By KIA MORGAN SMITH
I remember when breastfeeding my kids, my chest would swell up like a hot air balloon and was so big that I thought my boobs would burst and a river of milk and honey would flow from me. I remember the aching pain of my areolas and would flinch every time my baby’s gums would gnaw away and pinch down on my breasts, sucking and pulling and gulping that Liquid Gold like it was the last-call-for-alcohol at the club. For me, breastfeeding was never pretty and I surely would never want anyone other than my man to see my busted-up breasts. Still, breast-feeding, although very painful for many, is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated and not shamed. That’s why I’m at a loss at the number of women hating on supermodel and resident hot mom Gisele who posted a picture yesterday on her Instagram showing off how she gets glam, with her team powdering her with make-up as she pops out a boob and let’s her 5-month-old-baby Victoria get busy sucking the good stuff.
The picture of Gisele with her hair tousled and beachy while her team takes to making her look fab has gone viral with many moms saying that Gisele’s depiction of breast-feeding is unrealistic and sets the bar too high for moms who can’t do it all and don’t have a glam-team behind them to make it look effortless.
On Instagram Gisele posted: “What would I do without this beauty squad after the 15 hours flying and only 3 hours of sleep #multitasking#gettingready”
I say, kudos Gisele! The hate going on online is uncalled for and I think women are more jealous of Gisele than they’d like to admit. If the supermodel took a pic getting glammed up while Aibileen was in the background kissing Victoria and whispering, “You is kind, You is smart, You is impo’tant,” people would be up in arms saying that supermodels are bad moms who let other people take care of their kids. If Gisele had shoved some Similac in her baby’s bottle while propping it on a pillow so her handlers could make her face fierce, haters would have Child Services on speed-dial, detesting and contesting the woman’s ability to be a decent mom. And please lawd no, if Gisele had just let the baby cry in her diamond-crusted crib in the corner, the hateration would have rocked this nation with people protesting Gisele’s mommy abilities.
We can’t have it both ways. Where is the support and the high-five for the fact that Gisele even wants to breastfeed and the fact that she’s taking the time in the midst of her super-hectic schedule to ensure that her baby is right there under her warm bosom? Women need to stop the shaming of other women who don’t do it like they do. Gisele’s breastfeeding experience is a far cry from my achy-breaky breastfeeding follies, but hunty let me tell you, I would have welcomed an army of men standing around me, packing on my face to make me look a lot prettier than I was feeling. I can’t hate, so I’m just gonna’ congratulate Gisele!
Especially in light of the fact that breastfeeding moms don’t receive the community support they should. Most moms don’t want to breastfeed because of the lack of support. There are efforts underway to improve hospital practices that support breastfeeding mothers. And even FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, put forth a plan to help give breastfeeding moms a good start from the moment they push out their babies—by joining efforts to get hospitals to stop pushing formula and quit separating newborns from their moms, two practices that make it harder for mothers to start, practice and sustain breastfeeding. And it doesn’t matter if Gisele is in a different income bracket than the rest of us; she’s still a woman and a mom with a child. Her life may be public, but she shouldn’t be our public punching bag to prove how best to be a parent.
The woman is working—albeit, her job is vastly differently that mine—but she’s still working and she’s made it a point to put her baby first and ensure that she’s tending to her lil’ tenderloin, holding her close to her bosom, letting her feel her warmth and her heartbeat all while getting her hair done. Yes we all know that motherhood is a lot messier than what Gisele’s picture depicts, but this is her world and it’s OK for her to share how she navigates it and what makes it work for her. It’s a moment that should make moms show appreciation for another mom. Give her some “You Go Girl” praise and let’s stop sucking our teeth and twisting our lips because our experiences are different. It makes me wonder if a woman on some far away continent is sitting somewhere shaking her head, thinking about me in my posh little world complaining about my sore breasts when she carries a baby on her bosom while breastfeeding and trekking for miles to collect some clean water. When you look at it like this, even my experience is laughable when there are women whose circumstances aren’t nearly as fortunate as my own. Get it? Motherhood is multi-faceted. We should not judge and we all should certainly leave Gisele alone.
Kia Morgan Smith blogs about her parenting adventures at Cincomom.com and Disneydoodah.com, writes and edits articles at HealthyMommyHappyBaby.com, and is a featured parenting expert at SheKnows.com. The married mom of five lives with her family in Atlanta.