I was 28 when my daughter was born. With a typical pregnancy you will gain 35 (or so) pounds. I gained a few more than 70. No, it’s not a typo, I was a chili cheese fry eating machine (I also jammed a few pounds of cotton candy down my throat each week).
Giving birth was easy, suckling was natural and we sent the lactation consultant out of the room. Jane and I knew what to do. Parenting an infant was the easiest thing in the world to me. I was a little surprised that I still looked pregnant after giving birth (no one tells you that) but there was one remarkably stunning moment in my adult life that I’ve shared with no one until today.
The first day of milk boobs.
Oh. My. Goodness. The morning I woke up and my milk had come in was one of the most humiliating/funny/sad/empowering mornings of my adult life. I woke up with a sore chest, to be sure. I walked into the bathroom, turned on the light and caught a glimpse of what had to be a stranger in the mirror.
My tits were huge! Not like your Granny’s weird boob huge, but holy crap what are they watermelons? Huge. So I sat down and cried a little. I instantly mourned the end of my young body. Looking in the mirror I could see before and after.
Before was everything from the breasts down. I was fat and gooey, bloated and lumpy. I was wearing a fat suit that I’d never wanted to own. Oh but up top was another story, there were grotesque inflated and lumpy breasts swollen with milk and looking like plastic surgery gone awry, my breasts were the after photo for plastic surgery. After was ugly too.
Once I got done feeling sorry for myself I did have a good chuckle. It’s funny what our bodies can do. Frankly, the breastfeeding did a lot to get my humor back. Those hormones are soothing not just for Mom but for baby too.
Jane and I continued our nursing for 18 months. It was the right amount of time for us. I never read a breastfeeding book because I was lucky enough to have a few good girlfriends and a mother to guide me. My story with my son is quite different and laden with difficulties but I can tell you this with certainty. You need to do what’s right for you. Bottles are much more complicated in the middle of the night (uh, if you’re not up in the middle of the night you probably aren’t my friend), infinitely more expensive, easier to lose and they only soothe the baby, not the mother. But the boobs… they’re the complete package and funny to look at too.