I Broke Female Stereotypes by Breastfeeding the Wrong Baby

As I move into my 50's, I am constantly amused by the stereotypical comments made about women. We want to run our households. We hate sports. We love to shop. We are born to be mothers.

Let's see, running our households: My kids grew up on mac and cheese with cut-up hot dogs. That's still the only meal I can whip up for my kids -- and they're in their twenties. Just last night, my son pulled a can out of my pantry that expired in June 2008. My husband cooks and does laundry. I take out the trash.

I also live for football season and need antidepressants after the Superbowl because football is over. And shopping? I would rather listen to another Presidential debate than go shop at the mall. Yes, it's that bad.

The nurturing part is where I really come up short. Remember when Candice Bergen's character Murphy Brown sang to her baby? You know, the "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" segment? I failed that moment with my first born. I breastfed another kid without realizing it wasn't mine.

Let me explain: My son broke my tailbone during his delivery and being a competitor, I refused any drugs until he was born. I passed out and lost control of the muscles in my face instead. Once he was born, the doctor insisted on giving me Demerol and Tylenol with codeine, which I happily accepted.

They placed my beautiful son on my stomach, and I was amazed that a human being had just emerged from my nether regions. But I did not burst into tears, even though the nurses searched my face for the proof of my womanhood. I did, however, request mascara and a Coke. I thought pushing a baby out took care of the womanhood part. The nurses looked a little disappointed.

A few hours later I was sitting up in bed and still high on drugs, waiting to feed my son. I had been La Leche'd, and was terrified NOT to breastfeed my son lest he immediately develop rickets and join a motorcycle gang. I heard the wheels of his plastic bassinet squeal to a stop. A nice nurse held my son in the air and said, "Here's the Kennedy baby!" Well, I assumed she meant he looked like a Kennedy and laughed uproariously.

She brought him over for my first breastfeeding session. I looked at the child I thought was Jacob. In a matter of hours he had gone from being a baby with thin red hair to a baby with thick, long black hair. His seven pounds had morphed into at least ten. My Scot-Irish son had turned into an Italian. Wow, I thought, They change so fast!

The kid latched on to me like a pro and got nothin'. My milk hadn't come in, and his blues eyes searched mine with the same look a kid gets when he wanders off in a department store and some stranger takes his hand. I studied his face as well but was mostly thrilled he was such a good feeder.

The nurse carried him away, and I fell asleep satiated. I was a natural woman.

Then another nurse came in 30 minutes later and said, "Jacob is ready to feed!" This time she held up a seven-pound boy with red hair. Hmmmm, I thought. This might not be good.

Yes, I fed the three-day old cesarean-born Kennedy baby. I had no real concern that he looked nothing like my child. Not one time did I say, "This is not my baby!" I always tell people that every now and then, a large 24-year-old man with dark hair looks at me in the mall and seems to want to ask, "Are you my mother?"

If all women are natural mothers born to nurture, then I might need to search for another chromosome that is floating around in my body.

So stop stereotyping women. We don't all cry at Nicholas Sparks movies. In fact, I resent his obvious manipulation of emotion. And we don't all recognize our babies immediately. Well, that might actually just be me. Thank God my kids still claim me. At this point, I am surprised they didn't try to replace me with the Kennedy mother.