Thursday, October 4, 2012

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The Nurse-In at Applebee's: I went because #IGiveAShit

Another mother was harassed in another place -- this time at Applebee's Restaurant, but sadly I'm not surprised. I am a bit shocked, though, at the level the manager took it to -- and that's the clincher in this harassment story, when the cops were called on the woman. I only learned about the Applebee's Nurse-In at the last minute, just a few days before the event, probably, and after I heard of the story wanted to make sure I didn't miss out. To deny a baby the right to eat in an establishment where other people were enjoying themselves, filling their bellies, is sickening.

Though the overwhelming amount of mothers supported the nurse-in, I also got to again see other opinions on this cause. I understand people have different perspectives on this event, and some from the nurse-in invitation page expressed they didn't feel going to the restaurant was necessary because in their opinion it just "makes a bigger spectacle out of public breastfeeding which is what we should be working against." Another said she wouldn't go because she didn't care who approved or disapproved of her feeding her child in public, and that she only cared about environmental issues -- something that affects everyone. I'd be quick to argue that she actually does 'give a shit' about who approves or disapproves of her nursing her child in public, but her apathy, I'm sure, comes as a result of her never facing public discrimination while she was feeding this baby. And I'm  certainly hoping she'll revisit her research to begin to see the relationship between it and breastfeeding -- and learn of its interconnectedness! She said she didn't give a shit, which she has the right to do, of course. But public nursing discrimination is reflective of areas that are often overlooked, and this type of prejudice and intolerance will be experienced heaviest among more vulnerable communities, as it always does, so #IGiveAShit.

I arrived and saw a few people already there but mostly scattered about until I met another woman in the lobby, who had with her her 8 month old nursling. Not so long later there were a number of others who arrived, including a LLL leader and some others who attended that particular group, and I was so happy when I noticed I wasn't the only Black woman there this time. All of us sat around and talked, and the staff was very nice, which is what I expected especially given the circumstances. It didn't last that long, and I left at about the one hour and fifteen minute mark, but like the last Nurse-In I attended at Target, I really enjoyed myself as well as enjoyed the new people I met and the conversations we had. I also really liked meeting participants like the one below, who I think was too excited about the things and people that surrounded her, more than nursing at the moment.