Monday, August 23, 2010

The Secret Life of Boobies

August is National Breast-Feeding Awareness Month.

Don't worry, loyal readers, I'm not going to list the benefits of breastfeeding because it's really, really boring unless you are actually doing it. Sorry. It is. 

If you want to read about the awesomeness of boobs, go here or here or here. Or just watch re-runs of The Girls Next Door.

Don't think, however, that I would let this month go by without my own thoughtful spin on the topic. I speak, of course, of the hidden underbelly of the breastfeeding industry....The Breast Feeding Support Group. 

I attended a breast-feeding support group when Owen was a newborn. It was the social event of my week.

Yes, I realize how sad that appears in print, but it is the truth. I brushed my teeth. I put on a shirt that didn't smell like shit, curdled milk, or vomit. The idea of talking to other adults...other mothers....was exhilarating.

I mean, for awhile, I  felt like I was morphing into a cow. I needed this.

The support group was run out of the hospital by the lactation nurse, Nurse Veronica. A soft voiced woman, Nurse Veronica reinforced for us, again and again, the wonders of breastfeeding. She answered all of our nervous little newborn questions, never once appearing bored or laughing in our faces. She was a kind soul.

I learned that specific types of people chose to attend a breast feeding support group. I'll share them now as a public service for those yet to experience such joys:

The Kool-Aid Drinker
The Kool-Aid Drinker would not actually drink Kool-Aid, preferring a mixture of fenugreek tea and rice milk. The Kool-Aid drinker believed in breastfeeding on demand until the child could parallel park. This is fine and well, but the Kool Aid drinker took it a step further by announcing, "Anybody who would feed their child formula is a child abuser as far as I'm concerned."

Even Nurse Veronica has issues with the Kool-Aid Drinker.

The Socially Desperate One
The Socially Desperate One tried to take her two-week old child to kid stuff---the playground, story time at the library, Music Together. Why? She needed to see people. A natural extrovert, being inside with a (albeit adorable) bag of flesh was maddening.

Clearly, she had not discovered social media, so out and about she went. 

Yet, she recognized those looks of pity. She knew that her baby could not support his own head, and he certainly was not riveted by the Shaky Eggs at the library. All the baby did was sleep and eat. She felt a bit...needy. Desperate. Alone.

She found her social home at breast feeding support.

The Socially Desperate One was known to feed her baby bottles of formula on the sly, because he was not really so into the breastfeeding. She'll nodded her head and listened to Nurse Veronica's studies, all the while thinking, This is the price I pay for adult conversation.

Eventually, she gave herself away by inviting everybody to happy hour. Since she was the only one drinking a pitcher of margaritas guilt-free, the formula was out of the carton, so to speak.

The One We Hate
Because it's a bunch of women in one room, there was a lot of unnecessary comparison and unspoken competition. Luckily, there was one woman who, through no fault of her own, earned our mutual disdain.

The one we hate lost all her baby weight. Her daughter slept through the night at three weeks. She had a booming veterinary practice, breastfed effortlessly, made homemade babyfood out of her own garden, and looked like Jennifer Garner.

When she got a clogged milk duct, we were secretly happy. We're not proud of this fact.

Over time, I started to find myself in another category: The Creepy Old Guy Hanging out At High School Parties. 

When Owen began to sit up, eat his own solid foods, and make motions to crawl, I realized that I had overstayed my welcome. Owen looked like a baby verson of The Rock next to the newborn Ryan Seacreasts, He was big, he could hold up his own head, and he had a tooth. It was just time.

I left Nurse Veronica and her soft sensible advice behind me.

Thankfully, the happy hour girl continued to take my calls.

It would be awesome if I had  a really cleaver way to end this post, but alas, I fear that like my breasts, the well has run dry.


My Life in Purple said...

I just saw this and couldn't help but pass it along...

Grimmgirl said...

A very astute rundown of the support group scene! I went to one as well. Too bad mine didn't really prepare me for how much that sweet bonding would hurt -- a lot!

blueviolet said...

I wonder if the one you hated also had her children clamp down on her nip with new teeth like I did. I still remember that pain!

On a side note, seeing this post convinced me not to cancel my mammo scheduled tomorrow. I was thinking of canceling because my insurance was terminated due to the divorce. But I got a few lumps in there and I'm gonna just have to take a few lumps and pay for it. Peace of thanks!

MiMi said...

Isn't it weird how just about every group has that same sort of break down? I didn't breastfeed, but I'm a HUGE proponent of it. :)

Erin said...

You say you don't have a clever way to end the post, but you SO DID, dork! Love it!

I tried to nurse the twins and ended up just pumping for 3 months. It was agony.

Melani said...

I breastfed all my children, for different lenghts of time. I am not a nipple nazi, I think if you need to feed them formula, whatever works best for you and your baby, although breastfeeding does save money... :)

From Tracie said...

I did it.
I hated it.
I continued to do it.
Postpartum depression set in.
Breastfeeding continued....

Wait, I think that I let my issues get in the way of your funny post there.

I tried a lactation group once....the "one we hate" scared me away.

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about breastfeeding, but it's no secret that I have an affinity for boobies. I'm constantly comparing mine to others, constantly noticing a revealing d├ęcolletage, perky? large? wide? long?

I'm always pointing them out to Leo, who claims not to notice on his own (psht!) and even refer to one unnamed neighbor as "you know, the one with huge tatas and a dog."

I also made Leo swear that if he remarried after I die, he woud find a woman with better breasts. If he has to go through it all again, he should at least have a little more fun with boobies.

Ta-ta, Nancy.

clearness said...

As cliche as it sounds and it does sound very cliche, Breastfeeding is the most beautiful thing to witness and be a part of.

cristina said...

love this post! asnd as happy as I am to be done with it... well, sometimes i miss it.. is that weird?

only a movie said...

Cute post. When my son was nursing, the La Lache folks tried to make my acquaintance. They were Kool Aid drinkers. Ack.

Aging Mommy said...

My local maternity hospital did not run such a group and I could not find anything similar in my area, which at the time I really regretted. Having read this post however I feel somewhat glad that I never got to join one :-) Great post.

Coby said...

You missed a category: Women with inverted nipples who only made two ounces whose babies were always starving. I mean, I've only HEARD of those women. Not that I know anyone like that...

I think I'm a little bitter still. ;-) I heard Joy Behar say that breastfeeding was the easiest thing in the world. I wanted to reach through the TV and rip her boobs off.

An Imperfect Momma said...

Love your post. Thats awesome that you had that support. Wish I had it when I was struggling w his monkeyness...but it seems like you made a friend :o) LOL.

Amy said...

HI-larious post! And I'm with Coby. Not on the inverted nipple part, but on the can't make milk and ripping off Joy Behar's boobs.

Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom said...

Hmmmm I am shamefully still nursing my son who is now 2.5 years old. I used to quietly disapprove of women who nursed their kids past the age of two. I am freaking out a bit because I can't seem to get my little one to stop. I wonder what advice Nurse Veronica would give me? hmm

The Ninja said...

My boobies never made enough milk to feed and I hated being a cow. So, my kids got steak from birth and are doing just fine...except for a few twitches here and there.

Tracie said...

I didn't breastfeed or do the support group thing but I'm pretty sure I'd be the Socially Desperate One.

Traci said...

Hi! Sorry I have been a stranger -- the summer kicked my booty, my booblies, and everything else that used to be perky prior to children (and breastfeeding!).

I never went to a support group. I admit to a fear (irrational or otherwise) of the Kool-Aid drinkers. I absolutely believe in breastfeeding when possible but I hate when women are hard on other women when they can't. I'm glad that you found a lovely place to be at least until Owen (or you) outgrew it!

I like this story and I think it is a great way to celebrate Boobie Month. :-)

Anonymous said...

You are truly part of a secret society of women, you moms. I must admit that sometimes I do wonder what it must be like...

Anonymous said...

I rocked at breastfeeding. And was quite cocky about it sometimes. lol And as punishment I got mastitis every other month. Seriously. For over a year. Every other month like clock work. After that I decided I DESERVED to be cocky... =) lol

June said...

I was never a very good cow. My eating habits suck and still do.
But I always envied women who could pull this off with so much ease.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

OMG, hilarious!