'My neighbour is after my breast milk'
LIFE can be exhausting and challenging for new mums. And it's a beautiful thing when someone steps in and helps out a woman who is no doubt exhausted and physically drained.
One woman has done just that, but her well-meaning actions have given her more than she bargained for.
Writing into Slate's Dear Prudence column, a woman told of a neighbour of two years, who she refers to as 'Tara'.
"We started talking more when we both got pregnant, although still casually," the woman wrote in her post where she described Tara as never more than an acquaintance.
"I saw Tara a few days after she gave birth and asked her how things were going. She burst into tears and told me that she didn't think she would be able to breastfeed.
"She sounded so heartbroken about not nursing (with comments like 'my baby is unlucky to have me for a mother') that I offered to give her a few of my stored bags of breast milk to at least ease her mind."
Tara enthusiastically agreed and accepted four bags of breast milk later that day.
"The next morning I had more than a dozen texts from Tara, wanting to set up a schedule for me to drop off more milk," she continued.
"The texts made it clear that she expected me to provide her with enough breast milk to feed her daughter exclusively."
The woman said she tried offering excuses, but Tara had a solution to everything.
"If I said I didn't think I could produce enough milk for two babies, she replied that mothers of twins do it all the time.
"If I said I didn't want to spend any more time pumping or nursing, she said I could pump on one breast while feeding my son on the other."
Tara then turned to using her daughter as a pawn to get what she wanted.
"When I didn't give in, she started texting me pictures of her crying daughter with captions like, 'Faye is so sad that her bottle has yucky formula! She misses her yummy breast milk!'," she wrote.
"I don't know what to do. Tara won't stop texting me, and I'm worried that if I block her number she will start coming to my apartment to confront me in person.
"My wife and I do not have the ability or desire to move, but I can't live with this. What can I do?"
Daniel Mallory Ortberg's response was straight to the point.
"So this is… absolutely beyond out of line, and before you block her number, you need to make it clear with Tara just how unwelcome her behavior is."
He suggested sending a direct text such as, "These messages are totally inappropriate and need to stop. I will not talk to you about this again."
Ortberg pointed out that Tara will most likely be unhappy, but it doesn't matter what she thinks at this stage as she has crossed a line.
"Tell her to never text you again, then block her number," Ortberg said.
"If she tries to make you feel guilty when she sees you in person, decline to feel guilty."
Going out of your way to help someone is a wonderful thing to do, but then to bite the hand (breast?) that feeds your child. That's not cool!