Yesterday I was heading home with my husband. We had spent the weekend visiting his sister and brother in law. My mother-in-law was behind us with our girls and we had a full load of stuff. At 38 weeks pregnant, I’m not much fun on a car ride, so Wes turned on one of the comedy stations and was trying to keep himself from getting too bored or tired on the long drive.
We were both laughing along. He was talking about raising kids and being that we have a 7 year old and a 3 year old and a new one arriving sometime very soon we could totally relate. And then the subject changed to breastfeeding. I knew this was not going to end well.
The comedian was talking about being at the doctor’s office with his son and a woman started feeding her baby. He said that he knew the questions were coming, and what do I tell him? At this point my pregnancy hormones are welling up inside of me, and the inner ‘go mom’ cheerleader is ready to fight anyone who tries to interfere with a mom feeding her baby. I looked at the radio and said, “She’s FEEDING her baby!!” What is so hard to comprehend?
He goes into this big long spiel about how women have these things called breasts, and when they have babies they fill up with milk. The kid says, ‘like jugs?’ Dad says Nnnnoooo!! Not jugs, the audience laughs, and he continues fumbling over his words. Then makes a mental note to write that one down.
Now I know that I’m lucky. I grew up with a mom who breastfed me, and my younger brother. I have photos of her feeding me in the hospital, and I have memories of her feeding my brother. I always knew breastfeeding as normal. It makes me sad that for so many of us it’s not.
In the times when we would sit around with our aunts, cousins, sisters, and mothers watching them nurse their babies we were much more prepared for what would happen when it was our turn. Today most women have no idea what breastfeeding truly looks like. How many moms struggle and suffer because we have this attitude of shame about something so very natural and beautiful?
It’s time to take back breastfeeding. It’s time to tell the world that it’s not a joke, it’s not something to be ashamed of. It is what mothers do. We get pregnant, we give birth, our body makes milk to feed our young. It’s quite simply just the way it works.
Let’s focus on supporting mothers, not joking about them. How can we support you? What was missing when you started down your breastfeeding journey?