Fredericksburg Parent

March 2015

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38 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2015 family chatter T here are plenty of stories and essays about breast feed- ing. After several years of holding back, I've decided it's my turn. I've resisted this topic for so long because I thought I had nothing new to say. Like so many of my mommy peers, I planned to breastfeed even before I had a positive pregnancy test in my hand. And I managed this feat (nine months for each baby), but it hurt like hell and I suffered the leaky breasts, the engorged breasts, the indignity of the pump and so on...just like many other moms. However, there is one area I think I differed from most moms who nurse their babies. Unlike so many of those who write, and those I see out in public, I did not drape, shawl or in any way cover up when nursing my two babies. When they needed to nurse — even if we were in the middle of Spotsylvania Towne Centre (true story) — I brazenly let them without any effort at concealment. I realize that sounds bad — like I was whipping my breasts out left and right in public. Let me clarify. For the first three months after the birth of my eldest child, Laura, I was virtually housebound. Nursing her represented a steep learning curve for both of us, and was a full-on contact sport. I spent my days BY MARY BECELIA roaming the house, wearing noth- ing but a nursing bra from the waist up and when she needed to feed (every 30 minutes, I swear!), I even took that off and let her go to town. Once we were able to nurse without it being such a major pro- duction. I was able and very ready to go out into the world. When she had to nurse, I did try drap- ing a baby blanket over her a few times, and even had a humiliat- ing poncho-like contraption with complicated Velcro straps that I attempted once. But Laura hated being covered and I needed her to nurse, not flail, wail and kick the covering off. Attempts at conceal- ment were abandoned and I real- ized I didn't care that the whole world could see what I was doing. I've never been what you would call well endowed and even in my nursing days only attained a C cup. My attitude was that if any- one was that desperate to gawk, let them. And if someone ever did sneak a peek, I was completely oblivious. It was as if some mama- invisibility cloak enveloped Laura (and later Joe) and me. All that existed while nursing, no matter where we were, was my baby and I. For me to not give a damn about what anyone thought must have been hormonal. That's what I concluded shortly after each baby self-weaned. I felt mortified, ex post facto, at my nursing related- immodesty. How had I done it? I had nursed a baby on an antique store floor, at the park and at var- ious restaurants.You may be shak- ing your head, thinking, "Spot on with the title for this one, m a'am!" And I shake my head a little, too. Then I remember that horrible polyester poncho and I realize I'd do it the same way all over again! Mary Becelia lives with her fam- ily in Southern Stafford. The kids are quite modest and neither has exhibited any desire to join a nud- ist colony, despite their mother's early example! BY MARY BECELIA That Brazen Hussy

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