Category Archives: Role Reboot

The Time I Was Shamed For Breastfeeding In Public

Sharing a new article I wrote for RoleReboot​ about the time I was asked to leave a Subway restaurant while nursing my first son. That was over 8 years ago, but I can still feel the way my throat closed up, and how simply terrified I felt. I was a new mom, just trying to get through my days. I am certainly an advocate for public breastfeeding, and this incident didn’t stop me from doing it, but it helped me to understand in a real way why so many moms feel uncomfortable breastfeeding outside their homes. We need to make the world a kinder place for breastfeeding moms and babies.

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Here’s a sample of the article:

By the time my son was a few months old, I became an expert at nursing anywhere, anytime. And let me tell you, my baby nursed all the time. Every hour, to be exact. I gave little thought to nursing in public: If I hadn’t done it in public, I wouldn’t have left the house. (Pumps didn’t work well for me, nor did I particularly want to use bottles.)

So I nursed at stores, parks, and restaurants. I nursed him in a baby carrier while walking down the street. I learned how to nurse while leaning over his car seat (only when the car was stopped in traffic—with my seat belt on).

I never got a second glance from anyone while nursing in public, without a cover. We live in a suburb of New York City—not many mothers nurse in public, but it isn’t unheard of. I took for granted that I was never harassed. It didn’t even cross my mind.

And then, the summer my son was six months old, we spent a week upstate. One afternoon we decided to go out to lunch. There weren’t a lot of restaurant options so we reluctantly settled on Subway.

While we waited for the sandwiches to be ready, my baby needed to nurse. As always, I lifted my shirt and nursed him. We were seated near the back of the place, in a booth, and my breast and baby were fairly well hidden. I didn’t think about that at the time, but it was a detail that would spin through my head later, as I revisited the scene in slow motion.

Across the restaurant, an employee called out to me: “Excuse me, ma’am, you can’t do that here.”

“What?” I asked, truly not even realizing what she meant.

“Listen, I nursed by babies too, but you can’t do that here. You can go to the restroom if you want to continue. People are eating here.” She motioned to the one other patron, his back turned to me. “That’s indecent exposure,” she said.

Click here to read the full article.

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It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and I will be sharing breastfeeding photos all week on my Facebook Page. Please come over and take a look. I’ll post as many pictures as I get. Email pictures to me at wendywisner78@gmail.com.

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What I Hope For My Children Now That Same-Sex Marriage is Legal

I was so incredibly happy when I heard the news that gay marriage was legalized everywhere in America. It struck a chord on so many levels. I have lots of dear friends who are gay and are raising families, and this news means the world to them. Not only does it offer couples and families the rights that all Americans deserve, but it sets a precedent, and it lays the foundation for acceptance and healing (though we still have a long way to go).

More than anything, I thought about what the decision means for my children, and for the generation of children growing up now. Happy to share this essay I wrote about that, for Role Reboot.

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I hope that someday no children will have to grow up living in fear of the enormous love their hearts hold.

Since becoming a parent, when anything big happens in the news—good or bad—I immediately think of how it will affect my kids. The news that the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage for all 50 states brought big, fat tears of joy to my eyes. I cried not only for the countless men and women who will finally have the rights and respect they deserve, but also for what it means for my children, and the whole generation of kids growing up now.

I remember all those years ago, when I was a senior in high school—practically a child myself—and my dear friend told me he was gay. We were sitting in his parked car, tears streaming down his face. But his were tears of fear and anguish. I was one of just a few kids at our school he was telling, and I was sworn to secrecy. What would happen if anyone at school found out? What about his parents? He took a drag on his cigarette. I wrapped my arms around him, wordless, scared for him, knowing all I could do was love him, and hope for the best.

I knew then and there that I would do the same for my children if they ever told me they were gay—I would hold them in my arms, and tell them I loved and accepted them. But back then, I wasn’t sure love from a few supporters was good enough for gay children, teenagers, women, and men. I was scared for my friend, and for anyone coming out then—professing their feelings, their love to a world that didn’t always love them back.

Click here to read the full article.

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Thank You, Mom

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This Mother’s Day, I’m thinking of my mother. She was a single mom for most of my childhood, but I didn’t really get what that meant until I became a mother myself. I still can’t really know, since I’ve had an amazing partner-in-crime for the duration of this parenting thing. But I do know how tired I am after 15-hour days alone with the kids. I know how stressed I am about money. I know how much I crave adult contact after my long days. I know how I am always questioning myself: Have I done enough for the kids? Have I listened well enough? Have I been present with them?

I can only imagine how she did it. Like any kid, I complained about her. I wanted more attention. I criticized her for napping after work. I wished we lived in houses instead of apartments. I wanted that illusive cookie-cutter mom-and-dad white picket fence life.

But she always did the best that she could with what she had. And I realize now—as I get older, and become more and more myself—just how much she taught me, how much of her spirit is inside of me.

She taught me to follow my gut in all aspects of my life. She taught me that art and self-expression were more important than money and status. She taught me that cuddles and affection fix everything. She taught me kindness for all beings. She taught me to want peace for this world, to want it with all my heart. She taught me to question authority. She taught me that each act of kindness is a little seed that can grow a better world.

I recently published two pieces about her at The Mid (it’s a great new publication—you should check it out!). In This is It: I’m a Grown-Up, I reflect on turning 37, which feels somehow more grown-up than before. I remember my own mother at this age, and I can’t believe I am here now, where she was then. I also wrote a tribute piece to her for Mother’s Day: Why I’m So Grateful to My Mother.

I am also really proud to share with you a louder, angrier, more gritty piece I wrote for Role Reboot: It’s Mother’s Day, and I’m Pissed. I know it’s not your usual Mother’s Day fare, but it comes from my heart. I want so much more for mothers in our country. I really do. It’s not acceptable that millions of mothers and children go to sleep hungry each night. It’s not acceptable that we don’t have paid maternity leave. It’s not acceptable that even middle-class families are barely scraping by. It’s not acceptable that the number of mothers dying during childbirth has increased over the past decade.

In a way, this piece is also a tribute to my mom, who taught me from the very beginning that there was a world outside my little bubble—that there were people who struggled, that were was inequality, that we lived in a very imperfect world. She taught me to speak up about it, to write, to shout.

So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. And thank you. For everything.

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