It's World Breastfeeding Week, and I have to share.
So this blog post is real, raw, and incredibly personal. I questioned whether or not I should even post it to begin with as I know some people will say it's inappropriate or find some issues with it. But after thinking about it, why on earth would someone else's opinions stop me from sharing that is SO incredibly special to me and my son. It's something that yes, I could keep to myself and not show anyone.
But when I took these photos, I immediately thought, I HAVE TO SHARE THESE.
There's something about the reality of breastfeeding that I feel like just gets so glamorized while in reality, us moms aren't breastfeeding our babies in a milk bath covered in flowers. I mean, don't get me wrong, I think those photos are STUNNING and I'd love to get some taken. (I even got breastfeeding photos taken in a pretty field while wearing a flowy dress and floral crown!) But my point is, that's not real. That's not every day. And those who have never breastfed may not know what that looks like. But for me, it's been my reality now for 387 days. And trust me, breastfeeding now is MUCH different than breastfeeding my son when he was only a few months old. Now that he's just over one year old, he moves, pulls, tugs, and sometimes gets distracted so easily that a task that used to take 20 minutes is now spread out over an hour. But every day I know that this is a part of our routine. Every night, it's every 4 hours on the dot. It's having to not wear a normal bra because I need to be able to access my boobs at any given moment. It's having your breasts being used purely as a dairy, all the while the baby not realizing that they're attached to you and if they pull at them that it hurts you. It's watching them drastically change from before you had kids. It's constantly having to look at my naked stomach as I lift my shirt day in and day out, revealing the crazy amounts of stretch marks and extra skin I have from holding my baby boy for nine months.
It's hard. It takes work and dedication, but when I see those little eyes looking back up at me, every single stretch mark and pull of my boob from tiny little baby hands is so worth it. I used to hate my stomach, but now I look at it with pride. Those stretch marks and extra skin are proof that my son began there, it's where he was made and lived for 9 months until he came earth side. Every time I take out my breast to feed my son, it's a reminder that my body is STILL giving him life, and producing exactly what his little body needs. This isn't the journey for some, but this is MY journey, and I'm incredibly proud of it. It's not glamorous, it's not pretty, and it's not for everyone. But these self portraits of me and my son shows OUR journey. They're beautiful to me, and they are exactly what I will want to look back on 20 years from now when I have a 21 year old son who's probably giving me hell.
So I'm thankful for these. I'm thankful that on a random Monday as my son was eating, I grabbed my camera and quickly took these. They show this season of our lives, a season I never want to forget. I'm glad that I chose to share these instead of hide them away to myself. I want to not only normalize breastfeeding, I want to normalize the reality of it. And if these images can encourage any other mama to capture their journey in a real way that they'll want to remember decades from now, then I'm truly happy.
So, happy World Breastfeeding Week to all you breastfeeding mamas! Here's to your dedication and strength to provide for your child something only your body can give them. Here's to every unglamorous, messy, and sleepless night of waking up for a feeding and every morning we throw up a bun and a nursing tank and get through the rest of the day. It's not for the faint of heart. But we do it, for our babies. You should be proud, I am proud.
*As a disclaimer, because I feel like I always need one. This blog is in no way saying that breastfeeding is better than formula or that what I'm doing is better than a mom giving their child a bottle. This is simply just a reflection of my breastfeeding journey with my son. Keep rockin' it mamas!