Retiring My Boobs

retiring my boobsOn June 21, 2010, as I held my firstborn child, I looked into his eyes and felt the weight of how my life had changed. I had become “mom,” and that title would stay with me for the rest of time.

On June 23, 2010, my milk came in. And my boobs literally felt the weight of how my life had changed.

Since that day, I have nursed four children, each for at least a year, as that is what worked best for our little family. As my youngest approached a year, and knowing she was our last little one, I reflected on the evolution breastfeeding has taken me:

My oldest never nursed without a cover when in public, as that was made me most comfortable. My youngest never nursed with a cover in public, as that was what made us both most comfortable.

With my oldest, I would breastfeed and look on at mothers who formula fed with judgment, wondering why they would make such a choice when obviously what I was doing was the very best. With my youngest, I would look to all mothers with gratitude and humility, thankful that no matter what worked best for their family, breastfeeding or formula feeding, that those little babies had a parent who loved them and cared for them to meet their needs.

With my oldest, I mourned the days behind me when I could go on a run with any old sports bra, instead of spending all the moneys on the highest-tech support bra to avoid bruising myself with my milk jugs. With my youngest, I look at my transformation with awe and respect, marveling at the things the human body can do.

Breastfeeding can be incredibly divisive, with strong opinions coming from all sides of the table of how or whether it should be done. It can be easy to feel insecure and defensive, as so much of our value seems to be judged on how we mother and also how our bodies appear to others, with breastfeeding becoming the ideal center of that Venn diagram. Our journeys will look different, and as parents, we will take different paths as we make different choices and face different hurdles. But our intent is the same: We are doing the best that we can with what we have. And I never would have guessed that breastfeeding would teach me how to better honor other people’s experiences.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway.

 

Tags: Breastfeeding, breastfeeding cover, different choices, firstborn, formula feeding, parenting, sports bra, transformation

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