(You may have noticed the new little “Facebook Sucks” icon over to the right. Click the button and see what you think for yourself. This latest campaign is what prompts this post.)
I have one SIL (Mrs. Deacon) who will nurse anywhere, without covering up. She’s also tiny and so subtle about it that I’ve been in the room with her and didn’t realize she was doing it. My other SIL (Mrs. Forbes) will nurse in public, but only under her Hooter Hider. My third SIL (Mrs. Prof) is still on the fence about if she wants to use formula or nurse. And there’s me – riding the Ameda/Medela Express 7 times a day.
I’ve been working through my shame/embarrassment of the insane size of my girls since puberty. (As I’ve mentioned). I’ve passed up going swimming many times over the years because there was no swimsuit that would fit. I’ve been the butt of uncomfortable comments and jokes. I’ve contemplated surgery, but it doesn’t feel like a good decision for me. I know that my modesty about all things chestal interfered with my nursing and is just as much a contributor to why I’m on the pump as anything else that was going on in my life while I was learning how to nurse.
I didn’t want to be messed with. I certainly didn’t want any strange women up in my boobs checking out Alex’s latch. I already felt raw and exposed after labor and delivery, all I wanted to do was go HOME with Scout and Alex. I had one nurse who forced the issue and she’s the one nurse who I have bad feelings about from being in the hospital. The home health nurse was clearly a lactivist of the nth degree and I wanted her OUT of the house as quickly as possible.
In the middle of the night at home, exhausted, I nursed Alex. I was horrified at the size of my gigantic breast sitting on his tiny little chest. I lived in fear through each time he nursed that I was going to fall asleep and the headlines would read, “Tiny innocent suffocated by enormous gross boob. News at 11.”
Scout supported me in whatever I did. He also advocated me actually getting some sleep, and could have cared less if Alex drank from a boob, a bottle or a beer bong as long as I was getting sleep and recovering, and Alex was being fed.
Then the umbilical incident happened. Then we bottle fed pumped milk. Then he got a cold and decided to nurse again. Then I went back to work for a week and went 8 hours without pumping because I didn’t want to deal with it at school. Meanwhile my MIL was in the house, and I’d be damned if I was whipping a tit out in front of her and try to figure out wtf I was doing with an audience.
Then we moved cross country when Alex was 8 weeks old. My goal had been to really focus on nursing once we got moved. I underestimated how freaking alone our little family was going to be. I underestimated how hard nursing was in the first place – because it’s so NATURAL. Whatever. I underestimated how much I would HATE making my child scream for milk, while trying to force him to nurse, with a bottle of mammaraid on standby. I underestimated how much it fucking hurt to be clamped on by little gums attached to angry, hungry baby.
I underestimated how shattered, how worthless, I would feel each time my tiny baby rejected my breasts – rejected me. I felt so stupid each time I broke into sobs when I would stop trying and give him the bottle of breast milk. How stupid I feel crying over it now as I sit and try to coherently write this as I struggle to get to my point.
I try to remember this as the last time we nursed. It’s the last time we successfully nursed in any case. (ed. I’ll have to elaborate on this more tomorrow.)
Regardless of if it’s natural/not obscene/necessary/legal to have my exposed breast out to feed my child in public – I wouldn’t be comfortable doing it. All of my pent up, 2 decades worth of issues with my breasts did not go away just because I acquired the “superpower” of creating food for my son.
Let me say that again. My body issues did not go away just because I’m capable of creating food for my son.
If anything, it’s worse now. It’s worse because when I see a mom nursing, when I see the photos, when I read the stories, it reminds me of how I failed again. How I let my feelings about my body get in the way. How I could not find it in myself to think I was beautiful enough, good enough to be comfortable nursing my own baby.
Since being pregnant, my concept of what I think is brave and beautiful in other women has changed. I think all of you who nurse in public are so brave. I don’t care if you do it under cover or out in the open. I think you are all so brave and beautiful for making it work, for not shutting yourselves away. For loving yourself enough to be comfortable doing it.
And yes, I think it needs to be legal to do it wherever and by whatever means necessary. I have this fear that the women who choose to cover up are going to somehow be looked down on for wanting to be move covered or more private. I just hope in the furor over the whole deal that we all stick together and don’t get hung up on whether or not we should or should not want to cover up/be in private and focus on making sure we have the CHOICE to feed our babies in the best way for each of us.
Ohh…I can feel your pain with breast issues. I too have gigantic mammaries. I am self conscious. I get tired of the comments….the jokes. I hate that feeling you get when you are talking to a man but they aren’t looking at your face…there was a great Saturday Night Live skit about that, where the evolutionary process had finally resulted in women’s eyeballs migrating down and being in their nipple so they could look in men’s eyes during conversation. I hate having to look for things that fit well and don’t draw even more attention……..but I did nurse……I grew up and lived during my nursing days in a very laid back eath mama environment where everyone let it all hang out and no one thought anything about it……..come to think of it, if I had never left that environment I might not be self conscious now. Okay, have to retreat and think about that now.
?¢‚Ç¨?ìTiny innocent suffocated by enormous gross boob. News at 11.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù ? THAT had me giggling to non stop. I love this post and could not agree more that it should be legal. Everywhere. It’s insane we even have to advocate for something so natural.
my boobs were bigger than my baby’s head. I did not have the perky little pull them out and look so cute nursing kind! I think this post is fab. If you get a chance, check out
my response to breastfeeding and how we’re made to feel if we do or don’t do it.
Body issues be damned!!! I have them too, but not boobs, hips and thighs. Great post.
I am feeling for you in this post.
I support mothers rights to do what feels right! No one can make the decisions about your body for you.
Whether you feed in public or private or bottlefeed, it is all about what works for you.
Expressing is such hard work. I salute you for your commitment to expressing. I can NOT express to save a life and women that can and do are like gods to me.
You are doing a brilliant job!
My boobs were at least three times the size of the head of my 3-weeks-early baby girl. I was terrified for months that I was going to suffocate her.
I did nurse, but it was a huge challenge to do it in public, and I was never comfortable baring it all. Cause “all” was a lot.
What is harder than nursing in public? Blogging about your insecurities around nursing, in public or otherwise. You are pretty brave too.
You are brave and beautiful for sharing all of this about yourself.
I tried everything I could to breastfeed my son, but had to give up after 2 months because of a medical condition he had. I’ll be posting about that on the 10th, on my blog ( http://sarcasticmom.blogspot.com ) as I support BF moms.
And you’re right. Women should feel confident to feed their children in WHATEVER way they choose. The most important thing is the health and nurturing of the child. Breast – covered or in the open, bottle – breast milk or formula, whatever.
You’re doing what works best for you and still in your son’s best interest. That makes it what’s best for him.
Again, thanks for sharing your experience.
Anyone who shared that intimate of a relationship with a pump did not fail. That takes work, dedication and love.
Thanks for delurking today..it really made my day! I don’t no nothin bout birthin no babies since the child in my house is my step son..well and the puppy but still there are no breastfeeding or anything. I do agree that Crystal is hysterical..I saw you link from a couple days ago.
Personally..I was constipated the other day and in so much freeking pain..I don’t know how you women do it…WOW, I’m a pansy..the biting on the nipples…OWW in a big way. Mine are far enough south right now I can’t imagine full and then not full of milk.
Believe me..I think mom’s are saints!
Alex Year One » Talkin’ About My Boobies!
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