I have now nursed a sock monkey.
Last night, Mike and I went to our first breastfeeding class because, yes, we are those intellectuals who go to classes to learn what other people have been doing naturally for thousands of years. Mike was a little unsure about going to a breastfeeding class because, as he put it, "I don't have breasts." I reminded him, though, that he does have a memory which I sometimes lack. Mike's lack of endowments aside, he came (it's pretty easy to get men to do things when you're pregnant), though he did ask in the car, "Do you really think there are going to be any other men there?"
The answer was a resounding yes. The room was packed with supportive, attentive husbands. Long gone are the days of the 60s when, according to my 1960s baby book, the woman shouldn't really expect the father to be there for the childbirth - he probably has important work to do! No, these men are cut from a different cloth. They were all leaning forward (perhaps this had to do with the giant pictures of bosoms displayed on the wall) and asking more questions than the ladies.
One of my favorite question and answer exchanges with a dad:
Dad: "So, can you drink beer when breastfeeding?"
Teacher: "[Long explanation about the pros and cons of alcohol while breastfeeding, followed by:] So, it's OK to drink one glass only occasionally as long as you wait 2 hours before breastfeeding."
Dad: "How often is occasionally?"
Teacher: "Not very often, you know, occasionally."
Dad: "So like, once a week, twice a week?"
But kidding aside, one of my most common tasks in my job is editing interviews with new moms in the developing world. To put it mildly, many of the fathers do not attend breastfeeding classes with their wives. Many are too preoccupied drinking, gambling and hitting their wives. There are a lot of good fathers in the world, but man, there are a whole lot of bad, too. So I am thankful for men who are willing to sacrifice 2 1/2 hours on a Tuesday night to talk about breastfeeding. Go, men!
I do find it rather funny that boys spend so much time in their adolescence trying to get just one peek at the fabled female domes when they could just walk into a breastfeeding class and get an eyeful. Mike and I were late, so we had to sit in the front row, just feet away from the large projecting screen displaying 6-foot high bosomy monoliths. I felt like I was gazing up at the Mount Rushmore of busts.
We practiced breastfeeding on our stuffed toys that we had brought. I (not yet having children) had no doll to bring, but only one sweet little sock monkey to nurse. But luckily the teacher lent me a doll instead so I can still look Sock Monkey Sam in the eye.
On the way home, Mike admitted that he just couldn't picture me breastfeeding. "You're too ethereal," he said. Ah, yes, I am rather cloud-like and celestial, am I not? I began feeling very smug until he followed up with, "I can see you hugging her and then lecturing her, but not breastfeeding." Nice.
Although I have a bit of the schoolmarm in me, I am rather looking forward to breastfeeding. It has to do with cats. I love kitties and puppies and warm cuddlies. Although I don't usually have the "proper" feminine feelings about various feminine things (such as pregnancy and childbirth), I do love to cuddle things. Yet, I've been denied this right all my life because of my cursed nose and allergies. Perhaps this is why I'm so uptight and repressed. In any case, I look forward to unleashing my full cuddliness in nursing my baby.