Sammy Nickalls
June 01, 2015 6:00 am

Recently, we’ve been so pumped over ELLE Australia‘s June cover: a totally unplanned shot of model Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding her son, Zion Clark. After all, normalizing breastfeeding is SO important; why should women feel ashamed to feed their children in public?

That exact question was raised once again when a woman in Terre Haute, Indiana discovered that a stranger had taken a photograph of her breastfeeding her son in public at a TGI Friday’s. “Ok [sic] moms out there,” the stranger wrote in the caption, “I know when a baby is [hungry] they need fed. I [want] to know if this is appropriate as I’m trying to eat my Fridays, there are little kids around . . . I understand feeding in public but could you at least cover your boob up?! Your input is needed!”

The mother in the photograph, Conner Kendall, decided to awesomely use this negative experience as a teaching moment. She took a screenshot of the stranger’s caption and posted it to her Facebook with a caption of her own. . . and it is the best thing ever, TBH.

First, she addressed who the stranger was, without naming names. “The man who took this picture was a complete stranger to me,” she wrote. “[H]e was sitting 3 tables away from us with his young daughter. He snapped the photo and then put it up on social media. . . many of the comments that followed were nothing less than harassing and shameful to, [sic] not only me, but every past, present, and future nursing mother.”

Then, she continued the Facebook caption with an open letter to the man. “Dear Mr. (Name removed, because I’m not bashing like I was bashed),” Conner wrote, “I just wanted to let you know that I am the mother who was breastfeeding my son at TGI Fridays today. . . As I was admiring how adorable your daughter was, you were posting pictures of me on Facebook and Instagram.”

Conner had turned away while breastfeeding her son and had exposed herself for the least amount of time possible “out of respect for others in the restaurant,” she wrote. She didn’t use a cover because her son will not eat underneath one, and he also does not like bottles. But she made sure to highlight that her attempt at covering up isn’t the takeaway. “I get that you felt uncomfortable looking at my breasts,” she wrote. “Here is a novel idea, don’t look at them. . . How I pity those who would actually belittle a mother for taking care of her child.”

This cruel act hasn’t broken Conner, but has inspired her to fight for the cause of breastfeeding without shame in public. “. . . you have given me a platform and a drive to advocate breastfeeding ferociously,” she continued to the stranger. “You’ve inspired me into a call of action. Rest assured, there will be action. Not only by me, the one you violated, but others like me who feel you violated them and their rights. Those that you are degrading by shaming the act of feeding their child.”

She then implored the stranger to educate himself on breastfeeding. “Breasts are meant to be used to feed our young,” she wrote. “It is society that has sexualized them. Children do not sexualize breasts until they are taught to do so. I pray that if in the future your daughter chooses to breastfeed that she is not shamed and does not have her picture plastered all over social media.”

The stranger has since taken the photo down and, according to an edit of Conner’s caption, sent her a response. “He responded with a very short and, what seemed to me, a very insincere apology in a private message,” she said. “Never once did he admit his ignorance to the public.”

The problem wasn’t that the man took the photograph, explained Conner. “It is the fact that it was done so in a way that aimed at shaming my child and I, as well as every other nursing mother, for taking care of my baby. Let’s show everyone that we will not stand for being put down, shamed, and harassed for simply fulfilling our children’s most basic need.”

We totally stand with Conner and thank her for using such a negative and cruel moment in her life to shed light on such an important issue. Thank you, Conner, for your bravery!

(Images via)

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