Being a mom is hard enough without being shamed for either not breastfeeding your baby or breastfeeding in public (seriously, can we ever win?). People always seem to wag their fingers at us no matter what choice we make, making everyone wonder what a woman's gotta do to get some respect around here.
Katy Ballard was likely wondering the same thing when she found herself in an incredibly awkward situation while dining out with her family. Katy, her husband, and their 3-month-old daughter Ashlyn where trying to enjoy a peaceful Italian dinner at Giovanna’s Pizzeria in Phenix City, Alabama when the baby decided she, too, was hungry. According to PEOPLE, using her t-shirt as a cover, Katy tried to nurse as demurely as possible so that she could resume her own dinner.
What happened next is the stuff nightmares are made of for breastfeeding moms. One of the restaurant's owners emerged with a dish rag that Katy says she then threw over both her and her child. Although the new mom insisted she didn't need the cloth, the woman repeatedly threw it over her, saying she needed to cover up.
To be clear, a state law in Alabama gives mothers the right to breastfeed anywhere, no matter whether it's public or private.
Katy says that the restaurant owner in question, a woman, said that she's a Christian and her breastfeeding was offending her beliefs. Not wanting to cause even more of a ruckus, Katy and her family picked up and left the pizzeria before they were done with their meal.
Meanwhile, Nelson Rodriguez, owner of Giovanna's, says the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. His wife was just trying to help Katy out, not run her out of the place. They are, in fact, a family establishment, he says.
"Giovanna’s doesn’t discriminate against anyone and most certainly not individuals wanting or needing to breastfeed," he told WRBL news. "We would never intentionally embarrass a client. We were honestly acting in goodwill. We are very sorry this customer felt we intentionally embarrassed her and apologized to her at the time. We never asked her to leave. In fact, we told her she didn’t have to leave. My wife was simply honestly trying to assist her. It was clearly a misunderstanding. We are a family business and always have our customers best interest at heart."
Katy isn't trying to use this to score some kind of monetary settlement, she simply wanted to get out of there to prevent herself from further embarrassment. Let's face it, half the time we're already feeling a bit self-conscious about nursing in public, adding this insult to injury certainly wasn't what she had in mind during this evening out.
She doesn't plan on returning to the eatery, despite their claims that she and her family are welcome, but does hope this will prevent other mamas from enduring the same experience upon attempting to nurse in public places in the future.