The women of Argentina suffered an immense blow this month when the vote on legalising abortion was crushed, but as it happens in every good action movie, a new hero has arrived in time to sooth the wound. Celeste Ayala is a police officer whose shift took her to Sor Maria Ludovica hospital (near Buenos Aires) where she did something very simple: she fed a child.
For some reason in 2018, this is still a newsworthy event. The child in question was a malnourished baby who had been taken away from his mother (it is not reported why, but it seems the mother was unable to feed her children) and who was crying in distress. He was hungry and alone and the hospital was busy and the staff overwhelmed. So Ayala decided to do the easiest, but the bravest thing. She sat in that hospital, in her uniform, in the middle of her shift and breastfed a ‘dirty and smelly’ child she did not know. It is not very common to breastfeed other people’s children in western society, even among families and close friends, so this is an unusual action to take when it was not necessary. The baby was at the hospital, it would be fed and soothed at some point, Ayala could have walked away with a clean conscience that he was already in the best place, but she chose differently.
We know about this because her (male) colleague posted a photo of her on Facebook doing so and praising the ‘simple act of love’ and it went viral. People all over the globe praised her for the choice. In a world where even breastfeeding your own child in public is a radical choice, going viral for feeding someone else’s is quite the coup. Naturally, her bosses found out and their response was truly phenomenal. They promoted her.
They promoted a woman for breastfeeding in public. Let that just sink in for a moment.
Not only is Celeste Ayala my new hero, but her bosses too. In choosing to celebrate this action they chose to celebrate love, motherhood, empathy, kindness and the natural processes of some women’s bodies. These are the kind of people we want in charge of our police, other countries that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Schemerica) could learn a valuable lesson here. May Celeste and her bosses all be a beacon of hope for Argentina and beyond.