Is MomEnough Time cover controversy really about breastfeeding?

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

The new Time cover features a photo of a mother nursing her four year old son (he’s standing on a chair to reach her breast).  A cyber-powered controversy ensued and today the mother on the cover speaks out to defend herself.

Motherhood is as much an extremely personal experience, as it is a nurturing/socialization role shared by many. When we start to judge and measure  our motherhood decisions (stay at home, breast feeding, discipline/leadership, etc.), it breeds a contentiousness.

For me, I like to keep it simple. At the very least we can agree what is civil, legal and safe. Otherwise, it is no one else’s business how we mother.

I once FEDxed my milk because I was out of town on business. When I returned, by six month old had weaned himself to the bottle. My older son did the same thing when he was nine months old. I worked outside the home when my children were young, and I decided to breast feed. I pumped milk in the bathroom and stored it in the breakroom fridge. It was not considered a normal thing do to at the time (mid 1980’s), but I also wasn’t asking for approval/ opinion. It’s what I felt I needed to to for my children. I don’t think it makes me a better or worse mom than anyone else. It was a personal choice, and then my children made the final decisions when they chose the bottle. I was not offended.

This Time cover story about attachment parenting interests me from the standpoint of whether or not are raising children to be secure citizens.  Citizens who have civil regard for the rights of others in dealing with disputes, and who can be counted upon to be law-abiding, and more resilient to the risky traps of the lies of popular culture: that drinking alcohol is not a problem as long as you don’t drive, or prescription pills are safe, and casual sex is a requirement to be intimate or accepted. 

Intelligent life and free will. I thank God for this gift. Let’s use it wisely.

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.