Shoppers ‘disgusted’ by breastfeeding mum
A mum who suffers from anxiety has revealed how she received looks of disgust from other shoppers when she needed to breastfeed in the middle a Target store.
Sarah Mills, 33, from the New South Wales Mid North Coast, was recently in the throes of back-to-school shopping for her eldest children when trouble struck.
She explained during a trip to her local Target to get school supplies, she became overwhelmed when her two eldest children, aged 10 and seven, began to fight.
Making matters worse was her youngest, three-year-old Morrison, started behaving like a "typical 'threenager'".
"I needed to take a moment," she said adding: "I knew all three children weren't about to stop what they were doing and put everything back so mama could go and ground herself."
"So, in the middle of Target, I sat on the floor. I am too deep into single parenting to care about what others might think and only do what is 'socially acceptable'."
At that moment, her son Morrison became hungry - so Ms Mills breastfed him on the floor of the department store.
Her daughter snapped the pair as they sat surrounded by clothes.
"Morrison came to sit with me asking for a drink, relieved he'd be sitting still for a minute I happily obliged," she said.
"Monroe amused herself looking at sandals and Hendrix sat trying on a pair of shoes he wanted.
"So, I sat, I counted, I took some breaths and I centred myself."
The quiet moment helped calm her and her family; however, a passing shopper shot her a look of disgust.
"I had a woman look at me in disgust, I don't know if it's because I was on the ground, because I was breastfeeding in public, or because I was feeding a giant toddler."
"But at that moment, nothing could bother me. For my sanity, I needed that moment."
Ms Mills said after 15 minutes she got up and carried on with her trip, despite still feeling "a little rattled".
While the mum-of-three understands the difficulty of living with a condition like anxiety, she knows others may not.
Her hope is by speaking out she might encourage those who are struggling to know it is okay to have "imperfect moments".
"Sometimes, no matter where we are, we just need to stop, forget what others are thinking and do whatever it takes to get us through that moment," Ms Mills said.
"It's okay to not always keep it together, it's okay to need a moment, it's okay to cry, and it's okay to sit down before you reach the point where you can't breathe.
"You're not broken. You're human. It's okay to feel."
After the photo was shared to Facebook, it received an outpouring of praise, racking up hundreds of likes, shares and comments.
Other parents from around the world were quick to support Ms Mills, saying the appreciated her honest and raw approach to parenting - and life.
And although she has received some hateful remarks online, many have messaged her to say they could relate.
"My post resonated with a lot of women who have said it was so real and that they had gone through similar experiences," she said.
"Some of the comments said I was just looking for attention by having my breasts out and things like that.
"Later stage breastfeeding is still frowned upon unfortunately, and I've gotten lots of negative comments when I've breastfed in public," she said.
"It's the most natural thing in the entire universe. It's nasty that a lot of women are subjected to negativity because of it."