Having always been a small chested person i never really put too much emphasis or thought into my breasts. I’ll admit, i always appreciated how small they were, that- despite gravity- they stood up all by themselves, that i almost never needed a bra, and that just about every top i ever wanted to wear fit me with ease. Things have changed. Pregnancy and motherhood has transformed my small and subtle chest into actual woman boobies that require a bra and don’t always cooperate with my wardrobe. This has been a mildly frustrating transition (and if i come home with one more bra to experiment with i think my husband may cut me off of the family bank account, though i know he couldn’t be happier with my “upgrade”), but besides the superficial quirks of this booby metamorphosis, i am obsessed with my new breasts. I have a boob pride that i never imagined i would ever have. I always thought that breasts were over-emphasized and over-sexualized, but then i became a breastfeeder and realized that breasts are absolutely amazing.
Maybe the cultural obsession with breasts for which i never before understood stems back to mothers milk, flowing through our collective unconscious. There is something richly mystical about mothers milk.
I was formula fed as a baby so i have no way of connecting to it firsthand, but babies who are breastfed into toddlerhood often remember their breastfeeding days with a special fondness. When i see a mama with a healthy and chubby breast fed baby i feel a kinship with her and i think to myself, “she has miracle boobies too!”
I love that my boobies make milk. I love how much my daughter loves them because she knows that she can rely on them to show up when she needs them most. I love the idea that my milk varies in flavor depending on what i ate that day, and that i get to eat an extra helping here and there just to keep the supply up to the demand. I love that the more she nurses, the more i make. And i love that my body is so brilliant that the quality of my milk changes with my baby’s growing needs. I know that my breasts will never look the same. I’ve embraced the fact that i now have a “wife’s body”, as i like to call it, and not a girlfriend’s body anymore. You know, a “girlfriend’s body” has time to exercise and primp, it hasn’t widened and weathered the adventure of birth… it just has the sparkle of youth. I personally have found that i need to hang on to an extra five pounds over my usual weight in order to stay super milky, and that is alright with me. I love my wife body sans muffin top, but i’m working on that now. Yes, my body has become a nursery, a place for nurturing and cuddling and feeding and soothing, but it’s also a magical land where the milk really does flow like honey, on demand! What is more amazing then that? I feel grateful that despite all the breast feeding ailments i experienced throughout the first several months of nursing – everything from mastitis to blebs to thrush to vasospasms to cracked nipples – our nursing relationship is going strong and my milk has persevered. Most people think that i am crazy for never having given Veda a bottle. I chose not to give her a bottle until at least 3 months and then 6 months went by. Surely there were days or nights where i would have loved my husbands support in that department, but i guess there was an initial conviction that i stuck to. I do believe that there is just as much magic and power in the boob as there is in the nutrient rich milk, and since i decided to be a stay at home mama for Veda’s first year it was just easier for me to feed her straight from the source and not have to pump. For you mamas who pump, more power to you because i know how much work and effort it is! Your babies are lucky that you put so much love and time into giving them all you got. And for the mamas out there who can not breast feed for one reason or another but really wanted to, they/you deserve all the empathy in the world. My brazen pride is some strange delight i take in my bodies magic and my babies connection to it, but a mama who feeds her baby with love is all it’s really about at the end of the day.