WARNING
I will continue to celebrate motherhood. So if breasts, birth, dilation and mother's milk makes you uncomfortable please consider yourself warned.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

THE DAY I LOST MY MODESTY

This self reflection and account of my daughter's birth was triggered and inspired by Sarah Kiser's painting, Some Enchanted Eating, pictured above.

My first daughter was born by emergency c-section, rushed, agitated but healthy in appearance. Once she was tucked in the nursery and my morphine high was wearing off we learned her heart rate was 240 and rising. They had her in the regular nursery hooked to a heart monitor awaiting transport to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was crying with an intensity that increased the beat of her already too fast heart. I tried to nurse her but my tasteful ballet pink robe was getting in the way, the sash tangling in all the cords and wires. Fed up and without hesitation I stripped down to the waist . I vaguely remember over a dozen shocked faces and the nurses rushing to plant themselves between me and an audience of scowling faces. They were expecting clean, shining and post birth perfect babies. Instead they got me, breastfeeding behind glass like a gorilla in a zoo.
I was haggard, graceless, lit by fluorescent light and terrified but I will always remember that moment with the perfect indirect light glow, slightly out of focus with soft edges. There was only my daughter pressed against me and the sound of her heart beeping a little slower with each dry suckle.
It was the exact moment I lost my last shred of modesty and learned my body was magic.

"I hope that through my paintings I can make it clear that breastfeeding is natural, wonderful, beautiful and completely normal and beyond that, it is a magical experience for both the mother and baby"

Sarah Kiser http://www.sarahkiser.net/

The featured painting is available in a dainty 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" print, perfect for displaying in a series or tucking in your diaper bag. I wish I had had it then to gaze at it when I needed to be reminded that I am enchanting, natural and full of magic.


113 comments:

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I love this. I breastfed both of my children too. Such a beautiful thing and bonding experience. And yes, modesty pretty much goes out the window! haha :)

Rick said...

Hey, if the kids got to eat, then the kids got to eat! You probably increased the heart rate of everyone else.

TuTu's Bliss said...

lol.. It is funny now..I would love to hear their version of the event.

Becoming Me said...

I lost all my modesty the day my first daughter was born...for sure. I loved this post. Thank you so much for finding me and following my journey.

SugarandSpice said...

I am really glad you got featured! There is something about your writing I really enjoy. Not to mention all of your beautiful pictures! Hope you enjoy your day in the sun!

Mama Mel said...

Love it! :)

Melanie said...

wonderful!

thank you for sharing your story.

The Un-Organized Mom said...

Beautiful post!! So glad I found you through SITS!!

{leah} said...

I'm a half naked nurser myself. I can't figure how to do in modestly. But it's better than nothing when that's what the baby wants

MrsM said...

I am a very modest person in general, but when it comes to pregnancy and child birth and the kids I have no shame-I think babies are the exception to the rule even for the most reserved among us.

cat said...

Oh what a wonderful post. With my firstborn I was a very modest breastfeeder, always covering up. With the twins and tandem breast feeding - no such chance!

Say Anything Notes said...

Beautiful! Your words ring...and read like music. Thank you.

Lisa said...

What a beautiful post and reflection on motherhood.

Magaly Guerrero said...

"I lost my last shred of modesty and learned my body was magic."

What a beautiful thing to say. I bet your child feels very proud to know she help mom to see that amazing side of herself. I can't wait for my own moment ;)

K said...

There is stuff that matters and there is stuff that doesn't.

meandtheblueskies said...

Wow. What a great story. With kids, you do what you gotta do and all else is secondary. Happy SITS day!

Jane In The Jungle said...

Oh yeah, the strip down....best way to get at it fast, LOL!!
Over from SITS..Enjoy your day!!

Pam said...

Visiting from SITS. Giving birth removes that last shred of modesty from every woman. Beautiful description of your first moments nursing your daughter.

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

Great post! You go, Mama! Happy SITS to you.

Mommys Online Garage Sale said...

I nursed and couldn't agree more.

Becky said...

Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful post!

Cassie said...

What a beautiful way to remember it all. I also wanted to say that I just love your blog header. Happy SITS day!

The Mrs. said...

Beautiful!! Good for you.

Little Nut Tree said...

Simply beautiful. I'm breastfeeding a little hot-water-bottle baby right now and would love to strip down to do so!
Isn't it amazing what love makes you do.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Good post. :) I ended up having to pump for 6/7 months with each of my girls. Being hooked up to a machine all day is so. much. fun.

Ashley said...

What a beautiful post!

Tara said...

So true! our bodies are magic no matter what condition we're in!! love this post!!!

Lani said...

Wow, what a beautiful post, very poigniant and well-written.

Robbie S. Redmon, LPC said...

Great post!

Mighty M said...

Another great post - and such a beautiful picture too! ;-)

confused homemaker said...

Isn't it weird how your body and sense of self completely alters with children.

BlogBaby said...

Wow, you've got me tearing up with this post! There really is nothing a mother wouldn't do for her child, is there? Even me with my HUGE sense of modesty, I would have gone completely buck naked if it helped in that moment. Good for you girl!

BlogBaby's BabyMama

Elizabeth said...

I totally agree, motherhood makes you lose what little modesty you have left. Thank you for sharing.

Ashley said...

HAPPY SITS DAY!
Wonderful, a mothers effect, right? Right on!

Yankee Girl said...

Proof again that a mother will do anything for a child. What a great story.

I don't have any kids (yet) but I've seen my sisters breasts so often that it doesn't even give me a second thought anymore. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, and if that means you have to be half naked to do it, then do it!

Enjoy your SITS day!

Kristin said...

I went into the hospital saying that I would NOT be exposing anything and I would NOT be breasfeeding in front of people. Funny how you don't care about a thing once they hand you your bambino!

Porters said...

I breastfed all 3 of my children. They were all born vaginally, and THAT is where your modesty is first lost!!! (Or is it at the doctors appoinments leading up to the birth??!!)

Mountain Mama said...

It's surprising how quickly the medical system, which tells you all about the benefits of breatfeeding, forgets those benefits and worries about appearances when the chips are down. Kudos for throwing down your robe!

Laura said...

A mother has to do what a mother has to do...if even it includes stripping. HaHa!! Happy SITS!

Rebecca is Thrilled by the Thought said...

It's amazing what you will do for your child immediately after you become a mother.

Connie Weiss said...

I haven't breastfed in 3 years and I still miss it.

It will always be a cherished memory!

Happy SITS day!

S Club Mama said...

I didn't quite have that same experience. But I only had the hospital gown I stripped down to feed my son after he was born. Unfortunately, he wouldn't latch so it didn't last more than a few weeks, but during those 2 weeks I think people saw more of me than they bargained for.

Life of a Stepmama said...

I cant wait to experience that for myself one day, being a mother is truly amazing and I agree our bodies are magical! Your kids are adorable!

Reluctant Housewife said...

What a beautiful post. You're triumphant!

smitten by britain said...

What a sweet painting.

Amy said...

Happy SITS Day./....

T~T said...

perfect

Mariah said...

Breast Feeding stories are the best. Great post.

B.o.B. said...

A moms gotta do what a moms gotta do.

Happy SITS Day!

Single Mama NYC said...

Oh yes, my usual modesty went right out the window when I started breastfeeding, lol.

Joy said...

That is a beautiful painting.

Congrats on your SITS feature!

Little Miss Baker said...

Gorgeous! Happy SITS Day!

2 Little Irish Boys said...

It is all about feeding our sweet babies!! Happy SITS day!

Anita said...

Jen, stopping by from SITS. As a former breast feeding mom I can relate and remember those immodest moments, sometimes you have to just do what a baby needs.
Lovely post.

foxy said...

How beautifully written...

Your blog is a pleasure to read. Happy sits day to you!

Delectable Dining said...

What a beautiful post!

Tonya said...

Great post!

Amy said...

I envy anyone who can breastfeed. My son flatly refused (probably because they gave him a bottle while he was in NICU, and since that was so much easier, he didn't want me I don't know.) I am hoping this time around will be easier. Thank you for your sentiments.

Mommy of Many said...

This is so beautiful. There are many things about motherhood that cause a woman to lose her modesty. I think it begins with the many OB/GYN visits where you must prop your legs up for all the world to see.

Lolli said...

That was beautiful. I nursed 5 kids for a combined total of 92 months. It is a miraculous, wonderful thing.

Jessica said...

A poignant post. Breastfeeding is so precious and powerful and I never tire of hearing other mothers' stories about it.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Shannon said...

What a great post! I'm so glad I found your blog on SITS!

Superjaxster said...

Beautiful story about motherhood. I have yet to experience, but I'm sure given the situation I would have stripped too!

The Mom @ Babes in Hairland said...

Yup - you're magic! Isn't that amazing. I love the way you write - can totally picture the magic happening - as well as everyone's shock! Good stuff! :) Enjoy your day in the SITS spotlight.

Brooke said...

visiting from sits.

my sister is so modest that she won't wear a bathing suit - she always wears shorts into the pool.

so imagine my surprise when she stripped off her shirt and bra and hooked up her breast pump!

Mammatalk said...

I breastfed my little gals, too. I have to agree. It is rather magical.

Enchanted eating. I love it!!

Pricilla said...

Beautifully written.
Happy SITS Day

Jillian said...

Great Post!

makeitworkmom said...

beautifully written! I'm a huge advocate of breastfeeding. Our bodies really are magical in that sense! Happy Sits day!

Lynn said...

Whoever wrote the song that says,

"No matter what they do to me,
They cant take away my dignity."

never had a baby.

Brandy said...

After you've shown your hoo-ha that many times (to the doctor of course!), a boob or two is really no big deal. Especially when it comes to your kids. :)

Bella Crafts said...

So down to earth! Some people prefer to keep their eyes wide shut when it comes to facing the simple realities of life. Your baby was your priority, and not the display of boobage.

Jackie said...

what a great post!

C. Beth said...

As a mama who has been passionate about breastfeeding, I love this. And I'm glad I read it--I've breastfed every day for the last almost 3 1/2 years (including 3 months of tandem nursing when my baby was born and my toddler hadn't weaned yet), and honestly, I'm getting tired of it. It's great to be reminded about the magic of feeding my chid, with my body.

Mary at My New 30 said...

I doubt they were all too shocked. To be honest I've seen far too many unwelcome asses in the hospital - a topless mommy breastfeeding would be a much more welcome sight.

Hope you had a great SITS Day.

Love the featured photographs - just beautiful!!

Marrdy said...

Oh you have made me tear up! Boobs are just boobs...I keep trying to tell my hubby that, hoping someday he will grow a pair of his own and leave mine alone! Hooray to you for doing for every mom should do...take care of the baby and to heck with everyone else!

Lisa said...

Love the post!! What a beautiful story! It reminds me of my last birth and how I was naked except for the belt they use for the monitors as my tube top. I was in water for most of the labor and only got out to pee and deliver. I was not ashamed at all. Which is sooo not like me, I don't even like my hubby to see me naked! I remember seeing the doctors face as he rushed in b/c they thought they needed his help b/c my baby's shoulder was stuck for a moment.(i used a midwife and the doc. waits out the door if they need more help) He walked in and there i was in all my glory!! Oh well...didn't need him and I got dressed after delivery!

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

you are so right! Breast-feeding is the most natural thing in the world and no one has any right to say otherwise though they have the right to explore other options if THEY wish to!!

Debbie said...

I am so happy to have found you today through SITS! I loved this post.

Legallyblondemel said...

Hello from SITS!

Very lovely thought. I'm not a mom yet, but I love the sentiment behind this.

Chrissy said...

Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from SITS.

Mimi said...

Enjoy your SITS day!

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

This is a really beautiful story. Our kiddos come first, eh? Two thumbs up mama!

Lady Mama said...

Wow great post. So moving. Good for you for doing what you needed to. :)

Suzi said...

Very cool. Happy SITS Day.

piecemeal people said...

I just wrote on my own blog recently about how much I love breastfeeding. I could take or leave being pregnant, but I LOVE breastfeeding!

Happy SITS Day!

Mama Kat said...

This gave me goosebumps! I just love it when women have a "forget all this crap" moment and do what they need to do for their kids. Such love. I'm glad she's ok!

Norine said...

This is really a beautiful story. Congrats on your SITS feature!

Norine
Don't Put Lizards In Yous Ears

Mira is triplet crown said...

I think it's the final shred of letting go of control that happens in the hospital. They are now and will forever be in control from here on out. Those aren't your boobs, they're theirs.

Jen said...

what a beautiful story. you knew just what she needed.
Happy SITS day.

Zeemaid said...

beautiful. thanks for sharing.

It is amazing that these little beings are grown inside of us and that our own bodies continue to nourish them. Truly wonderful.

Happy SITS day!

Rachel said...

Awesome. I loved nursing my one and only son and wouldn't have traded that experience for the world. Thanks for sharing.

MochaTrina said...

One word...beautiful.

Jaime said...

Magical indeed. We as mothers have superpowers only others dream of!

Amy said...

Awesome!

mommy4life said...

Breastfeeding is so natural. It amazes me that women have to hide it and modesty is non-existent when you are a mom!

aforestfrolic said...

Amen SITSta, that's all I gotta say ;-)

Jamie :)

TanishaRenee said...

Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! I remember having to breastfeed my son is a very crowded aquarium. I found a bench against a wall and tried to cover as much as I could.

Vickie said...

That was just precious! You are a mother in a HOSPITAL. Why were people shocked?! Your baby needed you. Good for you.

greedygrace said...

I can really relate. I always thought I would would trouble breastfeeding in front of others... until I had a baby. Then it seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

Great post!

Lindsey said...

That is such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that. My second was a true loss of modesty - topless about 80% of the time in my house, hehe.

The Redhead Riter said...

I nursed my daughter too and it was one of the most relationship enriching experiences I have ever known.

Mrs4444 said...

Beautiful story, beautifully told. Love this...

Sarah Jensen said...

My modesty left when, straddled in stirrups, exposed for all to see, I gave birth. People came in and out, (there were many complications, one of which my cervix was rapped behind my daughter's head) and some had surprised faces that I should display myself in such a manner. I WAS GIVING BIRTH! STAY OUT IF YOU DON'T WISH TO SEE!
Anyway, a few men got an eye full, and I was beyond caring.

Now, I nursed my first three kids, but my fourth refused. No amount of trying convinced him otherwise. My modesty has returned since my children are a little older, but I've flashed many a person while nursing, or my children did when they learned to hold up my shirt and show me off.
:)
I love this post.
I'm over from SITS

Atlanta said...

I nursed both my kids... and yes that was definately a longterm slow stripping of modesty. But I really do think that the L&D nurses are really there to make sure your Modesty is gone before the doctor ever arrives to deliver the babies... ;)

Alicia said...

wow that was beautiful!! modesty? whats modesty? =)hope you had a wonderful SITS day!

stepfabulous said...

Completely a touching story - it also gives those of us, who are waiting to have a biological child an insite of what is too come!

Rbarakat said...

Hey you got the job done and that's what counts! Fun story!TFS

Charmaine @ randalswife said...

You go girl! I love it!

Sophia's Mom said...

Modesty is one of the many things that go out the window after that pregnancy test reads positive, along with dignity & perkyness, to name a few.

But I applaud you mama gorilla! That natural instinct that kicks in is what lets us be the best moms we can!

Rachael said...

Modestly schmodesty. What a beautiful story.

Jessica said...

Happy SITS!

Days of Whine & Noses said...

I breast fed my youngest for 13 months straight WITHOUT a bottle! I had to learn to live my life and ignore the rest of the world!

Visiting from SITS!