Thursday, September 23, 2010

4 months old modesty


There, I had to get that off my chest.

HEH. Heh heh.

Last night I dreamed that I was in a bad car accident. It was a very bad dream, and not because I was disabled (my legs were chopped off at the knees. ugh.). The worst part, what I couldn't stop thinking about in that hospital bed, was that I couldn't take care of the baby. Namely, that I couldn't breastfeed him. I think I even asked the doctor if I could continue to use the breast pump, even though I was on unsafe pain medication, just so I would still be able to breastfeed once I was out of the hospital and off the meds. I remember hoping that I'd be released before all the frozen breast milk was used up. It was a rather involved dream, you see.

I feel very strongly about breastfeeding. I didn't anticipate that. In fact, for a long time before having Fletcher, I was sure that I would not breastfeed, and the main reason for that was modesty. And it just seemed "weird."

I was never around babies growing up, let alone "breastfeeding," so the concept never meant much to me. As kids, we laughed at the word "boobs" and then grew up viewing them in a sexual light. Feeding a baby with them? Weird, gross, not me. After all, there are plenty of TV commercials out there for baby formula. Breastfeeding commercials? Zero. It's like something out of the stone ages.

Then I became pregnant, and suddenly I was hearing it, reading it, seeing it. I was asked by medical personnel who wanted me to answer, "Yes." So I said, "Maybe." This wasn't just my decision, it was Andy's too -- and we decided we'd "try." I don't think we saw a very high probability for success, though. Something about it sounded hard. Again, modesty came into play. Am I really going to be that lady that whips it out at the Wal-Mart?

As I got closer to meeting my baby-to-be, something changed in me. Hormones maybe? I wanted to breastfeed. Suddenly, being a good parent and successfully breastfeeding were the same. I know the inaccuracy of that, so why do I still feel that way? There is absolutely nothing wrong with formula feeding, my brain knows this. Fletcher would be fine -- better than fine. I'm sure he'd continue growing as healthy and strong as he has been. So why do my bad dreams revolve around not being able to breastfeed?

The positives do outweigh the negatives. It's free. It's always ready with no prep time (when I'm the caregiver, anyway). It's always the right temperature. It's better for the baby's immune system. It bonds us. It reduces my risk of breast cancer. It suppresses menstruation (no period since August 2009! Amen!).

The negatives, it turns out, just aren't all that negative for me. Physically, I'm no Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model with these saggy things, but I never was. The nursing bras are the opposite of sexy, and that's okay. For someone who rarely wears makeup or jewelry, who does not collect shoes or handbags, whose clothing can all be described as "comfortable," this isn't such a big deal.

The definition for "homebody" is a person who prefers to remain at home, rather than participate in social events elsewhere. Yeah, that's definitely me. So the modesty situation is kind of moot. I know some people nurse in front of others while using a "wrap" or cloth to cover up, but I'm not there yet. When we visit other people, I pick a bedroom and that's where baby and I will hide every few hours for feeding. Everyone has been very understanding about this routine, and it's nice for me to count on having this time with the baby.

When we're shopping, out to eat, at a nursing home, etc. it gets more complicated, but the breast pump (with a car adapter!) has been a lifesaver. No whipping it out at the Wal-Mart.

I titled this blog the way I did because I am obsessive in nature. I was obsessed with becoming pregnant, obsessed with the pregnancy, and now I'm obsessed with this poor over-loved baby. I have to believe it's better than neglect.

I cling to the time I have left for breastfeeding him, and dread when I'll have to wean. Why the obsession here? Is it purely selfish -- a tangible/quantifiable way to feel like I'm a good parent when that stupid tiny invisible voice suggests I'm a fraud? A way to keep baby close to me, a part of me, though time unavoidably marches on?

Congratulations, baby. You've stolen many hearts in your four months with us. Do you think you could slow down a little bit? You're growing so fast.

official four months photo

From "Heavy In Your Arms," a song that puts me in the mind of obsession. Or maybe it's just that it won't leave my head, no matter what tricks I use. It's permanently embedded. It has taken over my brain like a virus. I give up. By Florence + The Machine.
My love has concrete feet
My love's an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall

I'm so heavy, heavy
Heavy in your arms
I'm so heavy, heavy
So heavy in your arms

I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown

I was a heavy heart to carry
But he never let me down
When he had me in his arms
My feet never touched the ground

I'm so heavy
Heavy in your arms

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