I’ve been thinking about breasts a lot lately, even more than usual. Being around my breastfeeding wife has made me more thoughtful and aware of breasts. I like breasts. In fact, I like them a lot. That may not be surprising to hear coming from a man. However, my reason for liking breasts so much might surprise you. The main reason I love breasts is because they nourish life, and I love life.
I am filled with joy and awe every time I watch my wife put our infant son to her breast and I hear his cute little suckling noises. A marvelous and holy thing is taking place. She is singlehandedly sustaining, nourishing and growing that precious little human. Oh, what a miracle!
I remember a time during our first pregnancy when I was worried about having to share her breasts with our baby after the birth. At that point, I had only thought of breasts in terms of sexual pleasure. I worried that I would be resentful or jealous of our new baby because I would have to share my wife’s body with the baby.
After the baby came, I experienced an unexpected joy. It was the joy of watching my wife feed our baby. All my fears and anxiety about sharing her body melted away as I experienced a paradigm shift from thinking about breasts as entities for my enjoyment to thinking about them as the means for working the miracle of nourishing life.
Going through this paradigm shift showed me how much I am a product of a hyper-sexualized culture. I was so immersed in the cultural lie that everything is about me and gratifying my appetites, that I became inoculated against the wonder and miracle that is breastfeeding.
I’m well aware that there is plenty of heated debate going on around the issue of breastfeeding in public. Some think we need better policies or laws about the practice. Others believe we just need more tolerance. Personally, I think both the problems and the solutions are deeper than that. I think our whole culture needs to have a paradigm shift about breasts. If we see breastfeeding for the miracle that it is, then lots of other items follow naturally as non-issues. Would it really make sense for businesses to hang signs that say, “No miracles here”? Or, “Go to the bathroom if you need to perform a miracle”?
What I’d like to say to my fellow men is that you get to witness and participate in many miracles in the process of conceiving, birthing and caring for a baby. Don’t let the joy and wonder of all those miracles be stolen by the convoluted ideas from our hyper-sexualized culture. Contrary to mainstream caricatures of men, you need not be a sex-crazed animal that is constantly given over to your baser desires. No, you are a man with self-control and a respect for women and the miracles they perform.
What I’d like to say to breastfeeding women is that you are marvelous miracle workers. What you are doing is not shameful. You don’t need to hide it—nor do you need to flaunt it. You just need to perform your miracles with confidence and poise. I’m really sorry that many people look with disdain upon breastfeeding. Just so you know, if I see you feeding your baby, I’ll give you a smile and a nod of respect as a gesture of, “Thanks for the miracle you are performing.”