Monday, April 19, 2010

The Three Wise Men

I saw a woman breast feeding on the subway this morning. She had a baby girl, I'd say two months old, and she was crying louder than I ever imagined a baby could cry. The mother was embarrassed, red, and sweating. She looked so overwhelmed I imagined she was going to cry herself. She rocked the baby, sang to it, and rattled toys in front of her cute, little face, but nothing would work. Then finally, when it seemed like the crying would never end, the mother turned to me and the other passengers. She gave a defeated smile, sighed, and quickly lifted her shirt, exposing her swollen breasts. I turned away, a moment too late, I'm embarrassed to say, and the baby finally stopped. There was silence. Pure, beautiful, silence, and I smiled... That's when I noticed the other passengers. They were staring at the woman, disgusted. They stared at her breasts, making offended faces like they couldn't believe she was breast feeding on the subway. They rolled theirs eyes and shook their heads, and I wanted to say, "What the fuck?! The baby needed some food! Who cares?!" But of course I didn't. I just sat there, feeling the stares get stronger and stronger until I finally couldn't take it any longer so I stood. I moved in front of the woman, my back facing her, and I tried my hardest to block all of the stares. I don't know why I did this. It was silly, very unneeded, but I felt I had to. And then suddenly two other men stood, both much bigger than I am. They came to my sides and we formed a wall, protecting the baby and mother, making sure no one could see past us. We were a gate, guarding a world only meant for them.

And I know it sounds ridiculous, but as I stood there I felt like one of the Three Wise Men, using my body to shelter and give warmth to a baby Jesus on the A train.


  1. I have tears in my eyes. You and those two other men did such a beautiful thing. That woman will tell her daughter how three men who didn't even know her protected her from assholes (she'll use that word) in the world. As a mom; thank you for doing that. Most of the world will never understand the connection that breastfeeding provides between a mother and her child. Thank you.

  2. No camera phones snapping pictures? Society has let me down on this one...