Archive for November, 2014

On My Breast Behavior

Utterly sweet

So I took some heat for this photo that I posted on Facebook. After a quickly withdrawn comment, my Friend sent me the following message: “Hey Michelle – I really like that pic of you with both boobs hangin out and all, but don’t you think it’s a little much for Facebook? Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I think that you should keep that one private, or just for family…don’t mean to hurt your feelings or anything – just my opinion.”

This is a photo of me and the twins on Halloween and I had just fed them. They were dressed up as cows and I was wearing black and white, so I thought it was “utterly” adorable. It shows them after they’ve eaten but before I covered my breast back up with my bra. Although there is a lot of cleavage and side-boob in the shot, my nipples are completely hidden by their little heads.

I hadn’t been posting lot of pictures on Facebook (who’s got time) and don’t usually get many “likes” when I do. I limit my FB friends to people I know personally or with whom I have a familial or real life connection. In total, I have 106 Facebook friends, far less than the average 338. There is no one on that list that I wouldn’t breastfeed around. As a matter of fact, I have no qualms about breastfeeding in public (as I have a legally protected right to do – see reference below). I don’t feel like I need a cover that hides my babies’ faces from me either. A simple light blanket or burp cloth that shields their mouths and my nipples is just fine with me and they love the comfort that looking up and seeing mommy’s loving gaze brings.

First, I will address the whole “boobs hangin out” part of the comment. Everywhere you look in our culture, you see breasts. They have become synonymous with our sex crazed culture. Maybe that’s what bothered my friend so much. Perhaps that person has been so inundated with pop culture’s use of associating breasts with sex, that seeing them on display in a public forum being used in an innocent context was unsettling. What’s unsettling to me is that my children are growing up in a world where breasts being utilized for their intended use is criticized but you can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or stand in a checkout line without seeing revealing imagines of the female body.

Commercials (during Prime Time):

sexy image 2  sexy image

Celebrities:

sexy image 3  sexy image 5
Magazines (at my 6 year-old’s eye level):

sexy image 4  sexy image
Billboard:

sexy image 6

Second, I will address the assertion that my friend “may be old-fashioned”. I believe the opposite to be true. It was only in the advancement of modern scientific discovery and innovation during the 1900s that the rise and fall of bottle feeding occur. Infant formula was advertised and touted as a perfectly equal substitute for breast milk. At the same time, the use of bottles became more prevalent. This is a statement from the National Center for Biotechnology: “Currently, many believe the development and advertisement of infant formula has once again negatively impacted the practice of breastfeeding. Although the breastfeeding rate was 90% in the 20th century, it has decreased to approximately 42% in the 21st century (Gaynor, 2003; Wright, 2007).” Although I’m sure my great, great grandmother would have objected to a bikini on the beach (or even a one-piece), I doubt she would have registered for an “utter cover.”
Check out these beautiful historical images of mothers breastfeeding:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/southerndisposition/25-historical-images-that-normalize-breastfeeding-jlw6
Warning: Below are some more adorable pictures (which I did not post of facebook)- for the squeamish – Look Away!
Breastfeeding  Breastfeeding Bella  Breastfeeding Brooks  Breastfeeding  Breastfeeding  breastfeeding

Finally, my feelings are not hurt. Thank you, Friend, for your concern.

Double Talk Quote: Me to Amor, who had asked how to tell if breast milk was still good while I was distracted washing bottles: “Well, you smell it, you taste it, and if it’s good, eat it!” – instead of saying if it’s good feed it to the babies.

Bible Verse: Exodus 2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

Word that has Lost its meaning: Shame

Relatable Laws: NC § 14 190.9. Indecent exposure. (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

November 23, 2014 (4 months, 4 weeks)

Update:  The Friend who sent me the message was my mother.

I am Super

I am Super - Happy Birthday

My name is Michelle. Daddy nicknamed me Belle as a baby, probably because of The Beatles’ influence in his life (Michelle, ma belle) . As I grew older, he started calling me SuperBelle. Sometimes he would shorten it to “Super”. I can still hear his voice in my head saying, “Hey Super” as I walked in the door. He would always give me bells and Supergirl relics. He also wrote a song about me with lyrics like “She’s so super, yeah, … she’s so special, yeah, she’s a supergirl” and endearingly ended it with the verse, “God’s gift of Love.”

I didn’t feel right about calling myself Super. Even during manic episodes, when I felt super, it seemed prideful. At one point, I did have an email account calling myself SuperBelle. But I eventually went with something more humble. I had low self-esteem, and I always wondered why he thought I was so super. I thought maybe it was just because he was my daddy, and he was bias or it was just lip service. But maybe there was something in me that I couldn’t see.

Daddy died Christmas 2010 from complications of untreated Bipolar Disorder.

During my second pregnancy, just before I found out I was having twins, I was in a bad place. I was depressed. I felt inadequate. And Daddy wasn’t there to see me through it. All my life, he had been such an encouragement to me. After he died, and I didn’t have someone cheering me on, everything just seemed so hard.

Just after the babies were born, I was listening to a lullaby by Twila Paris, one of my daddy’s favorite Christian artists. I heard the lyrics:

“…God was with you long before the day that you were born
And if you don’t have a daddy
He will be your father too
And He will always keep you in His sight
When it gets too dark to stay ahead
And you can’t find your way it will be alright
He will be your guiding light”

I realized – I’m God’s child. So my earthly daddy’s not here anymore. But God is. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He thinks I’m Super. I am SuperBelle. I am a SuperMommy.

Double Talk Quote: “I think Grandpa asked God to give you twins” – Mica

Verse: Psalm 139:1-18 “15…when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together …. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious toward me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.”

Word that has Lost its meaning: can’t

Relatable Lyrics: Sandi Patty – Masterpiece (dedicated to Mica, Brooks, Bella, & Asher)

written October 5, 2014 (3 months old)

Holding On

Holding On

Suicidal thoughts
No one knows me
No one cares or pays attention
Mica needs me
The babies need me
So I live
I survive
So one day they will thrive

Tempted to fall off the wagon.
If I give in, I will have made it 2 years 9 months and 2 days
At least Daddy made it 10 years
He never let me see the struggle then
From age 4 to 14, he was there, sober, holding on.

Double Talk Quote: “I give you an arm and you take a leg.” – Amor

Verse: Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Word that has Lost its meaning: Try

Relatable Lyrics: “Going Through Changes” (replace the word “fame” with “family”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owpSzlGRB_0

Silver

DreamStar2

Everyday I pray for you
Even when I am away from you
You’re always on my mind
Even in the time…
When it’s raining

Everyday’s a gift from God
Even in the mist, it’s odd
He’s always in my heart
Even in the dark…
When it’s raining

Everyday God holds me near
Even catches every tear
I’m always in his hands
He knows all His plans…
When the Storm’s near

Everyday He holds you too
He also has his plans for you
To work out for your good
He promised that it would…
When the storm’s here

Stop right there
There’s no denying
God’s right here so stop that crying
Every rainy cloud is lined with Silver
Stop right there
Just keep believing
The sun’s still there
You just can’t see it
With every rainy day,
Hope is on its way…
Every rainy cloud is lined with Silver

I’ve fought & battled evil
I’ve soared on wings of eagles
There’re moments when it’s tough
But keep on looking up…
And you’ll see …

Silver

Stop right there
There’s no denying
I may be wrong
But I ain’t lying
Every rainy cloud is lined with Silver
Stop right there
Just keep believing
The sun’s still there
You just can’t see it
With every rainy day,
Hope is on its way…
Every rainy cloud is lined with Silver

Stop right there

– Brooks & Michelle Ward

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