Thursday, September 24, 2009

Avoiding the Mama Drama: Boobies

(If you don’t have boobs or babies this may be totally uninteresting. Even if you do, I can’t offer any guarantees)

I’ve already written about bras but today I think I’ll write about their contents. Seems like everyone’s got an opinion.

Earlier this week I spent a morning with a group of friends. A play date. As the kids ran around while we talked (well actually, everyone else’s did; mine was uncharacteristically adhered to my lap), one of those topics came up. You know the kind. The ones that fire us up, no matter what side of the debate we’re on.

One woman was nursing her baby, receiving blanket draped over them both. Another told us how weird she used to feel about breastfeeding in public and that the first time she decided to just do it, a man from her church appeared on the scene. She was mortified. This I can’t relate to. Even remotely. I nursed for something like . . . let me grab that calculator and accountant again . . . well, over 5 years for certain. I’ve never been shy about it. Oh, except around my father-in-law because we just don’t see him often and I know it would embarrass him. No one else got a pass though.

Another woman told us about nursing as she shopped in Walmart. She could pretty much do this anywhere undetected. She nurses her kids for as long as they’re interested and it’s definitely longer than your average First World citizen would be cool with. Agree or disagree, I do appreciate her perspective on the whole nursing in public thing. Breasts were designed for this purpose. That they also serve another purpose altogether does not make breastfeeding something dirty that ought to be done in private. That’s just silly and immature.

There are things that just don’t occur to you before you assume the role of Booby Cow (a name my brother once gave me after a “Caroline in the City” episode—sweet, huh?). Like maybe you won’t be able to; you may only produce drip-drops. Will you feel like less of a woman? Or maybe you’ll produce enough to feed a developing nation and leak at the first sign of a baby. Anyone’s baby. And where are you going to nurse your child in a restaurant? We’re becoming more and more enlightened about the whole deal but mostly it’s awkward. Do you do it right there? Head to the bathroom (totally gross but I’ve it done a million times)? Sit in the car? Or better yet, what do you do when you find out someone else nursed your baby?

While Michael was at M.I.T. I took on the job of tending a new professor’s seven month old daughter. His wife was beginning a teaching job as well in Boston and they needed childcare a week before I could start. Someone suggested a woman who lived in the same married student apartments we lived in. Went to church with her too. Seemed like a plan. Until I get the word that this gal nursed her daughter. Talk about some mama drama.

As for me, I felt like a year was plenty and the bottom line was that it was cheap and convenient. I’m also a firm believer in modesty. There are clothes you can buy that makes it easy to discretely whip out those Ready-For-My-National-Geographic-Close-Up puppies without flashing folks (though I never bought any). More importantly, there are WAYS of doing it that don’t draw unnecessary attention. Not that there’s anything wrong with it . . .

I really thought I was as open-minded as it gets when it comes to this until I attended the 2nd birthday party of my young charge back at M.I.T. Like I mentioned, her father was a professor there and other invited guests were a French colleagues and his wife. While we sat in the living room getting acquainted and watching the children play, this Le Leche League pioneer unbuttoned her blouse (from the top down, not the bottom up like the rest of us pansies), pulled out the goods and latched her baby on. No discretely placed receiving blanket (which my kids all batted away anyhow—who wants to eat with a burqa on?), no nothing. She was the real deal, even going so far as scraping frosting off the birthday girl’s carrot cake (Not Her Child) because, “Children don’t need frosting”. *shiver* Isn’t carrot cake just a vehicle for frosting? I think for me, this would be the REAL mama drama!
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  1. Its like you were reading my mind and typing it out! love it!

  2. I LOVE the accompanying picture and think it's so appropriate for this post in more ways than you likely imagined! As a former women's health nurse, I look at that photo and see you demonstrating what a baby's mouth should look like when going in for the perfect latch. Good demonstration of the "baby bird" mouth!

  3. OMG!!! Like Lilly Tomlin said, "some people should just stay home!" :)

  4. Love this post, Tiffany! Timely because hubbie and I were just discussing the functional first nature of breasts, a conversation that sprung from the belief of a lactation consultant we know that woman should be able to roam around topless, since, after all, they're functional. R made the comment that yes, indeed they are, however, if they were not, shall we say "appealing" in the first place, they'd never get to become functional. Nice to get a male perspective, right?


So, what do you think?