Growing up, nothing in my experience lead me to believe that my boobs were anything special. They didn't receive an extraordinary amount of attention and I didn't think too much about them either, mostly because I was focused on other things, like beating my competition at the upcoming horse show. At some point I must have realized that the culture I lived in doesn't deem my breasts fantastic because they aren't BIG. I mean, I never saw a woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated with small boobs or women with A/B cups in the Victoria's Secret ads either. But I was a child of the 80s and 90s, and no one really buys into that crap any more, do they?
What I've learned since becoming a mother...is honestly quite the opposite. I wish a woman had said to me in 9th grade, "honey, your boobs may not be big, but don't put much value there, can you believe that they will be able to produce nourishment for your babies that will benefit them for a lifetime?"
While I was pregnant I read about breastfeeding, but never actually took the time to get to know my breasts, one on one. You know what I mean, ladies. I had never looked at my nipples close up and never really wondered in too much detail about how I was going to be able to feed my baby with them. Shortly after my son was born, the midwife's assistant nurse came over and suggested I try latching my son for his first feed, then she reached over and squeezed my nipple to check for colostrum. "Yup, it's there, give it a try." Did she really just squeeze my nipple, I thought? (You would never have guessed that just an hour earlier this was the same person I was wildly yelling at and cursing, while completely naked, without a care in the world) Even so, in my post birth bliss, I brought my son to breast and he latched on, in a moment, changing the way I thought and felt about my breasts forever!
The entire process of nursing is extremely fascinating and intimate. Can you think of something else that is as perfect today as it was at it's inception at the beginning of time? One of the sweetest sounds on earth is the gulping and sighing of a hungry baby on the breast. One of the softest feelings on earth is a breast that has just been emptied. If you haven't felt one, I suggest you do. And have you ever seen a nursing breast squirt milk (sometimes on it's own accord)? It is a magical sprinkler of wholesome goodness. Streams squirt out in all different directions! Every nursing mom has aimed some shots at children or partners, it's true.
Human breast milk is one of the most perfect foods on earth. And ironically, we live in a reverse milk culture - one that reveres breast milk from cows, but shuns nursing in public! One that likes to show lots of boobs on the Television and in Magazines, but not feeding babies! Could this really be so in 2014?
I am just amazed at my breasts. These small mounds of sustenance produced over 3 years of deeply nourishing food for my babies. My son loved them so much he would have nursed until he was 40. I love my breasts. They may be smaller now than ever before. They may be softer than ever before, and wrinkle slightly upon lift, but I love my breasts. And forever will.
Whether you liked nursing or not, have big breasts or small breasts, or medium breasts, or man breasts, I hope that you tell your daughter or your niece or any other young woman you come across how amazing women's bodies are...for the right reasons. How much power women hold, how much potential women hold, and how much respect women are due. Even though you would never guess from watching the Television or reading a Magazine, it is not about what your breasts look like that matters. Growing a human being in our wombs and growing a human being at our breasts is marvelous! Don't ever forget that women. Creating a culture of acceptance and normalcy around breasts will benefit us all.