Forget the fact that it is a hot-button issue these days. Forget that it is often disrespected and women are shamed for nursing publicly. Even forget the fact that people who don't understand it, often, for some INSANE reason, sexualize it.
Just think about how, for thousands and thousands of years, it was the only choice. It literally IS how our species has survived infancy since the beginning of our time. Wow. Not only that, but think about how truly complex and fantastic our human bodies - our mammal bodies - are for being able to not only create and store milk, but to transfer it to our babies in such a loving and comforting way.
Before I go any further, I want to make a disclaimer. I want everyone reading this to know how I feel about breastfeeding and mothers who do otherwise. There are no hard feelings here - and I want to stress that we all love our babies and we all share, cultivate, and bask in this love in meaningful ways no matter how we feed them. It is true that, unfortunately, some mothers have more success than others. But to all of you who have put a baby to breast, who have breastfed at all - think back to the calm quiet moments, even if those moments can be so few in those early weeks. Think to yourself - My body made colostrum, my body made milk and I gave it to my baby. I did that!
In the last four years of life, my appreciation grew deeper. I started sharing my poetry. And people other than me liked it! I met a handsome mandude who taught me how to view each experience as an opportunity to see art and creativity. I went to burning man and experienced a real community, a life lived without fear of judgement - FOR REAL - for the very first time. I realized that the most single important and incredible thing that we could do as humans was to create. We can create something from nothing at all - a painting, a poem, a novel, a dance, a warm moment, a hug, a crazy wild experience - from nothing but the pit of our minds and maybe a bit of legwork. My body was amazing.
And then I became pregnant and I realized that, though we both had a hand in it, I was completely on my own in growing and creating this tiny little life inside me. I couldn't help but ponder, as it squiggled around in there, how fantastic it was that I had a factory inside me for making more of me. I felt very connected to the women who came before me, who had carried the beginnings of humanity. I could sense the juxtaposition of how far we have come laid against what has not changed, will never change. But mostly I ate. And grew. And ate and grew, and the baby did, too, and my mind expanded along with us. This is crazy, I thought. I made a HUMAN BEING with thoughts and preferences and an idea about the world someday. And I'm going to push it outta me and then what!
And then I realized. Our bodies are good and amazing. They are fantastic and spectacular! And breastfeeding is a crazy (wonderful) thing.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week.