In my professional life, I’m a bit of a breast expert. I spend a majority of my time sizing them, lifting them, supporting them, helping people get milk out of them, healing them, figuring out what to do if they’re gone. When my husband makes a joke and says that “his wife got a boob job”, its all in good fun but a wee bit misleading. As a certified bra and mastectomy prosthetic fitter and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), I see more breasts in a week than most of you will see in a lifetime.
As women, there is a lot tied up in our breasts. A lot of our identity and a lot of our insecurity. My entrance into my work (and the heartbeat of all I do) has been with breastfeeding. Growing up, I was always quite insecure about the size of my breasts…always called flat, always not filling out my clothes, always not feeling as womanly as I’d like. (Though I will note that I look significantly more busty that reality in the picture. It’s all about the angles, huh?) But for all the talk from a certain segments of the feminist population that claim that breastfeeding ties us down and limits our opportunities, I never felt more like a woman that when I had a baby at my breast. Here was where my body was doing what it was created to do. I felt more like myself while nourishing my children than ever before. Our culture has ripped this away from so many women. It clearly communicates that while your breasts might be adequate for attracting the opposite sex, they will likely be unable to feed your child. It is simply not true. Big money, big profits, our healthcare system in bed with the formula companies…all work together to rob women of what they were made to do. Don’t get me wrong; while I believe strongly in the benefits of breastfeeding, if a woman has made an educated, informed choice to use formula, more power to her. But that is simply not what I see in my office day after day. I see women, who want this experience, cut down by those that tell them that they are inadequate, that they aren’t making enough milk, that one bottle won’t hurt.
I understand that the challenges of breastfeeding are great and true problems do exist. I hope that every woman can find the support that she needs to have the experience that she wants. Breastfeeding is about so much more than what kind of milk goes into the baby. It is about claiming what our bodies were designed to do. I’ve learned to love these breasts, to find incredibly value in them and to reward them for a job well done…with a fabulous new bra from a certified bra fitter that I know!
* My t-shirt is from the lovely Meg at CookiePants!