How progressive have we become? How gender-neutral society were we able to build? How much equal opportunities did we give to our women?
I often chance to think about these questions whenever I stumble upon social media sites. The wrath and agitation we have shown to our women are unforgivable! From their freedom to dress to the kind of work they wish to do to even the way they dream of raising their kids — we, as a nation, as a society, have failed — by always judging them.
And if you think that my assumption is limited to small towns and villages, this story will change your perception. I bring a tale from the city of dreams — Mumbai — a tale of what judgement looks like!
As we are coming closer to the end of World Breastfeeding Week, I decided to reach out to our ordinary, regular, and invisible moms who are defying the rules they have been bound to — the rules of raising a kid, the rules of being an ideal mother and the rules of breastfeeding.
If you are one of them who has been judged for feeding their babies publicly because it was your breast you used to feed, you need to read the story of this supermom who didn’t give a damn to the blabbers!
“As a first-time parent, there are many things that you don’t know about. But there was one thing that I definitely was sure of. Breastfeeding my kid for as long as possible,” Smrity Sharma is a mother of a 4.5YO boy who decided to ignore all the gyaans coming her way.
Smrity is a working mom who was back to the pavilion in just four months of delivering her baby. “I had started building a stash and would pump at work and at night to ensure that the baby always had enough milk stored for the whole day while I was gone. The biggest challenge came my way when I finally decided that the baby was old enough to be taken out to cafes and restaurants and shopping. The first time, we ventured out, I pumped and took milk in a bottle to feed him while outdoors. But he refused to take the bottle with me around. I knew what my only option was, and my husband was supportive, and that’s how we started feeding in public,” she continues.
There had been instances when she got “the look” from people (all of them women), and some even had the audacity to comment or give advice. “One such advice came my way when I was at the airport waiting area, feeding my baby. He was eight months old then. The woman sitting next to me pointed out, “there is a feeding lounge that you can use.” I nodded and continued feeding right there. A few minutes later, she again said, “I think you should go to the feeding lounge. People around might be uncomfortable.” I simply smiled again. A few minutes later, she shifted to another bay. So she was the one feeling uncomfortable after all. Sometimes, the best retort is not to say anything and continue doing your thing,” Smrity smiles.
Another incident which she shared was from one of her road trips, “My friend’s wife, also a mother to a kid as old as mine, enquired about my baby food bag. She thought perhaps I had forgotten to take it. I told her that I breastfed my baby, and she gave me some gyaan about how she stopped breastfeeding since it was so hectic, inconvenient. She suggested that I stop feeding too and reclaim my life. I just smiled to end the conversation. I am not sure what milk her kid was on, but on the way, it got curdled and couldn’t be fed to the baby. The baby was crying out of hunger, and she very sheepishly requested if I could breastfeed her baby. We bonded that day, and she told me how her milk wasn’t enough, and the regular taanas from her mother and sister in law for not breastfeeding the baby made her come up with this “cooler” narrative. This just reinstated my belief in never judging what a mother does or doesn’t.”
She breastfed her boy, Ayaan, for 3.5 years and did all her work, road trips, etc. without any hindrance. Smrity is the Head of Content and Community at WittyFeed — a Journalist, with a 15-year experience in content creation. Connect with her on Instagram to listen to more of her path-breaking stories.
And while I am annoying more carefree moms to share their tales, I am also encouraging them not to give up. Dear moms, do not give up on your dreams, do not hide in the closet due to the society — be you, be what you are and show your kid the world you believe in!
#Breastfeeding is bliss. Don’t let your child be deprived of it!