Not too long ago, I celebrated a milestone that, at one time, seemed daunting and out of reach – one full year of breastfeeding. There was never really any question in my mind that I would try to nurse my baby, and I say “try” because that was the word everyone used around me during my pregnancy, and it was the word I used before I knew better. The common question was “Are you going to breastfeed?” and, after the skeptical look I always received, my answer was, “Yes! Well, I’m going to try, at least…” Nearly everyone had a story about why it probably wouldn’t work.
Now, I realize how dangerous that skeptical attitude can be when beginning a breastfeeding relationship with your newborn. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the positive effects of those who do support a new mother on her breastfeeding journey.
My parents are avid flea marketers, and one day my mom called and said, “Your dad bought you a present today. I’m not sure you’ll like it, but will you please tell him you do?”
Oh no, I thought. What on Earth could it be…
When I showed up at their house the day of my son’s first birthday dinner, she called me into the kitchen. “Here’s the present your dad got you at the flea market…”
It was a ceramic plate. THIS ceramic plate…
As my mom tells it, they were walking through the flea market, browsing tables, and my dad noticed a few older “gentlemen” noticing the plate. Apparently, they thought it was very funny, and they were laughing at it and making rude comments about it. (She didn’t elaborate, but it’s not hard to picture the scene.)
Well, don’t you know my dad walked right up between them and proclaimed, “Excuse me. I’d like to buy that.”
Of course, he was met with awkward looks.
“My daughter is celebrating her one year anniversary of breastfeeding her son, and I’m very proud of her. I think it will make a nice gift.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was the jist of it.)
My mom said he handed the man two dollars, and walked away, quite proud of himself.
But not half as proud as I am of him.
My parents watch my son while I work, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their support, or so I thought. This act of thoughfulness was on a whole new level. It was unnecessary, and I have no doubt that it pushed my dad a bit out of his comfort zone. But he did it. For me.
I don’t know if my dad has even known another breastfeeding mother before. It was a pretty foreign concept to all of us when I decided to do it, but he never skipped a beat in conveying his approval.
I’m not sure about the value of the plate, but it doesn’t matter because I’ll never part with it. To me, it’s the best two bucks anyone has ever spent on me
Not only did my dad give me a very precious keepsake, but along with it an example of the unconditional love and support that come with good parenting. If I end up being any good at this whole parenting thing, I know who I have to thank.