September 11th

Warning: not for the faint of faith….or easily offeneded.

Of course i remember where i was on september 11th. i was in a music ed seminar acting like a four year old while a crazy lady told me to do very weird things (i.e. act like a four year old). it wasn’t until class let out at 11am that i heard about what had happened. a fellow student was rambling about watching tv and seeing the twin towers fall. and i’ll admit it, i actually asked what movie she had been watching (which just goes to show what kind of society we live in, where that kind of announcement doesn’t automatically register as “awful thing happening” but as “huh. sounds like a good movie”), and didn’t fully understand or believe it until we had all crowded into the piano lab (the only place in the building with a tv) and were watching the billows of black smoke where the towers had once stood.  i remember the rest of that day: trying desperately to call home, knowing that the chance of my stepdad being on one of those planes was very high. and not being able to use my cell phone…all circuits were busy. for an hour. finally i remembered where there was a pay phone and scrounged change from anywhere and anyone i could think of….and then waiting in line to use it. thankfully, my family was all fine. although they had been spending most of the morning a few houses up the street (which used to have a clear view of the towers) watching the smoke blow. then hanging out with my roomate and my friend in my apartment, not really knowing what to do or how to act. at one point my roomate said, “i know this is weird….but i kinda need to pick up my birth control pills….”. and i was the only one of our friends with a car. and just because we couldn’t stand sitting in an apartment dorm in delaware any more, we drove to pick up her prescription. a sight i will never forget is getting on the highway (a main interstate)…and not seeing any other cars.  and then seeing on the traffic alert signs “I-95 north closed. no access to new york city”.  the three of us were silent. we didn’t know what to do, how to think, what to say. all we could manage was, “oh my god.” “i can’t even believe i’m seeing this….new york is NEVER closed” “::::breathing::::::”.

and this is going to come out as odd, but bear with me. september 11th was a horrible, horrible tragedy. yet from that tragedy, so many good things happened. the biggest thing was that all of a sudden, a generation of people who had previously been ambivalent about fire fighters or police officers or the military learned EXACTLY why we need these wonderful, amazing people. we wept for them, we cheered for them, we did whatever we could to let them know how much their work truly meant. and america as a whole became nicer for a while. we asked how each other were doing, and actually listened to the answer. we donated blood where before the attitude might have been “someone else’ll do it”.

one thing i’ve noticed in my years away from the east coast is how different the attitude is towards 9/11. that’s not to say people weren’t affected by it, of course they were. but it wasn’t in their backyard. and 4, 5,6 y ears after 9/11, i was struck by the differences…and how hard it is to describe. and it was very different in san diego than here in spokane, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. i mean, yes, in san diego you have like 8 million naval bases as well as marine corps bases….but here, there’s still an air force base. you’ll still see military personnel walking around town. b ut it’s always felt like a “just another day” kind of attitude here. even this year, ten years after it happened. and i’ve wished many times that i were back in new jersey….but i really really really wish i could have been back there this year, for this september 11th. i wish i could go to ground zero and pay my respects again (i went a few months right after 9/11, when there were still flyers for missing people plastered all around the fence that surrounded ground zero…and obviously i’ve been there a few times after that, but it was never at profound as that first time i went).

i was going to use this as a rant against religion, but as i read what i’ve written, i realize that today is not the day for it. i have lots of strong feelings about religion, and september 11th was a huge catalyst for many of those feelings…..but september 11th is not the time for it. maybe another day, in the not so distant future. today is for remembering, for watching anything you can find regarding what happened that day. watch those awful images again, listen to the sad songs. tell your children what happened, if they’re old enough, or figure out how you’re going to explain it to your children one day. don’t forget what it felt like to truly come together as a country. donate blood again. donate money. thank the next service person you see.  above all….never forget. ever. those who died deserve to be remembered.

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Motherhood

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother. Actually, it goes back before then: I sure don’t remember this, but my own mother tells me that when I was little, I could not/would not go to sleep until every single one of my dolls, toys, and stuffed animals had something on them to act as a blanket-socks, scraps of cloth, actual blankets-because I was worried they would get cold.

And then when I was 22, due to a funky form of arthiritis I have and the general ridiculousness of our current health care/insurance system, I had to take a drug that had the potential to render me sterile.  But in order to get the actual drug that I wanted/needed to take, I was forced to try this particular potentially sterilizing drug for a minimum of three months, and only if it did not work would I be given the go ahead to get “the good stuff”. Having a conversation with a new boyfriend about how I might not be able to have kids-when we were both kids ourselves and really not at that point in our relationship-was not easy or comfortable. But I had to-and I’m glad I did. That boyfriend is now my wonderful husband, by the way. 🙂 The day I started on that drug regiment, I felt my heart sink, knowing that I might be swallowing my chance to have a child of my own naturally.

Thankfully, there was no ill effects to my reproductive system and 14 months ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. And now, all these months later, there are days where I wonder about my mental stability for ever wanting to have a child. People tell you “its hard…harder than you can imagine” but that’s not really helpful, is it? That statement could fit into a variety of things….lifting a 200lb weight is also hard….harder than I can imagine. Attempting to walk across a room without tripping over thin air is hard….harder than I can imagine. So to say that being a parent is “hard” is not accurate. There are so many things that I have run into during my short run of parenthood that I think “why the hell didn’t anyone TELL ME ABOUT THIS?!?!”.

Nothing prepared me for seeing my son for the first time. Nothing. And while I never had any sort of transition-I saw him, I was his mother. that was it. no questions, no hesitation. i loved him unconditionally-over the course of this past year and change, more often than not I find myself feeling like a really tortured baby sitter, someone who’s just waiting for his “real” parents to come and pick him up and I can start my life. Even though my entire life revolves around him and his needs and his schedule, it still doesn’t feel real. I guess for some people hearing the heartbeat for the first time makes it real. For others, it’s watching their baby move during an ultrasound, or feeling them kick during pregnancy. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to happen, to go into one of my many pre-natal appointments and be told that there’s been some awful mix up and I’m not actually pregnant. So why didn’t his birth, or his life, make it feel real yet? I still feel weird when people refer to me as a mother or a mommy…like they’re going to see behind some facade and realize I’m just the baby sitter…..

Before becoming a mother (or rather, a really tortured baby sitter….) I thought I knew what would happen. And I had baby books to read…but I forgot to read beyond the newborn stage. Because in some ways, I forgot that I wouldn’t have a newborn forever. And when I finally got around to reading about the 6-12 month stage (when he was about 13 months old…..)I actually learned some interesting stuff that would have been helpful seven months prior. Until I realized that my baby hadn’t read the books, and never actually conformed to anything any of them said. (which also would have been useful information prior to becoming a parent, but that’s a topic for another day).

What I have learned so far about motherhood is this: i don’t know shit. I mean, I know how to take care of my son, I don’t think anything I’m doing/not doing is going to turn him into a serial killer later in life. But overall, it’s one big blind stumble in the dark. If I could go back and tell myself some things before having my boy, it would be:

~Things never actually get “better”. They get different. Some things get easier, but other things get more difficult. So its all kind of a wash….

~Feel free to read books….and it’s probably smart to read beyond the newborn chapters. But remember that your baby will not have read the books, and therefore it is not his fault that he’s not behaving exactly the way the book says.

~Babies may not actually sleep. Yes, in theory, once you get past the newborn stage they sleep longer….unless you find yourself 14 months later barely able to keep track of what day of the week it is because you haven’t slept more than 2 hours at a time (on a good night) in about 14 months or so. Then you just find that you want to beat everyone who ever wrote “after the fourth month or so, your baby should be sleeping a 4-5 hour stretch during the night and taking 2-3 naps during the day”. Or find them, make them come to your house and make it work that way, because that way sounds pretty freaking good compared to this crap.

~No matter how many bad days you feel like you have, you will still love your baby more than life itself. And yes, it is okay to  not like him sometimes. Because sometimes you won’t. and you’ll want to give him to the next person you see, regardless of their mental state. But you won’t. I promise. Because if you do, you might not see his  precious face, or smell his wonderful smell anymore

~Enjoy breastfeeding. All the time. Even if your kid nurses every two hours for an hour at a time. Never again will you have permission to sit on your ass and not get anything else done. Stop  being frustrated at not being able to do the dishes. I promise, there will be a shitload of dishes in your life. This, however, will be your only baby.

~Get a really comfortable rocking chair. You might just spend more time sleeping in that chair than in your own bed, so pony up the extra cash and get a really really ridiculously comfortable one.

~Smell your baby’s breath. Right after he nurses. It is the best, most sweet, unbelievable smell in the entire world. Smell it every time, for as long as he’ll let you.

~Forgive yourself. You are not perfect. You will get frustrated. You will get angry. You will get downright furious. But you will never hurt your baby. Because he is your sweet wonderful boy, and nothing…NOTHING…can ever change that, no matter how angry you might get sometimes.

~Try to forgive everyone else when they spout out ridiculous cliches that make you want to kick them. They’re just trying to help.

~Accept help.

~Never, never, never, NEVER take your husband for granted. He loves you and your boy more than anything and would bend over backward and sideways to help you both out.

~Its okay to not always be strong. Because sometimes you’re not. It’s okay to let the smile slide off your face, to stop the jokes, and to let the tears fall.

~As soon as you think you’ve got this whole thing figured out and under control, he will move on to a new phase and everything you just got figured out doesn’t mean anything anymore. And it’s going to be that way for the rest of your life. Try to laugh about it when you can, let yourself cry about it when you can’t.

And finally the last thing I would tell myself is: you will survive this. and yes, it is worth it. now go hug and kiss your husband, and go watch your baby sleep (because he won’t be sleeping for long, and he’s awfully cute when he sleeps). And then get your ass to bed.

Too Much Information

When I was pregnant, I decided to have a little bit of a hippie birth. I wanted a doula: someone to be there to help the manpiece and I figure out what was going on throughout labor. (neither he nor I had ever been in labor…we figured having someone who knew what the hell was going on would probably be a good idea) I started out going to an ob/gyn office where they had midwives on staff, but changed offices to one with only midwives in my fifth month. I felt safter in a hospital, so I decided to go with a group of hospital midwives and my doula. I wrote up a birth plan and everything. And then I went into labor.

Truth be told, my labor was not that bad…it was incredibly intense, more painful than i would like to admit, and oh, yeah…did i mention it was freaking INTENSE, but overall, not that bad. (although if the manpiece is reading this, i’m sure right now he’s saying “what a load of shit! you shoulda heard you pissing and moaning the entire time!”) I’m not saying I’d like to be in labor every day of the week, but it went pretty fast, which was good. My water waited until I was in the hospital to break, which was also nice (no clean up required! 🙂 ) Although there were hiccups (example: manpiece calls hospital to tell them we’re on our way. their response :”uh oh. ummm…we’ll  try to have a room for you as soon as we can. lots of women went into labor tonight”. awesome.), the end result was my gorgeous baby boy. He was 2 1/2 weeks early, but still pretty big, able to nurse quickly and well, and never even got a hint of jaundice. Things have been pretty good since that moment on. (and now anyone who has ever read a facebook status of mine is going “cough cough bullshit! cough”)

Here’s where I keep running into issues. I belong to a bunch of attachment parenting, breastfeeding, birth, and babies in general information sites/pages on facebook/blogs. And they all provide me with information and occasionally entertainment. All that’s well and good, right?

Big. Fat. Wrong. I read all these things and I find myself thinking things like “maybe if I hadn’t had a hospital birth, i would have actually held my son within the first 90 minutes of his life, and had skin to skin contact with him, and kept his cord intact until it stopped pulsing and nursed him sooner, and didn’t put all sorts of bracelets, anklets, baby-lo-jack’s on him, then maybe he wouldn’t have had such a horrible time sleeping”. My birth wasn’t traumatic for me, but maybe it was traumatic for him…he was wrenched away from me as soon as he was born. and my l abor was INTENSE(no down time between contractions, just one right after the other after the other after the other after the other)….he had to feel that too, right?

Or right after my sweet boy was born, and i was a newly nursing mother with a (thankfully) wonderfully patient doula (my awesome doula also does post partum work 🙂 )  i kept freaking out because does a 10 minute nursing session count as a nursing session? because normally he nurses for 40-60 minutes so 10 minutes just can’t actually count. can it? ohmigod he’s gone 3 hours instead of two between feedings is that ok? it’s not ok! he needs to nurse every 2 hours! i read that! wait if he only nursed on one side, does it count as a nursing session? because he normally nurses on both sides! aaaaaaah!!!!! (to which my wonderfully awesome doula said, “sara. are the breastfeeding police there? are they knocking on your door right now? if not, i think he’s gonna be ok”)

Or how about the fact that everything I read is all about co-sleeping co-sleeping co-sleeping because babies NEED to nurse all night long and if you don’t co-sleep your baby is 10000% more likely to be a serial killer because he didn’t have 24 hour a day access to your smell and your heartbeat. I feel awful that I didn’t try harder to co-sleep with Connor. Yes, i used a co-sleeper bassinet for the first 4 or 5 months, but he very rarely ever slept right next to me all snuggled up (at night. during his first few months of life, snuggling next to me was a good way to get him to nap for longer than 20 minutes).  but my baby boy for the most part has never really wanted anything to do with that. he’s always liked to have his own space to roll around in and be crazy while he sleeps. and i know that. so why does reading about co-sleeping being an absolute necessity cause me to think that i’m ruining my child because i didn’t try harder to co-sleep with him?

Or this other, newly popular one with me. I find myself feeling just awful and sad and horrible because I cirucumsised my beautiful little boy. I let myself think and be convinced that it’s normal and necessary. The fact that we had to pay out of pocket for it because it’s not considered necessary under any insurance didn’t tip me off. I’ve recently realized that when the manpiece was freaking out about my cats ruining things (this is waaaaaaaaaaaay back when…..) i did RESEARCH on what “declawing” a cat actually is, and discovered that they break off the cats individual little toe. yeah. BREAK IT OFF. how horrible is that?! I literally cried for days about this possibility, until manpiece told me that it wasn’t worth seeing me so miserable about just the thought of it, and we no longer even brought up the possibility of declawing them. WHY DIDN’T I DO THE SAME THING IN REGARDS TO MY SON.  why didn’t i research it, why didn’t i realize that it is cutting off a part of his anatomy, why didn’t i fight manpiece harder on this decision? if my cats brought me to tears a thousand times a day at the thougth of INTENTIONALLY HURTING THEM (albeit temporarily), why didn’t i recognize i would be INTENTIONALLY HURTING my son? MY SON????

And then the other day I realized something.

I HAVE TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Until i started reading all these things, I was pretty happy about the way my birth went. Yes, there have always been things i would change, but overall, I was ok with it. Since I’m not planning on having any more babies, i NEED to be ok with it. And as far as breastfeeding goes…well my son has always been in the “plus 95th percentile” for weight (well, until he started moving around….) and h eight….so yeah, i guess those 10 minute one sided nursing sessions “counted”. He’s 13 months old now, and neither of us seem to have any intention of stopping for a while yet.  Co-sleeping? I wish i could have co-slept more with him…in theory it sounds so nice, and who wouldn’t want to snuggle with their precious little baby more often? But the reality is, unless he’s sick, he really doesn’t want to co-“sleep” with me….he just wants to roll around and wrestle in bed. And that’s ok. In fact, it’s how we start our day now, and it’s pretty fun.

Circumcision? That one’s a little harder to come to terms with. But here’s the reality: my son is circumcised. There is nothing in the world that can change that. And yes, i’m sure there are men who are angry as adults that their parents made the decision to alter their anatomy….but there are also a lot of men who are not angry. All I can do is love my son from here to the ends of the earth and hope he chooses to not be angry. To understand that his parents made a decision with love in their hearts.

Information can be great. But needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Anyone have some salt I can borrow? 🙂

Guard Is Life!

Thanks to a box of memories my mom sent me, I had a fit of nostalgia the other night. One of the things I came across was a program from a TOB (Tournament Of Bands, for those not from band/Delaware/a combination of the two) from when Beth and I were teaching colorguard. First off….it made me miss teaching. A lot. And then it made me miss guard. A LOT. It made me miss my girls. A LOT. It made me miss “annie’s happy dance” and stupid annie sayings (like yelling out “boys like buff wrists!” to a bunch of high school girls inches away from their mothers…..) It made me miss my own instructors who helped shaped my life. Not just my colorguard skills…my life. You all mean the world to me, and I would not be who I am today if it were not for you.

Lastly, this little poem/prayer I found in the program made me miss that part of my life more than words can possibly say. So for everyone who has ever been in guard, taught gaurd, known someone that ever liked guard, or anyone who has a passing familiarity with the weirdness that is colorguard (like after they realize that crap they were climbing over in my car was a 6 foot flag pole, a rifle and a sabre……)this is for you. Enjoy. 🙂

A Color Guard Prayer

Let me be ready when the music stars,

To forget about the sweaty palms, the beating of my heart.

Let me nail every toss that I throw into space, even though half the time, I have a flag in my face.

Help me to recover gracefully if I should fall.

Don’t let my instructors punch any judges through the wall.

And after we’ve done that final spin, and the crowd befings to roar, let my family yell and scream……

THIS is what they’ve been paying for!

🙂

The First Christmas Party

This is how I imagine the very first Christmas party went down. It’s beyond blasphemous…yet probably closer to the truth than any passion play or Christmas pageant you’ll go to this year.

Scene: A dark, cold night in Ancient Britian. Snow is flying everywhere. There is a meeting of the newly formed Christian Church…all 4 members

Church folks: “Ummm…soooo….there’s only four of us. That’s, uh, that’s…uhhh….that’s pretty freaking pititful. We need more people to think like us otherwise we’re just four weirdos standing around staring at each other”

Pagans: “Woohoo!!!! party!!! solstice is here!!!! Light a bunch of shit on fire cause it’s really dark for a really long time tonight! pass the wine! woohoo!!!!”

Church Folks: “Hey, just a shot in the dark here, but what if we asked those guys to join our group?” “The pagans!?! But they don’t believe what we believe!” “Yeah, I get that…..but maybe if we wait until they’re drunk enough we’ll get them to believe that we’ve got this shit figured out” “Y’know….it’s just crazy enough to work”

Church folk approach the pagans. The wine has just been poured. The pagans are looking forward to their celebration, but aren’t drunk yet. Still, they are welcoming of the crazy Church people….anyone is welcome who wishes to celebrate

Pagans: “Hey guys! How’s it hanging? I mean, besides from a cross….” “oooooh! that ain’t right, Jim! Fucking funny as hell, but just not right!”

Church folk: “Heh, heh, heh. Funny. You guys sure are funny. Pass the wine!”

Hours pass. The pagans are officially drunk. The tight ass Church folk, however, abstained from drinking. They put their plan in action.

Church folk: “Hey, uh pagans? Quick question. You like to party, right?”

Pagans:  (in a drunken slur) “Fuckin’ A man!

Church folk: “Super. That’s great. Listen, hows about this idea. You guys keep partying every year at this time. Still solstice, still all excited about the trees that always stay green and welcoming the new year, lots of light because it sure is dark for a long ass time tonight. But. But. Maybe next year, you mention about how it’s also because of Jesus. That cool?”

Pagans: (oh how they slur…..) “Jesus? What the fuck’s a Jesus? Hey Dave? You found Jesus laying around here or some shit? Dave? Dave? DAVE! Yeah, you, fuck-face. You found Jesus?” “What? oh shit man, sure, why the fuck not. yeah I found Jesus!” “Hey you pagan assholes! listen up. we find Jesus, ‘kay?”

(a drunken roar of appreciation goes up from the crowd. Some key words can be heard: “yeah! fuck-face! woohoo! jesus! assholes! jesus, get off me already! i came 20 minutes ago! woohoo!”)

Church folk: “Ok. Well, we’ll just let you sleep this one off tomorrow. We’ll be back next year. Remeber, keep partying, light shit on fire, whatever….but next time it’s for Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.  JE-SUS. Fuck! Jesus Christ these fuckers are drunk! Lets get outta here before they figure out what they’ve agreed to……”

And thus, we have the beginings of Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂

I’m Not Hiding

Most of the time, I nurse my son wherever, whenever. I personally don’t care who sees my boobs (just ask anyone I’ve ever been out drinking with…..) and I guarantee, my boy doesn’t either. Just ask him when he decides it’s lots of fun to pull off….latch on. pull off….latch on. pull off…latch on. pullllllllllll off…..laaaaaaatch on. giggle. repeat.

The truth is, as much as the angry sector of the lactavist community is going to have my head for this, sometimes….shhhhh…..I don’t nurse in full view of everyone. (huh! gasp! no!). And it has nothing to do with me being unfortable nursing in public (see “breastfeeding: no one really cares”). It has nothing to do with whether or not anyone else is uncomfortable with me  nursing in public. It has nothing to do with me being ashamed of nursing my toddler.

It has to do with the fact that my little baby boy….is in fact a toddler. A toddler with a less than perfect attention span. A toddler who fancies he sees movement (whether anything in his line of vision has moved or not) and must go check it out now now now. Not in 15 seconds….NOW. And that’s just in my house, where he sees the same thing 1,000 times a day. Can you imagine trying to nurse him in the middle of the mall? More than that, in the mall play area? AT CHRISTMAS?!?! (For the record, I have done that. It  didn’t end successfully….unless you count me flashing a record number of shoppers and their children a “successful” nursing session). The only thing that happens is my boobs are flopping about, my son is no closer to being nourished than he was before the flashing session, and is still kinda whiny about it.

So I am grateful for dressing rooms, nursing lounges (kudos to the san fransisco airport, among other locations, for providing them!), empty banquet rooms and yes, even bathrooms (although I’ll only use a bathroom that has an anteroom with a couch…I refuse to actually nurse my child in the area where people with questionable hygiene are pooping. Because that is not cool. Ever.)

And now I’m going to deviate a little bit. Because I have a new thought that semi-ties in. A friend of mine who read my first blog asked who these angry lactavists were that I was lashing out at. A valid question….that I didn’t entirely have an answer to. Which makes me wonder…who are these angry lactavists? I feel like I keep reading these articles/blogs/what have you on breastfeeding websites and  someone is angry and demanding nurse ins and nurse outs and nurse offs and nurse-a-thons and nurse nurse nurse….yet I can’t seem to find them again. Now this same friend also admitted when we talked about this current blog that she feels guilty sometimes at wanting to find a quiet, private place to nurse her son…that since she is a huge breastfeeding advocate/supporter…hell she is a certified lactation educator and a wonderful birth and postpartum doula (in fact she was mine 🙂 )… is she somehow being disloyal to the cause by wanting privacy? And I knew what she was talking about because I felt that way too. I felt that I have to defend myself for not always nursing on a metophorical jumbo-tron to the point that I’m writing an entire blog about it.

But who are these people I’m defending my choices against? And why do we (“we” meaning all human beings, not just nursing moms…”we” who feel we are being judged for all our choices on a daily basis whether its where to nurse our child or what kind of alcoholic beverage we’d enjoy or anything in between) continue to think that there are people judging us? What does it say about our own psyche’s? Does that mean we are all horrible judgers and fear others thinking the same way we do? What a sad state of affairs we all must dwell in.

Sounds like a good topic for a blog one day……

🙂

Breastfeeding: No One Really Cares

BREASTFEEDING: NO ONE REALLY CARES

I’ve been nursing my son for a year. There is almost no place I have not breastfed. I’ve breast fed in parks (in the dark….)at the mall (on a wall…actually true story, sitting on one of those little half walls), in the car (in a bar…..wait…..no….actually yes, but it was a restaurant with a bar in it. So make of that what you will), at work (like a jerk…wait, what?.) in restaurants (ok I’m out of rhyming schemes. So long Dr. Seuss!!) , in airports, on planes, and in the furniture department of a department store.  I’ve breastfed on the west coast, east coast, and right in the middle. I’ve mostly done it without a cover or blanket because my son became crafty at an early age and learned that it was not that fun to eat while suffocating between my rather large ta-tas and a piece of fabric. Thus he would remove it and expose me anyway. So I just stopped using it.

The reason why I’m telling you this is: NO ONE CARES. Seriously. My nursing in public stories are rather boring. My son was hungry. He ate. The End. Well, that’s not entirely true. In one restaurant a (male, just for clarification purposes) waiter tried so hard to not see my boob that he literally ran into a wall. My friends who I was eating with and I laughed. A lot. And to that waiter’s credit, he never said a word. Just calmly walked into the wall, calmly backed up, and calmly went about his business. And on one plane trip I was sitting in the aisle seat with two men next to me. Both of them were daddies, and their wives had breastfed their children. The only breastfeeding related comments I got were of this variety: “wow! Look at him go! He was really hungry, weren’t you buddy?” “aaaaaaaaaaahh he’s definitely a man! Loves him some boob!” And so on and so forth.  Beyond that, not one single comment or sideways glance as I fed my son. I have lots of friends who are/have in the past been nursing in public. Guess what? NO ONE CARED. And these friend are scattered across the country, so it’s not that no one cares here in eastern middle of nowhere Washington. No one cares anywhere. The only times I’ve heard other mom’s complain is about their own families. Great-Grandma Agnes thinks it’s disgusting that they’re still breastfeeding. Which is unfortunate, but it’s your great-grandma, not some random woman on the street.

Now you needed to know all that to understand why I’m frustrated. I’ve become a “lactavist” despite myself. I truly believe that there is nothing breastmilk can’t fix. I’ve become like that dad from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Except that instead of saying “put some windex on it” I’ve caught myself saying “put some breastmilk on it” more times that I can conceivably count. Breastmilk is a miracle of nature. I think everyone who can breastfeed should. I think that it is a travesty at how little medical professionals are taught about lactation. I believe that if we want to see a change in how the USA feeds their babies it needs to start with the doctors that pregnant women and new mothers trust more than God. If those doctors start saying “breasfeed” instead of “breastfeed….until I scare you into thinking you’re not making enough milk and helpfully hand you a free sample of formula”, I think we would see a major change. We need to educate both women and their care providers. (“lactavist” diatribe somewhat over). What we don’t need is other lactavists putting ideas in our heads. The idea that the public in general is evil and out to stop all breastfeeding is simply not true. They argue that there is no breastfeeding on television. True, there is an abundance of bottles. However, I will now list all the shows that I know of FROM HAVING WATCHED THEM that talk about breastfeeding. I’ll fly my geek flag now: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. ( people had babies on that show. Guess what? It took place in the 1800’s…there were no bottles of formula. So they breastfed.) Fraiser (Roz talks about not being able to drink too much coffee because she’s still nursing). Friends (several occasions. One episode is actually named “the one with the breastmilk”—Ross takes over watching Ben for a weekend and Carol leaves him a butt load of expressed breastmilk. There’s a whole discussion about tasting it. And after Ross and Rachel have a baby, they actually show Rachel trying to breastfeed in the hospital and then make several mentions of her breastfeeding in following episodes.)

The Family Guy. (yes, I know. It’s a cartoon. But they have an episode dedicated to Lois trying to wean Stewie, who’s around 1 year. It’s actually quite funny; breastmilk is portrayed as the ultimate drug for Stewie—he can’t live without it and goes so far as to rip a nursing baby off another woman and then nurse off of her. In the end, Lois decides breastfeeding means too much to her and to Stewie and they continue nursing. How is that not pro-breastfeeding?) The Office (Pam and Jim have a baby. The baby is having trouble breastfeeding in the hospital. In the middle of the night, the baby cries, Jim gets her, brings her to Pam to nurse. Pam gets so excited because she actually latches on…..until they realize it was their roommate’s baby that she was just nursing)

Those are just the ones I personally have seen. I’ll bet there’s more. Here’s what pisses me off: I have a very confrontational personality. I read all these lactavist articles about needed to have a nurse off in public and needing to carry around a copy of your state’s laws regarding breastfeeding in public so when the evil evil evil grocery store owner tells you how illegal it is to nurse your baby while you shop you can whip out the paper (I’m guessing from under your nursing bra) and tell them what a horrible person they are for wanting to deprive your child of life. Because breastmilk is life. IT IS LIFE. And I read these over and over and over again….and I get all riled up and determined to flash my  nipples around my town (sober, even) just to really put it in people’s faces that I AM A NURSING MOTHER AND SCREW YOU. (And for the record, yes, I have nursed in a grocery store. The owners didn’t care)

But they don’t care. Really. They don’t. They care about me nursing in public about as much as they care that I picked out a blue shirt to wear today. And maybe this whole “lactavist” movement needs to focus on educating mothers to be instead of trying to piss off mothers who are. And lets face it, you catch  more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So here’s what I propose. Let’s give out information. We all have it. Let’s tell new mothers and pregnant women what we know. Quietly. Gently. Show them our fat, happy breastfed babies. Tell them how wonderful those first few weeks are when you lay nursing your brand new baby by the light of the moon while she sleeps. Tell them how amazing it is when you realize your little baby boy can really see you and reaches for your face with his little tiny hand while he’s nursing. Tell them how great it is to be able to have a few quiet moments with our toddlers who normally act like a gnat on crystal meth. Stop yelling at them. We might be surprised at what happens.