I used to hate breastfeeding. I did. Not for other moms, but for me. My first two, who are now 11 and 13, were formula fed, and I have no guilt or shame about that, nor should any mom. But Shaelin has celiac disease, inherited from me, and experts say that breastfeeding for 6 months could have avoided that. So when I became pregnant with Lily in 2012, I knew I had to try.
I admit I didn't want to breastfeed, especially when I thought about the logistics of it. I've never been the kind of girl who is super comfortable with her body, or to be completely honest, with anybody else's body either. I wasn't one of those put-together moms -- you know the ones, who can put on a shawl and look glamorous while nursing, carrying on a conversation and checking email.
Lily and I got off to a rough start breastfeeding. Oversupply, a nipple shield, a spinal headache, and an inability to latch made it difficult, and that coupled with my discomfort with breastfeeding anywhere but my own bedroom made the first few months though.
I was awkward and uncoordinated. I didn't understand the fascination people had with having pictures taken of themselves breastfeeding either. Every breastfeeding blog I visited for information had photos of women proudly baring all in professional portraits or amateur photos. While I didn't fault them for it, I just never understood it, especially after I started nursing Lily. The last thing I wanted to look at was a picture of my clumsy efforts and my uncovered body. My husband loves his camera, but I banned him from pointing it in my direction.
But eventually you have to grocery shop, and you can only breastfeed so many times in the parking lot in your car in winter before you realize this just isn't working. Eventually you have the breastfeeding in the shopping aisle, trying to be discreet while your baby throws the cover-up off of her head and bares your breast to all. Eventually you stop leaving the room and missing all the conversations with your friends, and just breastfeed at a discreet angle. Eventually, you tell your husband that the baby is 17 months old, and you are actually going to miss the moments where she falls asleep feeding at your breast.
And eventually, your loving husband, whom you had specifically banned from taking breastfeeding pictures, the one you had forced to delete any pictures that showed any area of your breasts, sends you this amazing photo.
All I see here is the absolute love on my face, even through those tough breastfeeding moments at the beginning. I don't see how uncoordinated I felt, or my breasts, or my post-pregnancy belly, or even the revealing nature of the picture. I just see love. And now I understand the fascination with capturing that moment.
Photo: Chris Roffey