It wasn’t just my midwife that wanted to know my plan for keeping the little one alive, but strangers, my mom’s friends and even the cashier in the grocery checkout line.
“Are you going to breastfeed your baby?” Everyone wanted to know.
I already knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby if everything went as planned, but, I was uncomfortable with the image it conjured in my mind—a strange, little creature sucking on my chest.
EWWW. Foreign. Weird. Why do babies have to do that?
Yep, I did not enjoy that contemplation.
But, that was my former self. The one who didn’t know what it meant to be a Mama. My negative self-image of breastfeeding disappeared the second my midwife placed my minutes old, fragile and perfect baby right on top of my boob. I was amazed to find that breast feeding was instinctual, natural, and even cozy. I loved the feeling that my body could still sustain this precious life even outside the womb. As a new mom, I discovered that my own joy was secondary, and totally dependent on the happiness of a tiny little person, the one person in the entire world, that I would gladly give everything in my possession.
These days, when my baby won’t take her afternoon nap unless she is sleeping in very close proximity to one of “her boobs,” I’ve found that breastfeeding is awesome. And yes, you read that right, they’re no longer “my boobs,” Arianna has taken over them…completely.
So, I’m curious, why all the negative connotation towards breast feeding in my former self? Why didn’t I like my own image of myself doing the very thing that Mama’s have been doing since the very dawn of our existence?
This feels like an interesting and valid question, am I right? Especially since I know other first-time-moms who have experienced these same type of feelings. What spurs this negative self-image when it comes to breastfeeding?
Don’t worry, I won’t pretend to be an expert on this topic. I have some instinctual guesses, some observations about our American society, but I’m not a researcher nor am I a psychologist. What I am, however, is a woman encouraging other women to ask themselves an important question. Is it okay for us to experience these types of feelings towards our innate bodily functions? What is it about the collective consciousness that has reversed the original role of the breast to merely a sexualized entity?
Granted, and please don’t get me wrong, I am quite happy to be blessed with a nice pair of boobs. Sexuality is awesome. I mean, come on ladies, let’s use every God given resource to our advantage! But, perhaps we can agree that it’s not okay to diminish the beauty and grace of the breast’s functionality in the process.
What really bothers me is the fact that some women have experienced shame for doing one of the most natural things in the world. The Starbucks and Walmart incidents’ astound me. I can’t imagine what I would do if a stranger called me disgusting for feeding my child. Why does this type of ignorance exist in our society? We are intelligent human beings with access to so much knowledge! We don’t have to sustain this permeating attitude towards OUR breasts and the precious little lives who depend on them.
I’ve decided that I am going to shake off those insecure feelings I’ve experienced while out shopping, hanging out on the beach with my family, or having a fun dinner out with my husband and daughter. No more will I worry about what people are thinking I when I breastfeed in public. Because, lets be real, there is simply nothing wrong about what I am doing.
Cheesy slogan time: Be the change you want to see in the world. So, here we are, Arie and I in a local park, breastfeeding.