Article first published as Decisions and the People Who Pay the Price on Technorati.
Recently, Time Magazine ran a sensational story, Are You Mom Enough? Great title to hook readers, and even more effective was the picture of a three-year old boy standing on a chair breastfeeding. Do you think he was really hungry or did the photographer pose him? Makes me sort of squirm to think of that photo shoot and it really makes me squirm when I think of the price the boy will pay for his mother’s public display of beliefs.
I’m confident that Jamie Lynne Grumet knew there would be a price to pay in exchange for her public statement in support of extended breastfeeding. She knew her story and cover photo were an invitation to comment and criticize her choices and that her right to privacy was now compromised—at least for a while. I wonder, though, if she thought about the price her son, Aram, would pay for her decision. Kids are tough on each other as it is, imagine what it must be like for him now that he’s famous for breastfeeding. Fast forward to middle and high school; how will this play out for him in the boys locker room and when he starts dating?
Grumet is supported by Dr. Bill Sears, pediatrician and author of “The Baby Book.” In her defense and in defense of extended breastfeeding he told the Today Show, “”I’ve never yet seen an attachment parenting baby who has become a school bully.” Yeah, but what about becoming the target of one? Unfortunately for this boy, other kids may not be able to understand the reasons behind his mother’s actions. They might only see it as an opportunity to ridicule and bully him. It’s not a stretch to imagine this happening; just read some of the bullying comments hurled at his mother by other adults; I’m afraid she’s painted a bull’s eye on him and his 5 year old brother.
Watching this play out I have learned a valuable lesson and I hope that you have, also. In our quest to change things we see need changing, let’s remember to consider all the stakeholders who may be affected. There are so many ways to support a cause or broadcast a message. Make sure you have evaluated the short- and long-term consequences of your actions before you proceed. Doing something sensational in the name of a great cause won’t be great in the long run if your child is left holding the check.
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