Fuck You, Breastfeeding

Illustration for article titled Fuck You, Breastfeeding

Last week was Fuck You Week, Jezebel's first annual week of desperate emotional cleansing and unhinged psychic purging. But Friday took a turn for the awful and we didn't run our final entries. So we're doing that now.


What those lactivist cunts conveniently forget to tell people—in their ongoing campaign of castigating bottle-feeding mothers as unnatural and ignorant, masking their concern-trolling as "support"—is that breastfeeding, for many women, is an incredibly painful, almost traumatizing endeavor, that will leave two bloody, crusted-over scabs where their tits once were. It's awful. It really is. Don't believe me? Then let me tell you about the time my left nipple fell off.

My mother, a registered nurse, breastfed me, and I had been raised to believe that this was the reason that I had perfect attendance throughout most of grade school, why I performed so well on standardized testing, and why I'd never broken a bone. She was like a broken record, going on and on about it, taking credit for my good immune system, good reading comprehension, and good luck, for pretty much my entire life. But now, after I exclusively breastfed my own child, I understand that my mother wasn't so much telling me about the benefits of breastfeeding, but rather, telling herself, as a form of self-affirmation, to rationalize the complete loss of feeling in her nipples that she never ever regained.

That happens! Actually, when you're breastfeeding, you pray for it to happen as soon as possible. Any respite—even permanent nerve damage—from the piercing pain of a latch-on and the unrelenting soreness that follows is so welcomed. You know, having live explosives shoot out of your boobs doesn't feel as cool as it looks in the "Firework" video. Because that's what it's like: burning, stabbing, sharp, deep, wide, thick, soul-sucking pain that will cause your asshole to constrict so far up into your body that you fear you might choke on it.

Breastfeeding can fuck off, right now. I used to punch the arm of the couch, kick my feet, and scream, "Cocksucker motherfucker!" just to get through a feeding. And then, roughly two hours later, I would be presented with my child, by my husband or another family member, telling me it was time to do it all again. "Already!?" I would cry, before sobbing so hard from revisiting the pain that I couldn't even make noise, but just silently quake.

When one of my breasts developed a painful case of mastitis, I was told that the only way to cure it was to "keep her on the breast as much as possible." That was the last thing I wanted to hear.

Both of my tits were gross. They were so bloody and scabby that they looked like someone had stubbed cigarettes out on them, like it was some kind of gang initiation ritual, symbolizing my induction into Da Mutha Hood.


Of course, the worst came when I discovered, to my horror, that my left nipple became semi-detached from my areola. It was hanging on by a slim cord of flesh. My hands trembled as I moved my whole nipple up and down, like the head of a Pez dispenser. Panic-stricken, I asked my midwives what I should do. I was convinced I might need to be hospitalized. Again, I was told to "keep her on the breast as much as possible." Eventually, it healed, but I'm scarred—in more ways than one.


It was all so miserable and I associated that misery with my new baby, whom I secretly resented. Of course, I could never tell anyone about how I truly felt, how anguished I was, because that would make me seem selfish and terrible and evil and ungrateful for having a healthy baby, whose health I would be threatening if I didn't exclusively breastfeed her. For some reason, we assume that there must be something wrong with a woman if she isn't bonding with this thing that's quite literally been torturing her.

On top of all that, I was made to believe that breastfeeding would help me lose the baby weight, because I would burn so many calories doing it. Didn't happen. If anything, it made me ravenous. Like, bacon-double-cheeseburger hungry. I actually dropped 20 pounds a month after I stopped, so breastfeeding can go eat a dick.


"But you're going to scare women off from breastfeeding!"

So? You mean to tell me that you have a problem with presenting women with honesty because you think that might inform her to make a choice with her own body that doesn't sit well with you? What are you? A republican congressman?


And speaking of men, God forbid if I don't modify any statements about my husband with, "He's a really big help…" Yeah, he was a big help. But even if he changed every single diaper and gave every single bath and went to every single pediatrician's appointment, fathering a newborn doesn't hold a candle to mothering one. I mean, even those terms speak for themselves. Colloquially, "mothering" implies nurturing. "Fathering" implies insemination. Because—while my tits were falling off and my back was fucked up from pregnancy-induced scoliosis and my healing C-section incision made me afraid to sneeze—that was that was my husband's sole physical contribution in this whole thing: a sloppy pullout.

Women have it so much harder in that first year of parenting than men do. And nobody could tell me any different. I don't give a shit what exception to the rule you present. You know, we would never shame men into using a part of their bodies for its "natural purpose." But we do this to women on the regular and under the guise of feminism, no less!


Of course, people make allowances, whenever speaking about the "evils" of formula, for adoptive parents, or maybe even for women whose bodies just simply could not produce milk that easily. (Although lactivists are secretly judging the latter for not being dedicated enough in their efforts to do the "best" thing for their child.) They get a pass. So formula is for those who "need it." Fuck that.

Formula is for anyone who fucking wants it. It doesn't matter what their reasons are. Maybe they're in pain, maybe they're tired, maybe they think nursing bras are ugly, maybe they want to do drugs—it doesn't fucking matter. It's none of your business. Her body, her choice. Mind your own tits.


Image via Roxana Bashyrova /Shutterstock.



Do people really go around giving women a hard time for not breastfeeding? I've never seen or experienced that, and I've been immersed in the baby-having community for several years now.