You know what we have on our hands? A full-fledged breastfeeding movement. Oh yes, women all over the globe are becoming empowered to breastfeed, step outside and shed that cover like we are burning bras in the 60’s. It’s electrifying. We might not think much about it, but we are all going down in history.
This fight has many fronts. We face criticism for using our breasts for what they were intended for. We get pressure to stop because our child is getting “too old.” Corporations continue to develop new marketing ploys that sabotage breastfeeding relationships in the name of profit. Misinformation is spread to create confusion, information is withheld to cause isolation and choices are revoked to dismantle the empowerment of women.
Our end goal is to spread awareness, education and lactation support so that mothers who want to breastfeed can have what they need to be successful, whatever that means to her. Breastfeeding mothers have united to face all of the fronts of this movement. We have shouted our love for breastfeeding from the rooftops. We have posed for goddess-like photographs that capture the superhero in us. We have flooded newsfeeds, the media and the public with amateur images of us breastfeeding. We have succeeded. We have turned heads. We have been heard. We have changed the face of the legal system, the fabric of society, the workforce and the minds of the public… at least a little. And I think we have made it very clear that we will not be stopping anytime soon.
But there’s more.
In the midst of this breastfeeding revolution we might end up with a ton of pressure to like it all the time. And worse, feel guilty when we don’t always feel the way those women look in the professional shots. I have posted some glorious photos of myself breastfeeding my two sons, photos that I know move people and move me myself. But that does not change the fact that there are times, like daily, that even if I had 2 broken legs I would stand up in the middle of the room so that those 2 couldn’t reach me. Like if I get touched one more time my head might blow straight off my body. While everyone around me is saying, “It goes by so fast.” “Enjoy every moment.”
Breastfeeding is the biological norm, you and your baby were designed to do it. There are understandable risks to not breastfeeding. But let’s be real. There are risks all over the damn place. Some women choose not to breastfeed, some women choose to breastfeed for a short time and some women choose to breastfeed for a very long time. We all make choices all of the time about a million different things with varying degrees of risk.
I choose to breastfeed, it is what we have decided works for our family, but holy good gracious me, I do not like this all the time. I had a hellacious time getting started with breastfeeding with my first son. I remember when things started to work out and I felt like the friggin’ breastfeeding heavyweight champion. I look back to my blog from that time and there are plenty of posts about the struggles. Nursing aversion, toddler gymnurstics, nipple twiddling, marathon night nursing sessions, this shit is hard. There is no way around it.
If you are struggling it doesn’t mean that you don’t support breastfeeding, it doesn’t mean you aren’t fit for this movement, it doesn’t mean you aren’t mom enough. It means you are a flipping human being who gets a bit overwhelmed, who gets a tad touched out, who feels tired in the morning. We live in a culture where people treat you like you have the plague if you express any feeling except blind happiness. Well, they get a big middle finger from me while I continue to breastfeed my sons in the real world and don’t always like it. Deal with it, I’m not going anywhere.