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North Carolina Birth Freedom March

In which I nursed in my car, in a parking garage, while marching, while standing during a moment of silence, and while meeting with my representatives. Afterwards I nursed in a fabulous Mexican restaurant, in the same parking garage, in my car, and at Ikea. I have two of those Target nursing tanks, and while I think they are terribly unsupportive, they’re great for when you might have to nurse in front of a smarmy old man politician and you don’t want him staring at your tits — or your extra tummy skin.

Seven of nine Jugs attended — including Mary F. Poppins who is neither an American citizen nor a resident of North Carolina! We represented. We attempted to caravan, but all bets are off when it comes to traveling with babies. Originally I was going to drive with four moms and four babies in my minivan — filling it to capacity — but it was quickly kiboshed when two of the Jugs saw the situation. It would have been a squeeze.

I’ve made long drives with children before — last year I took the oldest four to visit my parents, by myself — and it sucks, even if everyone has room. My expectations were very low. Still, the ride there was great. I got up super early so I could nurse Porcelain 2453543 times before we left, and she actually made it the entire 3 hours without needing to stop. We got there and she nursed for about an hour straight, while Little Miss Popular and I talked our way into using a bathroom at the department of education building.

The march itself was incredible. There were so many families out supporting CPMs in North Carolina! The final count was about 600 people. This is a completely grass-roots movement, and organized entirely by North Carolina Friends of Midwives. We marched. Most people had signs and babies in arms, in strollers, walking, toddling, nursing, holding signs, and attempting to hold signs. There were moms, dads, and even grandmas and grandpas.

After the march, we gathered between the two political buildings and formed a circle and held a moment of silence. Russ Fawcett, leader of NCFOM, gave a speech, and encouraged all of us to meet with our reps.

So I did. And one of my reps sucks. He is completely against legalizing CPMs in North Carolina. And he was born at home with a midwife! When we pointed that out, he said, “Yes, and if anything had happened, my mother would have died.” But she didn’t. He was the smarmy obnoxious politician like you see on TV. He was also very condescending and patronizing. I half expected him to reach across the table and pat the heads of us silly women with our silly little ideas.

The next rep was much better. He said he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and he supports legalizing CPMs. He is all for supporting a bill. Then he asked us to support his campaign manager as the leader of the state’s political party. So he wanted to trade political favors…? I felt like I was on The West Wing.

We went out to eat at this awesome Mexican joint — it was a great meal — and then got on the road again. And, as I’d predicted, the drive home wasn’t quite as easy. The kids cried. And cried. And cried. And sometimes slept. And there was traffic. But we eventually made it home, and really, I felt so energized from being among so many amazing women. And so glad that I know so many amazing women! While I guess I can still call myself a doula and childbirth educator, I’m not working and not planning on working again for a long time — and yet my heart is still there, with the women who want to learn about birth and have the birth of their dreams.

4 Responses

  1. i fall more in love with you every day.

  2. thanks for sharing this! i had been wanting to hear first-person accounts of the rally.

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