“It doesn’t look like the boob fairy has arrived yet Nome. Are you sure she knows where you live?” These are the kind of helpful comments your brothers throw your pregnant way. That and referring to you as a ‘big unit’, which they assure me is a compliment. This issue of the size of my boobs could become crucial today as I attend a two-hour seminar on breastfeeding. Apparently it’s not as easy as pulling out your boob and wacking your baby’s head onto the milk outlet. There are things like inverted nipples, mastitis (which, from what I understand sounds like something I should try to avoid) and uterine contractions (now that’s something I didn’t know about. Although, to be honest, there is a lot I didn’t know about). It seems the act of breastfeeding causes the uterus to contract and return to its normal size. Which sounds like a good thing, but after coming through labour I doubt you want reminding of the feeling every three hours). Then there’s leakage which can occur whenever you see a baby, or even hear one cry, even if it’s not your own. What is that about? I hope my boobs are a little more discretionary and at least only leak when it’s their own baby crying. I mean really, am I meant to offer my boobs up to any passing child? No wonder women get mastitis.
And does size matter? Because we watched a video about breastfeeding in birth class and all the women who offered their mammary glands up for filming were rather well endowed. To say the very least. I don’t know what they looked like pre-baby, but what we saw on that film was just plain scary. Bulbous, gelatinous masses, spread out on pillows like pasty, discontent amoebas, blobbing and morphing, smothering the child with their massive size. No wonder the newborns were crying, I wanted to too, and I was just watching. And my brother is right. The boob fairy has not yet paid me a visit and I’m wondering if this is going to adversely affect my child’s chance of survival. I mean I know I can always bottle feed, but I’m a tight arse and breastfeeding is free. And requires zero preparation…apart from this two-hour course which will apparently make everything clear. Do they give you a plastic doll to practice on? I hope not. That just sounds weird. Though I don’t want a live demonstrator either. I’m sick of seeing obliging women’s private parts. Don’t they have any shame? Or sense of privacy? Perhaps they see it as doing a good deed for the sisterhood, and I appreciate their sense of duty, but I’d rather they just be on the other end of the phone if I call for a bit of advice. It’s also been suggested that we start preparing by wearing our maternity bras, niftily designed numbers that have an easy release clip so you can breastfeed in public without having to embarrass yourself. But I bought mine when we were back in the US (they were only fourteen bucks each and this little penny-pincher just couldn’t resist such a deal) and I did the size conversion incorrectly and bought the wrong ones. From all my years as a semi-non-serious swimmer, my back is broader than the average lass and when I take the bra off, the marks on my skin look like I might be into a bit of S and M, which is not a good look for a thirty-four week pregnant broad. Besides, they’re rather utilitarian numbers, not at all attractive, and I am having enough trouble reconciling the fact that I will have to give up my g-strings for sensible, high-waisted, cotton, granny-panties post-birth that I am somewhat disinclined to begin my descent into matronly-ness any earlier than is absolutely necessary. I’m going alone because Gregory has to work, though I don’t think he minds because he has admitted that out of all the things associated with manufacturing, growing and delivering your own human, the thing that throws him is me making milk. As he should, he has thus far seen my breasts (regardless of their dimension-challenged state) as objects of enjoyment, and the transition to them becoming a food source for a person he hasn’t yet met is something he is still grappling with. I’m still grappling with parts of all the processes to be honest, but in the words of our esteemed midwife, I am just going to try and ‘go with my flow.’