Mother Forced To Leave Pool for Breastfeeding Child
Breastfeeding in public is a risky affair because of how patriarchy has sexualized breasts of a woman. In Texas, USA a woman is staging a protest after she was forced to leave the city pool by staffers while she was nursing her child. The 32-year-old Misty Daugereaux had taken her 10-month-old toddler along with her four-year-old son and four-year-old nephew at the Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center in Texas City, Texas, outside Galveston on Sunday for a swim when the incident took place.
Her toddler became “fussy” during their swimming session when the mother adjusted her swimsuit to expose one of her breasts to feed him when a lifeguard approached her and told her not to breastfeed the baby at the pool, The Washington Post reported. This led to an emotional exchange between the two when somebody at the vicinity called the police who also asked Daugereaux to pack up and leave. She reportedly felt shocked, embarrassed and shamed by the incident after which she started voicing her concerns online and offline.
Mothers from across the board support Daugereaux’s concerns on breastfeeding in public. They also gathered outside the pool with her on Monday and organised a “nurse-in” to stand in solidarity with her.
Daugereaux said people should be praising nursing mothers for breastfeeding. “I hope it raises awareness,” she said, “and empowers them, not shames them.”
Soon after she started nursing her child, the lifeguard approached her and asked if she was, in fact, breastfeeding her child? She said yes which is when he told her off by saying, “you cannot do it here”. Daugereaux responded to him saying she was within her legal rights to breast-feed her son there. The lifeguard got the manager, who told her it was against pool policy.
Daugereaux said that when she continued to push back, the manager replied: “Well, I’m going to have to ask you to cover up. It’s our policy that you have to be covered.” When she asked to see the police, the manager asked her to leave. When she refused to leave, a police officer showed up.
Officer Allen Bjerke, a spokesman for the Texas City Police Department, said police body cam video “depicts what transpired.” When the officer spoke to Daugereaux, she broke down in front of him and narrated the whole incident to him. However, he told her that the manager wants her to leave, and when she retorted by saying that she didn’t understand “how it’s right” that she should have to leave when she wasn’t breaking the rules, the officer responded: “I don’t understand why, either. I don’t make the rules.”
“You can’t just have your titties out everywhere. I mean I get that you got to feed your kid, that’s all fine and dandy, but go sit under a blanket or something,” the officer was recorded telling what appeared to be management.
“I thought he was there to defuse the situation. He himself did not understand the laws of breastfeeding. He himself did not have compassion for breastfeeding mothers,”
She felt “heartbroken” not just with the pool staff who tried to stop her from nursing her child, but also at the officer’s comment behind her back. “I thought he was there to defuse the situation. He himself did not understand the laws of breastfeeding. He himself did not have compassion for breastfeeding mothers,” she told The Washington Post.
After hearing to what happened with Daugereaux, Texas Mayor Matthew T. Doyle said in a statement Monday that the city is “reviewing the nursing concerns raised at Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff.”
“We apologize to Misty Daugereaux, as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our City Facility,” Doyle said. “City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee’s actions will be addressed with further training.”
Picture credit- NBC News