The hate mail continues (and to be fair, so do the letters of support). While I know I’m most likely preaching to the choir and that a lot of you are probably sick and tired about hearing about this, I’ve got to get a few things off my chest. Uh-oh. I’ve just slapped lesson number one in the face.
- Be careful when using humor to discuss touchy subjects. I had no idea people would take my article’s sometimes humorous, conversational tone (especially my intro) and turn it into proof that I was a selfish, vain, narcissistic person. Furthermore, I was surprised that using the term “Big Guy” to refer to God came off as sacrilegious to one commenter. Interestingly, I borrowed the term from my 3-year-old, who happens to see God as we all should – a really cool and loving “Big Guy” who’s always there for us. I am naive because I never realized how seriously people take themselves or what others write.
- Don’t share an article like this and its heap of ensuing judgmental comments with non-believers or anyone who has left the Church because they will use it to their advantage to “prove” what hateful hypocrites we all are. What saddened me far more than the personal attacks against me was to see the following subject of a comment: “So Glad I’m an Agnostic.”
- Capitalize and boldfaced DISCREET when talking about nursing. Otherwise, people will assume you are an exhibitionist who unabashedly “whips out [her] boob” whenever the opportunity arises. Apparently, I did not make this point clear enough for some of the readers, even though I used the word “discreetly” and also pointed out in my concluding paragraph that no one other than nursing moms would even be able to tell I was nursing. (I always use my Modest Mum Nursing Cover when necessity requires that I nurse in public.)
- My husband was right (again). When I showed him a few of the negative comments, he told me that I’d probably never be able to change these people’s minds, that they were angry and blind to the truth behind the article. I have had a few emails comparing nursing my baby to having sex during Mass. I have tried to explain, with charity, to these emailers that there is a big difference between strutting around half-naked and engaging in sex at Mass (or anywhere public) and nursing a child. Sex is inherently not a sinful act. It’s a beautiful, God-given gift with the purpose of creating new life and bringing a husband and wife together physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, it’s also an act that we must avoid in certain situations (obviously Mass being one of them) by cultivating the virtue of chastity and by exercising self-control. Likewise, it’s unfortunately an act that can easily be perverted when people become slaves to their passions or violate another person’s sexuality/dignity.
Feeding a baby, on the other hand, cannot be (unless onlookers make it one) a shameful, perverted act between a mother and a child. What’s more, a baby can’t be expected to control her “impulse” to eat. Nor is a mom who nurses a hungry baby acting on any impure or lustful thoughts. She’s responding to the needs of her baby and giving her nourishment and comfort.
And for the individual who compared natural nursing to flatulence and other bodily functions, I have to ask, “Would you be angry if a baby mistakenly passed gas at Mass?” Yes, it would be a distraction, but it’s not an intentional, evil act. Infants are unable to control their bodily functions or their hunger.
Despite my attempts to explain, no one has returned my emails. My husband rests his case.
- Expect some backlash when you quote Christopher West. I’ve had a quite a few people question me simply because I quoted Christopher West. One person attacked my credibility by saying it’s no wonder I quoted West since he makes everything about sex. Huh? The whole point is nursing is NOT about sex unless that’s what you make it about.
- Keep a sense of humor when you’re being ridiculed. This might seem to conflict with point number one, but I’ve had to just laugh at some of the hurtful comments hurled at me. If I am the selfish spawn of Satan because I want to welcome all the little ones God gives me and bring them to his Church, then so be it. Chuckle. Chuckle.
- Christ is my everything. Okay, I already knew that, but it’s being driven home every time another person accuses me of being “evil,” “lustful,” or “a shallow, self-absorbed, stupid and silly woman.” Again, I am naive because I never expected that writing such an article would serve as a means of deepening my love for Christ and his sacrifice for me, but it has. See, I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life. Sure, some bullies on the school bus teased me. I got dumped…twice. I didn’t land the starring role even once on the high school stage. I’ve even had someone tell me I’m going to hell because I’m Catholic, but other than that, I’ve never had anyone direct any personal attacks at me. Until now. Although these verbal scourges pale in comparison to what Christ endured for all of us, somehow I can better appreciate his quiet suffering, his dignity, and the kindness and forgiveness he continued to pour out even to those who drove the nails deep into his hands.
I love you, Jesus. Please help me to be more like you in every way.
“For from him and through him and for him are all things.” (Romans 11:36).