"Even when I was shooting I was still nursing," she recalled. "That is a very grounding [thing.] If you ever needed to return to yourself, that is a pretty wonderful way to come back to yourself when you go home."
First things first: A new mom breastfeeding her baby is a powerful image and for women who have been there, her sentiment rings true.
Secondly, more power to anyone who can juggle a busy work schedule with a baby's feeding schedule—especially when you're also negotiating a divorce.
But in light of that ongoing divorce, was Johansson trying to stress something by recalling her days as breast-feeding mom?
A lot of people certainly thought so.
For while Johansson has stated she has no wish to comment on her split with husband Romain Dauriac, his attorney recently confirmed he is fighting Johanson for custody—and her work schedule is a point of contention.
"You can't have schedules switching all the time. How do you explain that to a child?" Dauriac's lawyer said. "If the court decides it's in the best interest of the child to be flying on a plane or changing their schedule all the time, then I'm going to find a new business."
With all the chaos in ScarJo's life right now with custody issues & divorce, she rose above it & was funny as hell!
— Vina St. Fran (@Vinastfran)
And that's where this all gets complicated.
Because not unfairly, a lot of people took Johansson's breastfeeding story as a subtle retort to Dauriac—and the world—that she's perfectly capable of being a competent mother, no matter what her schedule is like.
"You have to leave all that work stuff behind and be able to present with your kid," she said on Monday.
And so "being present" got conflated—intentionally or not—with "breastfeeding."
— Stylist Magazine (@StylistMagazine)
Cue the stress of new moms and moms-to-be everywhere—moms who hope to breastfeed; moms who don't; moms who want to, but can't—all of whom feel society's constant pressure to "prove" their commitment to motherhood and their baby in part by breastfeeding.
The pressure is everywhere.
New research this month found the long-term benefits of breastfeeding (as opposed to formula feeding) are negligible. Nevertheless, the "breast is best" bandwagon is likely to continue, meaning that women who choose to feed their babies with formula will continue to be made to feel like they're falling short of some kind of "natural" ideal.
Whether or not Johansson meant to make any kind of comment about how breastfeeding "proves" you're an involved mom—personally, I don't imagine she did—the fact remains that we see breastfeeding as one of the more potent symbols of motherhood.
But not as potent a symbol as moms themselves—moms who from day one must make choices that are right for their lives and their babies.
However you choose to feed your baby, we salute you.