The Exact Moment I Knew I Was Meant To Be A Breastfeeding Advocate

By: Kristy Kemp 

I did not grow up thinking, "One day when I grow up I'm gonna run a huge breastfeeding support community and help moms through their journey all over the world." No that wasn't the case. That wasn't the case because I didn't even know a position like that or role like that existed. Looking back I don't ever recall even seeing breastfeeding. I remember in my teens being shocked that babies can get milk from the breast too, instead of just a bottle, but I didn't understand the specifics of it. I thought maybe it was just something they did right after birth, but then when you take them home from the hospital it's straight to formula and bottles. I also think that's part of the problem in today's society is lack of awareness and knowledge. Sure you can let your kid know that babies get milk from a boob too, but they can't really fully comprehend the extent of it unless they are around it, they see it, they have more than a 1 minute conversation about it. Hiding your kids from knowing and understanding breastfeeding is a HUGE disservice to them, but that's another topic for a different day.

September 12th 2012 I created my Support community, "Breastfeeding Mama Talk." Why did I start it? Well I'm a passionate person and when I discovered how "controversial" breastfeeding was it inspired me to create a page dedicated to defending a woman's right to breastfeed however, wherever, & for however long ... I didn't have support when I breastfed my son and I wish I had it, so if I could help another mom in small way get what I didn't have I thought it would be amazing.  I thought of it more as a hobby then, something to do on my spare time. I didn't think it would amount to anything too serious. Just a place that is there for ANYONE to be able to find if they needed and in the meantime I will just post things as I go along with the hope it will reach out to someone who needs to see it. That was the plan anyway.

About 4 or 6 months into running the page I had gained about 2,000 followers nothing compared to the 650,000 followers I have today, but I never got into this for the popularity, so my work felt just as effective then as it does today and it was going good. I was posting lots of breastfeeding photos as many as I can because it makes the mamas feel special and be a part of something positive & help normalize breastfeeding. But as you know not everyone thinks so positively about breastfeeding. I didn't realize how bad it was until I kept getting booted off Facebook with Facebook telling me they removed the photo because it violated their terms. I was so confused because Facebook policy clearly stated that breastfeeding photos were allowed. So I still kept posting them, thinking maybe it was just an error. It kept happening and then I was getting bans off Facebook. First ban was 24 hours, second ban 48 hours, then three days, then seven and it was when I got the 7 day ban I realized, maybe this isn't an error, maybe I need to do something about it because at this rate I will be banned forever! The thought of that scared the crap out of me. I couldn't abandon my promise to all those moms so I had to do something about it. What could I do though? It's Facebook's world and I'm just living in it. So I researched ways I could try and get in contact with a human at Facebook. Any of you who have ever attempted that knows it's near impossible. I still tried. I called some 800 number I found , in fact, I called many, but either the number was disconnected or automated voice. I listened to the computer talk to me and BAM, they mention if I was the press to leave a message. A light bulb flickered. Hmmm Either I turn myself into a reporter to talk to Facebook or I reach out to one and hope they can help. I made a post on my page asking my community what they think I should do and they all said I definitely should reach out to my local news, that it was worth it, and that they were in my corner. So I called my local news thinking nothing would come of it, but at least I can say I did everything in my power to fight it. Thirty minutes later I get a knock at my door. It was two people with cameras and a microphone. I was like, "Oh my God, this is actually happening. I'm going on national television to fight Facebook."

Didn't know what I was going to say, didn't have a speech prepared, but I was gonna do this thing. I explained to the reporter how I'm just trying to support moms, but Facebook is punishing me for it, going against their own policy. I told her that I can't sleep at night with the possibility of waking up to me being completely banned from communication with these moms. After the Interview they left and I waited. Not sure what was going to happen next. Sure I was nervous and excited to watch my interview on Television at 10 Pm, but I was scared that it wouldn't accomplish what I set out to accomplish which was getting Facebook to pay attention and fix their mistake. I ended up laying in my bedroom and turned on the television to try and keep my mind off of it .  I couldn't keep watching my computer it was finger nail biting anticipation. Around 8:30 pm I received a Phone call it was the news reporter asking if I had heard from Facebook and I hadn't. She asked me if the ban was lifted and as far as I had known I was still banned and I wasn't sure so I logged onto my computer and Yep sure enough the ban got lifted with an apology from Facebook! The Reporter just wanted to get verification from me that Facebook lifted the ban to add that in the story.

 It was Exhilarating, it was empowering, it was life changing... It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, it was vindication.. Then I felt excitement and proud about all the people that were going to tune in to hear about what happened. To see there was someone that would not back down to bullies and fight for breastfeeding moms at whatever cost. Probably the proudest moment of my life aside from having my kid.

Here is the Fox 40 segment I did outing Facebook for banning me for posting breastfeeding pics. I got the ban lifted...

Posted by Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Was I scared about the backlash I would get after the segment aired? I would be lying if I said I wasn't, but that was a moment I was truly tested in my role as a breastfeeding advocate. How serious do I take this role? I felt like if I didn't at least try to fight it to the best of my ability then I had no business calling myself an advocate. Everyone knew what was happening and they were all rooting for me to do this, had I not tried I don't think I would be able to get my community of 2,000 mamas to take me seriously, to trust me, to have confidence that I would support them and fight for them. That day I realized I had a big responsibility, I had a duty to live up to. That day the little support community I started as a hobby, something to do on my free time, was turned into my life's purpose, what I feel like I was set on this earth to do. That day is when I feel like I earned the privilege of calling myself a breastfeeding advocate. Now I'm not saying this is what everyone who calls themselves an advocate should have to do, but for my personal journey it was necessary.

No I did not grow up thinking, "I'm gonna be a breastfeeding advocate when I grow up" because I had not yet experienced what would lead me to that discovery. I have a dream that one day Breastfeeding will be so normal in this society that kids will grow up already knowing that they want to grow up supporting moms meet their breastfeeding goals. 

Huffington Post Article

Fox 40 Article

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.