"Mama, I love your boobies."
Little bean smiled up at me in her sleepy milk-daze and wrapped her arms further around my belly, squeezing just a little bit tighter than before.
"Thank you, baby girl."
I heard these words leave my mouth, but in that moment, sitting in the rocker in our quiet and cosy bedroom, I could feel a heavy niggling at the back of my mind... a quiet but persistent voice that raced through my head whispering; "but why?"
You see, my breasts had changed quite considerably over the preceding few months... they seemed to have halved in volume and dropped southwards, as if pushed from a great height. And with this drop, came a corresponding plummeting of self-confidence.
My breasts aren't the kind of breasts that you might see splashed across the front pages of magazines, or set within red lace against a 10 foot billboard. No, for all intents and purposes, my breasts are rather modest, rather humble and rather normal. Funnily enough, even before this drastic boob-shrinkage, my breasts were still rather modest, rather humble and rather normal... they were just three cup sizes bigger.
So one dreary January morning, I decided to weigh myself -- to dig out the scales from the dark depths of beyond and establish the damage. I stood on the scales and dared myself to look down -- 14 pounds lighter. And I'm thinking, it was a whole 14 pounds of boob.
"What is it, mama?" A little voice cut through my silent shock, as little bean peered at the numbers on the scales. She looked up and stared me straight in the eye; "You OK mama?"
My face does not hide emotion well. I wear whatever I am feeling in my eyes, across my brow and over my mouth. In that moment, I felt a huge wave of panic sweep over me.
What if my breasts were no longer producing milk? What if they weren't producing enough milk? What if they continue shrinking, will the milk vanish soon? What if little bean gets poorly and increases her demand... will my breasts keep up? Can my breasts keep up?
It had taken well over two years for me to reach the question that most breastfeeding mothers reach at one point or another, are my boobs enough?
And let's face it, this concept of "being enough" isn't solely reserved for breastfeeders. It lies dormant in all of us, lifting its head above water from time to time to gnaw away at our parenting confidence: am I enough?
My child is sad, am I enough? My child is angry, am I enough? My child is learning, am I enough? My child is looking for direction, am I enough? My child is wanting, am I enough?
Yes, mama, you are enough.
You are enough when your child reaches out her hand to you, or when she rests her head on your shoulder. You are enough when you brush away tears and kiss scraped knees. You are enough at 7:00 a.m., at 1:00 p.m., at 7:00 p.m. and at 1:00 a.m. You are enough when your hands aren't manicured and when your mascara runs. You are enough.
I took a deep breath.
"Mama's OK, I was just thinking about your mama milk. Is it still in mama's boobies?"
"Oh yeah, mama!" My daughter beamed at me. She wasn't looking at the scales anymore and nor was I thinking about them.
I took another breath. "Is there enough?" I whispered it... I was almost too afraid of the answer.
"Enough, mama! In here..." She reached up to pat my right breast. "...and in here..." She smiled as she tapped my left. "There's LOADS!"
And just like that, my insecurities left me. Just as my spare 14 pounds had vanished, my boob-doubt disappeared. It seemed, after all, that the missing pounds of boob really didn't hold the key to our breastfeeding journey; that the absent pounds weren't the only ones capable of milk production.
Because our breasts are simply amazing -- and I'm talking about yours and mine. Our hidden and humble breasts are amazing even though we don't see them spilling out all over magazines or selling lipsticks/cars/underwear/shoes/fragrance/*insert any commercial product here*.
Whether they are big or small, up high or down low, they are capable of nourishing and nurturing life. They are simply inspiring.
A few nights later, little bean told me again at bedtime, "Mama, I love your boobies."
As I smiled down at her sleepy face, I truly believed the words that left my mouth...
"Me too, baby girl. Me too."