Part of the Yes Bebe breast feeding series for World Breastfeeding Week 2018: <<read more>>
I sat for this painting within a month of my firstborn coming into my world. It remains untitled (21 months after conception) as I write.
The viewer may title it the following:
A Mother’s Love.
Mother and child.
But, honestly? It is hard to label. I can’t express easily, the emotion that lead up to this picture-perfect image. The final product looks like a dreamscape. The process behind it was definitely a journey and has provided me with deep-rooted memories. No wonder I find it difficult to give it a name to this day.
Hidden in the story of this painting is a new mother who desperately wanted to give her son a great start in life with that ‘liquid-gold’ as it is often called.
Sugar levels were low in the first few days of my baby’s life. Midwives insisted on a little extra help with formula milk before being discharged until the mother ship’s milk fully came through. The waiting game. The longest waiting game. At the time.
In the early days, the new mother gritted her teeth and took deep inhales of breath as the first suckles (I have no problem with this word, It’s just a word) were grabbing and sensitive. The feeds were endless and frequent – a strange combination. Tired. Exhausted. Fatigued. Fuelled with determination and routine. Let’s just call it stubbornness.
In public, she covered what was naturally given to her so onlookers wouldn’t be embarrassed (21 months later, there is no covering now. The world can stare, look, admire, wonder or be embarrassed).
At home, visitors talked, bustled and assumed status quo downstairs, whilst mother and baby were upstairs in a nursing chair. Two. Just us. Quiet. Still. Intimate. If I transport you a few months later, the chair is gone. Mother has learnt to nurse lying down, standing up and even multi-task feed. Still just two though, in our own little bubble.
“Wow! You’ve been breastfeeding for two months now?”
“You are such a natural.”
“Amazing. How do you do it? 6 months it has been hasn’t it?”
“Nearly a year? Will you stop?”
“When will you wean?”
“1 year and a half ??”
“Are you going for the 2 year WHO recommendation?”
21 months (and not really counting) later, we are still breastfeeding. My boy has naturally weaned down to a morning and bedtime feed in the last few months. Some days I feel sad about this. Some days I am relieved. Will I carry on? I guess so. When will you stop? I honestly don’t know. Any advice? Just go with the flow. Have you got a title for this painting yet? Not sure. The Early Days? Raw? Untitled? The Early Days. Raw & Untitled it is for now I guess.
What do you think?