Yaaaaaay! I yelled a sound that came from the bowels of my stomach. But on that rainy day walking back from the school, I could only feel frustration and helplessness of knowing that a stranger had grabbed my breasts and had deliberately violated my personal space and my sense of self. I was helpless and still feel deeply affected by what happened that day.
My breasts you see grew faster than I would have liked them to and by the time I was 11years old, I had sizable ones as compared to my friends. I was the only girl in my gang with a bloated chest and hairy underarms who struggled to hide it in my swimming costume, while all my gang happily splashed about, chest less and hairless!
Buying the correct Bra was another nightmare. My mother with her sense of fashion insisted on cotton and cheap. I could not come out of that for a long time; and even now I still struggle with it. I drool over all the fancy Bras that have come in the market, but cannot get myself to buy them!
I delved into this most fascinating subject when I birthed my first child. New beginning; new feelings and of course New Clothes! I shopped and there is no greater joy than to shop for an eventuality that promises you an exploration of new possibilities.
Let me cut the rambling here: I mean I shopped for bras to facilitate easy feeding and in that process and in retrospect as I share this with you I also realise how well the Saree/ Blouse is designed for this!
No book, no person, nothing can capture what a woman goes through as she feeds her baby…
“The baby is not getting enough. You are not producing enough milk, because you eat so poorly”
“She is not sleeping well, look you just fed her and she is up for another feed”
“You know, I had no such problems, in fact I would always overflow”
Words that tormented me… someone who was already riddled with hundred complexes about her breasts. My inadequacies compounded as I struggled to feed a reluctant baby. My anxiety and the baby’s inabilities went into a vicious cycle.
So I started eating like a pig, in order to milk like the cow I was expected to be! Garlic boiled in Milk, even betel leaves by the dozen, did not help much by ways of solving my problem, nor I must say, did the Breast pump.
I fought the panic and anxiety alone, shutting myself into a world of self-inflicted doubt and self-condemnation. I was a Mother; this had to come naturally for me right? But sorry to say I felt most unnatural while feeding my baby, I disliked it and at one point, even hated it; hated the feeling of having something latched on to me, tying me down, curtailing my freedom, hated the constant struggle to meet the baby’s hungry demands and my own sense of inadequacy. Hated that I had to sit in one place for hours together, with no guarantee that at the end of it we both would come out satisfied…
Ahhh… how I wanted to escape breast feeding, and the only thing that kept me going was the benefits it had for my growing baby.
I have come a long way from there.
I had a second chance at being more skilled and competent with my second child who I handled with more understanding and insight….
Or so I think. But frankly, even now when I think back and see them eating food with their own hands, I send a silent Thanks to the Lord above...and gleefully smile to myself….for this is Freedom!!