Last Saturday, I performed my weekly ritual of dragging the kids along to the local markets for produce. Upon arrival, my twins performed their regular ritual of filling their nappies.
Seeking a change table, we stumbled upon a lovely young mum feeding her newborn while perched on the lip of a grotty public toilet.
This was apparently her only refuge after her attempt to feed her child in the market cafe had been rewarded with nasty looks. Looks that implied she was just a saucy post-partum minx, using any excuse to get her bits out and arouse fellow shoppers. Yeah right! I myself have never felt more randy than when I’m bruised and bloated, with leaky breasts and a squalling infant, have you?
Early on in my career as a freshly-minted ‘double-feeder’ (feeding singletons has its hurdles, but feeding twins is a whole new track-and-field event) I had a similar experience.
The chain of events
Trying to shake off baby cabin fever I had walked down to the local park with the twins in tow for a dose of fresh air.
Naturally, five minutes later, Twin #1 became grizzly.
Like dominos, the other followed, so I was obliged to perform the juggling act of feeding both with a haphazard assortment of rolled up jumpers, baby blankets and wishful thinking.
I managed to be discreet with an artfully placed shawl but there are limits.
When a middle-aged couple wandered past, I copped a gawping load of evil eye from her. She then turned to her husband to share her disgust only to find he had craftily slipped on his reflective sunglasses to get a closer look at my boobs undetected.
Now, I’m not stupid, and neither was she, his intent was pretty clear. He received a sharp elbow to the ribs for his trouble and she stormed off, leaving him to throw me a sheepish smile.
Oh the irony
It never ceases to amaze me that naked breasts are welcome everywhere: billboards, magazine covers, in the paper, on the TV, to sell everything from racing cars to shoe polish, except for when performing the very function for which they were designed.
It is an absolute disgrace that some idiots feel it is their right to pass judgement on the parenting choices of complete strangers, knowing nothing of their background, their beliefs, their situation, or their struggles.
These cretins actually believe that by admonishing, embarrassing, and abusing frequently frazzled and frightened first-time parents, they are making the world a better place. Reality check: infecting others with your pessimism, your prejudices, and your own problems, only serves to make the world smaller, sadder and more inclined to feel shame just for doing what is right for you, and for your baby.
There will always be someone on hand to judge when you chastise your tantrum-prone toddler in the supermarket, when you screech at your 8-year-old for mimicking Bear Grylls on the monkey bars, or reprimand your teen for refusing to drag their eyes from social media long enough to join in on a family meal at a restaurant. All you can do is what feels right for you and your family, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.