There are plenty of stories and essays about breast feeding. After a several years of holding back, I’ve decided it’s my turn. I’ve resisted this topic for so long because I thought I had nothing new to say. Like so many of my mommy peers, I planned to breastfeed even before I had a positive pregnancy test in my hand. And I managed this feat (nine months for each baby), but it hurt like hell and I suffered the leaky breasts, the engorged breasts, the indignity of the pump and so on…just like many other moms.
However, there is one area I think I differed from most moms who nurse their babies. Unlike so many of those who write, and those I see out in public, I did not drape, shawl or in any way cover up when nursing my two babies. When they needed to nurse — even if we were in the middle of Spotsylvania Towne Centre (true story) — I brazenly let them without any effort at concealment.
I realize that sounds bad — like I was whipping my breasts out left and right in public. Let me clarify. For the first three months after the birth of my eldest child, Laura, I was virtually housebound. Nursing her represented a steep learning curve for both of us, and was a full-on contact sport. I spent my days roaming the house, wearing nothing but a nursing bra from the waist up and when she needed to feed (every 30 minutes, I swear!), I even took that off and let her go to town.
Once we were able to nurse without it being such a major production. I was able and very ready to go out into the world. When she had to nurse, I did try draping a baby blanket over her a few times, and even had a humiliating poncho-like contraption with complicated Velcro straps that I attempted once. But Laura hated being covered and I needed her to nurse, not flail, wail and kick the covering off. Attempts at concealment were abandoned and I realized I didn’t care that the whole world could see what I was doing.
I’ve never been what you would call well endowed and even in my nursing days only attained a C cup. My attitude was that if anyone was that desperate to gawk, let them. And if someone ever did sneak a peek, I was completely oblivious. It was as if some mama-invisibility cloak enveloped Laura (and later Joe) and me. All that existed while nursing, no matter where we were, was the two of us.
For me to not give a damn about what anyone thought must have been hormonal. That’s what I concluded shortly after each baby self-weaned. I felt mortified, ex post facto, at my nursing related-immodesty.
How had I done it? I had nursed a baby on an antique store floor, at the park and at various restaurants.
You may be shaking your head, thinking, “Spot on with the title for this one, ma’am!” And I shake my head a little, too. Then I remember that horrible polyester poncho and I realize I’d do it the same way all over again!
Mary Becelia lives with her family in Southern Stafford. The kids are quite modest and neither has exhibited any desire to join a nudist colony, despite their mother’s early example!