It is so important to punish the poor

It is so important to punish the poor July 7, 2014

Especially poor mothers and children.  A nation awash in porn, but let a mother breastfeed her child and suddenly the League of Puritanical Purity is out in force to grind their faces in the dirt.

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  • Michaelus

    But if people see a young mother using her breasts to feed her baby it might get people to associate breasts with mothers and babies. This could really hurt our thriving porn industry and destroy the economy.

  • thisismattwade

    The state of our world is such that it’s not a tragedy that a single mother is homeless, but that some people are scandalized by how she feeds her child. Lord, have mercy on me! Lord, have mercy on us!

  • Matthew

    There are many things that are good and natural (perhaps even holy) that I would prefer not be done in public. That said I am not sure the event described in the article does what Mark wants to claim. The woman in question seems to have been offered a more discrete option for breast-feeding and she rejected it. There are details referred to in the article that I would like to have verified before jumping to Mark’s conclusions. e.g. Was the AC off in the room she was offered? Is it the “closet” that the woman implies?

    • Dave G.

      It almost sounds like you want more information before you jump to conclusions. 🙂

      • freddy

        Cute, but off the mark in this case.
        The shelter official admits both to asking the woman to be “sensitive” to other guests and to offering her a place to go. Hawaii’s law regarding public breastfeeding is also quoted in the article. Only someone who wants to add to this woman’s burden would need more information.

        • Dave G.

          No, despite living in the post-modern age, I’ll never tire of hearing someone say ‘I’d like more information before making a judgement.’

          • freddy

            So you don’t think that sometimes the so-called quest for more information isn’t just an attempt at obfuscation or pushing a certain agenda? Perhaps you’ve never had the fun of a conversation with a teenager. 🙂

            • Dave G.

              Of course, but I assume the better, especially in an age where instant news has trained us to judge first, ask questions later. And that includes teenagers. 😉

              • freddy

                Yes, but Matthew’s words above speak for themselves. You don’t need to assume anything. He begins by noting that there are many good things that probably shouldn’t be done in public, then continues by doubting the woman’s story, under the guise of seeking more info. He never questions the shelter official’s story. Matthews seems biased rather than a brave seeker of the truth.
                Now, I agree with you that Catholics should look to see the best in others, and shouldn’t jump to conclusions, and should always be seekers of the truth, but I don’t think that’s what Matthew is doing here.
                After all, the questions Matthew wants answered don’t really matter, do they? In fact, even if the shelter official had offered the use of a grand ballroom complete with its own ice floe and dancing penguins, the woman has the right to refuse and to nurse in public, without any pressure to go elsewhere.

                • orual’s kindred

                  He begins by noting that there are many good things that probably shouldn’t be done in public

                  In reading his comment, what I notice is that he said it in terms of his preference. There are a lot of bad things that I would prefer to be at least tolerated when done in public, but I hope none of us would disagree when I say my preference is not a sound basis for the argument. And as you say, the shelter’s statements are at least as questionable as the woman’s.

                  I think breastfeeding mothers should try to cover up whenever possible. Sometimes, however, this is just not feasible, and accidents have been known to happen. I think more effort should be directed towards ensuring the safety and well-being of a woman who needs to breastfeed her baby in public, and I’m a bit dismayed at the kind of concern over ‘what if she’s just doing it for show’ and the discomfort at a mother feeding her child.

                • Dave G.

                  I would assume we’re all biased. And those who are expressing their opinions about why this was poorly done have already made up their minds as well. Long before reading the story. Still, no matter who or what, I’m OK with people looking for more evidence before rendering judgement. Even if they are, like all of us, biased one way or another. Remember, it’s never a case of being biased or not. It’s a case of admitting it and taking it into consideration.

    • MarylandBill

      Just curious, why should it be the mother have to isolate herself from others just to feed her baby? It doesn’t sound like she is breast feeding her child as some sort of display, but I guess our society has so sexualized breasts that the notion of them being used for their actual purpose disturbs people.

    • Andy

      As usual, the story lacks detail – was she being asked to cover, or to go somewhere completely out of sight? And how politely did she handle the encounter?
      Still, while covering might be appropriate, more modest, especially in the continental US, I can’t see it needs to be required. This is in Hawaii. There are probably women everywhere showing more than a breastfeeding mother.

    • freddy

      Doesn’t matter. The woman has the right, under the law, to breastfeed in public. I also believe it to be a moral right and that there’s nothing improper about breastfeeding that should relegate it to something best done in private.
      I also find it odd that in reading the linked article you apparently skipped the bit about Hawaii’s law in order to cast doubt upon the poor woman in question .

    • Kate Cousino

      As this is occurring in a shelter, there are two additional factors to be considered.

      First, most shelters are sex-segregated. Which means there would be no adult men around to witness her nursing.

      Second, this is a shelter–if this mother is night-nursing at all, asking her to move essentially asks her to wake all the way up, leave her bed (and possessions–theft is a problem in many shelters) multiple times a night to sit in another room and breastfeed her baby, rather than the sleepy-barely-awake, relatively easy nighttime nursing relationship women with their own bedrooms are able to have with their children.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Give her a house of her own. Two problems solved!
        Stories like this always get my back up because I’ve had a nursing little one pretty much constantly for about 8 years now. I nurse in church, in the mall, at the zoo, the swimming pool, and in restaurants, usually without a cover because my babies HATE them. This case makes me even angrier because the woman is in an especially vulnerable position. It’s not like choosing to leave a restaurant that is unfriendly; where else can she go?

    • BillyT92679

      frankly, they’re just breasts used for their purpose… if anything seeing this should be a cause of beauty and wonderment, not sexuality

    • Mariana Baca

      Do formula feeding mothers need to go to a private room to feed their children?

  • SteveP

    “We’re feeding our children and our children deserve it”
    Is it not incredibly saddening she felt the need to say that and the reporter needed to relay that sentence? Why is this not a given?

  • Peggy

    She should cover herself when breastfeeding in public. A lightweight sheet would do. It sounds like they offered her several alternatives with A/C as well.

    • BillyT92679

      This really shouldn’t be a near occasion of sin for anyone. I don’t see the need for her to have to cover herself.

    • freddy

      “She should cover herself when breastfeeding in public.”
      Why? There is no legal or moral imperative to cover while breastfeeding in public. Some women do; others don’t. Some babies tolerate being covered, others can’t.

  • Dan C
  • Kathleen S

    This story grinds my gears on so many levels. We live in a culture that tolerates porn all over including tv, movies and billboards and women almost nude in public places , not to mention what the beach scene looks like today. But let someone breast feed their baby in public and all hell breaks loose. It’s one of the big reasons that women don’t breastfeed for any length of time even though the benefits for both mother and child are many. No one wants to have to stay in the house 24/7. Babies nurse for more than just nutrition also. They need to nurse for comfort too. Not to mention it’s free, and a poor women is not having to buy expensive inferior food for her child. It is possible to breastfeed modestly, though some babies do not like to be covered up and will pull the covering off. I am a grandmother now, but breastfed all my children and it was wonderful natural way to space the births of our family too.

  • anna lisa

    I remember the day that I said, “ENOUGH!” I was breastfeeding on a dirty public toilet, my husband was alone at the restaurant table, I was starving, and my food was getting cold. I thought of all the models, and beach babes in tiny bikinis. A primal roar almost erupted out of me.

  • petey

    agree entirely with the sentiment. I was breastfed, a thing my mother (born in 1913) had no problem informing me. I have also, though, seen breastfeeding in church, during mass. I am not making that up. so, is there a line? when does breastfeeding verge from what you’re supposed to do, to a Statement Of My Autonomy As A Woman?

    • Kate Cousino

      Mass is one of the most appropriate places to breastfeed. First of all, the necessity of keeping your infant quiet is fairly pressing in mass. A nursing baby is typically far less distracting than a squalling one. Secondly, the other people in mass should be well-disposed to see a mother’s nurturing in a positive light, given the example of Our Lady and the Church’s teachings on the theology of the body. Third, nursing moms need grace too!

      • Kate Cousino

        I have breastfed in all kinds of places, and it has never been a Statement of anything. It’s just how I feed my infants.

    • justanothermom

      Uh.. .yeah amazingly, baby’s have this weird habit of not caring where the mom is when it’s time to be fed. Nor do they care what time it is (i.e.:3 am…) so no, it’s not just another “statement.” to be made other than baby is hungry, baby needs to eat. Baby will cry very loudly if not fed. Baby comes before adult that feel awkward around breastfeeding mothers.

      • justanothermom

        I meant babies, not baby’s. My baby was up at 3 am. I’m tired.

        • My baby, after several months of sleeping through the night, has decided he no longer wants to do that. I’m having a hard time thinking straight, too.

      • petey

        i see. so the side chapel or the rectory, both 10 yards away? the infant would not feed in these places? OTOH, I learned recently from Dr. Marshall that massgoers used to urinate within churches.

        • justanothermom

          You’re honestly comparing urinating to feeding a child? Should the formula fed babies also be sent to the rectory? I guess nursing moms should just miss Mass altogether to make you more comfortable? I mean, in all seriousness, we Catholics are supposed to be pro-life and yet let’s shut mom and baby away in some room so as to not bother you? You should be paying attention to Mass anyway, not what some mom you happen to be sitting next to is doing.

        • Kate Cousino

          When my third child was born, I had two other children and was attending mass with them solo. The key to getting through mass peacefully and meeting my responsibility to catechize my oldest was to unless someone was screaming. The alternative was to drag all four of us to whatever space was available–not generally a great option.

          Then we moved and began attending a tiny rural parish with no side chapel and no attached gathering spaces. I am grateful no one chided me for not taking my three children out of the church and into my car to avoid breastfeeding my daughter in their presence.

        • Matt

          My wife breastfeeds anywhere and everywhere, including in Mass. We don’t give a care what you think about that and we never will.

        • Balin

          You want to equate breastfeeding during Mass with urinating in a church? What a disturbing thought.

    • Hey, if Pope Francis encourages women to breastfeed in church if their babies are hungry, who am I to disagree with him?

      Besides, since my husband is not Catholic, if I have to leave to feed Beadboy3 during Mass, I have to take the rest of the kids with me, because Beadboy1 cannot be left alone (special needs). It’s a herculean task getting them to Mass by myself in the first place.

    • ivan_the_mad

      In today’s culture, your response should be “God bless this mother, who chose life, and now lovingly feeds her child in God’s house.”

      As Beadgirl pointed out, the pope is quite fine with breastfeeding at Mass.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    For the life of me, I cannot understand the anti-public-breastfeeding mentality. It’s actually hard for me to engage in a discussion about it because it is a total, 100% no brainer, and I almost want to question the sanity of anyone who doesn’t see it as such. I have been around, as a priest engaged in family ministry, dozens upon dozens of nursing mothers, and it has never occurred to me, even vaguely, that there was anything ‘exhibitionist’ or whatever about it. It’s just life – normal life of how mothers feed their babies, period.

    • Dave G.

      Just a different cultural viewpoint. There are other cultures where it would also be looked down upon. Some are OK with it, others aren’t. Some who oppose it also oppose the ‘porn culture’ that has been mentioned. Many who support the porn culture support public breastfeeding. There are those who stand against the porn culture who do as well. And there are probably some pushing wholehearted the porn culture while not approving of public breastfeeding. In the end, it’s upbringing, preferences, culture. And like most other things in our country, a clash between them. Personally I couldn’t care less.

    • Victor

      ((( It’s just life – normal life of how mothers feed their babies, period. )))
      My wife and I are as they say from the old farm and she’s never had to breast feed any of our five daughters and after having spoken to her about it a few days ago, long story short, she’s still from the old farm. 🙁

      As for myself these days I would also have to agree that “IT” is just a different cultural viewpoint and longer story short, I will let GOD (Good Old Dad) judge what is truly in these woman’s heart and thoughts when they do chose to breast feed in public cause there are so many other obvious wrongs like Abortion, just to name “ONE” which need a greater deal of attention nowadays.

      I hear YA folks! So why did you take a staff at breast feeding in this post below Victor?

      Go Figure! LOL 🙂

      God Bless

  • merkn

    The woman was asked to use a coverup while breastfeeding to “be sensitive to the concerns of others” in a public shelter. This is grinding the faces of the poor in the dirt?

  • stargazer

    What’s wrong with using some decorum and discretion while feeding? I breast fed all of my sons discreetly wherever we happened to be with no problem. I didn’t pull everything out to show, however. I was once around an indiscreet mom who pulled her whole breast out front. I was with my 3 sons, now teens. I felt uncomfortable about that, not because my sons were ogling her, but it violated their natural sense of privacy.

    • Kate Cousino

      I knew a woman who could breastfeed without anyone knowing she was breastfeeding, even if you were looking right at her. She was built differently from myself, however, and her tricks didn’t work for me. Two of my three children have tolerated a cover, but my first–the one I had when I was most shy, least proficient at breastfeeding, least prepared–would not tolerate a cover. I stayed home. A lot. I have nothing but respect for women in that position who have the self-assurance and courage to live full lives regardless.