Now I don’t mean what does it feel like physically (you can read about that here). I mean, what does it make you? Just simply you plus milk-making ability? Or does it make you feel like something else entirely… perhaps like a cow?
Like a pinup?
Like a goddess?
Or maybe like a woman, perhaps truly for the first time?
And you scoff — Wait, uh, did you say “miraculous?!” Trust me, I understand the eye rolling. I’m not requiring that you believe it, but yes, the power to breastfeed was and continues to be miraculous. Though one might find it impressive that I can squirt milk farther than a hillbilly can shoot in a watermelon seed spitting contest, the real power is in the fact that even after a child is born, he continues to grow and thrive from his mother’s body alone. He continues to hear her heartbeat as the tune to his meals every day, just like every day he was in utero. The power is in the fact that breastfeeding is nature’s way of making babies feel good.
Before you cringe at the notion of a parasitic barnacle baby further sapping the reserves of its poor, martyred mother just to feel good, understand that this nursing relationship is actually one of symbiosis. It’s a cycle of giving and receiving. An exchange of sanity restoration for both parties. A silent conversation between the nurser and nursee, held in the private clubhouse of a special nursing spot.
Enough with formula companies having us mothers think we should feel like cows when making or pumping milk. Enough with the ignorant prudes who think we occupy the setting of “alternative” or “radical” nurturing. Enough with the assumption that we’re martyrs. That we’ve been manipulated into the “recent trend” of feeding our children at the breast; that we’re antiquated back into the habits of cavewomen. That we’re inconvenienced by the constant demand for our milk supplies.
No, no, NO! Despite the Legends of Nestle (et al), women’s bodies do not flip a switch into complete utilitarianism when freshly postpartum. There is a very feminine, very appealing, very real and primal power in lactating that these artificial milk pushers don’t want us to find out about for fear of being overthrown.
When we become mothers, we are not bovine — we are divine. We are impassioned as mothers should be, not “radical.” We are normal, not “alternative.”
We are not manipulated by anyone except the campaigns that attempt to convince us we are insufficient. And by the marketing that guarantees products and instinct-extinguishing concepts that will supposedly help us be Supermom, “doing it all” and doing it perfectly.
We are not inconvenienced by breastfeeding, we are blessed by its continuing rewards. We are not antiquated, retro, or a passing trend; we are humanity injecting and inspiring life into new generations.
Most of all, breastfeeding mothers are not martyrs. We know better than anyone that there is nothing more vital than raising our children or supporting others as they raise theirs, and not one damn bottle company, baby food manufacturer, or Babywise book can do that better than US.
And too, women earn their milk supplies, fair and square. Every ounce, whether drawn from the breast, hand-expressed sometimes or pumped exclusively or anywhere in between — it is freaking earned. Not to say that those who don’t bring home the boob bacon in quantities they’d like don’t work as hard as others. In some regards, mothers who can only deliver breast milk via bottle actually labor harder to get every drop they can and keep it flowing. The regulation of milk doesn’t just magically happen. Mothers have to put WORK into it and train their babies to put work into it, too. For many months, it may be a full-time job in and of itself.
Nursaholics, you should know that at times you’ll never truly clock out, never truly go on break — all in the name of your big, fat paycheck: a bit, fat supply that’s programmed deep into your ducts for many more months.
And that, Nursaholics, is miraculous. How does breastfeeding make you feel now?