Welcome to the first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (March). To celebrate National Women's Month, our participants share how breastfeeding has changed them as a woman. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.
I have been breastfeeding for four years straight. I breastfed Raine, my oldest daughter until she was two-and-a-half, then a few months after I weaned her, I got pregnant with Breeze, my second daughter, and I have been breastfeeding her for the past 10 months.
Well fine. For the mathematically inclined who have just computed the real total, yes, I exaggerate. But for someone like me whose maternal instinct took ages to kick in (and sometimes I feel it hasn’t at all), breastfeeding my two daughters all these months, years, is a mighty long time. And that’s time enough to change anybody.
Makes you feel like a cow, for example. Or a hero. Or if you have some sort of psychological issues, it changes you into Supercow.
The saga of Supercow
Raine was a breast milk addict. She loved nursing. She could do it all the time, anywhere. I always said that I just had to pop her on the boob, and everything was right again in her world. As a newbie mom, I felt that was all I was to her—a convenient milk jug, source and storage of her drink of choice. She’d always want to hang out with Daddy, only coming to me when she wanted to feed (or throw up). I was her personal cow.
But, man, was I some overachieving cow. I had ounces and ounces of frozen breast milk in my freezer, and I had a “milk scholar”—a baby that I supplied with breast milk weekly. A routine don’t-empty-the-breast pumping session normally produced 8oz or more, no sweat (of course now I realize that my frozen stash is nowhere near the stash of other moms, who store by the gallons, almost; and that others donate more milk than I do, but humor me). I felt that I may be a cow, but at least I was Supercow.
I think that the mental transformation made a difference. That Supercow persona not only relaxed me as a mom, it made me more confident as a woman. Here was one thing—breastfeeding—that I could actually do so well, I could do it in my sleep (we co-slept with Raine). And hey, the upgrade in bra size wasn’t too bad either. Hello, cleavage!
Supercow isn’t sexy
But then the porn star boobs were also my downfall, so to speak. Aside from breastfeeding, I am also into attachment parenting. So at the end of the day, I am just too over-touched. To the dismay of The Hubby, he’s stuck with you-can-look-but-you-can’t touch (I actually wrote about this before). I may look sexy, but I sure am not in the mood for doing anything sexy. Sadly, my default mood is I-want-to-be-alone.
I am a wife first, a mother second. But two kids in, and I still haven’t figured out the best way to deal with it. I’m glad that The Hubby is an understanding man who bears with my lack of, er, sexiness. I guess he realizes that at this point, the kids get the bigger chunk of me. I just pray that after my stint as Supercow, I won’t be so out of practice as regular citizen Wifey Ree.
Supercow gets a heart
I have to admit that, breastfeeding Raine, I was one smug mama, what with all that milk, and with the ease that she and I took to breastfeeding. But Breeze is a different experience. If Raine was a boob fanatic, Breeze’s early months were spent fighting it. Establishing our nursing relationship was a struggle, and I almost gave up.
If breastfeeding Raine made me more confident as a woman and as a mom, breastfeeding Breeze shook that confidence and challenged me to grow in other directions. Pop-baby-on-the-boob-and-get-on-with-my-life is no longer a viable solution; I have to go beyond that mothering comfort zone.
I think my nursing Breeze has also made me more compassionate, more understanding of other mothers. I confess to being a nipple Nazi during Raine’s time—I couldn’t understand how other moms would choose not to breastfeed (yes, I’m sorry, please forgive the overzealousness of a first time breastfeeding mom). Now, I am humbled, and out of that, I have more empathy. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.
How now, Supercow
While Breeze and I are more settled now, I still miss the simplicity of our nursing relationship with Raine. I feel that Breeze will wean herself early, and that she needs me in other ways, beyond breastfeeding. And that’s when I’ll hang up the udders (figuratively!) and keep on learning how to be a better woman, wife and mother.
Check out the other blog posts:
http://www.mecasmom.com/2011/03/choice-to-be-more-than-woman.html http://applesanddumplings.blogspot.com/2011/03/breasts-and-me.html http://www.trulyrichmom.com/2011/03/breastfeeding-has-made-me-better-woman.html http://lyndelsmom.blogspot.com/2011/03/of-nursing-and-self-awareness.html http://www.ethanmama.com/2011/03/breastfeeding-made-me-a-better-and-stronger-mom-and-woman/ http://www.manilafashionobserver.com/2011/03/my-breastfeeding-story.html http://fabnaima.blogspot.com/2011/03/please-think-before-you-comment.html http://misisteapot.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/loving-jaden-changing-me/ http://handymommy.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/juggling-mommy-act/ http://touringkitty.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/breastfeeding-and-my-career/ http://imperfectlycreated.blogspot.com/2011/03/feeling-fab-at-40.html http://topazmommy.blogspot.com/2011/03/breastfeeding-and-my-self-image.html