“Why aren’t guys looking at me but you?”
“Once you grow breasts, they will,” said my teenage sister to the adolescent me.
“I don’t want them. I want to be like a boy,” was my confused tom-boyish response, as we walked down the street, donning loose t-shirts and slacks.
Obviously, I had no clue what I was saying. And once we moved from skinny sisters to well-bosomed, we turned eyes almost everywhere. The only education we received was from movies, and peers – “breasts are your assets, flaunt them, they make you attractive.” And that’s about it. For many years, I believed that was the only purpose of breasts – to attract, until the occasional stumbling upon melodramatic dialogues of mothers’ bosoms in Hindi movies. Who can forget the movie “Doodh ka karz?” We would pick that movie name for dumb charades to embarrass our competitor.
As I write this, my baby Zara is lying next to me, after having fallen asleep, nursing on my breasts …
Yes, that same ‘only-for-attraction-bosom’ now has a whole different and wonderful purpose now. I’m left speechless at God’s perfect creation.
As a single, I only saw close relatives feed babies and all I could do was observe how dark their areola had become, or ask stupid questions about sagging, or just not look. I’ve heard about moms cribbing about the shape and size and how bad they feel about looking fat, and that’s about it. Not a single nursing mother I knew ever told me what I’m about to tell you now.
The bosom of a mother is not just for milk supply, but for comfort, care, nourishment and love like nothing else can ever do for a newborn baby. Initially, for the first two months, I was caught up in trying to feed my baby right and my focus was totally on milk supply. But when Zara (my tiny preemie), would just sleep on my bosom, while I wrapped her around me (Kangaroo mother care), I slowly started to discover what comfort she finds there. Doctors said her heart beat would be regulated as she lied on my chest and even her body temperature. This was the first three months.
Enter fourth month, and I moved over the hurdle of low milk supply, learned how to make her latch properly and became confident about breastfeeding. Before I knew it, it was fifth month and babies really need exclusive breastmilk only till six months, and then it hit me — I’m gonna miss it when it’s over. (This, my sister did tell me that I would miss breastfeeding).
Now, 7 months and 3 weeks old, Zara loves my bosom and she expresses it so well. She actually, in her own sweet way, knocks on my shirt, by actually beating with her little hands, because she knows what’s behind it … her place of utmost comfort, relief, de-stress, her exclusive spa-like-feeling, just hers, her place of utmost pacification and love … she actually hugs my breast while feeding and then keeps a tight hold while falling asleep. The peace and calm on her face says it all. She is in heaven. Mark calls it drunken face.
And for that one peaceful look on her face, I’ll do it all over again. It is worth the 3-times-bigger-breast-size, it is worth the shift from round-firmness to tender-softness, it is worth wearing a non-push-up-non-glamorous-nursing-bra to be ready for her anytime, it worth buying only nursing-friendly-tops for may be one whole-year or just wearing the same few good ones repeatedly, it is worth the little discomfort while lying down and feeding, it is worth not-being-able-to-sleep-next-to-my-husband for many months … it is all worth it — I would do anything to have her in these arms tonight, night after night, day after day.
She loves her playtime, screams and yells, crawls and makes spit bubbles, fondly plays with her dad, her grandparents, enjoys eating semi-solids now, gets super excited while washing her hands in the sink, and after all, when she needs to rest, to relax, to sleep, to unwind, she comes back to the bosom. My mom says it this way, “Oh time up now. Nothing we do will satisfy her now. She needs your breast.” And I abandon everything I’m doing— I can quicken my loo-time, gulp my food down or pack it in a bowl, fast-track my shower, anything — when I hear that cry, I know that sound, I know she beckons, I just run to her, and everything else takes a back seat … I have to let her have her luxury. And in return, I have mine. The best feeling in the whole world! I don’t even know when I fall asleep!
Oxytocin is the hormone released during nursing which is the same hormone that helps us bond with people, the chemical released in the brain when a person falls in love. No doubt, I’m in love again.
What love is this! I feel immense satisfaction feeding her too, as if, one of my purposes as a woman is fulfilled, and that is true. We have our periods for many years of our life, preparing us to get pregnant, and everything in our body prepares us for this beautiful thing called motherhood. Dear women, I’m telling you, it is such a natural instinct – to want to nurse, and hold the baby in your bosom — nothing comes close. This is an irreplaceable time in my life and that’s why I want to journal it. You will experience this too.
My heart goes out to all the young girls out there who, for some reason, don’t like their breasts. You feel they are too small or too big, or too dark, or too fair — it is all rubbish. Those are the lies from the pit of hell! I’ve seen women with really small breasts and really big ones, both being very attractive, and both finding husbands who love them just the way they are. I have a newfound appreciation for my breasts now. I can’t care about size and looks. I’m beyond that now. I just thank God for my breasts, and I celebrate them the way they are. You need to do that too.
One day you will find a man who will love you and love your form, and who will find you very attractive the way you are (wait for that man). And one day, a beautiful baby will love your breasts like no one can ever do, and give them a bear-hug, and put you to sleep, and in those moments, when you wake up, you think you slept for 2 hours, but it is just 30 minutes, and you discover, you just had the best, deepest, nap-times of your life … you begin to wonder at the beauty of your bosom.
Your baby will teach you to love your breasts because she doesn’t care for the size or the colour. She will want it so many times, it makes you feel wanted and loved.
Sacrificial giving is what we brag about as moms, but I’m telling you, we are not getting nothing in return — as we keep giving love, we keep receiving too. Zara looks into my eyes, romantically, smiles as she feeds; sometimes she stares into my eyes longer than my husband ever did. I’m in love all over again, I love my baby, she loves my bosom, and I will make it available to my baby as long as she needs it. I feel so fulfilled … and this is just the beginning.
God says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!” (Is 49:15)