Friday, September 24, 2010

I Owe an Apology to My Boobs








(and the list goes on...) 

One of my all-time favorite pics (June, 08)
Ahhh, boobs. That's what I like to call them. All us ladies have them and love them and all the straight men out there seem to covet them (and I know a few gay men who love them, too). They're luscious, soft, smell good, feel good, and have a mind of their own. We stuff them, lift them, plump them, and care for them like a prize show dog with unruly fur.

And then, even beyond all that, they surprise us with their real reason d'être: to feed our babies.

Billions of babies have latched on to our knockers and flourished, they have tugged on our tatas with a glint in their eye, and buried their faces like a long lost lover into the softness of our kajongas to drink greedilly. It is the way it has always been . . . .

Yet, somehow, we've forgotten that they are dual purpose. They are both fun bags and feed bags, but ultimately, they're for nourishing first, fun second. I don't care how well-constructed your argument is. If you were born 100 years ago, you wouldn't have a leg to stand on: breasts are for nourishing infants first, fun, second.

We confuse nursing with indecency and inappropriateness. We have it tangled up with lack of independence and crushing responsibility (and not unnecessarily so, I might add). We hide in places like bathroom stalls and filthy "nursing rooms" to protect others from exposure. We count the days until weaning when we will have our bodies back to ourselves.

And after we've done our best to make everyone else comfortable with our milk-full breasts (and our partners satisfied with their participation in nourishment), and our bosoms are once again our own to do with as we please, we deride the silver streams of marks branding our tissue-thin skin. We blame the milk for the change in shape and feel when really it was inevitable. We wish we had our old knockers back with all their perk and independence. That they jiggled and jumped with attitude and verve as they did when we were 19.

We abandon the tits that have worked so hard for us both in leisure and toil, and we should say we're sorry.

Sorry for being such a jerk to my miraculous boobs. Sorry for not understanding my body and its natural evolution.  Sorry for looking to Hollywood as a standard for a mother's body. Sorry for expecting the impossible.

Therefore, I hereby promise to never say a bad thing about my wonderful boobs ever again. Ever.

I will be proud of the delicate, shiny skin that glint in the mirror lights, and I will be proud of the new way they sit on my frame.

I have been so damn proud to be an on-demand nurser who spent inordinate amounts of time pulled over on the side of the road, sitting in rocking chair displays, in restaurant booths, at dinner tables, friends' houses, parties, BBQ's and airplanes in all sorts of company consisting of women, men, fathers, bachelors, singles, in-laws and everything else in between. So why not be proud of the very vehicles that allowed me to do so and the way the are today?

I'm also proud to say that I refused to be pushed into any setting that was unclean or unnatural to me, instead believing that I and my baby were the ones with the right. I was the one who was the one participating in a biological act of survival with love and respect. Not that creepy looking dude or judgmental woman, who were willing me with their glares to go somewhere else to feed my son.

I now smile at any mother who is nursing in public and gives me an apologetic look. I want to give her a thumbs up, let her know that I'M ON HER SIDE. I am her sister in this. She does not need to look sorry. I will protect her right to feed her baby any time she needs to, this much I promise.

So, let me end this with a formal apology to my girls.

I'm sorry for not loving you in your new shape and for treating you so badly, for relegating you to bras at any given moment and for trying to hide you from public view. You are wonderful, you are glorious, you are the best boobies in the whole wide world. And THANK YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for filling my babe's belly time and time again and for giving me something to flaunt and be proud of. You really do rock. 

My boob-friends today.  Holla! 

We are proud to host a guest post today from Jessica. Jessica is a SAHM to an almost 3 year old son, though things will be changing soon as she prepares to head back into the work force.  She is passionate about breastfeeding, thoughtful, gentle parenting, and cussing up a storm.  She blogs about everything at This is Worthwhile.

Do you have a story to share about nursing in public and/or the normalization of breastfeeding? We'd love to host it!


Love this perspective. But I still kinda hate boobs. Maybe it's because my Granny got breast cancer? So now I feel this weird betrayal thing. Mine have served me well--they were cute when I was younger, fed both my babies, but I'm always worried the day will come when they revolt and try to kill me.
Hmm. Maybe I should take your advice and just be nicer to them. I shall buy them a new bra today.

This actually made me all teary-eyed, because deep down inside I think this is the reason why we are so passionate about being able to nurse. Also, to hand down our experiences to the next mother.

We have been told our bodies don't work, that their functions are always for sexual purposes. Our breasts are for sex. Then we become mothers and really find the truth behind our menstrual cycles and our breasts - how our bodies can do something besides just to give pleasure.

To me this is why Breastfeeding and being able to NIP is so important and a powerful gift. Because our breasts do have a function, and they work, and being a woman and a mother is such a wonderful and fulfilling situation to be in.

Thank you for sharing this.

Jessica!!! Thank you for this awesome post!!
Love Michelle, a mother to a three year girl who is still nursing (and from my boobs too.)

You are a shining example of the self-love that we all can have for the amazing earthly temples of our being, the miraculous vessels of life! Thank you so much for sharing this. (And I have to remember those terms, "fun bags AND feed bags!" Good one! :D )

Breastfeeding was the first time in my life that I didn't hate my boobs. And I do mean hate. I used to bind them, move them by lifting the skin like the scruff of a kitten, do anything I could not to look down and see them.

And yes, you can blame Hollywood.

On June 16, 1993, I went to bed, flat as a boy and slept through until June 17, 1993, when I awoke 13 years old with size B breasts (and my first menstrual cycle). My boobs were purple and ached like someone had beaten them all night long.

By the time I started school, they were a C. By the end of that year, they were a D. By the time I was 15, they were a DD. At 30, they are an I and I'm not certain that they're done.

They have never been "perky". They formed with severe ptsosis. At a size B and only 13 years old, my stretch-marked covered breasts on my 70lb frame pointed at the ground and looked like they were growing out of my armpit. I was disgusted. They didn't look anything like the women on t.v. or in movies.

They hurt, were oversensitive and were ugly according to basically everyone who commented on them for the next 5 years.

Now, I don't hate boobs. Not at all! I'm pansexual--I LOVE boobs. Just not my own (or any boobs that look like mine). For me, a perfect set of breasts is a C-D cup. I would love to have perky little breasts in that size (yes, a C cup is little to me--it's all about perspective--but perfect!).

My first lover at 18 agreed that my breasts were too big and the ptosis was unpleasant (though he didn't seem to have an objection to my breasts themselves). My girlfriend, OTOH, adored them (personally, I thought hers were amazing and great).

My husband loves my boobs, but was never able to convince me that they were anything but useless weights crushing my chest and breaking my back. Then I had my first baby and she definitely shared her father's opinion on my boobs, lol.

The fact that my breasts could nourish her perfectly, sooth her hurts and frights suddenly transformed them from the most hated part of me to finally letting me be happy that I was born female.

I don't enjoy nursing, particularly. It's boring, sometimes hurts, makes me want to get up and run away at times, but I've seen how wonderful they are for my children's health and happiness and I'm proud that I nurse them. It's one parenting decision that I have zero question as to it being the best I could do for them. Plus, they're full and the closest to 'normal' they will ever be without surgery.

Some day, I'm going to cut them up and make them something I'll be proud of and I'm sorry to them. I once wished for "big boobs" as an 11 year old pinching my 'mosquito bites' in the mirror into the rough semblance of breasts. They were only trying to give me what they thought I wanted. In fact, aside from stopping growing and maybe shrinking down when the rest of my body did, they've done pretty much everything I've asked of them.

And some day, I hope to love my breasts and flaunt them and be able to buy a bra in a real store.

i love it. as a small chested girl pre-nursing i never particularly cared about my breasts, let alone take the time to appreciate their wonders.

i think part of what i find so magical about nursing is that confidence- my body can do this! i can do this! my breasts are awesome! and not just for squeezing!

Thanks for posting...! Yep they DO have a purpose!! And I have 3 beautiful, healthy, smart & loved children to prove it!!!

My son, now 14 years old, was a breastfeed baby I think he was 1 1/2 years old when I stopped. I had breast cancer twice, and lost the breast that gave my now teenage son his start in life. I would not have changed a thing, except keep my breast. I breastfeed my son on one breast because when I was 32 I found I had cancer, and had chemo and radiation. When I had my son, I couldn't use that one, and only feed my son on one breast. Lost my "working" breast in 2000 - ten years after my first round of chemo. Yes, this was in my family history, but I would do it all over again. I loved that time with my baby. It is a beautiful and loving act. A lot of loving, I am so grateful

This is great. I agree completely. :looks down shirt: I apologize, ladies. I'm sorry for letting that nasty woman at the science museum deride me for nursing in public. I'm sorry I didn't stand up to her but instead walked away (though in my own defense I didn't stop nursing in public; it just made me more adamant about it). I'm sorry for considering you "floppy" or "ugly" or "old-haggish" now that you've done such a wonderful job with my babies and show the wear a bit. I should (and will try in future to) consider your new acquiescence to gravity to be a badge of honor. I don't think I'll stop trying to push you up occasionally though, to look stunning in a pretty dress. :) It'll just be our "ladies' night" even if DH is there admiring. ;)

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