Love is laying down your own desires in order to support someone else. In the second part of our exclusive interview, Justin and George discuss why love, faith, and servant leadership are important in breastfeeding support.
GM: Is breastfeeding something that you run across quite a bit with the guys on your team and the guys that you run around with? Not just breastfeeding but fatherhood in general?
JF: It kind of depends on where we are located in the facility, what we’re doing, and the context of the situation. If we’re in our small group having bible study, you know, or having just a small circle the night before a game, what we call share time, we open the floor to discussion about life and those things pop up. Breastfeeding usually comes up when the families are around each other. It’s usually something where someone has just had a baby, and they’re asking questions. I’m 30 right now. And I’m kind of like the old man on the team. [laugh] So they come to my wife and me as the old couple and we try to educate where we can.
GM: Man. I remember when I was 30 way back when, I thought I was old. [laugh] No, I’m just playing. Yeah, I’m realizing that breastfeeding specifically is a conversation that men have with women, but it’s not necessarily a conversation that men have with other men. You know, obviously because neither one of us has the equipment to do it, so we don’t talk about it. But to me, this breastfeeding topic really is about love. And as far as men supporting breastfeeding, it really is just about supporting your wife and your child and doing it out of love. I wish this world would understand that if you’re on the subway train and somebody’s breastfeeding, it’s not about your comfort. How about you understand that, man, this baby is hungry. This woman needs to feed him. How about you lay down your comfort level of, you know, oh man this woman is breastfeeding next to me, and how about you just turn the other way. Nobody has to look. It’s not a movie. You don’t have to watch. I wish people would know that a lot more. And realize that this world truly needs love. Love in the sense of laying down my own desires for somebody else. Our marriages would look different. Our relationships would look different. Our children would look different. This world would be a different place.
BfB: That’s beautifully said. What would you to say to a guy who said, I don’t want my wife to do that. You know, like those are kind of mine. What would you say to a guy who said that?
GM: Tell you what, all the food that’s in my refrigerator right now, I bought it. So if our kids come in the house and they want to eat, should I say, “oh, that’s my food – don’t eat it!” No, that’s crazy! It’s not about what’s yours and what’s not yours. It’s about providing for other people.
BfB: Both of you guys are Christian men. Is there anything about your faith that you think has helped you as far as breastfeeding? Or have you made connections in your head between breastfeeding and your faith since the births of your babies?
JF: For me, I think about a verse that talks about, he who wants to lead must first serve. So for me, with my wife, I’m just always finding ways to be a great leader by serving. Getting her whatever she needs. Being there for her. Making sure that I’m lifting her up. Whether that’s words of affirmation or encouraging her and giving her positive vibes throughout the day. Especially in regards to breastfeeding. Now she’s a pro and she has a lot of it handled, but still, in regard to me being a man of faith, the part about serving never stops.
GM: Yeah, yeah, I’d second that! Also, I just think this whole breastfeeding thing is such a small portion of just being the husband and a father that men ought to be. It’s not really taught by our society that way or portrayed like that in media. Ultimately, it’s about loving your wife. And not having the world’s philosophical, self-determining definition of love. The biblical definition of love was to lay down your life for somebody else. Not lay down your life as in, oh, I’m going to die for them. Laying down my life means I’m laying down the remote for the TV, laying down the video game controller or the golf clubs, or the fishing pole. Whatever it may be, but laying down your own will so that you can protect and provide and care for your household. If my wife is up breastfeeding, I’m up too. That’s it. As much as she sacrifices for my son, I’m going to be serving her. You know, by taking care of the cooking or the cleaning or whatever it may be. It’s that love: not doing what you want to do but doing what’s best for somebody else, especially your wife and children. It’s not about being a good person; you know, saying, Christ lay down his life for his church, for his bride, and, meaning he didn’t just Holy die. He laid down his life to the point of the cross. But while he lived on this earth, he lived sacrificially, as a servant. So just like Justin was saying, it’s about serving and doing something for somebody else. That’s really what love is. I wish that was the definition of love that most people had. Not just, you know, the rainbows and butterflies but talking about the spit up in your mouth and the poop on your hand or pee on your head and shoulder. Those type of things.
JF: Yeah. And I think having a husband who is willing to lay down his life and support his wife and their child in the breastfeeding journey is our part. It sounds kind of selfish that we say yeah, it’s kind of cool that we don’t have to get up with the babies throughout the night. But you know what, her role is to nurse the baby, and our role is to support her in doing that. It’s amazing that you see it that way because that’s the way it should be I think too.
GM: I was just thinking the same thing about when you said the word roles. It makes sense that scripture teaches us about roles of husbands and wives. People will look at that as, if the man is supposed to be the head, then that means the woman must be less important. That’s not the case. Can you imagine if Justin was also trying to play quarterback and wide receiver at the same time? It’d be chaos. You play your role for a reason, because you’re a part of a team. And if you try to look at somebody else’s role, and be jealous of their role or try to play their role, everything falls apart. So there’s a definite need for understanding what your role is, playing that role to the best of your ability and supporting the other role.