Boobies & Expectations
Boobies. Breasts. Mammarys. Fun-Bags. Call them what you want but it ain’t no lie that ladies milkers have long been a fascinating subject. Should they be seen in public? What is their purpose? Who should have access to them?…all kinds of debates in the mix.
I’ve some stuff to say about boobs today - I hope that’s ok. I watched Cherry Healey’s (hello new girl crush!) programme last night on BBC1 about breastfeeding. It was fascinating in one respect and not surprising in another. You should deffo iplayer it if you missed it….
Up and down the country (and the world!) there are mothers agonising over the decision to breastfeed their baby or not, mystified by the myths. Up and down the country there are young teenage mums completely grossed out by the concept of a baby eating from your boob, opting to follow their glamour model role models and keep their boobs for sexual purposes only. Up and down the country there are extended breast-feeders, happy to nurture their child until they are ready to move on themselves, donating extra milk to nurture babies born prematurely.
We are all so different, how beautiful.
Personally speaking, I breast fed Levi for 8 months. It was the best and worst time of motherhood so far. He was a brilliant feeder. Perfect latch from the get-go and I didn’t have any problems with engorgement or mastitis.
But boy was it exhausting.
I never expected to sense that dependency on me (and my boobies) so strongly. Sure, Dave was a champ and would pass him to me in the middle of night and supported me with such grace but in the end it did all come down to me and my boobs.
Ultimately it was me that had to feed. It was me that had the leaky boobs, me that had to bring an army of snacks and drinks to bed every night because it made me so ravenous, me that didn’t fit into any of my tops because I was a 32 ZZZ (not really but it felt like it), me that had to supply life-giving fluid every 3 hours for most of the first year of his life. It was a responsibility that thrilled me and in the more tired times, left me feeling somewhat resentful of my lack of freedom.
I remember one day being so tired and emotional from a night of constant feeding that I burst out crying when Dave told me he was going down to the garage to fill the car with petrol. “IT’S NOT FAIR…I WANT TO GO FILL THE CAR WITH PETROL! *sob sob sob*” It’s funny now (because the reality was that I absolutely could have gone to do that if I really wanted to), but I felt like everything came down to me in so many ways and I missed my spontaneous freedom even in the mundane tasks of life.
Before all you mums-to-be start googling the best formulas, I must confess that it also was such a rewarding experience and I really miss the snuggly times where you are forced to do nothing else but sit and cuddle your baby as they get all their nourishment from you, their mother. In the end, Levi broke up with me in our breast-feeding relationship. He just lost interest, would rather have had a banana and crawl around exploring. And that’s ok. Seasons come and go.
One of the biggest things I have learned in becoming a mum is not to judge anyones parenting decisions (unless it is blatantly harmful to the child OBVIOUSLY).
Lots of the things that I thought I would do, I haven’t, and lots of the things I NEVER thought I would do, I have (cloth nappies, giving Levi a dummy etc etc etc). It’s like that, motherhood. Your expectations of yourself have to bend because it’s not normal to expect to maintain control over a baby that is constantly changing.
My advice to mums and mums-to-be is to be gentle on yourself. Our lives are filled with plenty of ways to make us feel not good enough, to heap guilt on our spirits. Don’t let this be another one. Trust your mamma instincts, be open to learn and reject any outside pressure that overshadows your natural bond with your child. YOU are the mama. YOU know best.