Friday, August 24, 2012

quietly, peacefully raising awareness

Yesterday morning I read about a breastfeeding mom who alleges that her manager refused her access to a private space in which to express milk.  There were a few news reports about the situation.  In each, the accused location failed or refused to comment.

This morning, I learned that some local mothers were going to gather peacefully at the location today to show support for breastfeeding mothers.  Despite having a pile of fabric still left to sew, I went to show some solidarity.

At 2:00pm this afternoon, I was joined by about six or seven other mothers and their children.  One mom brought along a friend, and member of Seal Beach's Chamber of Commerce, as well.  A newsman showed up and asked to film us--we agreed.

Towards the end of our gathering, a woman pushing a double stroller approached us and expressed her disappointment at seeing our group "protesting" one of her "favorite restaurants."  We explained that we were NOT a protest, only a peaceful gathering in support of breastfeeding awareness.  We told her that the allegation against her favorite tavern was disappointing, but that we hoped we could raise awareness about the legal protections for lactating moms.

Her reaction shocked and disappointed me.  She accused us of trying to drum up bad press about the business, admonished us for only accepting one side of the story, and attempted to shame us for our actions.  I tried to explain that we only had one side to go one as the business had denied comment, tried to point out that we were not blocking access to the restaurant, were not stopping the general public to rail against the business, and had only gathered to raise awareness about breastfeeding law.  Several of us even said that we suspected this was a case of an unaware employee (the manager) acting against corporate policy.

She either didn't listen, or didn't care.

Her arrival was just as the newsman was wrapping up, but he asked to speak with her, too.  Good reporting, I thought, as it is great to show multiple sides to an issue.  But I could not hear what she had to say and I dread the thought of what she had to say.  As I DID hear her repeatedly defend the manager and put down the waitress.

The woman could be right, of course.  The breastfeeding employee could have made up or exaggerated the situation, but to watch this other woman immediately tear down the waitress, I was gobsmacked.  But I suppose that I was not surprised.  Too often I see or hear of mothers not only failing to support one another, but even going so far as to put down other moms for making choices counter to the choices that they made.

When are we going to stop trying to tear one another apart as moms?  When are we going to treat one another with peace and love as our guide instead of jealousy and anger?  Whenever it is, it cannot come soon enough.

In about a half hour, the news piece is set to air.  I have no way of being able to watch it, but I may try to find it later.  Part of me is worried, afraid that with some creative editing the new will be able to show the peaceful gathering in support of a mom as a group of misguided, reactionary moms protesting a business.

Our detractor had a couple of other ladies with her.  All of them tried to shame us for bringing "bad PR" to the business.  Try as I might to explain to them that this could, in fact, bring the business a lot of free, great PR, they ignored me.  But I would like to express that this could actually be a boon for this business.  I'm not suggesting that other business mistreat their employees in the hopes of rectifying everything and appearing the good guy later.  But when a similar situation happened at LACMA, they were able to illustrated that while they'd failed to adequately train all their employees on their breastfeeding policies, they were willing to retrain and they even went so far as to HOST a family-friendly gathering in support of breastfeeding later.

What's the take away from this post?  I really don't know.  I confess that I am typing this up somewhat hastily and much of what I've written has not been edited.  But I wanted to document this.  And I hope that folks will read it and, perhaps, realize that it's time we support moms when and how we can.

1 comment:

  1. I've never understood the need in some females (regardless of age) to rail on other females. Because of this tearing down, most of my closest friends are actually male - they listen to me and give a damn when women won't give me the time of day.



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