Pint-size revolution.
August 30, 2010

Dear Charlotte,

Several days ago, a woman nursing her baby at a local Cost Plus World Market was asked to leave.  And so, over the weekend, you and I drove to that same shop and participated in a nurse-in.

Sweetheart?  Before I go any further, I want you to understand that the decision your father and I made together to be a part of this nurse-in was not entirely about breastfeeding.  It had everything to do with our assurance that babies have a right to eat and parents have a right to feed.  Avid supporters of breastfeeding we may be, but the truth is that if a formula-feeding mother had been publicly harassed for shaking up a bottle, we would support her too.  Nor was our participation in any way reflective of how we view Cost Plus World Market.  People make mistakes and one uneducated employee does not a company policy make.

No, our ultimate decision came down to one simple point: your father and I want you to value peacefully and respectfully standing up and speaking out for yourself and for others.

For better or for worse, you are being raised in a home that highly esteems activism and education.  We view every penny we spend as a vote and we actively boycott companies (plural) whose policies we disagree with.  We highly prize voting and we spend weeks pouring over voter handbooks before showing up at the polling place to fulfill our civic duty.  We regularly call our congressional representatives to voice our opinions.  When we believe in something, really believe in it, we will fight for it.  And we very sincerely believe in walking the talk.

What I mean by that last part is this: revolution is in action.

This is an idea that neither your father nor I grew up with.  We grew up in households that instilled in us very strong convictions, but rarely (if ever) went beyond words.  And we are devoted to changing the tide with you.  You cannot educate and raise awareness if you are unwilling to live what you believe in.  It is all well and good to spout off about forest conservancy, for example, but if you want to make a difference, sign up for a national park clean-up.  Volunteer with a forest biodiversity charity.  Chain yourself to a redwood tree and preach the evils of deforestation.  Start a blog and open the doors for public discourse related to conservation efforts.

The options are endless, love bug.


Nursing at the nurse-in.  Also, other peoples’ signs.

As you grow, you will find that your father and I will always support your respectful and peaceful efforts to incite change.  We may not always identify with your causes, we may not always agree with your opinions, but we do believe in every individual’s capacity for making an enormous difference.  As Voltaire, a man far wiser than myself, put it: we may not agree with what you have to say, but we will fight to the death for your right to say it.  So stand up, my child, and speak out.

Charlotte, we participated in this nurse-in as much for you as we did to raise awareness about something we believe in.

I hope one day, you can see that.  And I hope one day, you value that as much as we do.

Love,
Momma


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  1. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on August 30, 2010

    Good for you for speaking out and for teaching Charlotte to do the same.  :)

  2. By elizabeth Mackey on August 30, 2010

    Yay!! Good for you. This country needs to give it a rest when it comes to public nursing.
    It annoys me to no end when I hear that a mom was asked to leave a public place when nursing. I nursed every where, and was thankfully not asked to leave, but I keep hearing stories that this still goes on.

    Good for you ,for going to this sit in!!!

  3. By Andrea on August 30, 2010

    That is my favorite Voltaire quote of all time.

  4. By on August 30, 2010

    Standing up and speaking OUT for what you believe in is something ALL children should be taught.  Way to go, Sarah!

  5. By on August 30, 2010

    I remember with my daughter, being in Walmart, she was only a few months old. I plopped right down on the floor in walmart and nursed her down one of the aisles. I would have been mortified had I been asked to leave. I was a very private nurser (blanket over baby or shirt down, never showing anything), so I can’t even imagine EVER being asked to leave for providing for my child! Most of the time, my brothers (I have 5 of them) would be talking to me and not even notice I was nursing! They always thought my baby was sleeping! ha! Until she would pop up and have a big milky smile for them!
    Glad you stand up and speak up for what you believe in!!!! GREAT example to your daughter!!!
    good for YOU! and THANK YOU!
    tara

  6. By on August 30, 2010

    “If breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over your head”. Love, Love, LOVE IT!

  7. By Tracy Roberts on August 30, 2010

    love it, and the first one is the sign I made at home… yay!

  8. By on August 30, 2010

    I really appreciate you for teaching charlotte that any person can make enormous change and her parents believe in her.
    I am not a mom yet but i do believe every mother has the right to nurse her baby whenever their is a need or want.

  9. By on August 30, 2010

    Sarah, I give you a standing ovation.

  10. By Elly on August 30, 2010

    Woo! Right on, lady! I love this - standing up for what you believe in is brilliant, and I think its brilliant that you do it well informed, and with love. :)

  11. By on August 30, 2010

    Sarah, I’ve been reading your blog for a while, as a silent lurker, and I’ve always loved it. I also really loved seeing “Nor was our participation in any way reflective of how we view Cost Plus World Market.  People make mistakes and one uneducated employee does not a company policy make.“ in your blog post.

    I’m an employee of CPWM, and you know, a lot of us are mothers, or in my case, just pro-nursing. I’m just really glad to see that you aren’t letting this incident affect your opinion of our store. (: So, I just wanted to come out and say thank you.

    (Also, our company was EXTREMELY thorough in making sure that employees in every single store knew about the incident, and that we were all informed on CWPM’s pro-nursing policy.)

  12. By Sarah Christensen on August 30, 2010

    Kelsey - Hello!  It’s great to ‘meet’ you =)

    Honestly, and I’m certain this goes for plenty of the other families who participated in this weekend’s nurse-in, our household is probably more loyal to Cost Plus than we were before.  What happened in Orange must have seemed like a PR nightmare, but Cost Plus handled it exceedingly well.  They provided water and snacks for the mothers and ensured a very welcoming and respectful atmosphere.  Having seen how gracefully (and immediately) they dealt with a sticky situation, I will happily continue to shop there.

    We’re big fans of the CPWM black licorice selection.  And when I say “we,“ I mean Donald lol =)

  13. By on August 30, 2010

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Let’s never forget that. I recall a saying “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to my death your right to have your own opinion.“ It works both ways.

  14. By on August 30, 2010

    Good for you for participating! I hadn’t heard of that situation, but am appalled!

  15. By *emilie* on August 31, 2010

    ...“ respectful and peaceful efforts to incite change”...
    thank you for this line, and thank you for the whole post !

  16. By on August 31, 2010

    I’m going to go ahead and blame the pregnancy hormones, but this post definitely made me tear up a little.

    Also, I don’t know if I can say this without sounding creepy but the other night I had a dream that I had my baby… and it was Charlotte! If only we were all that lucky!

  17. By KugelandSpice on August 31, 2010

    Oh my goodness! I was at that nurse in on Saturday too and I just came across your blog recently and never knew you lived in the area! So funny! Anyway, love this post and your blog in general!!!

  18. By on August 31, 2010

    Not only are you standing up for what you believe in, or in this case sitting down, but you are also educating.  I can appreciate both!  I had no idea this incident had happened,  but I’m glad there are people like you who are on top of things and won’t allow personal choice to be stripped away!  Kudos!!!

  19. By on August 31, 2010

    Beautifully written Sarah. Y’all are raising ‘goofy face’ right!

    On another note: Discovered an alternative to paper towels and sponges today. Check it out:

    http://honeyrockdawn.com/2010/08/the-awesome-ayate/

  20. By carolina on September 01, 2010

    Sarah - This is a great post. I love what you’re teaching your child. :=)


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