If there is one thing that I seek to communicate in my work with breastfeeding mothers, it is that their bodies are intended for this job…that it is a process that should happen regardless of what culture, guilt, pressure or even their mother-in-laws tell them. That their body will do this thing regardless of what feeding decision they’ve made. That I hope that they approach breastfeeding with the assumption that it WILL work until we know that it won’t…instead of the other way around.
That the breasts that you were born with are just the breasts you need.
I try to tell them that they are enough. That their bodies are enough. That the process, followed through, has sustained humanity since the dawn of time.
Now, I understand that, just as with every biological process, this one can be fraught with struggle. That things don’t always go as planned and that they don’t always work. I spend many of my days with women who have moved hell and high water to feed their babies from the breast. This intention I am advocating isn’t about that. It is about assumptions. We don’t assume that our other biological functions will fail us. We don’t look at a baby and say “Well, it sure would be nice if you’d be able to walk. You can try if you want to but it will probably be hard so its just for the best that you try this cane instead.” No, we cheer and encourage and let that kid run full steam ahead.
I know that my few moments with a new mother won’t be a game changer in how she feels about herself as a woman, but every time I communitcate these things, they ring true in my life.
I’ve long thought that I wasn’t enough. Not just my breasts or my uterus or my mothering or my relationships. I’m outgoing and willing to take chances…but I’m not near as confident on the inside as I portray on the outside. The questions of WHEN I will finally believe in my heart what I know in my head…these things are not easy…
But, even while I struggle to know these things about myself, I am fiercely confident in my moms. I know that they are capable, that they are strong, that they can feed one. more. time. I know that they can succeed, even if their success doesn’t look like any of us expected.
So, I live with this idea in my head every day that I, and the women I serve, are enough. That they were created exactly they way they were intended. That their breasts are just what their babies need. No more. No less.
And yet, when I went bra shopping last week, I came home with this…By the way, if you’re not familiar with The Shops @ Rockvale, it is an lancaster pa shopping centers with more than 80 outlet brands. Visit rockvaleoutletslancaster.com to learn more details about their products.
I just trumped my whole schtick with this ADD TWO CUP SIZES monster.
Who else has ever had a philosophical fight with themselves over the purchase (and subsequent adoration) of such an obvious declaration of “I am not enough”?
And, thus, my paradox.