Thursday, January 31, 2013

Teen mom denied breastfeeding rights

We have heard (too many times) how breastfeeding moms face discrimination and sometimes ridicule, when it comes to breastfeeding in public. As an adult woman, that can be hard enough to handle. I still find myself amazed at the strength of women and what we can do when we are forced into a situation, when we tackle the issue together. The other day I was baffled (yet again) as I read an article.

I came across this article (thanks to one of our Mummies in our closed FB group) and I found myself yanked into the story. Not only was this NEW mom fighting for her rights to breastfeed AND pump for her newborn son... BUT she was fighting for this right to do it IN HIGH SCHOOL!

Please let that sink in.

Meet Jaielyn and her Nummie Lover Adrian.
A young, Delaware mom defies the odds and the stigma of breastfeeding and chooses to give her son the BEST she can. She also decides that she wants to continue her high school education WHILE being a breastfeeding Mummie. Simply amazing, right? Inspiring to say the least. What happens next, though, is shocking.

According to Jennifer Antonik, author of Momma Trauma Blog, Jaielyn Belong a sophomore at Lake Forest High School in Felton Deleware was told by multiple school officials that she should only breastfeed her newborn son before and after school hours. They would not provide a space for her to pump during school hours AND this "recommendation would not change with or without a doctor's note."

Wait... huh? Since when does someone need a doctor's note to breastfeed or pump. And why are these school officials refusing to give this mom a space to breastfeed? It is LAW for ALL places of business and or employers to offer a SUITABLE place for a mother to pump. Now.... I know a school is a place for education, BUT there are employees there as well. IF school employees HAVE to have a place to pump, then this student mom can have a place as well.

According to Momma Trauma, the school's nurse called Betty, Jaielyn's mother, and said that the school would not be able to accommodate Jaielyn's breastmilk storage needs. That they have a refrigerator that is strictly for the use of medications or other purposes. That an electric pump is "noisy" and will "draw attention" to Jaielyn. That her "peers may tease her," that pumping milk is "time consuming" and that they are not even sure that she will be pumping when she says she will be.

WOW. Perhaps a little background on Jaielyn (as a student) might help you make an assessment on her character. According to her mother, Jaielyn is a good student who enjoys reading. She is described as a "book worm" who has OCCASIONALLY gotten in trouble for reading during class. Totally sounds like a lying student who can NOT be trusted, don't you think?  (Did you notice the stench of sarcasm there?) If a mother is going to go through the HASSLE of packing pumping supplies and a breast pump EVERY DAY and lugging it all to school.... I do not think they will LIE and decide to do something else while they are "suppose" to be pumping. I mean, honestly. Hey let's not trust someone because we do not want to help.

I know she is a high school teen mom who got pregnant. I know that was most likely not the BEST thing that has ever happened. But it happened. It DOES happen and that has nothing to do with the mother's character or her ability to do the very best she can. Girls have been getting pregnant in high school for YEARS! I had two friends who got pregnant while I was in high school (DO NOT GAWK  that was not THAT long ago..... Wait.. I can no longer count on two hands how many years ago I graduated... NEVER MIND THAT! Let's get back to the post.)  My point is, as hard as it is.... it happens. This girl is now a Mummie. A Mummie who just wants to do the best she can, for her son, and continue her education. We should be happy she has not given up on herself, we should be happy that she is stepping up and continuing to do her very best.

Since this story has been released, there have been some possible changes. But none of them have been confirmed. I have received an update from Momma Trauma, she has informed me that "The school superintendent said he will be allowing her time and a place to pump, however I am waiting for more information than that." She also told me that he said when Jaielyn gets back to school to give him a call if everything is not as it should be. That "he was surprised at the support she has received so far both locally and globally" (WOOT WOOT TO THAT!) Jennifer also told me that their local community is currently looking into providing a brand new small fridge to accommodate Jaielyn's milk and that of any other student or teacher who needs to pump. The hope is the school will be willing to accept free help with regards to breastfeeding education so that the staff and students there will learn from this. The Superintendent has said that "there  is no shortage of teen moms" at his schools....  but that none of them have brought up breastfeeding accommodations in the past. What a GREAT way to help the community and spread education regarding breastfeeding and the wonderful benefits breastfeeding brings.  

So I do not want to jump the Mummie Wagon too early. But what I hear is very promising and could make for some great changes. I will continue to be in contact with the author of Momma Trauma and I have had email conversations with Jaielyn herself. I am excited to announce that Jaielyn has agreed to do an interview with me, to get her story out, explain her story and keep up updated  on her breastfeeding journey!

If you want to show your support to this awesome Mummie, you can find Jaielyn's support page on Facebook and you can always check us out too. I will be keeping updated on this story as it continues to develop!! PLUS keep an eye out for my interview with Jaielyn!

Rock Your Journey Mummies!!!

~Mummie
 

3 comments:

  1. Wow this is such an awesome mummie!!! Congrats to her :)

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  2. Great post! Thanks for your support of Jaielyn and breastfeeding mommas everywhere! Hopefully, teen moms will be inspired by her story.

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