Save the Boobies! Save the World?

I was sitting in a Mexican restaurant eating chips and salsa across the table from my former boyfriend, who, for the sake of brevity, we will call Dipshit.  I reached over to grab another chip when I caught Dipshit staring at me with a look of critical affection, the way a hairstylist might survey an up-do before applying finishing spray.

“You know… you’d be perfect if you had big boobs,” he said, while reflexively opening and closing his hands.  As if by grabbing the air, he thought maybe my elusive knockers might magically manifest in them.

When I snapped back, Dipshit defended his comment by saying that it was simply a fact.  Not the ‘almost perfect’ part—that was his own ‘sweet’ addition—but the desire for big boobs, he said, was universal, much like food or water.

Men-Are-Stupid-and-They-Like-Big-Boobs-Rivers-Joan-9781416599227

What hurt most about Dipshit’s comment was that I believed him.  I, too, felt that my B cups were inadequate on my petite frame.  Of course, I was too smart and saucy to admit that I felt that way.  In fact, I was ashamed to confess that to a large degree all of the magazines, music videos, and movies had shaped my perception of beauty, much as it had my ex-boyfriend’s.  It was so frustrating.  I had zero respect for commoditized sexuality and canned desire.  Even though I was well aware that I was being manipulated by the cult of commercial aesthetics, underneath my bravado, I still felt less-than.

Meanwhile, many of my friends were getting implants.

To me, this seemed an admission of weakness—or even betrayal—as if by getting fake boobs my friends were agreeing that natural boobs weren’t good enough.  But, of course, they didn’t care what I thought. They happily went shopping for new bras, skimpy bikinis, and dresses that accentuated their plunging cleavage—joining rank and file with the purveyors of impossible standards, as far as I was concerned.

Traitors!

kim-and-her-fake-boobs

But the truth was that I envied their choice and wished that I could turn off the annoying voice in my head that makes such a big deal out of this kind of shit.  I mean, they’re just boobs, right?  Why do I have to make the personal so goddamn political? What’s a 10k surgery and a week of recovery for a permanent boost of confidence?  Confidence comes from within, I’d sternly remind myself, but I couldn’t help but notice the Dcup surge of self-esteem my friends acquired as soon as the bandages came off.   

And, yet, despite my insecurity, I couldn’t bring myself to go under the knife for a host of reasons.

For one, I’m the kind of person who feels like if I’m being operated on, something has gone terribly awry.  I don’t elect surgery on a whim.  In fact, I avoid it at all costs.

Two, I believed that I didn’t really need a boob job because I projected big boobs, as if they were an aura.  In the way I walked, talked and carried my head held high and shoulders back, I gave the essence of very large breasts.  I was weirdly sure of this.

Thirdly, I had to lead by example and champion the cause:

Save the Boobies

I was so enthusiastic—even evangelical—that another ex-boyfriend, who we will call The Artist, joked that he was proud to be dating the Captain of the Little Tittie Committee.

“Go fight win!” he’d cheer, as I marched around his art studio in my panties, ranting about the virtues of natural breasts.

As a fine artist, he had a very personal relationship with beauty, and as far as I could tell, he appreciated all different shapes and sizes of the female figure.  To the point, one time when he was visiting a friend in Prague, he and his buddy went to a girly bar.  When the bar manager asked them what kind of ladies they would like to sit at their table—blond? Brunette? Tall? The Artist said, “Do you have any girls with puffy nipples?” Apparently, this really threw the guy for a loop.  In a thick, eastern bloc accent, the manager said, “POFF-Y nipples? You vaaant POFF-Y nipples?” As if in all his years of being in the sex industry, he’d never heard of such a strange request.

I, on the other hand, felt oddly relieved by this story.  Not because my nipples are super puffy, but because if they were, that would be a good thing.  There was an erotic space in The Artist’s mind for more than cookie-cutter cantaloupes, and I was sure I fit in there somewhere.

Fourthly, even though I occasionally wanted the kind of cannons that make men go stupid, I wasn’t willing to give up the champagne saucers I had.  I genuinely liked my breasts.  In the words of Lula in Wild at Heart,

“I got the kind of breasts that stand up and say hello.”

sailor_et_lula_wild_at_heart_1989_reference

They’re pink and perky, and have always been good to me.  It just didn’t seem right to cut them up and stuff ’em full of silicone or saline, especially at the risk of losing nipple sensitivity (which, for those who share my good fortune, know is like having two turbo buttons on the dashboard. Vroom vrooooom!).

Besides, what I really wanted were boobs that were inflatable–ones that I could pump up before slinking into a low-cut dress or deflate before practicing yoga. If they ever came up with those, I thought, I might just get a pair.

And well, wouldn’t you know it….

About three days after Soleil was born, I walked into the living room and said,

“Holy crap! Look at my boobs!”

Too_Big_Boobs_by_Lingster

They were amazing D cups sticking straight out of my chest.  Sometime in the early morning the boob fairy had come and answered decades of heartfelt prayer.  (Or maybe my milk just came in).  Granted, my new breasts looked a bit angry—hard and shiny like all boobs freshly after rapid augmentation—but I was stoked.

“What do you think babe? Amazing, right!!”  I said, whilst fighting the urge to crawl into the freezer. My new milk-jugs were hot to the touch and hurt like hell.

A look of consternation swept across Tree’s face, as he painfully calculated how to respond.  It was like the final question in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  No life lines.  Clock ticking.  10, 9, 8, 7…

“I love your normal boobs,” he said.  Final answer.

“Awww, that’s so sweet,” I mumbled as I turned left, right, and then did a little jiggle in the mirror.

Boobs-in-Mirror

I was hooked.  I loved my big boobs and immediately wondered for how long I could breastfeed before it got creepy.  Three years, four years…five? What if I were to wean Sol but still pump?  I could donate my milk to orphan babies in developing countries.

That wouldn’t be weird, right?

 

time_cover140232-525x625

I’ve been breast-feeding Sol now for a little over a year.  I’ve nursed her in five different countries; atop Machu Picchu; on both La Isla del Sol and Easter Island; around a campfire in Sajama National Park, Bolivia; in airplanes, boats, cars, restaurants, fancy hotels and backpacker hostels.

Soleil breast feeding at the Temple at Machu Picchu

Today I’ll do it anywhere at any given time without the slightest hint of self-consciousness—but this wasn’t always the case.  At first, I was embarrassed to nurse in public and would cover up, but after a couple of months of experience (thankfully in Peru), my American modesty gave way to Latin American pragmatism:  Babies need to eat, and boobs have milk—end of discussion. The stigma of a naked boob, at least if it’s attached to a baby’s mouth, just doesn’t exist down here.

Easter Island profile

Soleil breast feeding on Rapa Nui, Easter Island

Not so in North America.  When we were back home in August, I could feel other people’s embarrassment when I nursed Sol, and this saddened me in ways that I am only now beginning to understand.  For one, discomfort is contagious. I felt weird because they felt weird, and the weirdness tainted something that has become so sweet, beautiful and soul-quenching to me.

You see, from puberty onwards, my breasts were something on the outside, protruding from my core, begging for approval.  They have been a source of anxiety, their smallness making me feel insecure and uneasy.  I have looked at them and always thought, “GROW,” because I secretly (and sadly) thought their size was directly proportional to my hotness, which was tantamount to being loved in our visually obsessed culture.

But, today, when I look down at my breasts, and I see my sweet baby nursing, making her soft grunting sounds with eyes softly gazing up at me, I think, my breasts are perfect.  And they are. They are perfect for Sol and me.  I feel whole and complete, and so does she. With milk spilling out the sides of her mouth, she is rapt with pleasure, drunk off my love. I’ve never been so incredibly grateful to my body for providing in a real, quantifiable way the love I feel in my heart.  Aside from some of the most intimate moments that I have shared with Tree, I have never felt this intensely connected to another being.

Hippy Sol and I

I’m pretty sure Sol feels the same way. Interestingly, infants do not have a distinct sense of self.  A baby’s ego is yet to fully form, so where you start and baby begins is blurry (or, intensely clear and enlightened, depending on how you look at it).  I’m no baby specialist, but I believe this based on my own experience. I too felt (and still feel) a blurring of egos and a blending of souls when our bodies are pressed together, as if Sol and I are a part of something bigger than our separate selves.

And we are.  We’re a part of nature. We are interconnected, in both the physical and spiritual sense of the word.

IMG_6312

I don’t usually talk about things like spirits and souls—mostly because I don’t believe in them—but I’ve caught myself using those kinds of words lately to describe the rapture and oneness I feel when I’m swept up in what is wild and natural.  To be clear, when I write ‘soul’, I’m not referring to the invisible identity chip in your chest that lives on after your body dies and acts as a ticket to the afterlife (or maybe just an appearance on Crossing Over with John Edward…inexplicably, I love that show).  Rather, I think of soul as stardust, life force, chi, prana—the  energy that moves through us all—and when I feel aware of and sourced by this energy, I touch the sublime. Rafting down the Colorado River, diving under a wave in the ocean, hiking through the woods, running hard beneath a canopy of jungle, making sweet dirty love, even sharing exquisite food and wine with good friends can give me this soulful feeling of being humbled and exalted at the same time.

In short, soul is that which makes me grateful to be alive.

Rapa Nui Cliffs

Soleil breast feeding over looking the South Pacific sea

And breastfeeding is now in that group.  It’s something that connects me to the wild within. And what is the wild but a perfectly balanced system where life—amazing magnificent phenomenal life!—thrives.

This is why the weirdness I felt in the States saddened me. Because somehow, the most wholesome, natural, and fulfilling things a woman can do with her breasts has been characterized as gross and indecent.  And, yet, breast augmentation surgery has been the #1 cosmetic procedure in the U.S. (and the world) for over a decade.  Between 2000 and 2010, there was a 39% increase in implants, and the stats aren’t slowing down.

big-breasts-and-color-covers-of-russ-meyer-5097-1324213582-7-4

So, let me get this straight, in the culture in which I was born and raised, breastfeeding is weird, but getting surgery to make your boobs bigger is normal???

How did this happen?

Here’s an idea….

Over 80% of kids today have watched a porno before they’ve had their first sexual experience.  In fact, the average age of exposure to Internet porn is 11 years old, and the largest consumer group is aged between 12 and 17 years old.  That means that before kids can fumble around in the dark, exploring each other’s blossoming bodies, being led by their budding senses and bursting curiosity, they have witnessed what society says sex should be like—what we should look like, how we should treat each other—and, it’s not pretty.

I could get into the violence and overt sexism in adult film today, or rant about how the false belief that superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without having affection for one’s partner reinforces the commoditization of sex and the objectification of humans, or I could just complain that pornography makes men shitty lovers and increases rates of sexual dissatisfaction for both sexes, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about boobs.

Or is it? No, actually, it’s not about boobs. It’s not even about breastfeeding.

This post is about intimacy.

It’s not the naked boob that makes Americans feel uncomfortable when a woman breastfeeds in public.  It’s the intimacy. After all, we see naked boobs all the time—kids as young as eight years old do on the Internet while they’re supposed to be doing their homework.

But it’s intimacy that is missing in pornography. It’s intimacy that’s missing in our daily lives.  It doesn’t exist in our professional lives where profit and protocol are more important than personal wellbeing.  It’s missing in our eating habits; 44% of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a week. It’s missing in our relationships with our community, our lovers, and the natural world (82% of Americans live in an urbanized area). Sadly, it’s even missing from our relationship with our own bodies.

And what do we get instead of intimacy?  An ever-shrinking margin in which we are permitted to express ourselves–one that is dictated more by advertisements, profit margins, and corporations than by our own human nature.

Speaking of our nature, I can easily picture a lion lounging under a tree on the African savannah or a shark patrolling the ocean, but I’m not sure what the natural expression of a human should be like.

What do we look like in the wild?

What would we look like if we were living in harmony with the natural world, if we were a part of the balanced ecosystem and not exploiting it, or if we honored our biological drivers instead of sublimated them for civilization? It’s hard saying, but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to look like this.

traffic

Office Worker with Mountain of Paperwork

Tract Housing

It’s no wonder so many of us feel frantic with anxiety and mired in loneliness.  (One out of every four American adults suffers from a mental disorder in a given year; one in ten children is diagnosed with ADHD).

Society’s solution to this problem is rabid consumerism coupled with Xanax and Zoloft.

But maybe we don’t have to live like this, alienated from the wild, unsure of who we are underneath all of these civilized pretenses–ergo clueless about our purpose on this planet. Maybe we can take back our lives and do what we are meant to do: connect as deeply and as often as possible with people, animals and nature. With our giant limbic brain and our protruding neocortex, we are made for intimacy. We are meant to do what feeds our souls and makes us grateful to be alive.

Mind you, I’m not arguing against implants or even pornography.  I understand the desire for implants. I feel it too, but to get them I’d have to be willing to accept that by ‘enhancing’ my breasts, there would be more pressure on other moms to ‘fix’ their post-baby boobs too. Given the choice, I think I’d rather rock my mama breasts with the pride that comes from a job well-done.   Likewise, the more mainstream pornography continues to become, the lonelier, suckier and more unsatisfied both men and women will be in bed. But, neither fake boobs nor pornography are responsible for the dearth of intimacy in our culture.  

We are responsible.  We create our culture, which also means we can change it—one mind at a time.

Let’s start with breastfeeding.   Ladies, let’s get to know our bodies. Intimately.  Let’s trust our bodies. Let’s LOVE our bodies.  And let’s support each other in this process.  Let’s consult midwives, doulas, lactation experts, friends, moms, grandmas, other people’s moms and grandmas.  Let’s demand paid maternity leave (we are the only industrialized nation without it) and the right to pump-on-demand (not on assigned breaks) in the workplace.  Most importantly, let’s be grateful for (rather than critical of) our bodies for being these amazing miracle machines that allow us to experience, create, and FEED life on this planet.  

I know it’s hard to do when our bodies have become so commoditized, when for our entire lives we’ve thought of our breasts as primarily sexual objects, when pregnancy and birth–two natural processes–have become highly medicalized, and when we lack community support and tribal knowledge to guide and encourage us on our path.  But we have to do it, for us and our children.  Before our round pudgy babies have to fit into the square holed cubicles of our fast paced consumerist society, let’s give them the closeness, comfort, and nutrients that nature intended.  The boob is their birthright. They deserve those first intimate moments; and, honestly, we do too.

First Feed

Let’s go outside, someplace dangerous where we might get eaten by a wolf, and then let’s stay there until we’re less afraid that will happen. Let’s stay there until we know the curve of each tree like we do the arc of our lover’s spine, until the sounds of the birds are as familiar as the voices of our friends, until we hear nature’s song in our sleep.

Let’s grow our own food and kill our own meat.  Let’s get blood on our hands and dirt under our nails.  Let’s be conscious and accountable.  Let’s live with intention.

Let’s turn off our televisions and iPads and smart phones and talk to each other. We can start a book club or a gardening group, or hell, maybe a commune.  Let’s live in a traveling tribe!  Or, at least let’s invite our neighbors over for dinner.  And, then, when we’ve broken bread with everyone on our street, let’s invite someone into our home who lives on the street because, I guarantee, he probably needs a square meal as much as we need to break down the barriers of fear that keep us apart.

And, finally, let’s take back our erotic space.  Instead of thinking, I wish your naughty parts looked like perfectly molded prefab ones

big-boobs-shock-toys-vent-toys-tricky-toy

…think, I love your naughty parts because when I pay attention to them like it’s just me and you and time left on this planet, your toes curl and your back arches and the earth stops turning for a moment, just long enough for you to say I love you and really mean it.

I know these seem like small acts of little consequence, but in fact they are subversive acts of mindfulness.  No, this kind of compassion and joie de vivre won’t take the power back from corporations, redistribute wealth, fix the healthcare system, give both parents paid leave, breathe new life into public education, restore the commons or save the collective, but it will humanize the way we spend our days.  These tiny intimate moments will help us remember who we are and who we are meant to be.

More than anything, they are a starting point that will lend a greater purpose to our existence.

And perhaps with a more intimate connection with our bodies, each other, other species, and the wild, we will be inspired to change the way we’ve organized ourselves on this planet to respect life and allow it to thrive.

-Stevie

“We will not fight to save what we do not love.” -Stephen Jay Gould

Easter Island

[Footnote: Today, even though 75 percent of new mothers start out breastfeeding, only 13 percent do it exclusively for 6 months, which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. Why?  Surprisingly, an extensive report on women’s breastfeeding choices recently published in the journal Pediatrics says that it has less to do with reasons we can’t fix, like  medical conditions and work obligations, and more to do with women’s anxiety that their bodies are not producing enough milk (which is usually untrue) or that their babies aren’t latching correctly (which can be fixed). Then, to drive the coffin-nail, add the pain that comes at the start of nursing, unsupportive workplace conditions, and feeling embarrassed while nursing in public, and it’s no wonder why American moms stop breastfeeding so soon. Read more here,  here, and here]

Comments

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS!

  2. Bobbi Scott says:

    Very well said Stevie. I can tell you from experience that having big boobs is not what it is all cracked up to be. Especially when you get them in 5th grade and your name is Bobbi, your nickname becomes Boobie. I have no idea why people are so obsessed with large breasts. I have had the same thoughts throughout my entire life as you, but the opposite, Should I have surgery to make them smaller? Take it from a Double D, they aren’t fun, exciting or anything in between.

    • Oh god, the unholy terror of ten year old boys. I’m sure you can laugh at it now, but that would not be funny AT ALL in 5th grade. As for your ‘girls,’ I’m sure they’ve been their share of fun, exciting and plenty in between for OTHERS 🙂 You’re still looking good, mama!

  3. Claudia Acosta says:

    Well said my friend. There is nothing more intimate than the connection that only a mother and child can have. And nothing more beautiful than breast feeding to build it.

  4. Thanks for sharing Stevie! This is great insight. Reading your stories about being a mother makes me want to be a mom and I never thought I wanted children.

    • If for no other reason, do it for the boobs. Just kidding 🙂 Boobs aside, it’s the most amazing experience I have ever had. TRULY. Someday you’ll make a wonderful mother. oxox.

  5. “We will not fight to save what we do not love.” -Stephen Jay Gould –

    This is KEY. Maybe key in how to ignite people’s passions… Thanks for that!

  6. Best writing yet Stevie, still waiting for the book. I’m in the same boat as Bobbi with the large “problem”. I loved sports and these things were always in my way. Too many stares from boys, men before I even knew why they were looking, ugh. My body image was that it was a problem for me and I always wanted smaller so they wouldn’t be one of the first things noticed, problems, problems, until…I had my son and I had my enlightened moment just as you have. These things have a purpose! Wow! All the trouble and my body works just how it’s supposed too. Loved my entire self for the first time in my life and finally acceptance. I wish all women could have this gift of breastfeeding, it allows you to grow and love, not only the miraculous gift you hold in your arms but yourself in a way that you couldn’t find before. Thanks for the thoughts, it gave me mine.

    • Thank you Pamela! I’m really happy you enjoyed it. Heck, I wish even men could experience the closeness and incredible sense of purpose that comes from breastfeeding. It feels good to do something so intimate and natural, particularly in today’s very NOT intimate and NOT natural culture.

      And thank you for commenting….keeping me inspired!

  7. Nonituyas says:

    OMG my Darling. Gorgeous. Brilliant. As always, your love and concern for the world (and especially Sol) shines through. Send this to a magazine, will you? This is reading for everyone.

  8. Oh your glorious wonder you. I love everything about you, boobs, mind, heart and especially your soul. This was an exquisite read. Thank you for opening your heart to us.

  9. Aside from some of the most intimate moments that I have shared with Tree, I have never felt this intensely connected to another being. –
    Bingo. These are the same feelings I had. Thank you for so eloquently sharing this basic fact of a breast feeding mother. The love blossoms with the blossom!!

  10. I started reading this as Tree and had to quickly re-evaluate!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Beauty…………..

  12. and it gets easier post diapers! Congrats on the “el naturell” way of raising Sol-cita!!

  13. Karen Guancione says:

    Bravissima Stevie, excellent post

  14. LOVE YOU , For Who You Are , Breast Feed All 3 of Ours , and “”HAVE ALWAYS JUST SAID IT LIKE IT WAS.. STILL IS .. And HA HA .. Get in The Dog House For It “” WILL ALWAYS BE ME … SHAME ON THEM !!! I’m ALIVE !!!

  15. Ferdinand Steinvorth says:

    One of the best articles i’ve ever read!

  16. Jim Virgin says:

    That is amazing! Your blog is amazing, that photo is amazing, Sol is amazing, and boobs in general are amazing!

  17. Vivian Valdes Cuevas says:

    Un beso bien grande para ti Amiga!!!!!!!ahhh y otro para la preciosa…

  18. Carly Miller says:

    I love this post but I want to comment on your footnote and I’m trying to word my comments so that they do not come across as combative (far far from it, I promise!). Breastfeeding is not sunshine and roses for every woman. There are many women who try their damndest to make it to those magical milestones (6 months or one year) and if they don’t (often for very real reasons), they feel like they have failed their child or themselves. Where is the call for their support? Breastfeeding is hard work. I breastfed my daughter exclusively for 10 1/2 months and there were many times that I was exhausted and felt used up. But I also felt that if I stopped breastfeeding or began supplementing before making it to a year, I was being selfish or people would think I was just not putting enough effort into it. Sadly, I think that was a product of our society. Toward the end, I had moments of utter despair because my breasts were just not giving my baby the amount of milk she needed. It’s a terrible feeling of inadequacy that I wish upon no one. Today it seems that we encourage breastfeeding almost to the point where if a woman chooses not to, can’t or just doesn’t make it “long enough” there is this passive aggressive judgment of her character. Believe me, I think breastfeeding is absolutely best for babies, but also when it’s best for the mother. It’s extremely frustrating to me that this issue has to be so controversial in the first place. Yes, there needs to be more support for the breastfeeding mother, but more so, there needs to be support for the mother herself and for the fact that she is doing the hardest job around. Instead of judging women by the choices they make or for the way they raise their child, let’s please just stop and give the women of the world one collective hug and say “Girl, you’re doing great!”

    • Thank you Carly for your comment because it was one I whole heartedly agree with and didn’t know how to express. There are countless stories of women and their BF struggles. Real struggles that break your heart and it boils down to women need support and babies need to be fed. End of story. A website I enjoy that addresses this issue is FearlessFormulaFeeder.com and #Isupportyou.

    • Hey Ladies,

      I just got finished writing my big long response to your super classy and compassionate comment that I really wanted to expand upon, and my internet died and WordPress refreshed and I lost it. Sooooo, please be patient, I’m getting there. Reply coming…xo.

    • Hey Carly (and Alexis too),

      Thank you for bringing this subject up with such class and compassion. I wanted to dive deeper into breastfeeding in the blog, but it was already so long (as one commenter kindly pointed out), and this post was more about how breastfeeding is an intimate act that connects me to my nature–the wild within–and how that connection gives me a deeper sense of purpose and makes me feel complete and ‘soulful’ (i.e.grateful to be alive). Contrarily, when I don’t feel connected to this inner-nature, and I’m looking at the world through our fast-paced, visually obsessed, capitalist/consumerist goggles, I often feel anxious, insecure, and the need to buy things 🙂 However, as I mention in the post, there are many ways to have intimate moments and connect to the wild (inside and outside), and my aim is simply to inspire people to do so. Breastfeeding is one way that I personally find amazing, obviously, but my intention is definitely not to criticize or judge those who don’t agree or struggle with it.

      Now, about that footnote. The footnote (with the three links to other articles) is about the recent study that was published in the journal Pediatrics about women’s breastfeeding choices. Here’s an excerpt from one of them:

      “A team of researchers conducted over 2,700 interviews with 532 first-time mothers multiple times after they gave birth, starting 24 hours after delivery and ending at 60 days postpartum, about their breast-feeding choices. They report in the journal Pediatrics that women who worried from the start about their ability to nurse their infants were more likely to switch to formula sooner than those who didn’t have these concerns. By the third day after delivering, over half of these women were worried about their babies’ ability to latch on, while 44% were concerned about breast-feeding pain, and 40% about their capacity to produce enough milk to nourish their infants. These results support earlier studies that found that new moms often don’t have proper support and education about breast-feeding, which can lead to anxiety and a greater likelihood of stopping nursing.”

      What I find salient about the study is that most women want to breastfeed, and even try it, but before they leave the hospital, they have concerns that will make them 7 to 9 times more likely to quit breastfeeding very early on. And although there is a small percentage of women who have medical reasons that prevent them from nursing, most women’s concerns are really just anxieties that researchers seem to think can be quelled with more support and education. I agree, to an extent, but I also think that many women know about the heavily extolled virtues of bfeeding, they know about the guidelines from the APA and the WHO, and they reach out to lactation consultants and family members, but still they struggle and end up feeling pressured and judged. Why?

      I think it’s because it’s less a cerebral problem and more a problem of intimacy, or lack thereof, in our culture. We have to remember that these anxieties are modern. Historically, women have been successfully bfeeding since our creation (and the few that struggled used wet nurses before the invention of formula in the early 20th century). The reason that women don’t feel natural doing something that is very natural has more to do with our culture, I think, than a lack of education or support. We are so estranged from nature, from our own bodies, that 1) we don’t trust the process; 2) Our breasts have become so commiditized and sexualized that we have totally lost touch with their true function. We think of them as naughty bits that should look one way (big and firm) with the sole purpose of attracting men and raising our worth/status in our visually obsessed society. Consequently, many women are even creeped out by a baby sucking on their nipples, a zone they feel is too erogenous, an act too sexual and ‘weird’; and, the one that really gets me, 3) It doesn’t help that even though bfeeding is sooooo recommended, it’s also considered indecent and is barely tolerated in public. Sure, many women are starting to say f*ck it and do it anyway, but for those that aren’t inclined to live on the edge of normalcy, it’s not comfortable. No one wants to make other people feel uneasy, or have people stare, and feel like you’re a ‘scene’ or a freak-show or doing something naughty in public that should be hidden or covered up. Culturally, we send women mixed messages….Do this thing that is VITAL for your baby, but it’s also a creepy and dirty thing to do so go hide in the gross public bathroom and apologize for it.

      So what to do? I just read an article that I think offers a solution. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/14/breastfeeding-pictures-poses-facebook-bans

      Basically, it says that we need to start seeing breastfeeding in order to normalize it. I agree, in our visually obsessed culture, this tactic makes more sense to me than barking more guidelines and scare tactics. We need to see it on FB (btw, bfeeding images are banned on FB. It’s okay to post hundreds of photos of yourself almost nude looking like a hooch, but no bfeeding because that’s indecent. WTF?). We need to see it in commercials, magazines, television shows, billboards, and movies. Maybe then the collective consciousness will change and the message moms get from our culture will correspond with the WHO recommendations.

      Also, as I say at the end of the post, I think that we need to actively and consciously pursue intimacy in our daily lives. Intimacy with each other, our bodies, the wild, and even other species will reconnect us to our nature, the wild within. Our personal health and the health of the planet depend on it.

      I could go on and on about this subject. I didn’t even get into how and why and by whom formula was invented and promoted, or how it is heavily subsidized industry by our govt today, and offered for free in most hospitals in the U.S. Talk about ‘pressure’. But, alas, this comment is too long now too 🙂

      I’ll end by also clarifying that if a woman decides not to breastfeed, or can’t for a medical or job reason or just because she doesn’t want to, I have no judgment. I support a woman’s choice about HER body. Formula has come a long way since the scary days, and our babies need happy mamas who feel good about themselves more than anything. All of my above comments are intended for that huge chunk of women who want to breastfeed, try to breastfeed, but quit early on because they struggle with anxiety about it, and then feel pressured and like crap for not being able to. And, it goes without saying that women should breastfeed for as long as they want, are able, or their baby wants. That’s a personal choice that will vary from one mama-baby to another.

      Again, thanks for bringing this up. It’s important for all moms to feel supported in their choices–the trick is how to do that successfully.

      Much love mamas!

  19. Wow, you’ve touched on so many important issues which just highlights how interconnected everything is and we really can’t isolate these cultural problems from each other. It’s all part of the conversation.

  20. Stevie, from an a barely B on a good day, thank you for a beautiful piece of love and inspiration. Remarkable insights on many levels.
    we are getting closer to chasing you two down…bought the camper, said good bye to our Lola girl – we are leaving soon. Cheers, Paula

  21. Heather Dougherty-Acevedo says:

    I never had a desire to have bigger boobs but I have to say that when my milk came in, I was madly in love with my new gigantic boobs. I breast fed my twins at the same time (because I’m efficient like that) and loved every minute of it. It’s my post breast feeding boobs that I’m still learning to love and accept. I’m certain they will never be the same but why would I want them to be? After all, they survived a one year battle that was beautiful, short-lived and will never happen again. Lastly I’ve seen many a boob that look a lot worse than mine and they aren’t on the body of mothers. A good reminder that mine still look pretty damn good!

    Love from the PNW

    • Heather! It’s great to hear from you. We miss you on the FB, but we understand your absence. Super BRAVO for bfeeding twins. Holy shit balls, girl. You are amazing. And so are your boobs. Love them. Don’t compare them to ANY other boobs. Don’t buy into that shit. Think of how awesome they have been to you–the pleasure they give, and the nourishment they gave your boys. Love on ’em. Rock those mama breasts. With PRIDE. xo.

  22. Peggy Ditch-Langdon says:

    You are magnificent!!

  23. Heather Villano Heyert says:

    Neither of my boys would tolerate the cover when I breast fed, I had it all out. People had to deal with it. I never got a complaint, which surprised me.

  24. Way too long–I lost interest about a quarter of the way through.

  25. Awesome 🙂 I love your writing. You say so eloquently what I am thinking. I am 56 so things were different (or maybe not so different) when I had my children. I breastfed my babies with not one ounce of support. I heard comments about how disgusting it was, how it was uncivilized (really?), and worse., and was forced to go into bedrooms or hiding to spare anyone the embarrassment of my choice to feed my babies. I wish I had been stronger & bolder back then. Today I would tell them all to go to hell. And I have always wondered why it’s okay for men to use our bodies as they feel fit and yet we aren’t allowed to use our bodies as WE feel fit. It never made sense to me. I hope young women can start to cast aside the expectations of society & find their own way in the world, just like you are doing. Your blog inspires me to continue to take the road less traveled & enjoy the rest of my life the way I want to. Eyes trapped behind crowded cities and endless work in an office lose their ability to see and we miss out on the awe & wonder of the universe. Enjoy your life adventure! Thank you for sharing what is REAL! I hope it becomes a movement ♥

    • Hey Lori,

      Bravo to you for breastfeeding when there was so much ugliness to endure and so little support to keep you going. I’m sorry that you didn’t get the public love (and maybe even private love) and recognition you deserved. I”ll try to make up for it now. WOOOOOOOH!!! GO LORI!! YOU’RE AMAZING!!! YOUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT AND PATIENCE AND STRENGTH SPEAK VOLUMES. YOU ARE HEARD, YOU ARE MAGNIFICENT, YOU ARE MOTHER.

      WE ARE A MOVEMENT. XO.

      • You are too sweet 🙂 That is the first time I’ve ever heard those words. Brings tears to my eyes. I was raised by a mother who didn’t want to be a mother and I was born loving babies so I was on my own when it came to motherhood and any mentoring or support from family. I was the only one of my siblings to have children so there was no one close to share the joys with. It’s awesome to know there are young women who are brave enough to stand & say enough of this garbage, I will stand & be heard & I will raise (& feed) my children the way I want to! Hooray for you!

  26. Thank you. I love what you have written. I am going to be thinking it over for a while. Good stuff!

  27. (.)(.)
    Hey Stevie………

    Why do mermaids wear sea shells?

    Their boobs are too big to B shells.

    Nothing intelligent to say here. GO BOOBS, I’m a huge fan.

  28. Michael Fitzpatrick says:

    Beautifully written Stevie:)

  29. Georgia Bennett says:

    LOVE this post x

  30. I can’t believe people made you uncomfortable about breast feeding in the states! That’s terrible! I breast fed my 4 babies and would have kicked ass if someone gave me a look! I hope you told those people to F off!

  31. Leah Foster Harb says:

    So many nuggets of goodness and brilliance in this post. Love it all.

  32. Anonymous says:

    There’s nothing wrong with my attention span. It’s up to the author to hold my attention. But, hey, even the best writers can’t please all the people all the time.

    • I’m sorry this post didn’t speak to you. Maybe next time it will be more your cup of tea. Thank you for giving it a shot though. xo.

      • You are very kind and gracious to Mr. or Ms. Obnoxious! Why does someone like that even comment? Your post was fantastic. I think all women want what they don’t have. Isn’t it a matter of how we look at ourselves? I know II must say to myself “I’ve got strong thighs; small waist; enough on top (A cup)”. Apparently my proportion is just right for my hubby. Love your and Tree’s postings. You are friends with my lovely SIL so maybe we will meet in the future. Keep writing!

  33. Mark Hudon says:

    Awesome post. A Mom breastfeeding their child is the most beautiful thing in the world!

  34. Hola!
    I miss the little bits of conversing I used to do with yall when I was on FaceBook (I left the facebook land a year or so ago)
    I LOVE when I see a Stevie post these days! They are a smidge fewer & further between, but I know I am going to get a healthy dose of love, insight, knowledge, and sometimes shed a tear. (I love love Tree’s posts too; make no mistake! His are exciting, raucous, sweet, & entertaining updates, etc, and my climbing/surfing/mountaineering boyfriend always recognizes that he and Tree would IMMEDIATELY get along. Well.)
    But Stevie I love your insight very much. Living and working in LA (albeit flying little airplanes; my life isn’t the same rat race as others..) I often need this reminder of what I really love and what is really important and I need my seeing eye dogs of Stevie and Tree and Sol, reminding me of what else is in the world.
    la lalala anyway, yalls posts are always great, and you’re one of few people I’m tempted to rejoin facebook for, if only to keep up, check in, and make little comments!
    🙂

    • Hey Liz. It’s so nice to hear from you! I’ve been wondering where you’ve been. I always liked your profile pic….sexy and innocent at the same time 🙂 Thank you for the kind words of support. I really appreciate them, keeps me inspired. Now that you’re not on FB, you need to keep in touch via the blog more. Wishing you the best. xoxo

  35. I loved this post! I loved how you talked about the soul! I breast fed Wyatt for 14 months and Finn is still going strong at 17 months. Its truly special, but I don’t do it public – it does feel weird here to do it in public. This post as made me really think about why I feel that way…. LOVED this post!!!

  36. Stevie, Wow ♥ ♥ ♥!! Thank You for being You!! I will never forget my Mom telling me to cover up or go outside to nurse Kyler while we were eating out at a restaurant. What was the most hurtful was that my sister was breastfeeding her daughter right next to me but that wasn’t a problem because she had smaller breasts. GGggrrrr way to make new Mama feel crappy about herself! I was floored that she felt it was inappropriate for me to feed my own daughter where I was just because I was showing more skin. Especially since she had breastfed all 4 of her kids. Anyway, THANK YOU!! Much Love to your Beautiful Family ♥ oh yeah maybe sometime you could write something that Won’t make me cry? 😉

    • Hey Megan,
      I’m sorry that your mom was so weird about that. Her response would have really hurt my feelings too. I blame it on the crossed wires of generations prior about breastfeeding in general. It hurts to think that you felt awkward or ashamed even for a second. I hope you shook it off in short time. If not, at least now I’m sure you don’t own that shit and instead you give it right back where it belongs–on them (the gawkers and finger-waggers and cover-police), not you. You’re an amazing mom. TRULY. You are dedicated, present, informed, and so tender, patient, and loving. And I am so proud of your Zumba success and the way you inspire others. I love you lady. Can’t wait until we see each other again. Until then, kiss the babies. xoxo.

  37. I LOVE your writing! Just beautiful!!

  38. I love your boobs.
    xoD.

  39. Runn E. noes says:

    Oh la la!
    Hot and spicy!

  40. Runn E. noes says:

    Oh la la!
    Hot and spicy!!!

  41. Runn E. noes says:

    Oh la la!
    Hot and spicy!!!Nnnnn

  42. Beautiful. Can’t wait to become a mama.

  43. This post iis invaluable. Ꮤhere can Ⅰ fіnd out moгe?

We want to hear from you! You may comment as 'Anonymous' to hide your identity if you don't want to leave your name. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speak Your Mind

Your comments make us happy.

Leave a comment, get a kitten!