A baby's gotta eat when a baby's gotta eat -- even if that baby is at her mom's graduation ceremony.
Enter 25-year-old Karlesha Thurman who nursed her daughter during her graduation from The California State University, Long Beach. A photo was taken of her breastfeeding and she later shared the shot with the Facebook page "Black Women Do Breastfeed" -- a page that aims to make the community of black breastfeeding mothers more visible.
Thurman wrote on her Facebook page that her daughter motivated her throughout her time in school, and she wanted to share the moment with the group. The picture went viral -- and unsurprisingly, reactions were mixed:
— Winter is Coming (@ForRevolution) June 9, 2014
The stigma that Twitter user @forrevolution refers to is one that many breastfeeding moms are familiar with. Though breastfeeding is universally recommended by doctors, we often hear stories of moms who are shamed for doing so in public -- just last week, Bob Evans apologized to a mom for ask her to cover up at their restaurant. Unfortunately, Thurman experienced that type of negativity on Twitter. Here's just one of those comments, for example:
Chicks breast feeding during graduation? Smh
— Dre Songz (@KassDRE28) June 9, 2014
Recently, blogger Mama Bean explained why it is important to see moms breastfeeding to those who call the act inappropriate or even "gross." She wrote, "If we continue to treat it as a secret art form, reserved for private rooms and hushed conversations, it will remain a taboo. It will become lost in the passage of time, further misunderstood and out of reach for future mothers."
She echoed the sentiments of blogger Katharine McKinney whose blog post, "If You Don't Support Breastfeeding In Public, You Don't Support Breastfeeding," went viral in 2013. To the naysayers, McKinney explained: "Mothering is already an isolating, exhausting business and to tell a woman that for several hours a day she has to be sequestered is dehumanizing."
Although Thurman never intended to make a statement -- she was simply trying to feed her child, and the photo has since been taken down from Facebook, -- she's staying positive through all of the so-called controversy:
I can't take anymore tonight, thanks to all who have had nothing but positive things to say about my photo breastfeeding at graduation. 😴😴😴
— ✨✨ARiES BABY✨✨ (@Kay_Danae) June 9, 2014
Congratulations on your graduation, Karlesha!