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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Betrayed By My Breasts

I breastfed all my babies.  You don't even want to know for how long. 

Once, in the locker room, a woman criticized me for bringing my little boy in to change, accusing him of staring at her breasts.

I was polite, of course, but I did point out that as a breastfeeding mother, with many breastfeeding friends, my son saw breasts all the time.  To him, breasts were for feeding babies.  That this woman thought a six year old boy would be looking at breasts in a sexual way is just sad.

"Breast" is not a "bad word" in our home.  Even after I stopped nursing my kids, I volunteered as a breastfeeding counselor.  (I still do, though I am far less active than I once was.)

I talked about breasts ALL the time.

So, when I learned that I had breast cancer, I felt betrayed by my body.

Breastfeeding lowers the incidence of breast cancer, both in mothers and their babies.  I breastfed ALL my babies, for a LONG time.  How could my breasts betray me like this??

My breasts were a source of life.  My children lived on breast milk alone for anywhere between 6 months to a year (depending on the kid).  Even after my kids started eating solids, breast milk was their primary source of nutrition.  Later, it was a valuable supplement for them.  When they were breastfeeding, my children almost never got sick.  Breast milk was the elixir of life!

How could my breasts turn from a source of life to a threat of death??

How could they contain cancer???

I did not know how to look at my body anymore.

My body had betrayed me.

My breasts had betrayed me.



Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,
RivkA

17 comments:

Mottel said...

It's hard to respond with out sounding cliched - but I found this to be a very poignant and touching post . . .
As always, davening for a refuah shleima b'karov!

Robin said...

(((hug)))

Anonymous said...

Oh, RivkA, I sooooooo understand you...
Rochie

mikimi said...

you really need to also write your story into articles to send for publishing and get paid for your honest portrayal of life yet done with such inspiring words!

Henya said...

What a lot of pain.
I am in the finishing stages of becoming a LLL counselor. I will forward a link to your blog to a friend, who is also doing her leader certification.
Being betrayed by your body is very painful. I am there too.

adena said...

My thinking on this is not that it's your body that betrayed you. It's the chemicals in our environment that mimic estrogen that cause the cells in the breast to over-grow. So really, we are betrayed by the companies that thoughtlessly dumped chemicals of all types into our world...don't know if this helps, but maybe it helps to feel less betrayed by your body. Check out http://www.silentspring.org

jz said...

I also breast fed all my kids [but for a much shorter time], including this most amazing blogger, and my breasts betrayed me also.

Unfortunately, not such a rare occurance.

JZ

michele said...

Your description of your little (not so little?) boy staring at the lady in the dressing room (probably wondering if her breasts give as delicious milk as yours), made me smile.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I don't know what to say, to quote Forrest Gump "sh-t happens"
Ariela

RivkA with a capital A said...

Mottel -- Thanks. I always appreciate your comments.

Robin -- see you soon, for some real life huggin'!

Rochie -- I know. You are awesome!

Mikimi -- I need someone to promote me. Want the job? ;-)

Henya -- Thanks. Enjoy being a leader!!

Adena -- my breast cancer is ER-/PR-, so I do not think it was excess estrogen that caused it....

JZ -- the longer you breastfeed, the greater your "protection."

Michele -- Tee hee. Your image makes me smile too.

Actually, I don't believe he was staring at her breasts or any part of her. He was a very shy little boy. Most likely, he was spacing out. He was and staring into space. She just happened to be in that space....

Ariela -- it's true

Jack said...

Ditto to what Mottel posted.

rickismom said...

I felt betrayed, when as a breastfeeding councellor, I could not nurse Ricki. (Unless I spent the whole day pumping, and I didn't have the time/emotional energy for that!)Dafka when I had a baby I felt distant from, my primary bonding tool was gone.....
And of course I could not have rooming in with Ricki (she was in ICU)after birth, and I had drempt of having rooming in, and had fought for it. \\\\\\\finally the hospital changed their policy, and God "did me in". Guess He was trying to show me that it wasdn't ALL that important.....

RivkA with a capital A said...

Jack -- thanks

Ricki's mom -- we all do the best we can, with whatever knowlege and resources are available to us at the time.

zjoandcsmom said...

I can relate to your post so well. I breastfed all 4 of my children...a little over 10 years without a break! I am so glad I could give this gift to my children. My youngest dd just self-weaned this past summer/fall (hard to say exactly when!). I just received a diagnosis 2 weeks ago of high grade DCIS. I have my lumpectomy scheduled for Feb 10. I really 'get' how you feel betrayed.

RivkA with a capital A said...

zjoandcsmom -- thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you will come again.

my youngest also self weaned - I also can't say exactly when. ;-)

I wish you a speedy and complete recovery!

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

I am enjoying your writings. The night before I had my breasts removed, I remember looking in the mirror and thanking g-d that I was able to use them for breastfeeding, and that I no longer needed them for that as I was past child bearing. So poignant to think of that. My prayers will be with you, even though it is long past this posting and you may never read it...

RivkA with a capital A said...

Nancy -- Thanks for commenting, and visiting my blog. How did you find this post??