they're being oogled at, or of course examined(by a male, I'm sure) under medical circumstances. If I were you, I"m not sure I could hold myself back from making a comment on that one point in particular. I see a lot of things that I'm offended by when out in public(small girls dressed provacitively (sp?), words across the bum of little girls pants, people with their bellies hanging o ut all over the place, women with half their breasts hanging out their shirts, etc.) and I can't do anything about them and they are not natural and loving. And yet nobody asks them to cover up or go sit in the bathroom till they're done exposing themselves. Sorry to rant on your thread. i just feel so frustrated by this twisted view that is so gracefully hidden under traditional, biblical views of respect. I think your FIL might wanna consult his Bible a little closer as there are many rerferences to a nursing mother and letting the children be free to come to him. Maybe not in the same verse, but I think Jesus would not agree with your FIL.
post #29 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration
W, I’m surprised…from all of your hunting experience, didn’t you learn not to mess with a mother bear and her cub ?
Yay! I could have "quoted" your whole e-mail! But, this was my favorite!
BTW Has anyone heard that song by folk singer Joules Graves called "Nipplephobia" It's great! She sing this song about it being ok to sell cars and things with naked women on billboards but it's not ok to feed our babie. If you ever see her live, she really gets people dancing, especially to that song!
post #30 of 208
Yeah, I think he's kinda missing the point that that breasts are basically feeding implements first and foremost. your fils' email seems like he is basically trying to be respectful, but I can't believe that as a "traditionalist" he's upholding the appropriateness of breasts in the bedroom and in playboy and strip clubs, yet calling breastfeeding "intimate" and private. Is bottle feeding intimate and private?

Why can't people get it through their heads that we're just feeding our kids???!!!! It's no much more sexual than giving them a bottle or a pacifier or a carrot!!
post #31 of 208
Quote:
After our difficult, traumatic birth...... my breastfeeding relationship with my incredible daughter has been my calm in the storm, and is one of the few things that have gone right for me in the first months of being a mother.


Been there! Well put!

Personally I think your BRILLIANT email is MAGNIFICENT but too long to actually send all at once. Perhaps you could sent part of it each time they get upset about NIP.
post #32 of 208
Wow. I've just discovered this thread & I wanted to say to kidspiration that I really admire your diplomacy. I don't think that I would be able to get past my anger long enough to even think about spending a holiday dinner with those in-laws. Although, I do also admire the fact that they are able to have such an honest discussion about the situation, I am kind of at a loss as to why kidspiration is not allowed to participate in the discussion too. I thought that your response email was awesome and was certainly no less respectful than the fil's email.

Of course, it's your family & you know it best, so you know how best to handle them. You are a great person for dealing with this situation so gracefully. I hope that you have a good holiday.
post #33 of 208
Thread Starter 
thanks again, mamas, for your support and solidarity. this has been such a crazy two days and i so appreciate all of your feedback. anyways, i totally wanted to send my previous diatribe in full, but as several of you have mentioned, it's kind of long-winded and might be too much to send in one fell swoop. so i am holding on to what i've written to send to any family members that might want to dialogue with me.

in the meantime, i have just sent them the following email. i feel very confident and at peace with the decision that i've made. dh has also decided not to go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After spending two practically sleepless nights at a complete loss for how to deal with the nursing in public situation in a mindful and graceful way, it is with a heavy heart I am writing this e-mail to respectfully decline the invitation to attend today’s family festivity. I am doing this at the cost of being perceived as rude for canceling my attendance at such a late time, and this is absolutely not my intention. I have come to the unfortunate realization that, in fact, as a breastfeeding pair, K and I are not welcome to be as we are and I feel extremely uncomfortable subjecting myself and my daughter to this form of insidious judgment, scrutiny, discrimination and conditionalism. I am fully committed to offering the best of the best at all times to K, and to attend a family event with the expectation that we remove ourselves from the room so that she may eat would be in direct violation of this principle. K is my utmost priority, and I will not be party to any situation in which she and I are made to feel uncomfortable by virtue of us doing what is as beautiful and natural as breastfeeding.



To all of you who have been talking about this behind my back and not having the courage to look me in the eye and ask me to leave a social event in order to feed my daughter…shame on you. I have a hard time believing that the H family really has nothing better to do than to discuss how it is that I feed my daughter and to get all up in arms about it. I’d like to invite all of you to take a good long hard look at yourselves and to truly excavate the values and traditions that you want to uphold as a family. For what it’s worth, much of what I’ve seen from the H clan in terms of this is not very compassionate and loving and for a group of people that I’ve come to see as, in general, very intelligent and articulate, I am quite frankly surprised and disappointed that this has come to pass.



If I am going to be expected to get up and leave the room every single time that K and I are nursing, I believe that I am entitled and justified to hear a better reason as to why I am being asked to do so. Thus far, I’ve not heard a compelling, intelligent reason why the H's take issue with me nursing whilst in the company of others. From my perspective, that is not a good enough justification for such a profound demand and expectation to be placed on me. By nature I am a very flexible, easy going individual. However, when pressed on fundamental issues, especially those things that pertain to my child, I absolutely stand on solid ground in my confidence and integrity. I will not be derailed from the vision that I have of raising our daughter in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance for all.



Initially, we were contemplating attending today’s party with the plan for me to retire to a private area in peace in order to feed K while at your home. To be perfectly honest, I would have be doing this first and foremost to preserve MY OWN (and K’s) comfort level as I don’t feel good about doing something in front of other people knowing that I am being watched and judged. The fact that other people would have been more comfortable was merely a fortunate consequence. However, to do so, I have come to realize that I would have been compromising myself and my values too much.



I have decided to go to spend time with friends who not only love and accept me unconditionally for who I am and for what I stand for, but they also understand and honor me for the commitment that I’ve made to breastfeed K. As you can deduce from what I’ve written here, I am very passionate about my somewhat hard-won breastfeeding relationship. Nursing is not easy, and contrary to popular belief, it does not come naturally to all women, myself very much included. After our difficult, traumatic birth and my subsequent complications and surgery, my breastfeeding relationship with my incredible daughter has been my calm in the storm, and is one of the few things that has gone right for me in the first months of being a mother. I cherish each moment that I have the opportunity to nourish and nurture my little one, as breastfeeding, besides being the superior form of nutrition for her little growing body and brain, is so much more than about food. I know this closeness and love that we share will follow us for the rest of our lives and for this I feel blessed.



The bottom line is that I will not allow myself and K to be in a situation where we are made to feel uncomfortable. I sincerely hope that for a moment you can put yourselves in my shoes and understand the difficulty and magnitude of the decision that I’ve made today. I am more than happy to discuss this issue with anyone at any time, and in fact, I encourage it.



My sincere wish for all of you is a happy, joyous holiday in which everyone in attendance feels loved and accepted for who they are, unconditionally and without reservation.



Love,

M
post #34 of 208
Quote:
The bottom line is that I will not allow myself and K to be in a situation where we are made to feel uncomfortable.
You've made an important point here. Your baby girl is likely to pick up on the hostility and get fussier and want to nurse MORE. (Mine would have as a baby!) Why should that innocent little girl be exposed to that negativity? And why should you?

Quote:
I have decided to go to spend time with friends who not only love and accept me unconditionally for who I am and for what I stand for, but they also understand and honor me for the commitment that I’ve made to breastfeed K.
You would be more than welcome to nurse here. My preteen dd would probably be beaming at you for nursing and I'd be smiling myself.

But we're probably going out for Chinese tomorrow!

Hope your dinner is restful and yummy and full of unconditional acceptance.
post #35 of 208
First off, I have to say how impressed I am with you and your family's ability to communicate like grown ups. Even if their arguement is childish and about not wanting to risk seeing a boobie. Most of our family agruements end with screaming, f-you's and phone slamming. Good job!

I think you and your dh made the right choice to stay home. Running into another room to nurse behind closed doors gives the impression that it is something that needs to be hidden, which it most certainly is NOT! Anyone that can't see the difference between nursing a child and a Hooter's poster isn't thinking with their whole brain. Just the dirty parts

I think sometimes it takes a move like this for new parents to establish themselves and their child as one unit to their meddling parents or inlaws. Heck knows my dh and I have had to make moves that put OUR family first and the rest of them after. It wasn't always met with understanding but rather resignation that we are more stubborn than the lot of them and will do things our way. Like it or lump it Hopefully this situation and the beautiful way you've handled it will set you all up for less interference in your lifestyle and decisions as the years go by.

Good luck and have a great Easter!
post #36 of 208
:

I'm so sorry you all are going through this
I would not go to the function, no way. It's not right of them to ask you not to feed your child because of their embarrasment, period. The letter you wrote is awesome, hopefully it will make them think about their attitudes and ideals. Not seeing their granddaughter will certainly make them think. I hope you have a good weekend, try not to worry about it too much! I know how in-laws can manipulate things.
Michelle
post #37 of 208
Wow, I haven't finished all the responses, but I wouldn't go. If they have such a large hangup about breasts, they're going to imagining you nursing baby even if you don't do it under their roof and they're likely to be having the heebie jeebies.

eta: I am a Christian and ashamed by their behavior. Really, I can't understand why of all people, Christians have such hangups.
post #38 of 208
Wow, I think you have handled this situation with great restraint. My dad has raised similar objections before, and I simply made it clear that if he wanted us at family functions, or in his home, he could stuff it. So now he goes out to the garage and smokes whenever I nurse DD. It started when she was 3 mo.

Interestingly, he's phrased it as being "the family" (particularly my stepmom's family) who are uncomfortable, but my stepsister with two preadolescent sons has never said anything to me, nor has my stepmom. And I figure if my stepmom's niece and nephew can bottle feed and spank their kids and feed them crap in front of me without me saying anything, they can all deal w/ me bf'ing DD.
post #39 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration
...
The bottom line is that I will not allow myself and K to be in a situation where we are made to feel uncomfortable. I sincerely hope that for a moment you can put yourselves in my shoes and understand the difficulty and magnitude of the decision that I’ve made today. I am more than happy to discuss this issue with anyone at any time, and in fact, I encourage it.



My sincere wish for all of you is a happy, joyous holiday in which everyone in attendance feels loved and accepted for who they are, unconditionally and without reservation.



Love,

M
Perfect ending to an AWESOME letter!

Good for you for standing up for something that is so important to you and your family.

Happy Easter!
post #40 of 208
You rock mama. Good for you. I hope they GET IT when they're missing out on seeing their granddaughter and DIL, and realize they didn't win at all here. They lost out big time!
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