Yesterday I went to the UPS store to mail a double breast pump and breastfeeding loot to a local friend, and also the infamous TIME issue to a friend in Spain who never could find a copy and wanted to read the article.
I tried to hide the cover until I had to give it to the postman to mail. He picked it up and weighed it while Aram walked up to read the numbers on the scale. The man saw the cover of the magazine had been written on (I had crossed out the “Mom Enough” tagline and wrote a funny note to my friend) and looked up at Aram, starting to put things together. “Hey, this is you!” He said to Aram. He looked up at me. “This is you, too?” I was a little embarrassed we had been discovered. “Yes, that’s us,” I said, now starting to second guess my decision to go to the store without makeup on.
I wasn’t expecting the conversation that followed. The UPS man went on to tell me he was from a rural area of Pakistan, and how normal public breastfeeding was in his culture. He said women will cover up head to toe, but expose their breasts to feed their babies. He explained he was a practicing Muslim and Islamic law suggests that breastfeeding should go on for two years, and most of the women in his village breastfeed even longer. He then went on to quote the Quran and referred to different lines speaking specifically about breastmilk.
I left thinking how cool it was that public breastfeeding conversations were still happening. I would have never expected the Pakistani UPS store owner with the scar down his face ( that seemed to intensify the very unapproachable scowl I saw every time I went in there) to brighten up when the topic of breastfeeding came up. Everyone in line behind me got an ear full from both of us about why breastfeeding past infancy was natural, not immodest, and the normal practice in many countries around the world.