A Little Flash of Flesh – Embarrassed

Jul 9, 2013 by

Every now and then a video or blog post pops up as a reminder to women everywhere that feeding our children, BREAST feeding our children, is nothing to be ashamed of.  I typically nod in agreement, give a little mental fist-pump to my sisters, and move on.  But this particular video was so powerful, making every argument more eloquently and convincingly than I’d ever heard before, well I couldn’t just move on.  I had to share it.

I breast fed both my children until they gave me the stiff-arm.  I didn’t know for certain how long I would stick it out, though I had made all sorts of rules for myself that I thought I might follow.  Rules like: until they are old enough to ask for it, cause it’d be weird for my child to say, “mommy, may I have another breast.”   Though now I have friends who stuck with it much longer than that, and I can confidently say they aren’t raising little perverts, desperate for that one last grope (I mean, that’s really the concern, if we’re being honest, isn’t it?).  Or rules like: I must breastfeed for at least a year, because that’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests.  But I’d seen friends try and try and try to breastfeed, and ultimately give up and move to the bottle.  They spent (wasted) so much time agonizing over the long term repercussions of formula and flogging themselves emotionally for what they saw as their failure in motherhood.  When, in reality, their children have grown up to be beautiful, healthy little people who don’t seem any less certain in their mother’s love than my breast-fed children do.  I also followed rules to carefully covered myself in malls, parks and restaurants as I fed my children.  I wore clothes that made it a little easier to get access to my voluminous breasts with discretion.  And the two of us sat there sweating and uncomfortable, holding awkward positions, all for fear that some person might be offended by an unintended flash of breast.  And yet, even with all of my precautions, I still had this nagging feeling like I was doing something wrong.

That’s fucked up.  I was feeding my child, that is all.  Why would I feel so embarrassed about that?

Perhaps because everyone seems to have their opinions about breast-feeding, where and how it should be done, and for how long.  Unfortunately, the loudest of those opines seems to come from those who’ve never done it, or did it so long ago they still gripe about the bra-burning miscreants of their youth. Something about pregnancy and childbirth seems to open up the floodgates and make everyone think they’ve got a stake in your body.  Because it isn’t enough that for nearly 10 months our body was not ours.  For weeks, if not months, afterwards we are robbed of sleep and sanity, and left with a body that behaves nothing like it did before it carried a child.  And then many, many more months where our breasts (previously shared between ourselves and our spouses) no longer belong to anyone but that baby.   Isn’t that enough?  Do we really have to hand over our bodies to complete strangers with no vested interest in our’s, or our child’s, mental and physical well being?  I think not.

So today I hope you will all join me in saying thank you.  Thank you to women like Hollie McNish who performed this beautiful poem.  Thank you to all those women who unabashedly flash the masses for the briefest second before hiding their breast behind the soft, sweet head of their child.  And thank you to anyone who insists that there is nothing wrong, embarrassing, naughty, or forbidden about feeding our children in public.

H/T Huffpost here

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