Thursday, December 30, 2010

From a Breastfeeding Counselor: A lesson on body image

It is no surprise that many women feel insecure or unhappy with their bodies, especially after giving birth. I know I certainly am one of them. Since giving birth, my belly and breasts haven't quite stayed the same, and I can get pretty down about it sometimes.

Since becoming a breastfeeding counselor and helping out many new mothers with breastfeeding it's only natural that I see a lot of breasts too. Young, old, black , white, latino. You name it, I've seen it. And as I was driving somewhere the other day, something occurred to me as I moped about my breasts. They're actually normal looking. Of all the consults I'd been on, I think I can't even reach a whole hand how many "pretty" and media-portrayed breasts I've seen, much less any of those that didn't have silicone in them. All types of women have breasts that look like mine, and I realized that my situation isn't so bad. We have little if any control over what our breasts look like (we have genes, gravity, age and pregnancy to thank for that.) and to know that men are more accustomed with so-called "floppy" breasts, is a comfort to me and helps me to fit in my skin, why bother to change something that you have no control over?

In a recent Tweet, I admitted that it was only after seeing so many breasts that were not the stereotypical version of perfect, that I came to accept and understand that real breasts are indeed worn, they do drop, but they've done so for a beautiful cause. Our breasts are the way they are because they have nourished, nurtured, and been lived in by our children. They have gone from objects of admiration to vessels of sustenance and back again. Any real man with children will understand these transitions and be fond of them for what they are, what they've done and that they stand in their own right. There's no need to be ashamed

A dear friend of mine, who is a birth professional also acknowledges this truth:

What about you? How has your role as a birth professional affected your own body image? 

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