Breast is best they say. All the books, the WHO, the doctors and the hospitals all put out the same message. There are charts, statistics, guidelines, myths, programs aplenty to help mothers and their babies bond and forge a nursing relationship. Then comes the sabotage.
I made my choice. I steeled my resolve. Thankfully, I had steeled my resolve. If I hadn’t, I would have folded. They tried to fold me. So many women, nurses, doctors medical professionals with knowledge of the stats and best information laughed at me. It wasn’t every one of them, but there were enough. Did they pity me? Did they think me naive? Could any of them have correctly guessed how many books I had read? How many online support groups I had researched? So many women, my supposed sisters, looked at me with twisted mirth glinting in their eyes. They discouraged me, they told me to go ahead and give up. The didn’t offer me permission to fail, they admonished me to join my fellow mothers who gave up after 6 months, 6 weeks, 6 days. I got the other message, weaved into the silences, the glances and the hollow smiles, I could give up, unless I was one of those judgmental, stuck-up ice queens.
And you know what? I might just be, but I’m glad. Maybe those naysayers were my sisters. Hell, I’m claiming them now. Thanks ladies. Without your… input, I might have cracked under the withering glare of the old lady across the playground when my little one trotted over and climbed in my lap to nurse. I didn’t mind the shock when she realized what was happening. She may not have known many people who nursed their kids, let alone anyone who nursed a toddler. I get it, but when her shock gave way to something between disgust and contempt, I couldn’t stop myself. I brushed my hair aside, drawing her attention to my face to meet her gaze. I smiled and threw off my nursing cover and looked down at my sweet little girl.
It was a bit of a rude gesture. Had I been in a different mood, I wouldn’t have done it, but looking down at Hazel I had a change of heart. I want her to have a real choice in how she lives her life. If I’m not willing to ruffle some stodgy old feathers to do what’s best for her, then what kind of world will I be making for her to inherit? I’ll take the glares and pass on my smile to her.