Milk

1.30.2015

My milk supply plummeted last week, at least that’s when I noticed that it had plummeted.

And yes, this is a post about lactation.

I’m not sure what caused it. Dehydration, maybe? Or stress, although I haven’t felt particularly stressed as of late. Perhaps it was just the fact that Scout has been teething. (I blame everything I don’t understand on teething.) Perhaps it messed with her appetite and I just didn’t notice.

Women who struggle with infertility often describe feeling broken, inferior somehow, not woman enough. When they see their bodies as being incapable of doing what should be natural, I’ve heard women say they sometimes feel adversarial toward their bodies, separate from them.

I love nursing. I’m one of those. I love that it forces me to stop and breathe throughout the day, to look into my daughter’s face, to hold her. I love it, even when I’m begging for sleep, even when I’m in the middle of work, even when she squirms and sits up and talks to herself distractedly. It came as a surprise, my emotional attachment to this bodily function. But it’s there. Not everyone feels it. But I do. I want to nurse Scout Murphey through that 12-month mark and straight on ’til morning. I’ll nurse as long as it feels right for her and for me.

But my milk supply plummeted last week. And in the smallest little slippery sliver of a way, I began to comprehend what I’ve heard those women talk about. Last week when I pumped for the first time in months to prepare for a few upcoming trips, I watched an all-but-empty bottle stay all-but-empty. For days I felt broken, just like they say, and powerless, which made me realize how much nursing, at least most days, makes me feel calm and sure and strong.

My milk supply is increasing again and the crisis wasn’t much of a crisis in the end. And I’m not really sure where this post is going, except to say that I’m more grateful for my body than I was before, more connected to it. And also this—women, be kind to yourselves. OK?

Listening to: Nick Drake, “Place to Be”

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