Most members of the U.S. military have seen some truly heinous things. Even if not in active duty, they’ve been privy to the depths of human depravity and have had to either set or adhere to rules that pushed their limits of morality. It’s a tough, sometimes impossible job and bless everyone who volunteers to wear a uniform. Except, according to the Washington Air National Guard, if you’re a breastfeeding mom. The organization recently lashed out at a few female soldiers who posed for completely tasteful and totally loving portraits of themselves breastfeeding their children. The Guard’s beef: They nourished these kids while wearing their military uniforms.
The boob backlash began when photographer Brynja Sigurdardottir took candid photos of two servicewomen breastfeeding their children. The photos were going to be part of a campaign for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August. Once posted to the pro-military-mama website, BreastfeedinginCombatBoots.com (awesome, by the way!), they became viral and the women posing came under fire.
They’ve been called everything from “discraceful” to “unprofessional.” The idea that breastfeeding, the most basic, natural, essential act between mother and child, is still considered either of these things — or worse (disgusting, primitive, abusive are but a few of the terms hurled at breastfeeding mothers) — is just plain sad. We need to rally behind our mothers in the military. They already have to fight for equal respect and pay (and sadly have a long way to go in those departments) they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or unworthy of their uniforms simply beause they choose to breastfeed their babies.
A common complaint, often from other women in the military, is that the act makes these women seem weak and less soldier-like. How about it makes them seem stronger and more important to the world? They fight and defend just like everyone else, and still manage to give physical and emotional nourishment to the next generation. Let us salute them!