“You took your entire breast out and left it out, exposing much more than you should have…”

LOGOAlexBTHBP (30 of 39)

“My step daughter started attending a local gymnastic class before she started Kindergarten and right away developed a love for gymnastics. She began to have confidence in herself and was constantly practicing her moves with no fear. She never wanted to miss a class, even when she was sick, and her brother & I loved watching her try new things. Quinten began to walk & loved to mimic her cartwheels and summersaults, so I decided to enroll him into his own class. During my conversation with the receptionist about the class structure, I was told I was offending other patrons by breastfeeding my almost 17 months old. When you’re a new breastfeeding mom and you read horror stories about mothers being shamed for nourishing their child you can only hope it never happens to you. In the beginning there were several times I would give myself a mental pep talk when he began getting fussy & I could feel my let down coming, but all I’d ever gotten were smiles & encouragement. I was stunned when she told me to nurse Q in the play room or the secluded party room in the back. “No, I am protected by the law to nurse where ever I am comfortable” is the only thing I could think to say. “No I don’t want you to go into the bathroom, just somewhere private, or maybe use a cover” she said, trying to reason with me. My feelings are so hurt for a number of reasons. I have been taking my daughter here for almost a year and it has never been brought to my attention that anyone was upset with me nursing my son. For nearly a year, every Monday at 4:30. Was it because he was an infant and now that he’s a toddler it’s “unacceptable”? Is it a new gymnasts parent who is furious that I’d do such a normal thing in public? I have paid a lot of money into this company, meaning I support it. How can I continue to come and support an establishment that doesn’t support me? “Use a cover”, “go to a different room”, “be more discreet”… These are all suggestions I was given. You can’t support something and use a but, which is what this company was telling me today. I walked out feeling defeated and called my friend. I needed reassurance. I needed to hear I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I needed to hear I wasn’t being silly by saying no. Sure, it’s a simple request, but why? Why do I have to move to a room that I can’t watch my little girl from? Isn’t my patronage respected just as much as the others? What about my son? If it’s so simple for me to get up and hide, why can’t they? I decided I was pulling my kids out of their classes. I couldn’t continue to support a business that doesn’t support me. My feelings are hurt that my comfort, and my sons, was not taken into consideration when someone complained. I have never once been given a side eye, saw someone whisper or had any gut feeling that I was offending someone while nursing my son. After talking with the receptionist I finally was able to talk with the owner, who didn’t show the slightest bit of concern when I told her I would be withdrawing my son from his gym class & after my daughters last two sessions, she wouldn’t be back either. I just wanted to tell her how disappointed I was that other mothers, who are aware of the law that protects breastfeeding mothers, made me feel ashamed for nursing instead of standing up for my rights. “If you don’t calm down I’m going to ask you to leave” is what I was told. “You took your entire breast out and left it out, exposing much more than you should have”, is another great line that is burned into my brain. For nearly a year we attended this class. Nearly a year of nursing my son in the lobby and watching my girl’s face light up when she saw us watch her land her moves or keep balance on the balance bar. Nearly a year of never having a dirty look or eerie feeling for doing what all mothers do – nourishing my child and meeting his needs. I had never felt so embarrassed in my life. I expected more support from a place I supported. Being told I was “obviously offending other people” and “exposing too much of my breast” made me feel three inches tall. It made me feel like I should be ashamed mothering my son, which is something no mother should ever have to feel.”


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