Well, it seems that I am a day late here as National Breastfeeding Month was officially in August. Though it is now September, I still wanted to share this. All month long I kept seeing beautiful posts, photographs and articles on this topic. Even still, it took me the full month to get the guts to post just one photograph, which makes me kind of sad.
I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding. More specifically, I am a huge proponent of normalizing it for the mother that chooses to and is able to breastfeed their babies/ children. I realize that it isn’t for everyone and I’m totally cool with that. It is my opinion that, so long that you are doing it with love and good intentions, however you choose to raise, feed, discipline, diaper, etc.. your children is awesome. If it works for you and your family, you have my support.
That all said, I am ashamed to say that I have, at times, been embarrassed when it came to breastfeeding. I didn’t often receive the support that I wanted from some family and friends. There were times that, instead of feeling empowered by my close bond with my child and my body’s ability to do yet another amazing thing (ummm birth!), I felt ashamed. I felt different. I felt weird and even isolated.
Too many people give their very strong and unwanted opinions. (There really are bigger things to worry about than how a mother feeds her baby!) They have opinions about where it is appropriate to breastfeed, how long it is appropriate to breastfeed, how covered up a woman should be when she breastfeeds, etc.. The thing is that, yes, breasts can certainly be a sexual organ. Then again, so can a mouth. You can be assured that when I am scarfing down a slice of pizza I am using my mouth very differently than when I kiss my husband! A vagina is a sexual organ too but it also births babies and helps eliminates waste. So….. yeah.
In some ways, this is still an awkward topic for me to talk about. I wish that it weren’t though because, truthfully, I am extremely proud that I nursed my son for over 2 years and am now nearly 5 months in with my daughter. I know that people will continue to scowl, share their opinions and judge but I have learned to accept that. I am secure in my decisions as I make them with my whole heart. They come from a loving place. I hope that other women, like me, will find security in that as well.
The time I spend with my little ones is just so fleeting. I see this time with them passing by me so quickly even as the days go so slow. I don’t want to regret making decisions based on other people’s insecurities and close-minded opinions. I want to know that I made decisions based on what felt right to me and felt right for my family. I want to be an example for my children to make decisions based on their hearts.
Sharing breastfeeding photographs is not pornographic or slutty. It is sharing with the world a beautiful and intimate moment as well normalizing something that is totally normal! I hope that by sharing photographs, more moms will feel confident with their bodies (they really are amazing!) as well as their decisions on how to feed their babies. I hope that more women will breastfeed as long as they want to rather than how long (some of) society tells them is acceptable. Do it with love and you have my support! Yay, breastfeeding mommas and all mommas that feed their baby they way that they choose to!!!
Below is a photograph of the very first time that I nursed my daughter, Simone. It was a whirlwind of a birth (you can read that story here: http://www.melissahassey.com/2016/07/car-birth-story-beautiful-baby-girl/). Though I was completely exhausted, this photograph captures perfectly the relief, love and absolute joy that I felt in that moment. I will cherish this photograph forever (thanks, Danette Pascarella!).