Thursday, September 20, 2007

Taboob

Since a lot of other blogger-mamas have addressed this issue, I would like to add my two cents as well.

Being a young, 1st-time, single mom, I know I was in the minority when I chose to breastfed for the first 12 months. A couple of my friends wanted to do, a few made valiant attempts, and many didn't even want to think about it.

Most of the young moms I knew (under 20) thought the idea was disgusting and made it clear that in NO WAY were they going to let a baby suck on their precious titty. It just was to gross for them to comprehend. I didn't want to judge because, I myself, HATE being judged, and when you become a mom, the judgements seem a thousand times harsher and more personal.

When I went into my WIC appointments, I felt like breastfeeding was a matter of life and death. They PUSHED and PUSHED and PUSHED me to keep on doing it. When I finally tapered off near LB's first birthday, I got hell. I know it was rare to see a young mom keep up with the breastfeeding, but it made me feel guilty to have so much attention brought on me. It was my decision, no big deal. I wasn't a better or worse mother because of it.

My very close friend gave birth to twins about 2 weeks after I had LB, and she tried and tried and tried to breastfeed them. One had a milk allergy, the other had no suck reflex, but she didn't give up. Her milk dried up THREE TIMES before she finally quit. That means she RE-LACTATED three times. For those of you who don't understand what it means for your breasts to fill-up, drain and re-fill up, let me enlighten you. It is a hard, painful and frustrating process, and we do it all for the benefit of our children. How is this a disgusting or offensive process? I think it is heroic.

When the woman (a Durango graduate, by the way) got kicked off the Delta flight back in November of last year, I was shocked like every other nursing mom out there. It just brought back so many memories of the fear and shame you feel the first time you nurse in public. Like it's a dirty act! Like you have something to hide!

I can remember nursing LB in a disgusting, dirty public restroom at a local grocery story because I was petrified to nurse her in the cafeteria area, where people were eating lunch. I sobbed, alone in the bathroom, my groceries sitting outside in the cart, feeling guilty for letting my 2 week old daughter be exposed to such filth, and angry for not having the guts to sit outside.

I breastfed in my car once and awhile after that, but it wasn't until LB was about 6 months old that I finally had enough courage to feed my daughter in a restaurant, huddled in a corner booth. I wish I had more pride, I wish I was braver, looking back. But honestly, with so much public scrutiny, and my being the ONLY person I knew breastfeeding at the time, its no wonder I was so timid about it.

I mean, I breastfed in front my father, 85 yr old grandmother, babyless friends (male and female, gay & straight), all in the privacy of our residences, but as soon as I was in the public eye, I was shakin in my boobs...hehe.

Even given my hippy upbringing, where I've seen 3 yr old children hanging off their mama's tit during potlucks, circle dances, Sunday Quaker worship. Hell, I've seen the moms walk around topless at Hippy Communes for Christ's sake. It never bothered me.

Now that I have my own child, I want so very much to do what's best for her. And when someone compares breastfeeding to masturbation, it makes me feel so violated. Public masturbation is what got Pee-Wee Herman busted , and in NO WAY compares to the growth and nourishment of a child.

Some may argue that masturbation is the "growth and nourishment" of their sex lives, but I don't buy that. I don't pat myself on the back and say "wow you've really done something selfless and worth-while today" every time I get off.

So that's my story. I even flew on a plane after the dreaded boob incident, and YES I exposed my boob after 3 layovers and 2 hrs of a crying baby. And believe me, it wasn't at all like a scene from Showgirls...which I hear lots of people masturbate to.

Word to ya mutha.

1 comment:

mothergoosemouse said...

I have to chuckle at the idea of comparing breastfeeding to masturbation. Those people never smeared Lansinoh on their scabbed-over nips, did they?

Cheers to you for not only breastfeeding your newborn, but for keeping up with it longer than the vast majority of mothers. I've often wondered why mothers aren't encouraged to breastfeed simply as a cost-saving measure. Yes, a pump is expensive, but twelve months worth of formula is exorbitantly expensive.