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No Apologies for Passions, Part II of CannaMamas Need the Freedom to Breastfeed

I haven’t written anything since my last article, CannaMamas Need the Freedom to Breastfeed, because I didn’t want to go overboard on the topics of cannabis and breastfeeding and bore my readers.  I was apologizing before I even got started for the passion I have to speak on these issues.  How’s that for female socialization?!

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So fuck it, and fuck you if you are already sick of my articles on these two issues.  I don’t want to be that cutie pie.

I’m happy, and I want to tell the world what I have discovered but always knew deep inside!!  That there are women all over the United States (and world) ready to come out of the cannacloset.

I never expected the reaction I received from my last article.

I thought I would receive hate mail, and sure, there were plenty of people that disagreed, and some even made nasty remarks on Facbook (oooohhh!), but the overwhelming majority of messages I received from women were expressions of gratefulness.  Message after message I received were from women who thanked me for speaking up and taking a stand.  They called me brave, one after another.

I’m not brave!!  I was terrified to hit the publish button on that post, but I am fed up.  In a matter of days, hundreds of women reached out to me.  They wanted advice and help.  This made me angry to see so many women hurting and afraid.  I have now focused most of the fucks I have to give on cannamamas.  After seeing the help one single article could do to end the negative stigma of cannabis, I feel reaffirmed in my convictions.  I am more determined than ever to help end cannabis prohibition.

I want to share some of these women’s words that touched my heart and fuel my fire.

You’re amazing, and what you’re doing by posting about breastfeeding and your cannabis use is so important and brave! I’m 20weeks pregnant with my first here in Denver, and I hope can be as open and honest as you seem to be. More power to ya, keep doing what you’re doing!” Denver, Colorado, USA

Hi Jeanna! I read your article and as a cannamama who has a bachelors in poli sci and used to work in dispensaries and agrees with everything you wrote I just have to say you are my hero for writing it. You are doing everything I am dreaming of doing, only I live in NYC again (I lived in Colorado for five years) and our MMJ is just starting to happen… Anyway, I just wanted to tell you I loved your article a lot!” Vlada Vik, NYC, USA, 08/04/2015

I’ve been DYING to talk to you ever since you posted your article on Twitter. I just have a few questions. What situations would cause a pediatrician to test a baby? How often do you smoke/consume? And about how much? I haven’t smoked since my morning sickness went away with my youngest because I’m so afraid of losing my kids. I took a bite of an edible a few months ago and it didn’t affect my daughter at all. But that’s all I’ve had and I just want to know what I can do to be safe / a little more informed.” Hope Smith, Tuscon, Arizona, USA, 08/04/2015

I just read your article on BFMT.. I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! I’m so tired of mothers and parents in general being threatened over cannabis! It took so much bravery for you to come out fighting and tell it how it is, and I’m so glad someone is finally calling out all the bullshit surrounding this PLANT. I hope eventually it will be completely legal in every state. I rarely smoke, but it absolutely has no influence on my parenting. My children are clean, fed, played with, and loved! I’m pretty sure some states have passed laws where they can drug test and jail women for failing I’m not sure if it includes cannabis, but that is scary to me!!! I’m not saying leave a child with a heroin addict, but there is no reason to put a child in the system and strip a woman of her rights because of a plant that grows out of the ground. It’s out of control! Don’t worry about the negative comments. Those people must have never smoked or they have just been duped by the governments “reefer madness”.”  B. R., Nashville, Tennessee, USA, 08/04/2015   *BFMT is Breastfeeding Mama Talk, an excellent resource for breastfeeding support.*

I wanted to thank you for your article that I just read via badass breast feeders. I was an avid marijuana user prior to my pregnancy. I also smoked everyday while losing 60lbs, obtaining my masters in educational leadership, and teaching high school. I was so scared about smoking with my pregnancy that I quit and have not started again. My daughter is 1 now and still nurses 2-4 times a day. I want to start smoking again as it helps with migraines, stress, and my anxiety. My mind isn’t made up yet but you definitely bring up a number of good and valid points.
Thank you for your honesty.” C. S., Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 08/04/2015  *shout out to the Badass Breastfeeder mentioned above. Thank you for sharing my article and doing what you do.*

I have no idea who you are or where you are from but I just read the article you had written and I can’t be anymore grateful to you for being so brave. I myself used “cannabis ” during my pregnancy with my son ( it was the only way I could eat or drink) – like you said it literally saved my pregnancy and from me going insane lol ! — I also used cannabis while breastfeeding my son for the first year of his life ! … He is now two And I shit you not EVERY mother that comes in contact with my little guy literally says to me ” wow he is speaking in full sentences already” his day care lady compliments all the time on how developed and smart he is. Thank you for speaking out ! Because through that whole time I remained silent and hidden incase of being called a drug addict ! Hats off to you girl ! Totally joining your secret group !!! Keep doing your thing !! And thanks again! S. M., Pennsylvania, USA, 08/04/2015

This IS a movement.

Creeps, Leave Nursing Mamas Alone

Social media is such fun.  It’s where we get to share pictures, call each other names, and it is another place where women encounter abuse.  I have been incessantly harassed and trolled for a year now, one troll after another, people who report me for violations of Facebook’s community standards intended for “encouraging respectful behavior” with regards to nudity.  They are offended by pictures of my child nursing, and call it “pornographic”.

Since my story about Facebook deleting my account over a breastfeeding photo went viral in June of 2014, photo reports are a regular event in my social media life.  I am an activist, and I use social media to speak out about issues important to me, so I expect some level of backlash; however, it amazes me that the number one reason I am trolled and harassed is over my “lactivism”.

Yesterday, I decided to open my “Other” mailbox Facebook has for private messages.  Checking my “Other” mailbox gives me anxiety because I frequently receive messages like this one:BrianWatkinsHarassmentPM

https://www.facebook.com/poliscimommy/posts/10205282407752066?comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22O%22%7D&pnref=story

Unfortunately, I am not alone.  The online harassment of women is nothing new.  Women report abuse of this nature daily.  This has been a hot topic for a while with celebrity women such as Jennifer Lawrence and Nicki Minaj who spoke out against the abuse they have endured.

The harassment of nursing mothers is its own level of creepy.  Here’s a disturbing comment left on one of my breastfeeding pictures this week.TravisSearles

 

Here’s the jewel he left in my inbox.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.23.02 AM

 

Brian Watkins (the first creep) tells me that he has been harassing me for some time now.

 

We aren’t friends, guy, stop coming to my page and looking at my pictures if you find children eating so offensive.  You don’t need to report my pictures.  You aren’t saving the “children”.  You’re just being a pain in my ass because Facebook’s algorithms still haven’t figured out that my photos do NOT violate their community policy even though Facebook has repeatedly stated these removals are mistakes.

 

I have been locked out of my account multiple times since the news story aired because of creepy trolls like Brian and their relentless reporting.  As recently as last month, Facebook blocked me from posting content for a total of 3 days because I posted a breastfeeding picture of another mom.FromBellyToBreastBan

https://twitter.com/PoliSciMommy/status/609059527833456640

Now, the inability to post content on Facebook, while frustrating, is not the grand offense.  It is the treatment of women, and the shame associated with our bodies versus the normalcy of breastfeeding.  Nursing mothers have enough struggles just trying to feed our babies.

We do not need the objections, the looks, the stares, the rude photos posted to social media mocking us, the trolls, the reports, the bans, and the nasty messages and comments to go along with the already difficult task of breastfeeding.  Let us feed our babies in peace and comfort.  These are important elements to a healthy breastfeeding relationship.    If pictures of babies breastfeeding bother you, perhaps you need to look inside yourself and question why exactly you find it so objectionable.

Our breastfeeding community is strong.  We will not allow bullies to intimidate us from nurturing our children normally.  We will not be deterred by creeps from posting photos to support, encourage, and normalize breastfeeding.  I reported the private message above to Facebook for harassment, but Facebook denied Brian Watkins’ message violates community standards.  What does it say when ongoing harassment and intimidation do not violate community standards, but a photograph of a woman and child does?

Even if Facebook doesn’t have our backs, nursing mamas have each other’s.  Breastfeeding Mama Talk posted Brian Watkin’s private message to me, and women rallied against his behavior.  We know what harassment is, and we will not tolerate it any longer. We will not be sexually objectified while we nurture our children.  We will not be shamed. https://www.facebook.com/bfmamatalk/photos/a.471668436214912.96317.411182815596808/888259534555798/?type=1

Feeding children can never be “pornographic”, Mr. Watkins, and if seeing a child nursing sexually stimulates you, please seek professional help.