Sunday, July 13, 2014

On Boobs

I walk around my house with my boobs hanging out a lot anymore. It isn't really a coherent decision I make at any point in time during the day - there's no, "Oh, man, it is TOTALLY tits out time!" - but it just sort of happens, depending upon what I'm wearing that day. It isn't something that ever would've happened before, but as a mom of a six month old with a voracious appetite and as an admittedly lazy woman I've found that a lot of the time it's easier. No matter what I'm doing at home, I know that soon I'm going to need to feed E again and that's going to mean undoing the nursing bra or pulling the bra up and readjusting a shirt and pulling up another shirt and this and that and the other. It's a layered thing that leaves me typically leaving my breasts out in a more comfortable way.

Yes, this sometimes means that my oldest boys see my breasts. Then again, they see them when I'm feeding E and when I'm getting into or out of the shower or getting dressed and they barge into the bathroom to use the toilet or brush their teeth or ask me a confusing question about Portal. My breasts aren't anything new or interesting to them, they're just another body part (but one that they know they aren't allowed to touch without permission, because we do practice an understanding of personal space). That's how I want it to be, honestly; I have no interest in teaching them that breasts are feared and should be avoided until they're old enough to enjoy them sexually, at which point breasts are acceptable only to oogle. I want them to understand that first and foremost breasts exist to feed babies; that at one point, for even the shortest of times, they shared this sort of relationship with me too. I want them to understand that while breasts are pretty and fun to look at (or at least will be in a few years), their first purpose is to feed babies, and while they are out to feed babies, they are not sexual or scary and they should not be hidden.

I'm proud that while they still find breasts giggle-worthy to a degree, they are able to discuss them and my ability to feed their brother without shame. My breasts don't unnerve them. (Although admittedly they'll ask me to cover back up the one I'm not feeding with at the moment when they come over to cuddle with me.) And I'm okay with that, because they know inwardly that while my breasts are to feed the baby they are still also a private thing, and I appreciate that they understand that they do not get to touch them without permission. I love that they are able to walk around without a shirt on, or in only underwear, without being bothered by the idea that they are somehow showing off more of their body than is acceptable. The downside to all of this, of course, is that in "polite society" we have one big difference: it's okay for them to have their shirt off, but my nipples are illegal.

I won't go into a rant about the legalities and unfairness of how society treats breastfeeding and the women and children involved, but I thought I'd share these thoughts as they came through my head.

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