There was a recent post on PopSugar from a woman asking breastfeeding moms to cover up. While I don’t think the tone is right, I do think the sentiment is legitimate.
I recently wrote an article – Get Your Boobs Out of My Feed. I didn’t publish it, I wasn’t getting positive feedback and I could see how it could insult a large portion of mommies out there. I don’t think lighthearted snark really resonated with such a heated topic.
What it really comes down to, to me, is that there is this a surge of women feeling ok with exposing their breasts in pictures and media showing them breastfeeding their children. While a mother’s love and sacrifice in itself is beautiful, I think there is a difference between having the freedom to feed your children unencumbered and exploiting that same image. And frankly, forcing your Facebook “friends” to share in the glory of your, um, well, boobs.
I am a total prude. I admit it. I just somehow felt we left showing our boobs to our friends (and friend’s significant others – yes, I know you did!) in college. The changing without a care, less than covering outfits, etc. I totally am guilty of less than prudent clothing choices. But I don’t think there is a lot of photographic evidence of any of that.
So when you share your love for your children by showing beautiful portraits of breast feeding, I skeeve a little. I can’t help it. It isn’t even sexualized for me. It really is just that somewhere along the way, I learned to cover up. In general.
Trying to breastfeed my first, I was totally distraught when nurses (and a poor choice in baby nurse) decided it was ok to grab my boob and smash it into my child’s mouth. Then stare at me in silent judgement as I hooked up the pump. I remember the long nights, the lack of sleep, the pain, and the constant measurement (my poor daughter had severe acid reflux – to the point where she stopped breathing – and she was failure to thrive, jaundiced and had water on her lungs out of the gate). I remember a few days after she came home just holding her and crying. My poor husband didn’t know how to help me, it was all too much.
I stuck with it for four months. I had a skeletal baby and was miserable. I put her on special, expensive formula and she gained three pounds. She slept through the night, and I only woke up to make sure she was breathing. It was heavenly. My son was much quicker to get on formula. He was projectile vomiting my breastmilk at 3 hours old. I asked for the expensive stuff on the spot. At 12:30 AM. I wasn’t playing anymore.
I get how utterly traumatizing the process is. How you can finally find freedom in embracing it. It is a beautiful connection you have with your child. It is awesome that you are able to provide sustenance for your child. I think it is amazing if you can stick with it and it works for you. I would love to give you an award for that.
Preferably one without photographic evidence of your achievement.