Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Warning: this post is about my boobs. If this makes you, don't read it.

Zadie loves my breasts. Really, really loves them. I don't mean just that she loves nursing and shows no signs of being anywhere near ready to wean (though Clare self-weaned without regrets just after a year). I mean, she loves my "mammies." She named them. She pats them. She plays peekaboo with them. She pounces on them like a duck on a junebug, joyfully with abandon and utter shameless enjoyment. She occasionally gives them thank-you kisses after breastfeeding. Sometimes she says "thank you" to them. To them, not me; I'm not sure that she believes they're a part of me, but more like entities in their own right. She. Loves. MyHer. Mammies.

It's a little disconcerting, even for me.

But also? It's awesome.

Because I, too, love my breasts. Remember how Annie Potts in Pretty in Pink exclaimed, "I did! I LOVED my BUTT!" Yeah. That's how I feel. I love'em. They rock.

I did a thing recently for LoveBoldly where I talked about the ongoing process of learning to love my body. There, I talked about first learning to love my sexy body--learning to accept that sexuality was a part of who I am, but also, learning to see my body as sexy, a process which required seeing myself through the relocated gaze of a lover's eyes. And I talked about learning to love my postpartum body, not an easy thing in this culture which teaches us that it's great to have a baby but for goodness sake, don't look like you just did. Part of that is remembering this body is also sexy, and again, that means learning to see my body refracted through the appreciation of another. But sex is not the whole story here, and even within the context of a committed and loving relationship, seeing your body solely as desirable in that single way is to limit yourself and your notions of who you are and what your body is.

So part of this ongoingness is learning to love my breasts in a whole new way, in light of my daughter's fervent love of them.

It's partly analogous to the way that sports teach you to love your body for what it can do. I love my breasts in the same way that I love the strength of my maternal arms that pick up, carry, swing around, support and roughhouse all day long. I love my breasts the same way I love the way my legs can propel me around the park strong behind the new jogging stroller. I love them for what they do. It's what I learned in giving birth to both my kids "naturally"--I love what my body can do.

But neither is this the whole story, and this is my new discovery. From my perspective it's easy to love the nurturing milkmaking function of this body. But Zadie's appreciation goes far beyond the instrumental. And it's teaching me to pay attention to the ways that her love of my body is mirrored in the way I adore hers, and Clare's--not for what they can do, or because they're the cutest kids on the planet, but because they are who they are. I love their toes, their "belly-bees," their amazing blue eyes, the funny wispy baby hair, their snaggleteeth, their dimples, their stinky baby butts when I change their diapers. Because in loving all these things I am simply loving them. There's no separating the body from the person.

So, I love my mammies. Without reserve or qualification. Now, to work on the rest of me: the yucky feet, the growing collection of kitchen clumsiness scars, the spider veins, the stretch marks. This is me. 


Jenny said...

Aww...This post is so sweet. I wonder if babies are affected by pheromones the same way men are.

TKP said...

Great, great post! I hope you guest blog for The Leaky Boob sometime!