I woke up early yesterday so Penelope and I could head to the airport to fly to Texas to meet up with Xza and Alyssa for MommyCon Austin! We ran late for the airport and I didn’t have time to nurse Penny from the parking lot until we got onto the plane. I also didn’t have time to do a last minute diaper change like I normally do when I fly with my kids. (Dun dun dun…)
Every time we fly (which is frequently) I go through a checklist of sorts in my head. Mostly things I worry about, because I am a fabulous worrier. This list includes things like packing enough snacks and toys to entertain my kids, how to accomplish the security checkpoint in the most efficient way possible (without beeping- beeping and getting wanded stresses me out), getting to the gate on time for a stroller tag and filling up my water bottle, going to the bathroom and changing any applicable diaper immediately before boarding, and nursing somewhere very discreetly in a corner.
Usually I fly southwest, and you can choose your own seat. I normally choose one pretty far back so I am less likely to have someone sit by me. I also beg God to let a nice little old lady be the one to sit by me, and at the minimum please no men or people offended by nursing.
Two very conservative older women sat by me who were from another country and speaking another language. I felt shy- almost embarrassed nursing my baby in my seat, worried that I may offend them. I awkwardly tried to turn towards the window a little bit to hide us from them. Suddenly, with a very loud trio of… um, giant squirts… my baby had a 30,000 foot high poopsplosion. I actually had to talk myself into asking the ladies next to me to get up so I could go change her, because I didn’t want to bother them. (Although actually I ended up changing her in my lap.)
But really, what the HECK was I thinking? MY BABY was hungry. She needed to be fed! MY BABY needed changed SO badly and I was so scared to do something about it. And instead of her needs being my first concern, they were second. No, actually third. First was my insecurity. Second, the sake of others around me. Third was her needs.
Breastfeeding is really hard for me to do in public. Diaper changing for that matter as well. I am totally all about it and I don’t think that women should have to cover up in public at all. It needs to be normalized. But I cover because I am so uncomfortable. I am scared of getting “in trouble” (we have all heard the stories of moms getting kicked out of stores and other places) or making someone else mad or grossed out.
And then I had a lightbulb moment. At the MommyCon Austin playdate, there were diapers being changed and boobs galore in every direction. Women were sitting in big groups with nursing babies and not a single one covered. I was inspired. I settled with myself at that moment that I was going to try to be more brave. These women were feeding their babies on demand because their babies needed nourishment. They didn’t give a second thought to who was around, they just naturally nursed their babies.
So I did it. I nursed without a cover for the first time in public. I nursed right in the middle of the room without finding a secret corner as if I was doing something shameful. Because my baby needed to eat and no one really likes a blanket on their head when it’s dinner time (especially in the heavy Texas heat!). And you know what?I am proud of myself.
And even though at the restaurant we ate at for dinner, I nursed with a blanket for some privacy, I know that tomorrow is another day and I will keep moving forward. I am going to stop worrying about what others think because my daughters come first. That’s all that matters.