Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ever notice that I don't talk a whole lot about breastfeeding?

I've been thinking about that lately, and wondering how I might best define the reason to you. So here goes...

...to me, it's NORMAL.

Maybe my emphasis should go more like this...

...TO ME, it's normal.

Here's the deal...I started this new blog about four months ago, and the only thing that I've posted in that time that is categorized under breastfeeding is a beautiful photo love of my friend, Maria, nursing her baby, John. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about it, or like people may be judging me for it...finding me superficial. So, I'm going to clear the air now. There are a couple reasons that I don't talk much about breastfeeding. 

The first is that I'm overwhelmed. I'm not sure where to begin. I lost some great content and resources in my old blog. The resources are not lost of course, but the task of gathering them up just isn't on my list of things to do right now. That makes me feel a little guilty.

The second reason is because I never gave breastfeeding much thought. My body made my kids, and it also made milk that they were meant to eat. So, I fed it to them.

What I did give much thought, was how little I felt like myself during pregnancy, after my children's births, and while breastfeeding. There is a broad spectrum of emotions felt during those times, and while many many many of them are wonderful, there are some that are not. Even of those that are not necessarily bad, there are a whole lot of new and unfamiliar emotions and experiences that occur in a tremendously short period of time.

After excitedly setting out to shop for my first nursing bras, I mourned for my spirit of self. It was such a small and ordinary task, yet coming home empty handed made me question my ability to be a mother.

How dare they! Why on EARTH would anyone create something so unlike anything I'd ever buy? I didn't understand and I was crushed. The ONE thing that I was getting to shop for that was for me, and not for the baby...was hideous. They all looked like something my grandma would wear. I didn't feel like my grandma, but feared that I might easily begin to if I wore those bras.

So now, some of you might think-- she IS superficial...because I HAVE learned throughout this venture that not everyone cares about what their underwear looks like. I have also learned that the reason someone would indeed create something so blah and unlike anything I'd ever buy is because breastfeeding would be like nothing I'd ever done. The purpose of a nursing bra is to support heavy and uncomfortable breasts, while providing the functionality of feeding a baby easily. I've learned that those things are true, but I will never believe that they are enough.

I didn't buy nursing bras at all. Or, not until True was five days old, screaming and pissed because he thought he was starving, and my milk finally came in. My, normally 34 B sized, breasts were so engorged that they each swole up larger than True's newborn head.

{A five day old True, eating in the car after his first doctor's appointment.}

Then my mom went with True and I to Wal-Mart (back when they still carried nursing bras), where I grabbed two of the least expensive nursing bras I could find, and where I suffered from anxiety as True cried and dirtied his clothes by way of his first explosive diaper. It was a terrible experience, and was topped off with the obligation to spend money on something that I would never normally spend money on...Wal-Mart bras. If I had to buy them, I was not going to spend a lot of money, and I would get back into my normal bras as soon as possible! I spent $10 each on a black and white nursing bra.

Days later, when I was venting with my wonderful friend, Emily, about the horribleness that was nursing bras, I vividly recall whining, "Why can't they just make them PRETTY?!" She was in complete agreeance, but didn't have an answer.

I will side step quickly to say that the nursing bra market has come a wonderfully long way in the past five years. I will also say that I did not shop online for them at all because I seldom went online back then. I likely had far more options than I knew about. But, they weren't options for me, because I didn't know.

Now, take a moment to see the direction that this post is going. It is in my natural instinct to go on, on, and on about nursing bras and the reasons that I think it is so very important for them to be pretty. But, that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose is to talk breastfeeding and why I don't talk much about it.

Well, breastfeeding is normal to me like drinking water is. It's normal like going to the bathroom. It's normal like sleep and sex. It's normal like breathing. While I talk about all of those things sometimes, I don't bring them up lots...I just don't think to. I'm not the sort of person who asks why. I come to decisions with relatively little research, and I didn't love school. Writing a business plan, for me, was painful. I don't really even enjoy being on the computer much.

But, I do love to write. While I dislike shopping, I love clothes, boots, bags, and jewelry. I love friends, and I love moms who love their children. I appreciate ALL things pretty, and they fill me with absolute and utter joy. I might be superficial. But, this is me. I'm nothing too special and a long way from perfect, but really special and perfect at the same time. 

I leave the breastfeeding wars to others because there are people who enjoy arguing, asking why, and researching. I just don't. I find the facts interesting, but it still just boils down to that my boobs made milk. I'm not sure that the pro-breastfeeding information helped me much, because what swayed me more than anything was that I thought it was normal.

So here I am, a breastfeeding advocate and celebrator that doesn't talk much about breastfeeding. I'm doing it my way...by surrounding it with what I find normal. I'm lending my time, money, voice, image and spirit to the cause. If it were indeed normal it wouldn't be a cause, and that it is a cause completely breaks my heart.

I am not calling a single person abnormal who is not like me in any of these ways. Normal is defined by the person or country claiming it. I am just as influenced by our society as the next person is, and I don't claim to have any answers. But feel free to keep an eye on me. You may not understand by looking at what I'm doing today, but I can assure you that I am...

...helping each woman soften the challenges of breastfeeding by celebrating her body and satisfying her spirit of self.

During the month of August, for World Breastfeeding Month, I will be doing a breastfeeding post weekly. The theme is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers. I'm going to do my best to help.

All my love, JL

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