Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Breastfeeding Project

Several months ago at the Mothersville re-open house, I met Amber Parmley. She is a photographer who specializes in maternity and nursing photos. She has a few photographs up in the store and every time I go in, I think It sure would be nice to have her take some pictures of us.

Unfortunately, I checked out her website and realized I probably wouldn’t be able to actually afford it anytime soon.

Then Kristy told me about Amber's breastfeeding project. I emailed Amber immediately and signed up. She was pretty busy going around the country and said it might be several months. No problem, I thought, fully aware that Jiro might nurse until he goes to college.

We’d been playing email tag for awhile trying to set something up when Jiro got Hand-Foot-Mouth disease. He went five days without nursing and I thought it was the end. Amazingly, once he felt better, he went right back to nursing with a gusto. I got a little worried though and emailed Amber. “Let’s do it soon,” I urged.

After juggling our schedules we decided on last Sunday in front of the Brooks Museum. I was really excited and started imaging the lovely photos she would take of us. For free. And of course I thought about how cool it would be to participate in the project itself.

We were to meet at 11:30am, which would have been perfect—right before naptime. However, as you know, Sunday was also the day that we all got up early to watch the Baptist implosion. By 10:00am, we had done the implosion, breakfast, a few errands, and been to the park. I was exhausted, Jiro was exhausted, everyone was exhausted.

I worried that Jiro would be a cranky, tired mess by 11:30 and opted to put him (and myself) down for a mini-nap. Per usual, I nursed him to sleep and fell asleep alongside him. At 11:20, Satchel came in and woke me up. Jiro was completely out.

I felt even more tired than I did before the nap and wondered if I should just cancel. She’s got someone else coming, I rationalized.

I decided to suck it up and get going. I woke Jiro up, put him in a clean shirt as he clutched his blankie, and headed out the door. That’s when it dawned on me that Jiro only nurses with his blankie…and usually only in bed. I hadn’t actually nursed him in public since…since when?

Well, I dohave the blankie, surely he’ll want to nurse. Maybe he’ll even go back to sleep.

As I circled the Brooks, I looked for camera equipment, or a gaggle of nursing mothers and babies, but saw nothing. I continued to circle and noticed a familiar face in a parked minivan. I stopped and rolled down my window, “Amber?”

She looked at me funny. “HI, I’m Stacey Greenberg,” I said.

“Oh hi!” she said as she began unloading…herself, her equipment, her project partner, Nicks, and Nicks’ three children. “Let’s go over by the benches in the gazebo.”

She instructed us to sit on one bench with our backs to the golf course. Jiro was clinging to me, very wary of the group of strangers surrounding us. I got a little nervous.

“So he stopped nursing for awhile?” Amber asked, making conversation.

“Yeah, for about 5 days, but then he started right back up,” I said, trying to sound like a super lactator, lifting my shirt.

“My son just quit nursing last week and I’m hoping that seeing your son nurse will make him want to nurse too,” Nicks said.

“Okay,” I gulped as Jiro arched his back and refused to nurse.

“I told you the Commercial Appeal would be coming to do a story, right?” Amber asked.

“Uh-huh,” I said, as I tried to put my nipple in Jiro’s shaking head.

“Naaaaaaaaaaa!” Jiro hollered as he squirmed.

"I just need a split second," Amber said competently.

“I think he’s kind of distracted,” I said meekly, feeling like the biggest poser ever.

Just then the reporter and her photographer entered the gazebo. “Hi, I’m Mary,” the reporter said as she plopped down with her pad and pencil and started asking me questions.

“How long have you been nursing?”
“What reactions do you get nursing in public?
“Do you have to plan your day around needing to nurse?”

And so on…

I think I gave her a pretty good interview, introducing her to words such as “Lactivist,” but the more we talked the more agitated Jiro got. I finally had to just apologize to everyone and take Jiro home without having a single shot taken.

As I was leaving the other woman she had scheduled showed up with her toddler. “Good Luck,” I said to them as we left. Then I started mentally beating myself up.

We’re so much cuter than them!

Why did we watch that stupid building blow up!

WHY did I let him nap before we came?

Why didn't she take some warm up pictures?

When we got home, I let myself pout for a few minutes then got on with my day. I'll just have to think of a different way to support the project.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Hand-foot-mouth disease is the very thing that put an end to my nursing! I still pumped for about a month after he gave up the breast, but it broke my heart. I'm glad to hear Jiro didn't give up as easily! Sorry the picture shoot didn't work out. . .

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