The Short of It
A mom who is told she can't breastfeed in a museum that celebrates women's rights fights back, and ... It. Is. Awesome!
Emily Locke was celebrating her sister's wedding this past weekend at a Cleveland museum when a staff member, who is female no less, told her she couldn't breastfeed there. So, she took to Facebook to share what happened and stand up for breastfeeding women everywhere. Her post, which has since been shared more than 11,000 times and liked 35,000 times, reads in part:
"While taking pictures at the Western Reserve Historical Society, I took a break to nurse my 9 month old baby. Not long after I began, I was approached by a woman who told me 'you aren't allowed to do that here.' I responded that I was actually legally allowed to nurse my child. She said it was against the museum policy and I had to stop. I refused and she said she would have to get her manager. I said I would be happy to speak with her manager. Moments later I was approached by a young woman. She said I would have to move and they had a private area where I could 'do that.' I said I was fine where I was, and told her that legally I could nurse my child where ever I was permitted to be. (I wanted to be near where my family and other two children were posing for the pictures. I truly did not have time to stop the feeding and move to another location even if I wanted to.)"
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The post continues:
"She then told it was a family museum. I explained this is a family moment. She then told me she was just trying to protect the innocent children. I was pretty shocked. I think I responded with a blank stare, considering the place was nearly empty and the only innocent children around were my children, and also, I was nursing a child not walking around topless. She stared at me for a moment and said 'I guess there is nothing I can do then.' I said 'I guess not' and she walked away while I finished nursing my son."
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Locke goes on to say she was so disappointed and saddened by what took place. To insinuate she was harming innocent children was the comment that seemingly upset her the most.
But here's the clincher. As Locke writes, she "was treated this way by women in a museum which actually has exhibits celebrating the civil rights movement, and women's rights. A museum that has nude female form on display as art, but could not see the art and beauty of a woman nursing her child."
Locke writes, "I am a confident woman and mother. I have nursed three children. I know my rights and will always crusade for justice. There is nothing anyone could tell me that would hurt my nursing success. However, if they approached me, I am fairly certain they have or would approached other nursing mothers. Perhaps mothers getting out in public for the first time. Perhaps mothers struggling with figuring out how nursing will fit into their lives. To be treated with such disgust and disrespect could hurt their chances of being successful at breastfeeding. That is wrong."
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It is Locke's hope the Cleveland History Center will learn from its mistake and change its policy, and most of all, respect women's legal rights to breastfeed.
Good for this mom—not only for standing up for herself, but also for sharing words that will no doubt inspire confidence in less-experienced nursing mothers, who wouldn't be so strong in the same situation.