Woman Says A Gym Supervisor Shamed Her For Breastfeeding In Public

| by Jonathan Constante
Jordan Williams with her two childrenJordan Williams with her two children

A Virginia mother’s Facebook post about being shamed for breastfeeding in public has gone viral.

Jordan Williams made the post on Jan. 1. In it, she details a phone conversation she had with a supervisor at ACAC Midlothian's KidZone who called her and told her she needed to use a cover while breastfeeding.

Williams wrote:

“Yesterday I breastfed my sobbing toddler and screaming baby in the drop off/pick up area of ACAC Midlothian's KidZone. About an hour later I received a call from the supervisor of KidZone informing me that all mothers are to use a cover or go into a hidden room to nurse. When I informed her that she could not legally require me to cover up or leave, expressed my concerns about how upset my children were when I arrived, explained how devastating such a call might be to a less experienced breastfeeding mother, and asked to speak to her supervisor I was given the run around. Through several phone calls during the course of the day I was repeatedly lied to in a clear attempt to avoid involving said supervisor (the general manager of ACAC Midlothian) in the dispute. When I finally reached the general manager I did not receive an apology but was instead shamed for breastfeeding in public.

"This is not okay. For any new mother or any mother struggling with postpartum anxiety as I am, getting out of the house is a major accomplishment by itself. Obstacles to breastfeeding can be devastating. Expecting a hungry, crying child to nurse under a cover or wait until a hidden location can be found is not only unreasonable but borderline offensive. The staff at ACAC have made it clear that my baby's need to eat is less important than their perception of breasts as sexual objects.

"According to VA law 32.1-370 I have the right to breastfeed wherever I am legally allowed to be. Please share and let ACAC Midlothian know that their actions are not acceptable. They are not within compliance of the law, are not family friendly, and need to change their policies before another mother is harassed for feeding her children."

The post was shared more than 5,000 times with several users expressing their outrage on ACAC Midlothian's Facebook page.

Williams’s husband, Edwin Wallace, noted that no one said anything to his wife at the time she was breastfeeding -- only after.

“My child does not breastfeed covered up,” Wallace told WTVR. “They don’t like it. They won’t do it. We intend to never step foot in there again.

“They’re harassing us over the fact that we breastfeed our children in public which is legal to do.”

Wallace added that he is in contact with an attorney who helped create the new legislation that allows Virginia mothers to legally breastfeed in any public area. That bill was passed last year.

“It definitely was shocking because legally we are allowed to breastfeed in public.” Wallace said.

ACAC Midlothian issued the following statement on their Facebook page:

“We are sincerely sorry to have upset a mom in our club recently. We pride ourselves on being a club that caters to families, and the last thing we would want to do is upset any family. We support the rights of all mothers to breastfeed their children. There are no policies that prohibit or restrict breastfeeding in our clubs.

"In regards to this particular event, at no point was the mother interrupted or asked to refrain from breastfeeding her children. After receiving feedback from members, a team member did call the mom later that day to offer additional options for breastfeeding in the club. In a subsequent conversation, our general manager emphasized that the mother was free to continue breastfeeding in the same spot or anywhere she chose in the club. We tried to have this conversation with great respect and sensitivity. We apologize that we have offended her and many others. We never wanted this mom to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.”

Sources: WTVR, Jordi Williams/Facebook / Photo Credit: WTVR