Monday, April 16, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

Melanie posted an update on the situation in Houston as of this morning.
I just spoke to Naomi Scott, the Executive Director of the RMH Houston, and we have a meeting this afternoon at 4pm. She came back from her vacation early to handle the situation. Unlike Arlene, Unlike Arlene, Naomi was very pleasant on the phone but she told me that although they are not kicking us out right now that it is a guideline (an oral one) to ask all breastfeeding mothers to go to their rooms to nurse. This is the first I have heard of any oral guideline from anyone. It was never mentioned before. She told me this was because they had multicultural residents here and that they need to protects all the residents from feeling uncomfortable. Because of this they are not changing their stance on us breastfeeding downstairs.
I find myself struck dumb with disbelief and yet not surprised in the least. First, I must say I'm amazed by Naomi Scott's creativity. I don't think I've heard the "respecting cultural differences" argument for discriminating against breastfeeding mothers and children before, but it sounds to me like a new twist on the same ol' same old: The psychological comfort of adults who fetishize breasts is more important than the physical and emotional comfort of a young child. The sensitivities of people who can look away from a scene that causes them discomfort should be respected, but not the sensitivities of a mother, who has been shamed and threatened during an already stressful time by the very institution that offered her help.

I hoped against hope that this situation would be resolved quickly, so this family could get on with focusing on the care of Tobin. Shame on these misguided people who seem bent on blackening the reputation of Ronald McDonald House and giving these people such a hard time. I'm awaiting an update from Melanie and will post here again as soon as I have news.

1 comment:

knittinmom said...

That is a new one. What do they say to the fact that ours (as in, white American) is the most uptight culture when it comes to breastfeeding? Have they had any specific complaints? Losers.