Friday, November 17, 2006
Thanks for Protecting my Morals, Delta.
Now, bite me.

Woman kicked off plane for breast-feeding baby

Seriously? Really? The worst possible thing that this woman could do, bad enough to get her kicked off the plane, is to breastfeed?

Why do things like that never happen to me?

Because you don't breastfeed anymore, Kate.

Shut up. I did, for almost three years, cumulatively. I'm not earthy-crunchy enough to think that I would have continued to do so long enough for my kids to grab a quick snack before walking across the stage to collect their diplomas, but I followed their lead and was glad to get 14 months with Emily and 18 months with Jacob.

And I never got any really good crap about it. Oh, I got the inevitable mutterings from my mother-in-law, culminating in an observation that by choosing to breastfeed, I was being selfish because it meant less time that she could spend with the kids. Yes. I breastfed just so I could lessen my children's time with their grandmother. No consideration of their nutrition, or attachment, or my own personal preferences. It really is all about her.

But from strangers, from stewardesses, from anyone at all... even from the guy working the toll booth on the Mass Pike who got an eyefull because it's darn near impossible to be discreet while breastfeeding a carseat-ensconced and frantic child... nothing. No censure, no questioning, no threats, no insults.

And I would be so good in that sort of situation. I throw a mean tantrum when it comes to professional service and my legal rights, and I keep that tantrum right here in my hip pocket, handy to whip out and lob at poor brainless ineffective customer service policies at a moment's notice. AT&T can talk to you about what happens when they misread my time zone and call me at 3:00 in the morning to offer me a sales pitch, which I politely yet frighteningly decline. Likewise with the student loan companies who can't be bothered to read silly things like graduation years.

All through both pregnancies, I was set and ready to go if a stranger had wanted to rub my belly - "Sure, but only if I can rub yours, too" - or if people had expressed doubts about my chosen names, weight gain or birth plan (I adhered to the "meds and meds NOW" philosophy) - "I'm so glad you're taking such an interest in my personal life. How much do you weigh?"

And again, the only time I ever got to actually use a snarky line was with family, that time my father-in-law. When he found out that I was pregnant (news that came to him through another family member because he'd been camping at his no-phone no-electricity place up in northern Maine yet somehow we were supposed to tell him or hold off on announcing at all until he returned), he called and said, "I think you're too young to be having children. I think I should have been consulted first."

And I was able to reply, honestly and from the heart, "Well, H, we weren't exactly thinking about you at the time."