Megan Marsh-McGlone has watched people react to her breastfeeding her ten-month-old, Morgan, plenty of times. She says that sometimes she is made to feel like she is putting on a public performance.
So that's just what she decided to do.
"Over the past couple of months, I've been working on the project, and that's kind of how I've come to what I'm doing today," Marsh-McGlone said.
Marsh-McGlone has put together a one-woman show, featuring her daughter, that will be performed to one-person audiences at Mother Fool’s Coffee Shop. The theme, Marsh-McGlone said, revolves around the expectations new mothers face, specifically addressing one question she says she hears often:
"Why can't moms just pump and just feed their babies pumped milk?"
Marsh-McGlone answers that question with a not-so-simple show-and-tell. She brings along a breast pump for the show, demonstrating how difficult it can be to assemble and function with a baby in tow.
McGlone said that sometimes people just don't know what the process of breastfeeding means, they don't know how difficult it is, and they don't know how much work goes into it.
The performance is unscripted and part of a larger presentation happening at cafes across Wisconsin called Café Allongé.
Marsh-McGlone said her goal is to not change someone’s mind about breastfeeding, but rather to inform people of what goes into the different methods of feeding a child and let people make their own decision.
"The 'breast is best' rhetoric kind of makes it sound like, well, breastfeeding is easy. It's a choice you make. You choose to do it, then you do it. And then you choose not to do it and you don't do it," Marsh-McGlone explained. "It really really isn't that simple."
In July, a woman breastfeeding in Grampa’s Pizzeria on Williamson Street was asked to move to a more private setting. Marsh-McGlone saw the online backlash to that incident and said she was disappointed with the reaction from some community members.
"I think sometimes the people were trying to be hostile and I think sometimes, it was just that people don't have any experience with it, and they don't understand," Marsh-McGlone said.
Marsh-McGlone hoped some of those commentators would be among those to sign up to experience her personal coffee shop performance.
"I would love it if I could show them, like, here's an answer to that, especially because they might just be asking that because they don't know," Marsh-McGlone explained, "and it might be a really good time to educate them."
Marsh-McGlone added the people in Madison have been nothing but supportive of her parental practices.
Marsh-McGlone’s performance begins on September 25. For more information on her show and the rest of the café-based series, go here.