10 Things Grosser Than Nursing In Your Own Bathroom

An image of a woman breastfeeding her 11-month old while sitting on a toilet has gone viral, causing an uproar this week after the image was uploaded to her Instagram and Facebook pages. (To view the photo in question, see her public response to the Huffington Post.)

Though some people have praised her bold candor, the photo has also brought an onslaught of criticism for Elisha Wilson Beach, wife of actor Michael Beach, for her lack of concern over the seemingly unhygienic practice, for bolstering the message that mothers never get a moment to themselves, and for oversharing. Plus, if her husband took the picture, he probably could have just helped her instead. Fair points.

Beach has publicly responded to the criticism, saying all mothers do things behind closed doors but are afraid to talk about them for fear of judgment, and that a sense of humor has gotten her through many of motherhood’s challenges. Sounds reasonable.

The Internet responded to her statement with a resounding, “Ew, but poop.”

So here are my two cents, because the world needs one more opinion about this photo: The moment you lay spread-eagle in a room full of strangers to deliver a child is the moment your sense of shame goes out the window. There is very little that can embarrass us or gross us out after having several strangers elbow-deep in our birth canals while interns clean up the spills and discuss their plans for sewing our taints back together.

And the attempt to normalize and find humor in the often-repulsive struggles we all face is the mission statement of 99.79% of parenting blogs in existence. This isn’t new.

I can’t say I’ve nursed a baby on the toilet, but I’ve certainly held a baby while I’m there (and have also wiped another kid’s butt with a baby in my arms) because you do what you have to when you’re in survival mode. For what it’s worth, the concern is usually less focused on baby’s proximity to turds and more focused on pulling pants back up one-handed. Not easy — I’ll wait while you try it.

*humming the diarrhea song to myself*

So in support of this woman and her argument that motherhood is gross and we should all just embrace it rather than judge each other for it, I present to you my personal list of 10 Things Grosser than Nursing On Your Own Toilet:

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A Parenting Guide to Gratitude

‘Tis the season to be thankful, and it can be hard for many of us to pull ourselves out of our exhausted, overworked, eye-twitching world to realize just how lucky we are. Everyone knows we’re grateful for our spouses and kids and homes, but it takes a little something extra (usually vodka) to find gratitude in the tantrums and leaky diapers of daily life. Luckily for all you worse-for-wear parents out there, I will now illustrate how to dig deep and turn any less-than-perfect parenting moment into a reason to beam with gratitude. You can thank me later!

SITUATION NO. 1: In the epic struggle between your sense of shame and need for sustenance, the grocery store (and whatever children you’ve mistakenly brought with you) is winning. Maybe they ran out of car carts. Maybe the deli was offering slices of the wrong color cheese or the lobsters weren’t available for a meet-and-greet. Maybe you had to bag your own groceries next to a display of loosely packaged cookies within your child’s reach and said display is now laying scattered on the floor, crunching under your non-car-cart wheels. MAYBE you just made the mistake of having more than one kid with elbows and decided to strap them next to each other in a metal cage on wheels for an hour, hoping for the best.

TRY THE THANKFUL APPROACH: Thank you, grocery store, for never failing to create an incredibly humbling atmosphere in case I start to get too cocky about my parenting skills. The tantrums you elicit combined with your patrons who can’t resist telling me how full my hands are (without ever offering to help soothe a single thrashing, screaming toddler they don’t know… weird!) remind me that I am but a discarded cheese wrapper at the bottom of the shopping cart of life. If not for your weekly reminder, I’d have nothing but toddler church farts and garbage-can-tastings to keep me grounded. I vow to never give annoying, unsolicited parenting advice to anyone again, ever.

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Did We Just Become Best Friends?

Mid-afternoon exhaustion had gotten the best of me, and although the kids had just woken up from their naps, I found myself lying in a giant, pregnant heap on the playroom floor. They frolicked and played around me, and as she usually does when I’m lying down, Number Three (due in two months) started kicking. They were the kind of kicks wherein you can actually see the limb protruding from my belly and skimming the surface before retreating back to her fetal curl. So I called the kids over to see if anyone wanted to “see” their sister.

Noah ran over and placed his hand ever so gently on my belly. I watched him watch her with genuine wonder in his gaze, but neither shock nor fear ever crossed his face.

“I love you, new baby,” he whispered, and laid his head across my lap with his arm around my waist.

“I’m going to teach the baby a new word,” he added. “Tuuuuuuuuuurd.”