Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Norman on NIP: Norman Reedus Supports Breastfeeding in Public!

Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead, made women love him even more when he posed for a photo with two breastfeeding moms at a convention.  The photo was shared in a Facebook group, and I contacted one mom, Tammie Hamed, to request permission to meme it.

Elizabeth Dalton & Tammie Hamed with their nurslings & Norman

Tammie said that Norman happened to have that boob ball on him. I've since seen a boob pillow and boob slippers (more on those later) with Norman - I'm wondering if a fan gave it to him? The boob prompted Tammie to offer to breastfeed in their photo, which she said Norman was very excited about!

In fact, in my Facebook thread for this meme, Jennifer Lopez commented that she was in line behind Elizabeth and Tammie, and the photographer pulled up the photos for him to see, and a copy was printed for him!  She added that he said it was the "coolest picture of all time!"

He really must have liked it, because he tweeted his Instagram photo of another pose before the show!

Source.

The Free the Nipple movement is what Norman is presumed to be referencing here.  You might expect a man who is a sex symbol to be as guilty as society of sexualizing breasts.  Or maybe it's because women sexualize him that he seems to have no trouble recognizing that the primary function of breasts is to nurture children!

And I say children (versus infants) because yes, the little girl on the right is a toddler.  And no, she's not too old to be breastfeeding.  Mammals typically wean when their baby teeth, also called milk teeth, fall out.  In humans, that's around age 5 or 6 - not at all an unusual age for a human child to be breastfeeding.  Weaning ages vary throughout the cultures of the world.  Here in America, where women are oversexualized and Booby Traps abound, less than half of mothers have adequate support to still be breastfeeding at all at 6 months. But the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 2 years of nursing, and thereafter for as long as mother and child both desire.

But moving on to the slippers I need right now.  Norman ended Sunday night with this tweet:

Source.

Before I move on to shamelessly brag about my lame claim to Walking Dead fame (I know one of the actors!), I would be remiss if I did not point out that not all moms have Norman around with the bird or even a peace sign - or Daryl around with his bow.


So when moms are asked to cover up, or move (often to a restroom), or to leave a place of public accommodation, they're relying on the law to protect them. And in Texas, it doesn't. It asserts a mother's right to breastfeed anywhere she's authorized to be, but it's not illegal to violate that right. In fact, this weekend a mother was escorted by a police officer with her two children from a roller rink, for feeding her baby.  Daryl wasn't there, but you can be. Texas moms need your help to support legislation to strengthen the right to breastfeed law and remove other barriers to breastfeeding.  See how you can help at TXBFLeg.com.  

And now I shall geek out about how cool it feels to know one of the actors on my favorite show!  


#Porchdick Pete is my husband's best friend from college!  Adam got to go with Corey to the season 5 wrap party for The Walking Dead when Corey's wife was unavailable. I'd have loved to have been available, but it was a plus one thing, and I stayed home in Austin with our kids. But I lived vicariously through photos that Adam sent me through the night.  Like my second favorite photo of Norman Reedus:

Back off, ladies. He's mine! (I do mean Adam, for the record.)
Corey told Andy this photo would
get Adam laid.  It might've.

Adam & Chad Coleman
Adam & Scott Gimple

Adam & Corey & a zombie!
OK, well, there are a bunch more but I've geeked out enough, and I need to go to bed so I can get up soon and start contacting Business and Industry Committee members (especially Representative Rinaldi) about Morgan having had the cops called on her for breastfeeding.  Hope you'll help.  There are lots of ways - share, contact legislators - it's all at that link.  I think Norman would want you to.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Legislative Action & Resolutions for TXBC & 20th Anniversary of Breastfeeding Law Tomorrow

In lieu of a spring meeting, Texas Breastfeeding Coalition is hosting two legislative action days - and breastfeeding mothers and babies need you there on Tuesday, March 3rd!

(Can’t make it to Austin, or not on these days?  You can still contact your legislators or even visit them in district.  Explore our website for more information and resources on supporting the bills!  This is also useful for preparing for Tuesday.)

Legislative Action Days

Texas is the size of 11 other states.  We are the second largest state in both geography and population.

Legislators want to hear from their own constituents - the voice that matters is the one that may or may not vote for them.

That's why your involvement is important to passing bills that will improve support for breastfeeding mothers.

  • When you attend a legislative action day, you will meet with staffers or legislators, usually paired with another advocate.  You'll be provided with materials to help prepare you for your meetings.  You'll pass along a packet of information and talk about why breastfeeding support is important to you and imperative for maternal and child health.

  • You may bring your child(ren).  If you'd like, you could bring them in a doctor's jacket or with a stethoscope, to highlight that breastfeeding is a public health issue.

  • You may come when your schedule allows.

  • Your dress should be business attire or business casual (though it's better to come in jeans than not come at all!).  Very comfortable shoes are advised.

  • You may want to bring a tote bag (and maybe a stroller, if you're bringing children) to carry your packets and the small boxes of chocolate that we will send to offices.

  • If you have a smartphone, please take photos on your visits and share on social media with the hashtag #txbfleg.  (Anyone not attending can use the hashtag to find these and repost & retweet them.)

  • You are encouraged to invite friends, your ob-gyn/pediatrician/midwife/doula/LLL leader/neighbor/mail carrier, etc.  Please spread the word through email, social media, and phone calls to the people and groups of people in your circles.  You can share the Facebook event page and invite friends that way, too.  The more attendees we have, the more offices we can visit, and the greater impression we can make.

  • Please register so that we will know your availability and can determine whom you should visit.

Register for Mar. 3rd

Below is the agenda, times are approximate.  You can come when your schedule allows.  You can attend the Resolutions or spend the morning on office visits instead.  Whenever  you arrive, please contact our Legislative Chair, Krisdee Donmoyer, at 512.655.9647 and she will pass along information and materials for your visits - she can do this as much as possible while we await the Resolutions, to save time.

House Resolution:
We will meet in the House Gallery before 10am.  The Resolution will be presented by Representative Farrar, probably in the first half of the 10:00 hour.  Rep. Farrar will recognize advocates on the House floor and everyone in the gallery.

Senate Resolution:
After the House Resolution we will move to the Senate Gallery.  TXBC will be recognized by Senator Zaffirini, probably around 11:15.

Photos:
After the Senate Resolution we will take a group photo on the stairs outside the House chamber (go to the east wing, outside the House Gallery, and take the stairs on the north side of the building down to the 2nd floor), then Krisdee will disseminate any remaining assignments, packets and gifts.

Lunch & Visits:
At this point, depending on the time and appointment times you may have, you might wish to have lunch (there is a cafeteria, the Capitol Grill) before you begin your visits.  After the Resolutions and photos, Krisdee will be available in the cafeteria until 5pm to coordinate, answer questions, and receive visit notes.

If you have questions or concerns you can reach Krisdee at txbfleg@gmail.com or 512.655.9647.

Parking:
The weather prediction is for a 30% chance of rain (but warming up to 70 degrees).  No matter where you park, you'll have to walk across the Capitol grounds.  You may wish to bring an umbrella.  Krisdee can keep it in the cafeteria for you while you visit.
You may want to park at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage, east of the Capitol, located at 1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th Streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $8.00).  If you go to the top floor and park near the elevator (there are stairs at each corner with glass doors; the elevator has concrete walls), you can take the elevator down to the 2nd floor, turn right, and it’s just a one-block walk to the Capitol grounds.
Last week this garage was full.  There is metered parking (requiring coins), with time limits.  But there are other garages in walking distance that are likely a better option.

Getting around:
Coming from the Capitol Visitors Parking garage, you can enter the east side of the Capitol (or go to the left and enter the main entrance of the capitol building.)  There are more maps here.  The north entrance is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

To the Galleries - Take the North Wing elevators to 3rd floor.  Head south out of the elevators into the rotunda, and turn right to go into the west wing and enter the House Gallery at the end of it or turn left to go into the east wing and enter the Senate Gallery at the end of it.

To the Cafeteria - Take the North Wing elevators to level E1.  Follow the hallway until it opens up into the Seal Court.  The Capitol Grill is on the left of the court.

First Action Day Update:

The first action day was February 18th and coincided with an exhibit of our breastfeeding art collectionMother Nature's Masterpiece, including a Dirty Car Art event.  We had 26 advocates with 21 children in attendance, and we visited about 1/3 of the legislature.

Photo Courtesy of The Good Body Project.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peanut

Trigger warning: miscarriage.

Seven years ago in January, I took a pregnancy test, and it was finally positive. Not that we had to try for long, but I'd already done a few tests, early, and then again on the day my period was due. All negative. When it was four days overdue I tried again, and there were finally two lines!

I didn't want to be a pessimist, and didn't think anything would go wrong, so we told Magoo he was going to be a big brother. We told everybody. We were so happy. I loved seeing then two-year-old Magoo's excitement. We called the baby "Peanut."

A few weeks later, we found out that we had lost him.  I miscarried on March 1st.  Though I was nine weeks pregnant, on the ultrasound at the emergency room, Peanut was the size of an embryo at seven weeks and five days, and did not have a heartbeat.

He had a due date of September 30, but for me, that day in January was, in a way, his birthday. The day he came into our awareness. In the years that followed, I wanted the 26th to be a nice day, to be a day to think of Peanut, whom I named Oliver Peter after we lost him.  I wanted to think of him on that day with more celebration than grief, to remember what it was like to tell Magoo that he had a brother the size of the sesame seed that I showed him.  He made us very happy for the short time that he was with us.

But each year, January 26th is just sad.  March 1st is sadder.  And though time has softened the pain on those anniversaries more than I thought it could, 
I still think of him everyday. I miss him.  I wonder who he might have been. 

One of the hardest parts about missing him is feeling like I can't really wish things were different.  I got pregnant with Sweet Pea a few months after my miscarriage.  Who would Sweet Pea be if Ollie had been born?  
We always kind of thought we'd maybe have three children.  Would we have Bellybean now?  These are not thoughts worth thinking. They twist my heart and brain and stomach.

My greatest comfort since we lost Ollie is to think that since my mother is already gone, she met my baby in heaven and is raising him. He will always know that she loves him, and that we do, as well.

This has been mostly been a breastfeeding advocacy blog.  Someday maybe I'll write about my fear that nursing Magoo was causing my uterus to contract, was maybe causing the bleeding that I hoped was not a miscarriage.  Losing our baby had nothing to do with breastfeeding, though. 

I became a blogger by chance, to connect with people about needing support to change policy at AISD, and then to encourage involvement in breastfeeding legislation.  But I've come to like blogging, and in my mind, at least, this blog is evolving.  I don't know if there's an audience for my weight problem or my homeschooling or anything non-boob that I've considered sharing. 

But I know there are moms reading this - which means there are surely (too many) women reading who can relate.  Because pregnancy loss is so much more common than you can imagine before you experience it.  I wouldn't say there's a taboo against talking about it.  But we definitely stay pretty quiet on the subject.  We even keep the first trimester a secret, just in case.  


While it is awful to tell people you've miscarried, I'm so thankful I had already told the world we were pregnant, because I would have withdrawn if I'd kept it a secret.  That would have been worse for me, because I really needed support.

I was shocked at how many women I knew who reached out to me to say that they, too, had lost a pregnancy.  Women I'd hung out with, but I had no idea they'd had such a devastating experience.  It helped me, to know I wasn't alone.  To know that like them, I would one day function again, without the terrible weight of my grief always pulling at me.


I think about Peanut everyday, but I don't much dwell on being sad anymore.  And I'm sharing this now not because I will dwell in sadness now - though I am sad as I write - but because I guess I think that maybe we should talk about it a little more.  To help others who have a loss to know that
 they can reach out for support, and we'll understand.  To help them know that they are not alone.  


The memory box I keep with a few things from while I carried Peanut.