After getting about five minutes of sleep the night before, Rachel Hollis made her way to a Starbucks for a much-needed caffeine fix when she witnessed something that enraged her.
Hollis, who runs The Chic Site, posted a video to her Facebook page last week explaining that she saw two pregnant strangers see each other and approach each other to make a conversation.
"As I'm walking out, one of the pregnant women says to the other woman — she was just asking her questions about her baby — and said, 'Oh, did you nurse?'" Hollis recalled in the video. "The woman was like, 'Oh, you know, I did for a couple weeks, but I really struggled with my first baby.' And the other woman was like, 'You didn't breastfeed? Oh. Well, with this baby, you definitely need to work on that. This is your child's health. I mean, you really couldn't give it more than two weeks?'"
Hollis was dumbfounded that she had witnessed a complete stranger shame another stranger for not breast-feeding.
"You are not allowed to shame another mom who is likely doing her very best — you don't know her story, you don't know how hard it is," Hollis said. "If you breast-feed, that's incredible! But not everybody has that ability. Whatever the reasons are, you don't get to judge. Please, please, we are supposed to support each other. And never more so than for another mom who is trying her best."
Unfortunately, the kind of shaming Hollis witness happens more often than we'd like to think —we sadly still live in a world moms can be shamed when they breast-feed in public and, as this encounter shows, when they don't breast-feed at all.
Hollis continues her rant by acknowledging that even if your intentions were good, shaming someone doesn't help.
"Please know that you don't know her story, even if you look at her and make a snap judgment that she should be doing something better, that she could be doing something better — that is not your place," she said. "Your place, as a fellow mom and a fellow woman, is just to love and encourage her where she is. Please, be thoughtful with your words."
Let this be a reminder that as beneficial as it can be, breast-feeding isn't for everyone. While "breast is best" might be a great approach for some, it's not always the case for others, for various reasons. As Hollis says, we don't know someone else's story, and it's not okay to assume that we know what's best for them and their baby. We're all doing our best, and we need to support each other.