Breastfeeding moms routinely face all sorts of shame—and sometimes, it comes from their nearest and dearest.
A new video points out a breed of breastfeeding shame we rarely discuss, and it's one that deserves attention. The video was created by Megan Soto, a Florida-based photographer who quickly realized that nursing moms are, sadly, susceptible to shame from their own families and friends.
"When I asked local mothers to share stories of them being shamed by family and friends as nursing mothers the responses flew in. It became obvious to me that we cannot address public breastfeeding until we address those planting the seeds of shame," Soto captioned the video, which she shared on her Facebook page.
The video features looks at women who are consistently left out of major life events because they're breastfeeding: One scene shows a whole family celebrating a child's birthday before panning to show us a breastfeeding mom hiding out away from the action so she can nurse. Another shows a mom leaving the table during Thanksgiving dinner to go hover in a closet and feed her baby. It makes a loud, clear point: The breastfeeding moms feel intense isolation, and that we shouldn't force women to become spectators in their own lives just because they are nursing their babies.
"I decided to create the video out of my own frustration and heartache inflicted by my family members," Soto told Fit Pregnancy. "The statement about the mom not being welcome on Thanksgiving was from my family (in-laws)."
Soto's own experience inspired the video, but she soon realized many of the mothers she knew had faced similar situations. "When I shared that story back in November I had a large response from moms saying how their family has done or said hurtful things, too, and I knew this was a common experience we needed to address," she said. "No mother should be cast out by society, especially by their loved ones, based on how she decides to feed her baby, be it by breast or bottle."