3.24.2011

all the fellas in the house


I wish I knew whose illustration this was.  Illustration by Gustav Klimt. It came to us on the front of a card after Elijah was born, & I immediately loved the image but felt disappointment wash over me realizing that the giver felt the need to draw over the nipple. Consequently drawing attention away from the breastfeeding relationship between mother & child.

So now I'm wondering... how wide is the circle of people (family, friends, acquaintances) among whom I feel at ease while nursing my baby? In order for the food to even flow both tiny & mama have to be relaxed, not in a rush, etc. And what happens in my emotions when I look up to realize that someone in the room, regardless of age or gender, is staring in shock? Last time I felt fine nursing without a cover around extended fam & certain couples in Richmond (having had a convo first to make sure it's cool around their older kids). The thing that drives me nuts is that the whole topic is so hush-hush. It never occurred to me (until my mum mentioned it) that my brother was uncomfortable but wouldn't say anything to Nic or I. No wonder we never saw him those first 6 months! Around other people's kids, it seems to differ whether they've seen their own mom nurse or not. Some boys we know see women nursing & aren't phased; others are awkward & seem to have received no instruction on the difference between seeing vs. staring. Why? I do not know. Along with teaching Elijah bathroom etiquette (we have a closed-door, knock-first policy) & the difference between our house rules vs. other houses, I intend on helping him with breastfeeding etiquette with Nic's help.

This is a family issue, not just a woman's issue: we have the boobs, yes. But unless dads/husbands/brothers/fathers get over the phobia & really support their wives/daughters/sisters I doubt breastfeeding will become a relaxed part of Western life. And how does the age of the baby change people's comfort level? Elijah weaned himself at 9-10 months, understandable since I was in my second trimester already & probably not producing the quantity or quality he was used to. But I was crushed. He's a big boy now, but so cuddly that I wonder if I'd still be nursing him if I could. Some of our friends nurse their toddlers; others seem to feel social or familial pressure to wean at arbitrary points. At 6 months... when they eat solid food... at one year... when they have teeth... once they can ask to nurse... How about weaning when both mama & baby are ready to end the breastfeeding relationship? Because it is a unique & priceless relationship.

3 comments:

Bombproof said...

gustav klimt mother and child :)

© 2008-2010 Megan Clinch said...

nice! thanks.

Kelly said...

Love that picture adn I agree with you about the star

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