Tag Archives: breastfeeding advocate

The Lone Boob

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.

Peace out!

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Breastfeeding and Bicycling: An unlikely pair

I think it can takes months or even years to become something.  The only titles that I felt I really earned in a moment’s time were that of Wife and Mother.  All the rest of the things I think I am have taken years of careful consideration and work to earn.

I am a BreastFeeding Advocate, a Lactivist, if you will.  I learned everything I could about breastfeeding when Emily was little.  I nursed in public.  I helped my girlfriends find resources they needed to succeed in their own nursing relationships.  I spoke honestly about my own nursing relationship in order to bring the mysteries of a nursing dyad in to the light.  I did all of these things for years before I really thought I was any kind of Breastfeeding Advocate.  And if I am honest I am still not sure I have earned my stripes as a “Lactivist” in spite of the fact that I don’t  know anyone in real life that hasn’t seen me nursing one of my kids over the last seven years.

I am an Athlete.  It has taken me some time to define myself this way.  I go to the gym six days a week.  I work hard.  I’m not that girl that is sitting pretty at the smoothie bar.  I have fallen prey to the matchy-matchy gym gear because it makes me feel good but it doesn’t keep me from busting ass.  In the last few months I have found my sport.  A gym rat goes to the gym to stay fit, to see and be seen.  But an Athlete, an athlete goes to the gym to get stronger, faster, harder so that they can kick more ass at their sport.

Not everyone gets to combine their passions.  But I have hit the jackpot.

Best for Babes.  Their mission is a simple one: “to change the cultural perception of breastfeeding and beat the breastfeeding booby traps – the cultural, institutional and legal barriers that prevent parents form making informed decisions and that prevent moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals (whether that’s 2 days, 2 months or 2 years) without judgement, pressure or guilt.”

Isn’t that what we deserve?  As a woman, as an advocate for breastfeeding, as an advocate for children it really is that simple.  Informed decisions and the freedom and resources to achieve our goals…. that is exactly what I have wanted all these years.  And the magic of the Internet (and a little extra magic from Amy West) delivered Best for Babes to my digital door.  I found my cause years ago when Em was small but in Best for Babes I have found an organization that is so in line with my ideals that I couldn’t not get involved. 

Lactivist.  Athlete. What does this have to do with being an Athlete?  You’re looking at Best for Babes new Team BfB Team Coordinator.  (Well, actually you are looking at her boob while she changes her big kid’s bicycle tire and nurses her little kid.)

Team BfB is the fitness arm  of Best for Babes.  Run, swim, cycle, tri, pogo-stick – do what you do and raise awareness of and help beat the breastfeeding booby traps.  And what will I be coordinating?  I am not entirely sure yet.  But I know I am PSYCHED.

So, why race for Team Best for babes?  Why not fight cancer with Team in Training or Livestrong? I could stumble around to find the words but my words won’t be as powerful as BfB’s co-founder Danielle Rigg’s.  Her blog post – My Breast Cancer: Why I won’t Race for the Cure gave me the language I had been searching for.  “But in an era when premenopausal breast cancer, including pregnancy onset breast cancer, as well as many other serious diseases, are on the rise, it is simply unacceptable to me to push the “the cure”  without at least an equal emphasis on PREVENTION.”

She’s right.  In a perfect world I want prevention, not a cure.  I don’t want more women to fight cancer, I want more women to not have it all.  Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in mothers and in their breastfed daughters.  Danielle’s story is a moving one.  Her diagnosis with bilateral breast cancer after nursing two kids for a combined 44 months certainly provides evidence that breastfeeding alone is no sure way to beat the cancer odds. But it’s a start.

So.  Kelly.  Wife.  Mother.  Breastfeeding Advocate.  Athlete.  Team BfB Team Coordinator.  I added a new title this week.  I’m keeping busy.  I am starting to see a path for the next few years. I like it.

And you?  How do you play in to this?  This is when I hit you up for support.  You knew it was coming.  Click through to my team page to see my sweaty face and support my triathlon endeavors in August.  I can’t be the Team Captain and not raise a single dime.  Please?

20130515-140234.jpgIt’s not easy to learn the ropes of a new sport and still get my mom on.  But multi-tasking is where I really excel.  It’s no shock that I am digging on the multi-sports.

Emily’s relentless love of skidding out on her bike finally blew out her tire.  I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d have to learn how to change a tire. And I am not sure what sounds more troublesome – change a tire on my bike during a ride with friends on the side of the road somewhere or change Emily’s tire on my front porch while my boobie monster of a “baby” demands my attention.  Changing that tire on the side of the road is looking a lot easier.

Thanks in advance for your support during this new endeavor.  I’m excited.  You should be, too. Boobs!  Athleticism! Girl Power!  You must be in to at least one of them if you keep hanging around here.