urban attachment freak

May 10, 2012

I know everyone is all over this TIME magazine cover drama, and I'm not one to add to the din of controversy. Plenty has been said already, some of it I agree with some I do not. Instead I want to tell you something about me.

When Jude was born I decided to give breastfeeding a whirl. I didn't have any real-life experiences to draw from and every preconception I had at the time about feeding babies was derived from popular culture, ie I thought women "pulling their tits out" was gross and kids shouldn't nurse after they can talk. Yeah yeah yeah, it's good for them and whatever, but keep that shit to yourself. The only thing I went into breastfeeding knowing was that people all around me thought breastfeeding was gross and worthy of mockery.

I spent the next 18 months of my life terrified and shaking every time our son was hungry in public.

I did it anyway. It got better. I managed to get to a place of relative comfort, but combined with the social anxiety that I already was struggling with the cumulative effect was panic attack inducing. I dreaded leaving our house and even after I mastered the art of covert-nursing I still cringed each time strangers looked over and shook their heads. I knew exactly what they were thinking. After all, I thought those things once too.

(I overcompensated for all this by subjecting my poor friends to way too many posts here about yay breastfeeding. I'm sorry guys. It was a weird time.)

Even though I know that all this TIME magazine nonsense has nothing to do with me each reaction of how a picture of an older child nursing is "foul" and disturbing" and "incest" takes me straight back to each of those moments of visceral terror I had trying to decide if it was worth it to lift up my shirt and give my child the food he needed. It was always worth it, but it was hard. It was hard because I had been trained by years of offhand comments, snide remarks, and condescending jokes to protest at the sight of a baby at the breast.

That is FUCKED UP. The end.
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