Sometimes, it seems like moms can’t get a break. Everything they do is wrong, from giving their baby formula to nursing in public. And one California mom is speaking out against what she says is unfair treatment based on the fact that she is a breastfeeding mother.
Marcella Mares, who is also a student at Fresno City College, says a professor banned her from breastfeeding during a virtual class, telling her to “do that on your own time.” Does this professor know what the world “time” means to a new mom? The fact that this woman is in school and has a new baby is inspiring in its own right.
Mares took to Facebook to express her frustration. She posted a picture of herself in Zoom class, breastfeeding her daughter, with the caption: “I didn’t want to post this picture because I just wanted it for me, but I just wanted to show that I CAN focus in class WHILE breastfeeding my child.” She is nursing while taking notes, which is miraculous because when I was nursing, I literally could not do anything but scroll through Twitter and think about all the horrible things that could happen to my baby.
I never write long posts but this is a good one!•••I didn’t want to post this picture because I just wanted it for…
In her September 24 post, Mares explained that her professor “changed the requirements for class and said we needed to have our camera and microphone on in order to receive credit for the attendance part of class.”
Because Mares’ daughter is 10-months-old, she needs to eat multiple times a day—and those feedings sometimes need to happen during her class time. Mares didn’t want to distract her classmates, so she sent her professor a note.
“I told him I obviously don’t have a problem with having my camera and microphone on, but I might need to turn them off to feed my daughter from time to time,”
“That’s not what you should be doing during class. Do that on your own time,” he said.
Hey, once I had to feed my baby on a stranger’s stoop on 10th street, and everyone was very nice about it. You can’t always control when a baby gets hungry, even if they’re on a feeding schedule.
“I was upset about it,” Mares told CNN. “I didn’t like the feeling of him telling me what I can and can’t do with my baby, especially in my own home because school is online right now.”
When Mares signed on for class next, the professor told everyone about Mares’ email.
“The first thing he says to the whole class in our Zoom meeting was, ‘I got this really weird email from a student stating she needed to do inappropriate things during lecture time,'” Mares recalled him saying. “‘You guys need to understand that you have priorities now and you need to put all those distractions aside or be creative when your child needs you and give your full attention in my class.'”
This man is on an ego trip, and it’s ugly. We’re in a pandemic, doing so many hard things every day, and he has the nerve to basically tell her to let her daughter go hungry so she can give him all her attention.
“It was one thing to send the email telling me what I can and can’t do in my house with my child,” Mares continued in her post. “But it’s a whole other thing when he announced a ‘weird’ email was received about ‘inappropriate’ things.”
“I felt so unmotivated during class I was so hurt that an actual human said these things about me and my breastfed baby in public to other students,” she shared. “I was humiliated.”
“He discriminated against me and many others when he said ‘put those distractions aside or be creative when your child needs you,'” the mother wrote. “Like what the f—?! This is a child we are talking about not our phones or TVs or any other THING.”
Mares reached out to her school’s Title IX coordinator, Lorraine Smith, and received an apology.
“I am sorry for the inconvenience in regard to your intention of breastfeeding your baby,” Smith reportedly wrote back. “From now on, you have the right to breastfeed your baby at any given time during class, which includes doing group worksheet, listening to the lecture, and taking the quiz or exam. You may turn off your camera at any given time as needed.”
According to CNN, Mares eventually dropped the class. Fresno City College public information officer Kathy Bonilla said that the professor later reached out to Mares to say he was wrong and “not aware of the law pertaining to breastfeeding and now understands that his directive was not correct.”
Let’s try and make life a little easier for moms, okay? Breastfeeding is natural and normal, and we should treat it as such.