After the Storm Perspective

I am so happy I can start using this blog as a true outlet again. I was waiting until my blog traffic died down and the community that remained was one with whom I was actively building relationships and healthy dialogue. I am so thankful that it has only taken a couple of months for that to happen.

This post and the one that will follow are going to be a bit of venting. In this post, I’m giving my thoughts on the negative aspects of being on the TIME cover, and also, the reasons it has been a blessing. The next post will be about what we experienced from the moment TIME magazine contacted us through the shoot and up until the release of the cover online. My main purpose will be to hopefully inspire others to understand the importance of discernment (and teach your children to always be discerning) when it comes to the media, while describing some of the lessons I’ve learned from this whole bizarre situation.

I had to sift through some pretty disgusting articles a couple of days ago because many were under copyright infringement and using my photos without permission. I was able to escape reading some of the articles about the TIME cover, up until now.

It was easy not to take the complete fabricated stories about my family or who I am personally, because they were clear lies. However, what angered me was seeing even some supposed “legitimate” news outlets take bits of my life out of context to make it something completely sensationalized and ugly. For instance, the Dailymail and other outlets had reported that I breastfed Aram at the Playboy Mansion. They were selectively reporting from a post posing the question, “Where is the oddest place you have ever nursed?” What they neglected (and no doubt saw) was the previous post explaining why we were there (to look at the empty grounds for a Fayye Foundation charity event) and that there were no women around, just a lot of birds and monkeys. The point of my post was to show the irony of a place that built their empire on breasts, and here they are now being used for their main purpose, nourishing a child. While I was there, I found it was one place that I felt completely accepted and again it felt ironic that there was tolerance at this location where there isn’t any in the majority of our society. There was another media site that was exaggerating a post where I had pictures of the boys holding up edible underwear. Again, what they neglected to mention was that I was at a Valentine’s Day party put on by the Christian wives group from my husband’s work. It was a gag gift and my children ended up finding the “gift” soon after I came home and thought it was hilarious that there was “a bathing suit bottom made out of fruit roll-ups” (their words). Of course I’m going to take a picture of that; the innocence and ridiculousness of the situation was too cute.

It was nice to have a bit of perspective now that so much time has passed since when the articles were written. I was able to appreciate parts of different sites which claimed we did it for some sort of attention or that now I’m a “household name” and my family will be ridiculed forever. This has already been debunked — in a matter of two months everyone has completely forgotten about us personally, and some even have forgotten about the cover. We knew that would happen, and I’m assuming the people who reported it knew that too. Of course, their goal was to sensationalize to make money and reporting negativity does just that.

Brian brings the calmness to the relationship (most of the time ;-))

After spending a day reading absolute garbage I was a bit disheartened. I called up Brian, always cool, calm, and collected, and he just had the, “Eh, it’s not true, who cares?” attitude, which normally is very helpful, but I was in such a funk that it wasn’t helping. I called up my sister, mom, and friends, and my mom had this piece of advice:

 

“That kind of humility is worth its weight in gold and you cannot bring it on yourself in the way that you have had it. Consider it a blessing. You did something well thought out and positive, and it didn’t turn out exactly how you wanted. The fact that TIME chose a sensational picture and tagline has nothing to do with you, but think of who is in your corner, the people you want to be there; the people who were discerning enough to figure out who you really are!” -mom

Yes, my mother is the overwhelming voice of reason, at times. She made complete sense.  If TIME chose an awesome picture with a great headline who knows what would have happened? I’m sure the people who don’t understand breastfeeding past infancy would still have the same strong ignorant reactions, but it probably wouldn’t have gone global, and it would have been well received by the majority of the AP community. I’m also guessing that I would have personally been more embraced by people because my intentions would have been clear.

However, that didn’t happen, and now I understand why it might be positive for the future (something Dr. Sears had said from day one). The photo they chose seemed so extreme that it opened up not just a national, but a global, discussion. People loved it or hated it, but it got certain people talking about breastfeeding past infancy and even if they don’t understand now, they probably were in some way educated from the articles coming out during that time. This will lead to future tolerance. Also, there was the benefit of people having negative reactions to me, personally. If they chose a beautiful photo that really represented the softness and beauty of breastfeeding past infancy, then I probably would have been given more credit than I deserve. The fact that across the board people didn’t like the way breastfeeding was portrayed in the photo (including me) just meant that any individual positive accreditation was taken out of the situation. Not only personally was that good for us, but it benefitted the issue of normalizing breastfeeding I believe more than if some breastfeeding groups attempted to make me a martyr. There was an odd unification happening when everyone came together to hate the photo and the tagline (and bizarrely, personally attacked the subjects in the photo) but then ended up talking about the issue of attachment parenting and breastfeeding a toddler.

There were also personal benefits for me and my family. We ended up meeting some of the most beautiful and discerning people in direct relation to the cover being released.  These were people who took the time to try to get the facts straight before they opened their mouth to give their opinion. These are the people I want to be personally associated with, because their discussion and advice will undoubtedly be wise and rational. I’ve found that out of all the pages on Facebook the people on this blog’s Facebook page seem to have some of the most level-headed and kind answers, always thinking about people who live life differently than them, but never being apologetic for how they live their life. What a wonderful support group for all women (and men – Barry and Tom you brighten my day with your comments), and I love that we all found each other because of the cover.

Aside from the actual point of posing (in celebration of Dr. Sears book’s anniversary and encourage mothers to parent without shame), I think the most positive outcome has been for the work we are doing in the Sidama region of Ethiopia. People from all over the world came to support the Fayye Foundation, and in the next coming weeks when we go back to Ethiopia we are bringing a group with us that would have never been put together if it weren’t for TIME and the publicity that came from it. In that sense I am so happy for all of the attention that personally came to our family because we knew we would redirect the spotlight we were given to shine it on to people and an area that truly deserve it. Of course, this isn’t the kind of coverage that the majority of people want to see, they would rather see an extreme “reality” show for entertainment. However, with every last ounce of residual attention or focus we will use it to show the reality of the orphan crisis in the Sidama region of Ethiopia. While that isn’t as exciting or sensational as the West would want it, we will feel content knowing that as this candle was burning out we were focusing attention where it needed to be and did not use it for personal attention, financial gain, or in any other vain way.

Now that I’ve been able to sort through my thoughts, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude to my old and new friends, and to the people putting themselves on the line to help support families and encourage them to make the best choices for their lives. Our travels are even more fulfilled as we have met people from this experience living in all areas of the world, and my children will grow up and reap the benefits of such positive and loving people. I am proud and honored to be a part of such a beautiful community.


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47 comments

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  1. Amy 4 August, 2012, 10:04

    Aw Jamie. I’m so sorry that you’ve been thrust into situation that highlights that so many people are unwilling to open their minds to “different” ways of doing things. (In their minds.) Too many people seem incapable (or, again, unwilling) to look past their own beliefs to consider that there are many reasons for doing things, and that all people do not have the same ideas, plans, circumstances, and/or beliefs. IMHO, that’s what makes this country *great*! We are individuals who can and do make our own lives the way we see fit.
    I just want to thank you- I’m grateful that you stood (and continue to stand) up for what you believe. Your children only benefit from it, do we, the AP community. You’re a source of inspiration, and I’m glad I can continue, via your blogs (this one and Mommy Hates Chemicals are my favorite blogs), to keep up with you and your family.
    Again, thank you Jamie, to you and your family.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:20

      Thanks Amy! It has been really cool to see the spirit of some people rise up in such a yucky situation. I feel pretty blessed that I was able to experience this, and was able to meet people who are fast becoming some of my closest friends- and I would not know any of them if it weren’t from TIME and the negativity attached to the cover.

      Reply this comment
  2. Tricia Barrett-butler 4 August, 2012, 10:10

    Good for you! Perspective is a wonderful thing. You’ve done a great thing, putting yourself out there like that. I’m sure it’s been said somewhere at some point but thank you for your strength, determination and commitment!

    Reply this comment
  3. Katie 4 August, 2012, 10:33

    You are single-handedly responsible for my changed views of breastfeeding past infancy and adoptive breastfeeding, and I am entirely thankful for that. When the May issue of TIME came out, my daughter was 14 months and I was feeling immense guilt for not beginning to wean her; she is only nursing at night and naptime, and I felt that if she wasn’t completely weaned soon, I’d be one of those crazy moms that would scar her kid for life by nursing for too long (sounding familiar?). I was also, though, feeling immense guilt for wanting to wean because we both enjoy nursing so much. I was heartbroken at the thought of taking that away from our relationship when we both weren’t ready. As you can imagine, discovering your blog and Facebook page has introduced me to an entirely new world where nursing beyond infancy is not only okay, it’s celebrated. I am so thankful for that! I also previously assumed that parents of adopted children simply had to miss out on the beautiful relationship that nursing creates; learning about adoptive breastfeeding (again, thanks to you) has been incredibly inspiring, to say the least. I’m sorry you and your family has had to endure some negativity in the past few months, but please know that you are appreciated and so respected. You are reaching so many people. Keep up the good work!

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:21

      Wow, I’m in tears. I hate that our society is pushing people into choices they don’t believe are right for their family. I am so thankful the cover was able to direct you to a place where you felt support and helps you stick to doing exactly what is right for your family!

      Reply this comment
    • Amy K 9 August, 2012, 07:37

      Katie, thank you for saying what I have been feeling, far better than I could. My daughter is now 18 months and nursing too.

      Jamie, thank you putting yourself and your family out there. You have been a target but also a role model. I appreciate your inclusive and so very thoughtful blog posts and comments. Thank you!

      Reply this comment
      • Jamie Lynne Author 10 August, 2012, 09:37

        Thank you so much Amy! Sometimes it is hard when I get wind of something the media has said about me and my character that is totally untrue, but then there are other times I’m really glad it is me. If it allows my children when they grow to have a better experience parenting their children (if they choose to have children) then I will gladly wave my freak flag for them. I think most mothers would. This wasn’t what we wanted, but knowing the cover has helped so many people validates our feelings of why we did it, and is worth all the criticism.

        Reply this comment
  4. Sarah 4 August, 2012, 15:16

    You are a real trooper for hanging in through all of the negative press that has come your way, and I think it has only made the positive press that you receive that much more influential when it is seen. I’ve seen the nasty comments and blog posts, but I’ve also seen the interviews that let you and your family show who you are and the kind of family you want to be, and it’s only made better by your grace under fire.

    Your interview in the Time magazine (forget what anyone says about the cover!) is what inspired me to hunt out an extended breastfeeding and AP community in my own city, and to surround myself with like-minded individuals, and supportive friends and family. My son will be better off because of the example you and your sons are setting, worldwide.

    Thank you.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:23

      Thank you so much Sarah! You have no idea how happy it is to hear the comments that the cover ended up directing people towards real education on the topic of AP and breastfeeding past infancy! Totally worth the crap we got.

      Reply this comment
  5. Molly 4 August, 2012, 15:43

    I remember reading a post on buzzfeed about how you signed on to do the reality show about 40 minutes after you posted about saying NO to that. Emailed them right away to tell them they were wrong and quoted your post about how you weren’t doing it. Not sure if that swayed them to fact check in the future, but we’ve got your back here dear!

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:24

      LOL I saw that buzzfeed the day after I posted about how stupid that guy was spreading the rumor. Thank you so much for having my back! I cannot tell you how humbling it is to be a part of a community like this. I hope and pray I could be half a supportive to someone going through the same odd experience as you all have been to me.

      Reply this comment
  6. caren 4 August, 2012, 16:24

    Jamie, I came upon your fb page and blog after the release of the TIME article. I wanted to know more about you, and I could relate to you, as I am a 26 year old mother who breastfed my son for 41 months (he recently self weaned). I have been reading your blogs, and I just adore you. You are a very inspirational lady, and have done so much in your young life . Just know that there are many people, who will never post a comment, like I have until now, looking up to you that appreciate your outspokeness, humbleness and positive outlook on life.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:26

      Thanks Caren! It bothered me people were so obsessed with my age. I want people to know this isn’t an age exclusive parenting style. Women of all ages want to be educated and choose the right parenting style for their child and their family. Young moms seem to be ignored a little bit.

      Reply this comment
  7. aja 4 August, 2012, 16:55

    I admire the fact that you express and act on what you believe in. Even if others do not agree with your views/actions they should still respect you. I came across your blog after viewing your adoption video (we are adopting from ET) and I have continued to follow it because I find your posts interesting. You always show others respect and it is too bad others don’t always do the same for you.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:27

      Thanks Aja! I know, it’s the way it goes, I guess. I am so blessed to have a family that wants to spread this message and is so supportive and loving towards people who do not understand. Hopefully one day people will realize how toxic it is to judge what you don’t understand.

      Reply this comment
  8. Meagan 4 August, 2012, 17:42

    I don’t know whether you’ll count this as a plus or a minus: I made the decision to continue breastfeeding my baby past 12 months almost exactly the time the Time Magazine came out. There was no relation to the article and my decision, but that was the timing (he’s 14 months now). As friends and family found out one way or another that I was continuing to nurse my toddler, they asked, with a fair amount of apprehension, “so how long are you planning to nurse?” So I have to admit, my default response has become, “Oh probably not long enough to end up on the cover of Time Magazine.” invariably they laugh and drop it. I hope you don’t mind. :-)

    Reply this comment
  9. Yvette 4 August, 2012, 19:50

    Jamie, I am so glad that I found your blog and fb page, both a direct result of the time cover. Even though I don’t know you personally, I feel as though I have someone in my corner supporting my parenting choices. I love how accepting and real your posts are. Thanks for writing and being a part of my (virtual) life :)

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:29

      I am so happy to have you a part of my virtual life, too! This community of mothers supporting how we parent has been incredible. Thank you so much.

      Reply this comment
  10. Terri 4 August, 2012, 20:27

    I want to thank you for being a part of the time story and for not letting it change who you are. I found your blog because of the story and the interviews that followed and I’ve learned so much. I know that blogs, Facebook, other social media easily let people show only one side, usually the good side, and I don’t know you personally, but what I see and read about you and your family is inspiring. I’m glad you’ve been able to sort out your thoughts and see the positives of the whole thing and continue to brush off the negatives. Thank you!

    Reply this comment
  11. Terri 4 August, 2012, 20:29

    PS, I put your blog on my blog and I didn’t ask your permission. I also wrote a post about the TIME cover and your interviews without asking your permission. If you want me to take any of that down, please do let me know.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:32

      And absolutely not! Keep those posts up. You are allowed to link back to my site and post anything you want about me. People were taking pictures off my blog (illegally) and using racial slurs about my children for entertainment. That is not acceptable. I feel I know you, so even if you were to pull a photo off my blog I wouldn’t care.

      Reply this comment
  12. Lea 4 August, 2012, 20:29

    Jamie, I found your blog after seeing the Time cover and I’m so glad that I did! You have a lovely family and a wonderful perspective despite the negativity that is thrown your way. I am still nursing my 2 year old and I like to know that there are others out there who are fighting a good fight to ensure that we all have the opportunity to do what is right for our families with respect and understanding from others. It often seems that instead people attack each other and I am so happy to read how positive you have stayed.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:34

      Thanks Lea! I love how many people have come out publicly that they are still breastfeeding their toddlers after this! Perhaps some were hiding it and others didn’t have an outlet to share “yes, this is how we parent!” Either way, I’m so glad to see how others are helping normalize something SO NORMAL!!

      Reply this comment
  13. Amber 6 August, 2012, 02:44

    Haters are gonna hate!!
    But at the end of the day the Time cover was great because its about raising awareness – even to me in little New Zealand!! My first reaction was negative, however now that I know more about attachment parenting I have become more open and accepting. I’m not sure if it would be for me, but it’s obviously working for you and your beautiful boys, and it is something I will think about when I have my next child. I’m really enjoying your blog, and you are clearly much more than a just a controversial cover girl :)

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:35

      Thanks Amber! Oh I am so happy New Zealand covered the issue! After our lovely experience with the 60 minutes AU producers and reporter Brian and I were inspired to visit Australia, we would definitely be visiting New Zealand, too! You’ll need to tell me where to go!

      Reply this comment
  14. Tobi 6 August, 2012, 08:50

    I think you are awesome. Honestly, I have to say that I am even more pro-extended nursing from this whole Time thing. I am no longer embarrassed to admit that I still nurse my 3 yr old son to sleep. People are going to find controversy in anything, just for the sake of arguing I think. I admire you SO much for standing up for Attachment Parenting. I love reading your blog too :)

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 August, 2012, 10:38

      Thanks Tobi! You have no idea how happy it makes me feel to know you don’t feel the embarrassment in telling people you are still breastfeeding you son. You are helping educate them more than you know! There is no shame in it! Also, letting them know the duration and that it is just to sleep probably stuns people (they assume our toddlers are breastfeeding as long as infants!) Thank you for helping educate people. I hope to make parenting a little less stressful for our children by the time they have kids. If they choose to AP the whole issue will probably be normalized by then! That is worth fighting for.

      Reply this comment
  15. Samantha 6 August, 2012, 12:54

    This was a great read. I’d love to hear the story of how you ended up doing the TIME shoot, etc. My daughter and I were in Dr. Bill’s office the day they were photographing him for the issue, and they took pictures of her. They told me the photos were lovely and then used the one photo where she (9 months at the time) is looking somewhat forlornly away while being examined, right under a headline that reads “Parents Do What’s Right for Them Not the Kids” (it’s here: http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/10/parents-do-whats-right-for-them-not-for-the-kids/). Talk about out of context, huh? In another part of the online issue, they used that same photo to show how Dr. Bill very gently examines infant patients while they peacefully hang out on mama’s lap. Just a great example of how easy it is to manipulate a photograph (and how good TIME is at it). They contacted us about the story, but told me she wasn’t old enough at the time. I was relieved… and admire your courage for doing it!!! Keep fighting the good fight! Sure, there are some who have their creepy ideas about breastfeeding past infancy and won’t ever let those go. But the tide is a-turning– I personally wasn’t breastfed a day in my life, never experienced nursing mothers around me, and am now in month 15, nursing while pregnant with #2!! :)

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 9 August, 2012, 08:04

      Hey Samantha! Wow, I’d love to talk to you about your perspective one day. What you have already explained makes me sad that TIME would do that. I’m sure they needed a photo to go with their caption and they found one in your photos and used it.

      Dr. Sears is amazing. You are so blessed to have your children go to him! We have Dr. Jay, so we are pretty darn lucky, too. I hope more pedis like them start popping up all over the place.

      How far along are you in your pregnancy?

      Reply this comment
  16. tight shoes 7 August, 2012, 04:43

    Like many of those who have commented here, I found your blog as a result of the TIME cover.

    I must admit, when I first saw the cover and those words “Are you Mom enough?”I felt hurt by it. I have a medical condition that makes it nearly impossible for me to ever fall pregnant. I found this out when I was 16 when I was told, in not so many words, that I could only fall pregnant through some intensive IVF treatments and even then the success rate would be very slim. Not wanting to put my body, mind (and resources!) through that sort-of strain, I quickly made my peace with this new reality and indeed have become excited about having a family through adoption. Living in South Africa, where so many children have been orphaned and abandoned as a result of HIV/Aids, poverty etc. it also makes sense (at least to me) to go the route of adoption.

    So when I saw the cover, I felt hurt because despite what I know I about breast being best, I’ve known* that someday when I start a family, I would not be able to give the very best to my children, in spite of my best intentions. In a moment, the cover made me question my sense of self-worth. Not only was I not woman enough to bear children; but now I was being told that I am not mom enough because I also would not be able to breast-feed them. Hence it just felt like another piece of insensitive and hurtful media that makes assumptions about women and their bodies. My family, friends and the blogs that I read from time to time, all had healthy and positive discussions about the article, but I could not participate. I felt hurt and did not need TIME magazine or anyone else highlighting my inabilities.

    Sometime afterwards, not sure when exactly (probably whilst looking for a distraction from my studies) I remembered your blog and decided to visit. I am so thankful that I did! The honest, insightful and articulate manner in which you have spoken about adoption and more especially, breast-feeding after adoption has been like balm to my hurt. At this time, I am nowhere near ready to start a family of my own, (being single and a pre-med student.) But when I am, know that I will definitely be coming back here in search of resources and advice. I may also come check-in when I am looking for a good distraction from my books ;-)

    I am thankful that you and your family agreed to do the TIME magazine cover.

    *well now I know that’s not true.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 9 August, 2012, 08:14

      I am so sorry that the tagline hurt you. Even though I had no part in creating it, my image was attached it and I was mad that I could be associated with making women feel less about themselves. Especially when there is no reason for anyone to question what kind of a mother they are when they are making the best choices for their families. The fact that you were hurt even further because you may not be able to have biological children hurts me more than you will know. I remember the feeling when the doctor told me I would never have children. I felt like such a failure as a woman. Then, I got pregnant a couple of weeks later and all those feelings of failure went away… until my body decided to attack the placenta two months before my due date and was killing me and the baby inside of me (Aram). I then felt like a failure again. I didn’t trust my body and I felt like a lesser woman because my body could not handle what I felt it was designed to do. It took me awhile to realize that being a woman and not being able to bear children does not make you a lesser woman. You are going to be a warrior mother to your children however God wants them to come into your family. Biological or not you will be just as much your children’s mother as anyone gestating a baby 40 weeks. If you ever want to chat about it I’m here.

      Also, we will be in South Africa in a few months! What part do you live in?

      Reply this comment
  17. Kate 9 August, 2012, 13:26

    Hi there! Just wanted to share with you my little office experience with the TIME cover. In the week after it came out, a guy I work with asked me how long I plan to keep breastfeeding my son. He was 7 months then. I shrugged and said I really don’t know. He said “just don’t let me see you on the cover of TIME Magazine!” This is a very intelligent person by the way, very friendly, in no way out to offend. And he essentially single parented his own daughter, including giving her pumped milk from her mama/his ex for the first few months, so he knows about breast milk.

    I smiled and told him, “well, I don’t know if I’ll go that long or not, but the World Health Organization recommends at least two years. And normal weaning age for humans in traditional cultures averages something like four years.” He looked surprised and said something about how we don’t live in a traditional culture, but he didn’t argue with me and I could tell he learned something new. I’m guessing this little mind expanding conversation happened at about a million water coolers that week, thanks largely to you. So good work. And thank you for continuing to share with us. :-)

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 9 August, 2012, 23:20

      Hey Kate!

      It is hard sometimes not to take it personally when someone says something (maybe not even intentionally) judgmental about something you do they know nothing about. It is cool to know you understood his intentions were pure and you were able to educate him in a way that was kind and sounds like made him think!

      I have to say though, that is one of the most irritating arguments to me about breastfeeding. The “well we don’t living an ‘traditional culture’ ‘African village’ ‘developing country’ (etc)” excuse. I think what bothers me the most is that the people saying these things most likely have never visited these areas of the world they are attempting to refer to, and really have no concept of what life is like there. A lot of us who have spend time in countries considered developing where breastfeeding past infancy is the cultural norm also have spent time with the people. There is nothing different about our biology than the people living in these areas, and what they are arguing against really is preventative care. In other areas of the world not breastfeeding dramatically raises infant mortality rates because of their lack of modern medicine and access to clean water. However, the benefits of breastfeeding do not diminish because we have access to proper nutrition and healthcare. Also, the emotional benefits are pretty clear as well. I just wish people realized we should be embracing and thankful we live in an area of the world where we have multiple options, rather than limiting mothers to what they deem socially appropriate for our culture.

      Hah sorry, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir. I’ll get off my soapbox.

      Reply this comment
      • Kate 10 August, 2012, 11:22

        :-) Yup, I’m the choir for sure. I think this particular coworker and many many people like him would agree with all you’ve said if they ever took the time to move past their initial discomfort and think more deeply. Which I believe more and more people are doing, thanks to brave people like YOU, who empower people like me to take a knee-jerk, potentially hurtful comment like “I hope you aren’t going to be one of those weird people breastfeeding your 3 year old” and turn it into an opportunity to gently introduce someone to a new perspective. I think it blew this guy’s mind a little to hear that someone he knows and respects and works with every day thinks toddler breastfeeding is a good and normal thing to do. So I started small and skipped giving him the exact lecture you’ve written for now! I’m expecting more of these conversations as my son gets older, and I have no intention of being secretive.

        So I think the greatest thing you’ve done is to give other women more confidence about the way we take care of our children, so that we can be more open with people and normalize what is really the most normal thing imaginable. THANK YOU.

        Reply this comment
        • Jamie Lynne Author 12 August, 2012, 11:52

          I think there are a lot of people like your coworker, and those are the people that are the most important to educate. The people who do genuinely care about other people and really are not trying to offend. I think it is so cool you were able to speak to him about it!

          Thank you Kate! The positivity coming out of this has been a full team effort from all of the parents understand from their own experiences how great parenting like this is. It is so loving, and other people should know this is a healthy option, too! By educating people we are allowing parents to assess and make that choice for themselves, rather than have society do so for us. The photo alone would have never done that (in fact, it may have done the opposite)…but the photo got people talking and that is where the real education started- that wasn’t me, it was everyone else. So, really…I should be thanking you.

          Reply this comment
  18. Erin 11 August, 2012, 05:40

    I just read your post on how you ended up on TIME. I just wanted to say that I think you are so awesome for doing what you did! You’re a true role model, and I hope I’ll be as confident as you when my breastfed little guy isn’t so little anymore! So thank you for helping to hopefully normalize extended breastfeeding, and I’ll definitely be following your blog! ^_^

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 12 August, 2012, 11:55

      Thanks Erin! You definitely are confident enough to defy society and do what is best for your son when he is bigger! I would suggest joining a local support group (maybe you have already done so!) and also stick around here and find other online groups that focus on positivity (rather than bashing other parenting styles) to find encouragement. It is really easy to face society when you know you have a ton of strong parents supporting you and backing what you know is right for your child!

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  19. Tiffany 20 August, 2012, 11:58

    It seems like you’ve gone through something awful and come out on the other side stronger and able to look dispassionately at the positive results it produced. It’s never a fun journey when we are experiencing ridicule, but it does strengthen us. I truly appreciate what you did to help open the breastfeeding discourse. It can be incredibly tough to be a breastfeeding mom in the US, and any little bit helps. You did “a lot of bit” and I’m thankful you did.

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  20. Greta 26 August, 2012, 18:44

    Hi, when the Time article came out it led me to your blog which I then read in its entirety. I recently got engaged and ever since i was a child myself I’ve wanted to adopt a child from Armenia (I am half armenian and that culture has always been important to me, plus i always rightly assumed that i wouldn’t end up with an armenian man) but now that i’ve found the right man I realized that I also want to give birth to a child. Reading your blog has helped me realize that I dont have to pick one over the other, having a biological child doesn’t make the adopted child less special or vice versa. I also want to thank you for introducing me to breastfeeding, no one in my family ever breast fed so it didn’t even occur to me as something I would do but reading your blog has taught me that not only is it a totally natural way to feed your child but it’s also an amazing bond that forms between mother and child. So I just want to thank you for the Time article, I know all the press had to be difficult but you have really educated me and without the article i never would have learned about this whole other way of raising children. Even though I think my parents did an amazing job of raising my sister and i, i think that when i am a parent, attachment parenting will be a better fit for me so i will continue following your blog. Basically i just wanted you to know that for as many people who have said cruel things about your family’s lifestyle there are twice as many who have really benefitted from you putting yourself out there and informing us, so thank you.

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  21. Kayla 27 August, 2012, 07:19

    Jamie, It has taken me some time to come across this blog post, between the kids and the banging on the key boards it not often I get to read anything in an entirety. If I may, I would like to share with you what this brought to me… This brought pride and self respect as I was a closet feeder because I nursed past infancy. It brought me courage to stand up and take action for something I have had an extreme passion for. Most of all it brought joy to see that we are not an abnormal family and that sometimes you have to take a big chance to do something great for others. You have accomplished that and I say this with the most respect. I am happy you share your life, so others can find their inner-strengths as well

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  22. becky 12 September, 2012, 22:25

    i’m soooo glad you’re back! as soon as i saw the cover i ran to the computer to check your blog and it was down and checked it again later. i was assuming you were retreating after the firestorm must have hit. and then i saw a pin on pinterest (i know, cliche, but i love it) and i immediately linked over and here you were! you were such an inspiration to us when we were starting the adoption process and i am so glad you will continue to be as we continue down this path. thanks for your courage.

    ps: you can’t imagine how many times this cover came up in conversation (never by me) and how many times i ended up defending you and your family and your integrity. and for all it’s worth – i’m glad you did it. it was disappointing that they took the approach they did, but the conversations it incited led to a lot of enlightenment amongst my social group – and if not, it at least led people to a place of less judgment.

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    • Jamie Lynne Author 22 September, 2012, 11:49

      Hey Becky! Thanks for defending us. It is so cool to have met so many of you (in real life or online) who understood what we were trying to do all along. It really ended up being people like you who started to change the direction of the conversation. The TIME cover allowed the discussion to start, but the education was happening by the parents living around the judgement and wanted to spread the truth amongst the sensationalism. Thank you!

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