Recently I wrote something for The Outlier Collective, a blog where a topic is chosen by the administrators and two bloggers write independently on the same subject. When Eric, of A Clown on Fire, asked me if I’d write about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy my response was “Let me think about it and make sure I have something to say.”
I did a little reading and wrote 500 words in about ten minutes. Turns out I had a lot to say. I read it and reread it and thought “Yep. That’s what I think.” She did what she thought was right with the resources she has to reduce her risk. It’s that simple.
As soon as I got to think about mentioning the fact that breastfeeding contributes to reducing the risk of breast cancer I started to second guess myself. Me? Hesitant to talk breastfeeding? I started to wonder if I was becoming a broken record. Would the mention of breastfeeding cause someone to think “oh, there she goes again, back on her soapbox” and disregard the rest of my message? Maybe. But is that a good enough reason to keep silent? I don’t think so.
I like to add an image to everything I write. It’s Blogging 101. The pictures that I include in my posts frequently get as much attention as the post itself. In a world where Instagram and Photoshop make it so easy to beautify ourselves it seems people take notice when you put your un-airbrushed self out there. Pictures of my stretchmarks, pictures of my journey back to some level of fitness, pictures of my leaky wet spots and yes, pictures of breastfeeding, get a lot of attention. A lot.
But I hesitated. Should I include a picture of myself breastfeeding in the post about Jolie and her mastectomy? I was searching my pictures for an appropriate image when I opened up PhotoBooth while I was writing and snapped a picture.
Recently a picture that I posted of myself nursing Lucy while I changed Emily’s bicycle tire got a lot of negative feedback on Facebook. While I elected to delete the comments and rise above it one comment in particular got under my skin. ”Some people will do anything to get attention.” Presumably she was referring to my posting a picture of part of my breast on the internet. But her comment stung because part of me started to feel like maybe I had become a one-trick pony. My breastfeeding posts get far and way more traffic than any others. I like to think it is because it is the topic about which I am most passionate so they are likely some of the most well written. But I had to ask myself – am I getting lazy? Is breastfeeding my go-to when I am coming up empty?
The truth is I am nursing roughly 60% of the time that I am writing. I am nursing 30% of the time that I am eating. I am nursing 60% of the time that I am talking on the phone. I am nursing 70% of the time that I read. Because I am nursing 95% of the time that I am sitting down. I am nursing a toddler. And as any woman that has ever nursed a toddler can tell you it is a blessing. Nearly 100% of the time that I stop to catch my breath I am nursing. Life moves quickly right now. We are climbing and running and jumping and falling and exploring. And in the moments that I take pause, the moments where I write blog posts in my mind and dictate semi-unintelligible notes in to my phone, I am nursing.
It’s not an agenda. It’s just where I am right now. It’s my life. Will I be talking about breastfeeding all of the time in a few more years? Probably not. It will always be important to me but I imagine as my life changes something else will move in to my mental spotlight.
And before someone else can say it – I guess when I am no longer nursing I will have to think of a new reason to take pictures of a single boob and put it on the internet. The web is saturated with images of pairs of boobs. It really doesn’t garner much attention. But a lone boob? Man, it really gets people riled up. Is it just a gimmick? I don’t think so. But am I going to get all defensive when someone calls me out and tries to make me feel like a jerk? Nope.
Or I suppose I could think of something else that really irritates people. And if it has as many benefits to my own health and that of my children I will probably take pictures of that, too. In the meantime I am just going to keep on keeping on. Doing my thing, raising my kids and being me with a lone boob out. Because that, friends, is how I roll.