Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Weighty Issue

How many times have you put your back to the wall somewhere for no reason other than to get rid of that wedgie?  Go on, admit it.  You’ve done it, haven’t you?  Sidled up alongside a tree or a fridge in the frozen food aisle in the supermarket for that one second of privacy.  Sometimes I don’t even bother disguising the fact I am freeing my underpants from the confines of my bum.  I just think fek it; it’s hardly going to be dinner table conversation fodder later on, is it, if someone sees me? And anyway, I’ve given birth four times, count them, four, nothing embarrasses me now.  I remember a time when I thought one of the most mortifying things that could happen to me was to leave a public bathroom with a length of tissue paper stuck to my shoe.  I tripped over my own feet once, walking down the street.  It didn’t cross my mind that I may have hurt myself, (I didn’t) but I did want the ground to open up and swallow me.  I used to live in real fear that I would accidentally tuck my skirt into my knickers on leaving the bathroom.  That never happened.  (Whew!) But I did manage to walk from one end of a busy pub to the other at a work do once, with my top open and I wasn’t even drunk.  These days I get up to all sorts of compromising shenanigans and it doesn’t bother me in the least who might be watching or disapprove.  BC (Before Childers) a long time BC, a good friend who did have a childer, told me you leave your dignity outside the door when you give birth.  I have to say I would agree with her although I wouldn’t be of the opinion there is anything embarrassing about giving birth. But I have been caught out on a couple of occasions when it comes to breastfeeding.  Nothing controversial, all extremely normal behaviour altogether, but conduct that normally would be carried out behind closed doors.  Like expressing breast milk for example.    There was a touch of conjunctivitis in the house last winter.   Breast milk is utterly fantastic for clearing up this sticky little nuisance so I was kilt hand expressing for the Screecher Creatures.  We took one of our family trips to Dundrum shopping centre and on the way home, on the motorway, Mister Husband reckoned his eyes were starting to feel itchy.  Being the good Wonderful Wagon Wife that I am, I embarked on an extraction mission.  It really doesn’t take long to produce a sufficient amount of milk for such a small job so he could have waited a bit longer before pulling in alongside a huge JJ Kavanagh bus. I looked up in slow motion to see about 3 people looking down and in on me as I extracted a few precious drops of milk from my left boob. So if that was you, hellooooo.  I used to have another little breastfeeding ritual.  One that is not all that uncommon and a practice carried out by a large majority of breastfeeding mothers.  We “weigh” ourselves.  Several times a day and no bother to us.  I’m not checking to see if I gained or lost poundage, although I do that too.   I had a habit of “weighing” my boobs before a feed.  I could never remember from which side a Screecher Creature fed last so I checked by “weighing” myself. And I did this how?  Well, I suppose I copped a quick feel, didn’t I?  It was so automatic and quick that I’m sure people didn’t even realise I was doing it. And if they did, well it certainly didn’t bother me.  Now that my breastfeeding days are over, I am a little surprised at how quickly I have adapted.  My sister in law was feeding her daughter over the weekend and she asked me did I miss it.  I answered honestly, no.  I don’t miss it but at the same time I was fully prepared and for some reason, expecting, to feed our youngest right up to his second birthday and after if he so wished.  He didn’t wish.  None of our boys have any recollection of being breastfed but I hope at least two of them will remember me feeding the youngest.  The youngest himself, at coming up on 17 months of age, has it all forgotten about.  When I think back on the way it used to be.  Mister Husband would come into the bedroom and bang the door off the laundry basket.  For good measure he often gave it a bit of a kick as it was usually dark and visibility poor.  Then his belt buckle would hit the floor with a metal clink, followed by two heavy thunks as the boots followed.  Next, a massive creak as he sat on the side of the bed and finally, in under the covers with a huge sigh of satisfaction.  Screecher Creature No. 4, who shares our room, never stirred.  His breathing didn’t even change.  On the other hand, when I walked into the room, in my bare feet, without making a single sound, before I even got to “my” side of the bed, he would wake up; let out a yelp, scramble to his feet and hang over the side of the cot already starting to roar.  In general, acting like he was half starved.  I swear to god he could smell me.  These days when I cuddle him in close he doesn’t even slightly turn his head towards my breast.  Once upon a time, a complete stranger would have been treated to a root from him, now he prefers his thumb.  How things have changed.  There is a certain freedom too.  My body is entirely my own again and this I love.  I can now leave the house and be assured in the knowledge that he doesn’t need me for naps or bedtime.  And the general public can breathe a sigh of relief because I won’t be “weighing” myself any more either.  The wedgies however, depending on the trousers I wear, are here for keeps! 

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