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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

International Women’s Day

I had been aware of feminism* for only a few years so I must have been in my early twenties and I was still quite shy and unassuming.  This was a phase of feminism when American women had already secured the right to vote, which was a significant step toward political and social freedom; and also had gained the right to work outside the home which meant financial independence and economic freedom.  Now we were now demanding equal rights, meaning equal pay for equal work and the right to be free from domestic abuse at home, i.e., men could not beat their spouses with impunity.  Faced with losing total control over the women in their lives, many American men resorted to fighting back passive aggressively by refusing to support and accommodate women who became pregnant.  Many pregnant women were forced to work to the day of giving birth, and to return to work days afterward.


I saw her crying in front of a mirror in the office bathroom as she fiddled with some sort of pumping mechanism** which she was trying to affix to her exposed breast.  Her heavy, blue-veined breast was full with milk, her areola was large and darkened.  I was instantly embarrassed by her predicament and overwhelmed by pity.  She had folded her business jacket neatly over the top of a toilet stall, and stood with her pretty professional blouse slid down on one side into wrinkles at her waist.  The machinery would not fasten to her breast, unlike her baby who would have readily clasped and sucked her mother's milk.  That baby was in another's care while this mother tried to be two women at once, a nursing mother and a professional woman clinging to her rung on the corporate ladder.  I did not know her, and I knew that I could not help her, so I left quickly to avoid prolonging her embarrassment.  I never knew who she was but I have thought of her often over the years.  I pray that God blessed her and her baby.


*  When did feminism begin?  "The feminist movement began in the 19th century, with the first women's rights convention held in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York. The convention was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, and attendees signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which affirmed women's equality with men and called for various specific rights, including the right to vote. The first wave of feminism focused on women's suffrage and political equality, while the second wave focused on reproductive rights and gender equality. The third wave of feminism began in the 1990s and continues to the present day..." — a random internet source which does not jibe with what I recall experiencing:  the feminism I knew has always been about economic autonomy and physical safety.


**  "If you are separated from your baby after birth, you should start pumping early (ideally within six hours after delivery). Then, continue to pump frequently (every three hours, including overnight, for a total of 8 to 10 times per 24-hour period) for approximately 15 minutes each time."  This schedule makes simultaneously working in an office impossible. — a random internet source


Breastfeeding Baby

by Annmarie Throckmorton, copyright 2024



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