Thursday, September 20, 2007

Taking a break from alpacas to talk about asses and boobs

If you have no interest in breasts then maybe you have a thing for shoes. I have a new review on footwear up at May We Recommend. If you have skinny feet like mine you'll want to learn more about Ryka sneakers, trust me.


By now you've heard about Bill Maher's rant about mothers who breastfeed in public, as well as the woman who was asked to cover herself up while nursing her 7 month-old son by an Applebee's manager (App-manager? Managerbee?) and the nurse-in that was organized as a result of, sparking said rant. Not to mention Facebook's claim that pictures featuring nursing infants are obscene and subject to removal from their site without prior notice. And the Harvard medical student who just today was told by a judge that she could not have extra time to pump breast milk for her four month old daughter during her 9 hour exam.

(Gotta love it when a world-renowned medical school won't bend the rules for something like expressing breast milk for babies, something the medical community has been trying valiantly to beat into the minds of new mothers throughout this country.)

I'd rather not link to the video of Maher's diatribe because I don't believe a misogynistic ass deserves any more viewers, especially after he compared mothers - including his own, because I do believe he was birthed the old fashioned way and wasn't, in fact, the spawn of satan and a goat. Though this is still to be refuted - to dogs. I wonder how Mommy Maher felt when she heard that one?

However, there is one part I'd like to quote here:

"Look, there's no principle at work here other than being too lazy to either plan ahead or cover up. It's not fighting for a right it's fighting for the spotlight you surely will get when you go all Janet Jackson on everyone and get to drink in the oohs and ahs of the other customers because you made a baby. Something a dog can do."

Okay, I added that last sentence for emphasis because it really pisses me off, but it's the beginning part that bothers me on a whole other level.

"...being too lazy to either plan ahead or cover up."

Too lazy to plan ahead? That statement really burns my buns. Let me give you two personal examples that poke big fat holes in to big Fat Head's theory.

When Chicky was around three months old she went on a bottle strike. She never really took to a bottle before then but she would occasionally drink from one if I was no where near the house... and the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. I cried when she refused to take a bottle, almost as loudly as she did as I tried to cajole her into giving Mommy's poor boobs a break. She was a constant nurser, either for sustenance or comfort, and I was always on duty. According to Maher, I should have stayed in doors with the blinds shut, never daring to go so far as my neighborhood chain restaurant for a quick meal because that would have put me into the "too lazy to plan ahead" category. Too lazy to force my kid to take a bottle or too lazy to let her scream in hunger? I'm not sure which. Perhaps he could tell me.

Maybe he could tell me how I could have gotten my grocery shopping done (nursed there), gone to coffee shops with my girlfriends and their infants (nursed there too) and kept my sanity in check until Chicky finally took the bottle again when she was almost 5 and a half months.

I'm sure he wouldn't have an answer for that, just some funny joke about how I was a new mom and I wasn't entitled to my sanity and how I should suck it up and stop thinking I deserved a medal for having a baby.

Here's another for instance: One month into Chicky's bottle strike we took her to the Cape to spend a few days at my sister's house. Now, again, according to Billy Boy I shouldn't have dared leave my home, but my husband, who works around the clock to keep selfish, lazy ol' me fed and clothed and stocked with bon bons and the Soap Network, really wanted a vacation.

I was a new mother and still very unaccustomed to nursing in public the "proper" way. I had yet to get a handle on how to keep a squirmy infant, who at that moment had learned that popping off of Mommy's nipple to give her a quick smile was really super fun, under a blanket. One day we all decided to take the ferry to Nantucket for the day (I know, I was really pushing my luck) and it was hotter than a witches tit.

I spent more time on that damn outing trying to find inconspicuous places to nurse my daughter. It was easily 90 degrees outside so throwing a blanket over her head made us both miserable. Very miserable.

But I did, not because I had any sense of decorum or because it was the "right thing to do" but because I was embarrassed.

I was embarrassed because I'd heard too many people like Bill Maher tell me that women who breastfeed in public are obscene. Now I am more embarrassed that I allowed myself to be bullied into that position. I so badly want to go back to that day and do it all over.

The sadness and frustration I felt on that day brought me so near to tears that I really don't know how I didn't break down in a big sobbing mess in front of Lilly Pulitzer. Chicky was hot and cranky. I was hot and cranky. My husband was hot and cranky. And the day culminated in me desperately searching for any quiet shady spot on that damned island to nurse my screaming daughter, which I eventually found in a garden in front of a museum after an hour of aimless wandering. Even then it wasn't private enough for me, and Mr. C and I bickered. We bickered because I couldn't get over my hangups. He was disappointed that I couldn't feel comfortable nursing, the most natural of all acts between a mother and a child.

It makes me spineless for not feeling comfortable enough to stand up for myself and my child but lazy? In the words of my daughter, "No way, Jose."

If I were to have a second child I would like to think I'd be a lot more comfortable nursing my child in public and woe to the person who dares tell me I'm "lazy" for not forcing my child to take a bottle (one that's probably hazardous to his or her health) just to make that person feel more comfortable. I am not lazy. I am a mother who would be doing the best thing for her child and I'm extremely resentful that someone who doesn't have a pair of tits would dare to tell me otherwise.

You, Bill Maher, are a boob. Do us all a favor and go cover yourself up.


Sarahviz said...

I saw that story of the med student on the news last night and got all fired up! (with Hubby snoring next to me)


Jennifer said...

I hadn't heard the med student story yet, grrrrr.

I was scared to death with my son to nurse in public for fear of asshats like Maher. Now with my daughter, I just don't give a shit. She's hungry, she must eat, it's Alabama and it's eleventy billion degrees so a blanket is ridiculous, and the LAW is on my side.

I love the last line of your post. So, so true!

Tuesday Girl said...

I thought all of the same things when I heard good ole Bill say that on Friday night.
I have never nursed a baby but I know I will be scared to because of these instances. I hope I can have more courage and just do what is right for my child, no matter where I happen to be.

kittenpie said...

That was the best closer yet.
You know, I didn't have this dilemma because we couldn't get the whole latchy business, so I pumped for the year, but I'm not sure I'd have been comfortable for the first few months, either. I'm a shy, modest type, but I would guess a lot of moms are uncomfy with public boob-flashing at first, but I also imagine that eventually, you get over yourself and realize that it's not about the mom. It's not. It's about doing the best for the baby, and all the fuss about trying to be discreet is silly because it's not about being on display, and those who are gawking should just grow the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

Go, Mrs. Chicky! That was an excellent post!

Kyla said...

Love the last line. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

I was fearful to NIP with my daughter. I conquered that fear when my daughter started screaming in church. I told my husband I was going to go to the car to NIP. He rolled his eyes and said do it here. I was still uncomfortable, so I went to the quiet room AKA the people aquarium. I faced a corner and nursed. Then I discovered that by trying so hard to hide, I was making myself more noticeable. After that I was never worried about NIP.

I live in the New Orleans area and many people may think that we are all okay with boobs in public, it is a different story once you leave Bourbon street and decide to attach a baby to it. I waited for someone to tell me to leave or to cover up (you want to hear my baby scream put a blanket on their head). No one ever did. I always thought, I live in the Deep South where we are told we are backwards and stupid and not one person is bothered by me nursing. *shrugs* But I keep hearing of these stories.

I think everyone needs to get a grip and mind their own business. Love your last line, BTW.) I have nursed in front of just about everyone, including teenage boys and never was I the center of attention. I guess that is another flaw in his argument.

Anonymous said...

Best closing line ever.

Jenifer said...

I completely agree with all of you that are posting about what a boob ol'Billy is. I have to say though, as a Mom who tried to breastfeed and failed miserably, these posts make me feel guilty and embarrassed for not being able to deliver. I see the links for bottles that are "hazardous to my babies health", and I feel that much worse that my child had to be fed formula exclusively. I support breastfeeding 100% and the right to do so in public, I just wish people would lay off the FORMULA IS BAD! bandwagon. I used it because I didn't produce milk, and I have 2 happy healthy kids with no major health issues... just as I don't believe people should pass judgement about breastfeeding in public, I don't think people should pass judgement on those of us who use formula either. And if formula ads and campaigns are needed so that formula companies can make the money they need to keep improving their product and making it more like breast milk, then so be it.

Blog Antagonist said...

You go girl. I wonder, if Mr. Maher were to be confronted in person by all those of us who have spoken about this debacle, he would be quite so flip. It's very easy to be a supercilious, judgemental blowhard when you're standing in front of a telemprompter. I say we storm the studio and hose him with breastmilk. Well, not me, cause I don't actually lactate anymore, but you get the idea.

Julie Pippert said...

Good retort!

I broke down and weighed in today too. Maher was a boob (good one!) but you know? The responses at some of the other blogs, including Erin's at Huffington disturbed me more.

Maher is one person; the rest of those people are the en masse folks too many women run in to...the ones who end up giving people complexes they don't need.

Using My Words

Trena said...

All I can say is just...amen. If we could just accept the notion that breasts are more than just something sexual and actually have a biological purpose beyond eye candy, that would really be great all around.

Kristin said...

It's amazing to me that in 2007 we as a society are still allowing men like Bill Maher to make jokes about breastfeeding... when does behaving like a horny juvenile become unacceptable for grown men?

Anonymous said...

Well said friend. I was such a "modest" nurser with my son because I was self conscious. Now I think I wouldn't be so "accommodating" to folks that might be offended by a baby eating. Maher IS a boob.

You are not. And can I please come and visit you at your alpaca farm ... it might just be the very coolest plan evah!

Heather said...

Right on!

carrie said...

By the time my 3rd came around, I was nursing and vacuuming at the same time. Wonder what Mr. Maher would say to that? Lazy, I think not.

He really is an ass sometimes.

Anonymous said...

While I completely agree with almost everything you've said I do want to comment on the medical student case as I've been following it for a few days.

She's already received special dispensation to take the test over 2 days due to some learning disabilities(She now has twice as long to write the test as a typical med student), and she was offered a private room to take the test in so she could pump during the breaks that are already scheduled without having to take the time to relocate and set up. I'm not sure how much more they can give and still have any confidence that they are passing someone who will have the capabilities to perform as a doctor.

karengreeners said...

I absolutely never covered up, and I have a kid that nursed for 25 months. I am lucky to live in a very child/woman friendly neighbourhood, but really, it's up to us to not feel ashamed and to say, eff you, I'm feeding my kid.

Lawyer Mama said...

Must go off to read about med student, but I have a solution for her. I bought a battery operated pump that fit into my bra. I would use it at work when I couldn't stop to hook myself up to the big milking machine. She could use that while taking the exam & totally embarass the crap out of everyone. It would be fabulous!

You already know what I think of BM. And I think it's appropriate that his initials also stand for Bowel Movement.

Hannah said...

I also read about the med student, I actually really disagree with her position. She has been given extra time, and offered a private room to pump during the exam if she chooses, and she gets regular 45 minute breaks anyway. So in that particular case I think it's just giving ammunition to asshats.

Because don't misunderstand me, anyone who has a problem with people who breastfeed anywhere but a darkened, windowless room is an asshat. I nursed whenever, wherever, if baby was hungry I popped him on there. I was I think discreet without being ashamed. And I hadn't heard about Bill Maher before I read this, but I'm pretty pissed with him now. Jerk.

Piscesmama + One said...

Right on sister. I told my own breastfeeding sob story on my blog, I think we should send them all to Bill Maher and maybe sew his lips together. :)

BOSSY said...

True. Bossy doesn't have a Pair of Tits but she agrees with you anyway. (Do saggy molehills count?)

BOSSY said...

PS Fer chrissake.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad to read your post. I guess because I'm currently in the process of "lazily" nursing my second baby. He wants to do it all the time. And he's six months old so he also wants to smile and look around. It's hard enough to be a good mom and tend to everyone's needs without trying to protect the eyes of some offended onlooker.

I mean, we all do our best. Grrr.

No time for sarcasm. Just :-(

Alex Elliot said...

I'm sure you already know my opinion on the breastfeeding scandals. Honestly, I really don't see what's wrong with not covering up while breastfeeding. It's breastfeeding, not a sexual dance. If you don't like it, then don't look. As for that plastic study, I looked at the evidence for it and talked to a couple organic chemists and I'm not worried about it.

Julie Marsh said...

I have to say that I'm looking forward to this third baby as another chance to breastfeed without shame.

wayabetty said...

I agree with Monica on the case re: that student doctor.

As for nursing in public, call me Asian but I was never ashamed of nursing all my four children in public. I supposed it has something to do with growing up being nursed b/c that's the only food we'd get from our mothers, being from a poor third world country. This country is so backward when it comes to treating nursing mothers. We have a long way to go in comparing to our European and Asian counterparts.

Bill Maher is a total ass and I'm not sure if he's married or have kids but if he ever gets married, I wonder what he'll make his wife do...cover herself up?

I was at a golf range this past weekend with Parker, and he was hungry so I just "whipped" it out to feed him with all the men around. I'd love for someone to tell me to cover myself up but they knew better!! ;-)

NoMasNinos said...


On another note, it does get easier to nurse the second time around since you are more experienced, and the shyness starts to really fade away with the second. It's just something you've gotta do no matter where your at. Oh and the covering up with the blanket when its sweltering, been there, won't do that again.

Unknown said...

AMEN!!! That's all I have to say!

motherbumper said...

Damn woman, you always say it well (and you said boob - hee).

Ruth Dynamite said...

You tell him, sister!

Why his doofus felt compelled to speak out of his man boobs on this topic I'll never know. Love your impassioned post.

MrsFortune said...


And I ask myself ... how have I survived so long without reading your blog?

I realize I have been gone for a while, but reading you, my friend, feels like slipping on an old pair of boobs ... I mean ... shoes ...

mo-wo said...

Yes all you say is true. I remember the run around. stupid stupid stupide!

With #2 I did fully liberate myself but yes I would like to have the time back with my girl. I wish I would have taken her more places.

Last fall this time I was sitting in a restaurant like Applebees and having a family lunch. My boob was engaged by my six week old. I guess too much for the blanket came out.. A tidy veil drapped accross me I couldn't have cared less about. Thanks Mom?

Anonymous said...

Bravo...I love every word, perfect! Go tits.

Anonymous said...

Suck this Bill Maher!

Damselfly said...

Well put! We don't need people who don't even have boobs telling us what to do with ours.