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Arkansas mom arrested for drinking and breastfeeding

March 27th, 2014 · No Comments

 

The loop

Devon Scoble, December 3, 2013 4:16:24 PM 

Last week Arkansas mom Tasha Adams, 28, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor after waitress and fellow mother Jackie Conners called police when she witnessed Adams drinking alcohol and breastfeeding her 7-month old baby. The incident occurred at Gusano’s Pizzeria in Conway.

Predictably, the story has incited Internet rage on both sides, with experts and sanctimommies alike claiming that any amount of alcohol is too much, and still more experts and moderates maintaining that judicious drinking is perfectly compatible with breastfeeding.

Context is everything, and the details in this particular incident are unclear.

A news report claims Conners, who was later fired from the pizzeria, witnessed Adams consuming “drink after drink”. But according to the Daily Mail, Adams says the accusations “have been blown out of proportion,” but that she’s been advised not to divulge details pending a January court date. “I hate that, because people don’t know the truth. I am really a normal person,” she said.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume that Tasha Adams, who has three children in total, is a good mom who understood the risks of her actions, weighed them, and acted accordingly. If this were true, then Adams’ real crime is that she failed to recognize the sanction that all parents, but particularly mothers, face when they dare to raise their children in public.

Of course, this is purely conjecture, but if pregnancy, childbirth and nursing have taught me anything, it is that medical opinion and public discourse on these topics weigh heavily in favour of worst-case-scenarios. Entire books have been written on the subject, but if you’ve birthed a baby in the last decade, surely you’re familiar with the long list of don’ts, and with the conversation that starts by assuming all mothers are potential addicts with zero impulse control.

It’s not the only conversation out there, but it is a loud one, and because of it, many moderate, reasonable wine-sipping, mothers are working to be the best they moms they can be, while fearing they’ll be judged as the worst. The fact is, it is possible to drink safely while breastfeeding. La Leche League offers sound advice for “reasonable alcohol intake”, and Motherisk has created an algorithm that allows nursing moms to calculate how long it takes them to metabolize alcohol. It remains to be seen whether Tasha Adams was acting on reason or impulse, but one thing is clear – however you’re mothering, someone else is watching, and knowing that is enough to drive anyone to drink.

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