Far too frequently, people engage in the act of blaming each other. Many have experienced criticism based on our words, actions, appearance, or attire.
Moreover, these judgments are often expressed in a hurtful manner. Another form of condemnation emerged in recent years, targeting women who breastfeed their children in public.
Nonetheless, a touching story from 2013 exemplifies how women can support and uplift each other.
Dinner Is Interrupted
During her birthday celebration, Jackie Johnson Smith, who was 33 years old, went to dinner with her husband and three children. The family decided to have a pizza dinner at Fong's Restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa.
However, Jackie's mealtime was unexpectedly interrupted. To soothe her youngest child, who was becoming restless, she decided to breastfeed him and temporarily left the table.
"I tried occupying him with various toys, but he wasn't relaxing. So, I decided to nurse him. I grabbed a cover from my diaper bag, threw it on, and started nursing him," Smith said.
Breastfeeding And Feeling Ashamed
Initially, she nursed her baby at the table but then locked eyes with the waitress. Interpreting the waitress's expression as disapproving, she started feeling self-conscious and opted to move away from the booth to complete breastfeeding.
"We were in a corner of the restaurant where nobody could really see us, but when the waitress came over, she noticed me nursing, and she gave me this look," Jackie continued. "I immediately started stressing out."
Jackie shared that she had previously encountered unpleasant situations while breastfeeding in public.
"I've been stared at, given dirty looks. People said, 'There are places for that," Smith said. "With my first child, I really felt the pressure and fear. I hid in the car whenever I had to breastfeed."
When Jackie's husband settled the bill, she received a delightful and uplifting surprise.
"My husband had this weird grin on his face, and he showed me the receipt our waitress gave him. It said, 'I bought one of your pizzas…please thank your wife for breastfeeding," she shared.
In Support Of Breastfeeding
Bodi Kinney, who was also 33 years old at the time, happened to be the kind-hearted waitress from Des Moines.
"As soon as I saw her nursing in the restaurant, I was in awe. I immediately thought, 'Right on!" Kinney told ABC News.
"She really lit up my night. Without making a big scene or making her uncomfortable, I really wanted to thank her for breastfeeding and tell her I supported her."
A Stranger's Kindness
Kinney explained, "That's when I decided that I would pay for one of the pizzas she ordered. So, I paid for the pizza, and wrote a quick note on their receipt. I told the husband to thank his wife for me."
She shared that she had also found herself in a comparable situation.
"I was a nursing mother too, and we really need the support." That was her motivation for covering the cost of the pizza.
Jackie described the heartwarming encounter with such a compassionate stranger.
"I kept reading the note over and over and over again in shock."
She continued, "I teared up. I was emotional. I have breastfed for five years, on and off, and I never got such positive affirmation for what I was doing."
Jackie concluded with, "Breastfeeding is not black and white. I absolutely encourage it. However, any mother, whether they work or stay at home, breastfeed, or use formula, knows what is best for her family and children. And every mother just should trust that."
Life presents challenges for everyone. Illness, disease, loss, and stress are universal experiences, alongside global crises such as war and famine. In the grand scheme, complaining about women breastfeeding their children appears insignificant.
This narrative warms the heart and serves as a positive model for people everywhere. The world is in dire need of greater compassion, understanding, and support. We all encounter obstacles, and it is wasteful to expend energy on being judgmental towards others as they navigate their own struggles.
Additionally, breastfeeding is a natural aspect of life, and women should not face condemnation for nourishing their children.