Protest ensues when mom was asked to stop breastfeeding in public at a local gym

Breastfeeding protest at gym

What started as a quiet protest outside of No Limits Fitness in Kamloops today, ended as a reconciliation filled with hugs.

The gym was under scrutiny on social media earlier this week after one of the co-owners asked a woman to stop breastfeeding her baby in public and to do it in the washroom instead.  Upset by the lack of compassion, Ashley French immediately cancelled her membership at No Limits Fitness.

"It really shocked me," says French. "To reduce a woman's body to just a sexual object and render it inaccessible to her child, really."

Feeling hurt, French took her pain to social media to find out if other local mothers had been shamed for breastfeeding as well.  She was swarmed with messages from supportive moms who shared similar stories of nourishing their child on-the-go and being scolded for it from people. 

After a short time of reflection, co-owner Alicia Grover realized she had made a mistake. She called French to apologize and offered her a free one-month membership.

French and other local parents felt as though this situation was an indication of the lack of awareness around the topic of public breastfeeding.  They felt it was important to spread the word by conducting a quiet protest outside of No Limits Fitness this morning.

The protestors were immediately welcomed by the No Limits Fitness owners, including Grover, who wrote a tearful letter of apology and read it out loud to the group. 

"Ashley and any other women that are listening, I am from the bottom of my heart, sorry for my actions, my words, and what the last two days have brought up for hurt," Grover read. 

When she was finished reading her letter, Grover received a big hug from French and the two began an open discussion about the topic of breastfeeding.  The other owners then approached the rest of the protestors and began engaging in an open dialogue about the stigma behind public breastfeeding. 

The gym says anyone is welcome to breastfeed at No Limits Fitness in any way that makes them feel comfortable.  

No Limits Fitness will be hosting an educational clinic next week about breastfeeding with experts and a sensitivity coach so that the entire team and owners can learn more about the topic. Ashley has been invited to speak, and the event is open to the public.

The owners at No Limits Fitness say they are extending their sincerest apologies to the community of Kamloops and they are offering any Kamloops parents one month of free child care.

"We are a really warm and friendly, family-oriented environment, and we want people to come and see that for themselves," says Grover.


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