“But truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: a woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.” ― Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat
I didn’t set out to be someone who had strong feelings and opinions about nursing. It happened gradually over the past few years.
The wheels started turning during my first few months with Paityn. I remember lamenting to my mom the need to use a cover while nursing my child, wishing that it could be no biggie to nurse freely wherever whenever.
And then I began to learn that it is. Or that it should be.
There are still situations now where I draw the line and need a cover. The list usually includes being with people who aren’t complete strangers, church services (as backwards as that sounds when you think about it) or situations where I can’t relax.
If we’re being completely honest I cover for my comfort. It’s difficult to let milk physically flow while being stressed out trying to maintain eye contact with someone, all the while wondering if the extra skin they’re seeing while I nurse coverless measures up to their standard of beauty.
Why am I not concerned about the rest of the people in any given room? Because I know they’re going to be ok.
I believe that by nursing in public I share the message that my breast’s primary function, their intended purpose according to my Faith’s doctrine, is to nourish this child of mine.
Yes they are an erogenous zone. But so is the mouth, neck and earlobe. And you’re not going to judge me for showing those three. Yes the world has sexualized the breast.
But that is the world. And I believe in a better reality.
So I nurse.
And sometimes you guys, breastfeeding becomes a beautiful moment and I want to bottle up all of those emotions and take all the photos of their milk drunk faces. And other times it’s a routine moment because my daughter is hungry, and she needs to eat.
I nurse because the World Health Organization repeats over and over again that it is what our babies need. Every single one of them. In every single country.
My Faith recommends nursing for at least 12 months, and the World Health Organization urges to stick with it for 2 years and beyond. I set a goal that I knew I could do this time: of 18 months.
I stopped early last time, convinced that my melon sized chest would surely shrink down the way the rest of my body had. I had beauty ideals for myself that breastfeeding wasn’t meeting.
But nursing isn’t about physical beauty. So I’ve learned to be comfortable in this body. And if this is the cup size that my body knows to grow into to feed our daughters, then so be it.
I will be comfortable in this body.
I will be comfortable nursing my child when she needs to eat. I will learn to continue to accept that it won’t always be at an ideal time, but that I can relax wherever I am, and allow the milk to flow. Because she needs that from me.
So if I’m out to dinner, I won’t hide in a bathroom stall. If I’m attending church services I won’t hide in a side room missing special ordinances and messages. If you choose to step out to nurse — whether for your comfort or your child’s specific needs — I support you, and am so grateful for any building that provides a space for mothers. But I’m staying in the pew, trying to act nonchalant with Hudson under the cover trusting that it’ll get easier.
If I’m attending an event I won’t fearfully pump ahead of time to avoid having to nurse when she gets hungry. But I may ask you or Landon to sit close next to me to help me relax and remind me that it’s ok, and to talk with me.
I’m human, and I need to learn to trust the setting before being vulnerable.
I’ll nourish this child, and you nourish your child. We’re raising the next generation.
And I’d like for this to be a world where the focus on the body is spiritual. That my girls know their bodies are made by the ultimate Creator. And that we’ve had enough sexualization of the female body from past generations. We’re ready for a new reality.
This post is a collaboration with Cover Me Ponchos. Instead of telling you about the cute evening that we had taking these photos I wanted to share thoughts that have been on my heart the past week. I hope you don’t mind. Mint Poncho c/o Cover Me Ponchos.