Note: This post was inspired by this article on GoBreastfeed.com.
I look back now and I realise that the challenges I thought I was facing then weren't really challenges at all. Hence ending last week's entry with quotation marks.
Remember I said that I didn't attend any classes to prepare myself for motherhood. Yes, that is the hubris brought on by my way of thinking: there were no parenting classes in the old days. I can do this!
Yes, I am a big fan of winging it.
I remained confident in my ability to feed my child when diaper after diaper was filled and changed. The Drs. Sears were an excellent reference and my husband's cousin pointed me to a local Facebook group for breastfeeding mothers called Breastfeeding Pinays, reducing points for stressing further. We were winging it and we were flying--at least for the first six weeks.
If you've never tried not leaving the house for six weeks straight and seeing hardly anyone but your family--well, don't. It drove me quite nearly insane!
Now, friends know I am not the most socially inclined person in the world. I enjoy my times alone as much as I enjoy being around people and by the sixth week postpartum, I needed to get out of the house despite our pediatrician's admonition to be cautious about bringing our newborn outside.
And then there's the rub right there. See, I did not realise that I belong to a society and culture where apparently, it has become something of a taboo to be seen breastfeeding in public. I don't even know when this happened or how or for that matter, why. I know I'd seen paintings in the 80s featuring women breastfeeding their children--often in those idyllic farm scenes--but between then and 2012 something must have happened that it was suddenly more desirable to not be seen breastfeeding in public.
So I covered up. I tried to use bottles but my son just flat out refused to have anything to do with things that delivered milk but were not my breasts. So covering up was the only way to go about our business when chilling at the mall to keep the crazies away. I didn't have proper breastfeeding covers at the time so I would often use my son's blanket to drape over both him and myself. It began carrying over at home, too, since we were having repairs done on various parts of the house. It was bothersome but it felt normal because I never really saw anyone doing otherwise.
Oh but my poor little boy! There were times that I did give up the cover because he would fuss underneath it. I thought it was just because the blanket was too warm and we were already approaching summer. So I got me another type of breastfeeding cover called the Boncho which I bought at Indigo Baby. (Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement or any type of paid advertisement for the product. I'm just pointing it out in case anyone reading this is interested.) He complained less but the downside for me, being me and for some reason just really unable to get over using the Boncho as a poncho and nothing else, was that I began just not caring about how I dressed underneath. A topic to be discussed in another entry at another time, but besides that point, I did find that I became more comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding my son in public. I was actually quite used to doing so by the time this article and this article were written and posted online by my husband's cousin.
The comfortable bliss didn't last long and finally, breastfeeding boldly took hold of me.