The beginning of the year is a great time to get started on new things. Maybe you’ve taken up a new workout regime. Or maybe you’ve decided to read more books this year. Whatever you’ve taken on, it’s nice to have someone help out on days when you might not feel quite as inspired. Even if you haven’t started anything new, there are plenty of fun things you can try on a daily basis, such as taking a photo and posting it on Instagram, or using a writing prompt to come up with a fun blog or Facebook post.
WordPress, the blogging format we use for this blog, has a great area for daily or weekly challenges. You can choose from photographic challenges, writing challenges or anything in between. And if you’ve started your own inspired challenge, why not submit it there so that others can play along?
I decided to try the Daily Prompt, which looked like a lot of fun. When I started writing this post, it was Monday, Jan. 13th, so the challenge was this:
Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us a CURRENT EVENT.
For me, the website I use most for news is CNN.com. The third headline on the page reads:
Breastfeed in Church? Pope says yes!
All right, this is a controversial little headline, isn’t it? I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be something I “showed” through a photo, poem or drawing, as stated in the prompt, but after reading through quite a few of the linked posts, there seemed to be plenty of options. People wrote opinions, shared a memory from the past or included photos and drawings.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized that churches and libraries have many things in common. They are places of refuge, public buildings where anyone should be welcomed, quiet spaces used for reflection and knowledge. But as with many public places, a wide variety of people will congregate there, and when you have people of different ages and backgrounds, you’ll also get a lot of conflicting ideas about what is acceptable in that space and what is not.
We don’t discourage mothers from breast-feeding at the library, but many choose to cover up when they are here. Often, they’ll bring older children as well as the baby, and so spend much of their time in the children’s area. Children tend not to even notice when a mother is breastfeeding in the library, whereas, adults will often stay clear of the couch or chair where the feeding is happening. Why is it so uncomfortable for people when it is such a natural thing? I suppose it’s because we’re not familiar with the person doing the breastfeeding—not familiar enough to disregard the nudity as “normal”, maybe?
When we began our babytime sessions at the library, a change happened that I wasn’t expecting. Many of the mothers openly breastfeed during the session, whether or not there are fathers there. They are performing a simple task—-feeding their child—not doing anything of a sexual nature, and so, they go about their “job” in total acceptance. So far, we haven’t had anyone complain or mention they don’t feel comfortable. I hope we continue to foster an environment where everyone feels safe and at ease and accepted.
Which brings me to the Church and the fact that the Pope has announced it is okay for women to breastfeed during a service. (Yay!) I must admit, for the sake of this writing prompt, I didn’t want to read anything more than the headline, but I assume that at some point, it wasn’t okay for women to breastfeed in Church for the Pope to make this earth-shattering announcement. Which makes me wonder why? Because of the partial nudity? Because breasts are also considered “sexual”? Because it made some people uncomfortable? One look at artwork depicting religious events would make one think that breastfeeding was perfectly natural and part of the religious experience. Have you ever seen a painting in any Church where a mother is feeding her baby with a bottle? No! Of course not, and so to expect mothers to either ignore their child’s hunger while in Church, or be expected to sneak out for a feeding, is asking too much. While it might not be acceptable to eat in Church, babies don’t manage their hunger around events, and isn’t this about the baby?
I’m glad that the Pope has made this rule for the Catholic Church, although I think it’s something that shouldn’t need to have been addressed at all. Mothers, be sensitive to those around you, and people in the crowd, let moms and babies go about this natural activity without shaming them. It’ll be a much nicer world overall.