Saturday, March 9, 2013

On Going "All La Leche"

'Breastfeeding in a Hugabub Traditional Ring Sling' photo (c) 2012, Suzanne Shahar - license:
I've started this post about four different ways. It keeps going in directions that I don't like. I think I am out of the habit of articulating myself. 

But let's say this: now that I'm 6 months in as a breastfeeding mother, I've been thinking a lot about modesty, pain, nutrition, social pressure, and body image; I've been thinking a lot about breastfeeding in our society.

And the short version is, I've "gone all La Leche" as a friend put it. I've ditched nursing covers (but still try to be discreet if only to avoid extra attention), prioritized breast milk over all other sources of nutrition, and become a milk bank donor.

Literal blood, sweat, and tears have been a part of my breastfeeding story, as with most women. 

Yet the part of me that I don't like about being all La Lechefied is that I am judgmental. I feel it, I see it, I hate it. But it's there. I don't even want to talk about this sin of mine because I have so many dear friends who I respect so deeply who, for one reason or another, stopped breastfeeding prematurely (according to my estimation). 

And I feel the tug of the Mommy Wars. Oh, do I feel them.

But I am battling them as much as I can. It's hard sometimes, but I'm trying.

I've had to remind myself over and over that other mothers are the people I should be fighting for, not against. They do not need me to fix them.

So I have been focusing my mental energies, the ones that long to fight and fix things, on society. I'm not sure if this is good or not, but it's where I am right now. I want every employer to be as supportive of breastfeeding as mine has been. I want every church to have a convenient room for nursing babies, just like my church. I want every husband to be like mine and offer food and drinks to his nursing wife. I want every airport to have nursing rooms, like this awesome one. I want everyone to have breastfeeding advocates on speed dial and in the L&D room, just like me. 

As I sit here (pumping) and re-read that last paragraph, I'm struck that my breastfeeding success has not been my own. I have been supported by dozens of people, and for them I am very, very grateful. 

Some of them were actually you, blog friends. So thanks. 

And I want to be here for any of you who need support. Even if you're not pregnant yet, even if you don't have kids for 10 years, please know that you have somewhere to turn for understanding, advice, and advocacy if you want or need it.

I hope to have more developed thoughts on breastfeeding in the future, but for now, I'm fighting the Mommy Wars inside of me.

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