(WWBT) - A Virginia mother is anonymously sharing a story of humiliation while breastfeeding, hoping to end the stigmas surrounding it.
RVA Breastfeeds shared the mother's story Wednesday morning on Facebook:
This story is shared with permission by a Richmond Greater Metropolitan Area mother who wishes to remain anonymous. She hopes that her story will be received as an opportunity to reflect.
"This is why I finally decided to share my story, so hopefully other women will not allow people who are in higher positions intimidate them into not saying anything. We need to educate our children to know that breastfeeding is not sexual, nor is it something that women do to get attention or try to make people uncomfortable. It is a biological need to feed our hungry babies. Period. There really is no argument. It's science, plan and simple. And people who think it's wrong to do it in public need to ask themselves...is it wrong or does it simply go against your social norm? I can very well say, just because something might not be the social norm does not always mean it's wrong."
RVA Breastfeeds continues to support and educate the community about women's breastfeeding rights, as well as working to normalize what they say is natural. Far too often, they say more stories of mothers being shamed for breastfeeding have become public. Shakeya Lewis, a certified lactation specialist, says its all boils down to the law stating that a woman can breastfeed publicly.
"It's the best first food for babies," explained Lewis. "Especially with the laws covering her in all 50 states, it's unacceptable for a woman to feel like she can't be somewhere feeding her baby comfortably - it's important for her baby to eat."
Lewis works with Nurture RVA and RVA Breastfeeds, and Wednesday marked the beginning of Breast Feeding Awareness week. They have launched a #BreastFeedingMatters campaign, encouraging others to share their stories this week. Lewis also works to end stigmas within the black community, helping team up for Black Breastfeeding Week at the end of August.
"If it was a bottle, you wouldn't think twice. Think about it the same way." she explained. "It's a fear of what people are going to say to you, and it shouldn't be that way."
RVA Breastfeeds encourages families to reach out the Virginia Department of Health if they have concerns or feel their breastfeeding rights have been violated.
"It's going to take a long time, and it may be a lot of work to reverse some of the stigmas that have been attached to the woman's breast, but it's important," said Lewis. "We need more people to start backing these moms."
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