I dreamt last night that I was breastfeeding a cat. You know, one of those fuzzy, clawed creatures with sharp, pointy teeth? Yeah, one of those. And to top it off, after I was finished, my milk kept leaking and my shirt had two wet splotches on it. So I stuffed my bra with cotton balls, because I didn’t have nursing pads.
In all my anxiety ridden dreams, I’m always completely caught off guard and unprepared to do any type of motherly duties. It makes me wonder how I’ve survived, living my life as a completely independent and unrestricted human being. Sometimes I go about my day, cleaning my house, doing my dishes, folding laundry and wonder, how the hell am I going to do this with an infant? Is it even possible to maintain a shred of my former self or do the boring things that I do now?
Nursing is the one aspect that I must feel the most anxiety about, because in all my dreams the giving birth part is easy, but the breastfeeding is the hard part. I’m not afraid to push this kid out of my body, but I am a little afraid to latch it on to my boob. Why? Because pushing it out only happens once, and feeding it happens 8 to 12 times a day. And, because up to this point, boobs are for looking sexy in push up bras and low cut shirts, not to supply food to tiny little strangers.
And that’s just the thing about nursing, isn’t it? That’s what people have a problem with. It’s what makes people feel uncomfortable around nursing mothers. Boobs are sexual objects. No matter that they hold this awesome and almost magical ability to produce free food that can sustain life and aid in development. They’re for wet t-shirt contests and the occasional after work boobie grab. Right?
As I struggle with differentiating my boobs from old boobs to new, I also struggle with the argument about nursing in public. It’s gotten a lot of press lately, and although I know I’ll never be one of those moms that whips their tit out at Taco Bell and plops it into my infants mouth, I also know that I’m not going to subject myself to hiding and feeling shameful about needing to feed my baby. Babies need to eat, and moms need to get out of their poopy diaper ridden houses.
It’s a double edged sword. Not to mention the fact that breast feeding isn’t easy. It’s not like something that everyone has the ability to do, or probably every mom would do it. And that’s the thing about becoming a mom for the first time. It’s like the one thing you think that you need to be more prepared for out of any other thing in life, but it’s the one thing you can’t prepare for, no matter how hard you try. Nothing about motherhood is by the book. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff and just waiting for someone to sneak up behind you and push you off.
And the crazy thing is, I can’t wait.
(However, I should mention, I am afraid to push my kid out of my body if it's anything like this one.)