I finally mustered the courage to check the ol’ boobs in the shower today. After some hesitant squeezing and yanking, I believe they’re all clear. I totally forgot to check for lumps as usual, but I must say I’m relieved. And a bit sad. And tired.
Of course, the parched, deflated pouches with a traffic jam of stretch marks leading to the black
holes areolas should’ve given me a clue. But I needed to be sure, just in case my resolve weakened or I unconsciously lifted my shirt to soothe Nibbles at an ungodly hour in the night.
Although I’ve always embraced the pregnancy squiggles etched on my stomach as battle scars, as memories of Nibbles’ first home and of a time that was mine and Nibbles’ alone, I can’t seem to fall in love the overripe, shrivelled mangoes that I shove into helpless bras that fail to understand them.
Then again, my tummy pre-pregnancy was certainly no six-pack; to say nothing of the love handles that gave away my vulnerability towards chocolate. But the breasts? Well, they were practically the only “assets” I had, untouched by the cruel Middle Eastern sun and depression. Those assets reached their peak value when they were the sole source of nutrition and comfort for my newborn Nibbles. No lingerie is going to compete with that.
I’ll admit, it was hell to begin with. I swore by every blister on my shocked nipples that somebody needed to be shot – the lactation consultants, the formula makers, the “well-meaning” folks, the bloggers, people that talked, people. This went on for some glorious months, and just when the infamous latch was zoning in, enter the Breast Pump. I clearly blocked out a lot of the unpleasantness related to the frozen bottles of milk that smelled like rust when thawed, because I went from counting days and hours to Nibbles’ first birthday to never wanting to stop nursing. Yes, I’d become the this-is-the-most-beautiful-experience-ever mom that needed to be shot.
Sure, there were days when I just wasn’t up to it. Days when I really needed more than 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, days when I needed to work, when I needed to take a long shower without rushing out to help Nibbles fall asleep, days when I needed to lie down on my back and not sideways, days when I needed a little more than an occasional glass of wine (ok, a lot more), days when I simply wanted my boobs to be mine.
They said if you’re not really into it, you should stop. Well, screw ’em (as you may have guessed, they were amongst those that needed to be shot), for the very thought of stopping forever made me frightened. Yes, scared that my Nibbles did not really love me or know me as an entity separate from my boobs. I’d seen the way he looked at them, squeezed them, held them and even talked to them. And the hugest grin on his face when he was satisfied? I couldn’t imagine not seeing that again.
But I did stop. It’s been a month now, and I feel completely numb. The boobs and Nibbles are bit of a wreck though. They lie scrunched up and lifeless as Nibbles suffers from terrible sleep terrors. Maybe it is the nature of a sleep terror that he refuses to be comforted and fights back fiercely when I try to hold him, but there’s something in his anger that speaks otherwise. And I remain nothing but a silent spectator, watching my baby patch his wings after I pushed him off the nest.