Apparently, feeding your child is something to be ashamed of -- at least according to one district court judge. Michigan resident and mother of a 5-month-old baby, Natalie Hegedus, was reportedly "called out" for breastfeeding in front of an entire courtroom, leaving her humiliated and in tears.
Writing on the community forum, BabyCenter, after the incident, Hegedus said she only brought her son to court in the first place because he had an ear infection. As they were waiting to be called, he got hungry -- and so naturally, she decided to feed him. Hegedus says her breasts were fully covered and she was sitting at the back of the courtroom.
When the court bailiff noticed what she was doing, WoodTV reports that he wrote a note to the judge about it. Hegedus was called up, and the judge asked her whether she believed it was appropriate to be breastfeeding in court. She shared her response with WoodTV:
I said, "Considering the fact that my son is hungry, and he's sick, and the fact that it's not illegal, I don't find it inappropriate ... And the judge said something to the effect of 'It's my court, it's my decision and I do find it inappropriate.'"
Although Hegedus' post on BabyCenter received an outpouring of supportive comments from fellow parents (there are currently over 70 responses to her initial post) and breastfeeding in public is legal, when WoodTV reached out to the Chief Judge of the district court in question, he seemed to feel that any national response to the incident was unwarranted. In an official statement, he said:
I'm not defending this judge, I just don't think it is a story. This is abuse of the information age. A one to two sentence exchange has now turned into a national story.
However, this is far from the first time that a woman has been castigated for breastfeeding in public. It's not even the first time for it to happen in court -- in August 2010, a woman in Crawford County, AR was told to leave the courtroom while breastfeeding.
Was it inappropriate for Hegedus to breastfeed in the courtroom? Or was it the judge that behaved inappropriately? Let us know.
Hegedus' story is (unfortunately) not a unique one. Click through below to see other places that women have been publicly reprimanded for breastfeeding (including another courtroom):