Archive for the ‘breastfeeding’ Category

Mammogram–It’s That Time Again

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Face the machine. Stretch your arm across here. Lean in a little bit further. A little more pressure. That’s it. Suck in your tummy for me. Is that uncomfortable? A little closer now.  Hold your breath. Stay still. That’s it.

Next breast. Arrrrgggghhhh

I dislike going for my annual mammogram. I hate having my breasts put in a vise grip. There must be a kindler, gentler way to see into a woman’s breasts. (Where are the feminist inventors when you need them?)

mammogramBut I’ve put the exam off for longer than I should. I almost turned around this morning when I found myself stuck in morning traffic trying to get to the breast clinic. But I pressed on.

A line from the book of Song of Solomon  came to mind.

“We have a little sister, And she has no breasts; What shall we do for our sister On the day when she is spoken for?” (Song of Solomon 8:8).

And then there are the statistics:

**1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

**African American women are more likely than white women to die from breast cancer.

**Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among African American women, exceeded only by lung cancer.

You may dress now, Ms. Weems. The doctor will examine your film after lunch. If there’s a problem you will hear from us and your doctor immediately, otherwise we’ll send your results in the mail.

Did I mention that I dislike mammograms? But I do want to live. Plain and Simple. It helps knowing that God too has breasts. LOL.  Or, at least there were those in the world ancient world who thought so.  After all, one of the meanings of the divine name El Shaddai is  “The Breasted One.”

When was your last mammogram? When is your next mammogram?

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A Poem for a Woman’s Body

God, this is MY BODY.
She is an expression of Genius.

This is MY BODY.
She is more than fatigue, infirmity, soreness, cellulite, estrogen loss, and drooping breasts.

Lord, I want to LIVE in my Body.
Cleanse me of every thought that makes me
shame of my body and slow to take care of it.

Help me to experience LIFE
in my heart,
fingers and toes,
breasts and legs
arms and thighs
buttocks and uterus
lungs and belly
ignite a quickening fire in every cell of my body.

For I am
a woman in a Body.
My body.

A body that has breasts
That must be smashed, and
A uterus that must looked into
To live.

There is Life in my Body.
Holy
Free
Creative
Beautiful
Alive

May I never again be ashamed
For this is My Body which is

A Gift of God
A Sanctuary of my Divine Purpose, and
an Expression of the mystery of God.

This is My Body.

The Breasted One

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Just when I was about to congratulate myself after six months of blogging for raising questions here that prove I don’t mind bucking church authority and poking holes in religious orthodoxy, along comes a topic that makes me question whether I’m really as iconoclastic as my press statement reads.

Breastfeeding during the worship service. Gulp.

Female metaphors for imaging God. Yes. Gender equality. Absolutely. Debunk female surbordination and submission. A must. Stop funding sexually degrading images of black women in the media. Where do I sign up? Speak out and stand up against violence against women. You go, girl. A woman for president. Got my vote.

Breastfeeding during the worship service. Gulp.

At a black church this past Sunday an usher went over and explained to a young mother with a baby at her breast that breastfeeding wasn’t allowed during worship service. The usher politely offered to show the mother to a quiet room in the church where she could nurse her baby in privacy. The embarrassed mother gathered her things and followed the usher with a squalling baby in arm to a room on the other side of the church where she was alone with her nursing infant. By the time the baby was done nursing, the sermon was over and it was offering time.

Now I know what some of you are asking: was her breast exposed? Yep. Was she sitting at the front or the back of the church? Does it matter? Oh well, in the middle, at the end of the pew, I’m told. What did other mothers say? Who do you think instructed the usher to go over to the young mother? One of the women on the Mother Board, of course. Chuckle. Try telling Mother So-and-So that one of the several meanings of the divine name El Shaddai is “The Breasted One” (it really is, y’all), and she’s likely to hit you over the head with her Sunday purse. Doesn’t matter. Pulling out your breast in church is a shame before God. It’s certainly a shame before Mother So-and-So.

Many of you know about the big brouhaha that erupted a couple of months back when Facebook began taking down (and later banning) pictures of women breastfeeding their children from Facebook webpages. Facebook claimed that such imagery is “obscene content.” Now listen up, women posting pictures on their website of their babies sucking on their boobs may strike even me as a tad yucky and maybe even a bit obnoxious, but nothing about it, in my opinion, is obscene. I should remind you that the reason God made breasts was so that babies could be fed. Of course, you wouldn’t know that now. Janet Jackson’s Superbowl wardrobe malfunction reminded us that while we may have come a long way as women, the female breast continues to have enormous cultural significance. There are all kinds of breasts to reckon with these days: there’s the sacred breast, the erotic breast, the domestic breast, the political breast, the commercialized breast and even the medical breast. Believe me when I tell you: the history of the breast is riveting.

I am convinced of the importance of breastfeeding and am proud to say that I nursed my daughter when she was a baby. But I admit to having gone out and bought three or four of those shapeless nursing mother dresses that allowed me to unbuckle a flap and slide my suckling daughter underneath without exposing my breast to those around me. Reading the mommy blogs that are so popular these days and learning about the not-so-quiet revolution going on these days over the rights of mothers to breastfeed in the open, I wonder if I’m as broad-minded as I pretend to be. While I fancy myself a sex-positive feminist/womanist who believes that sexual freedom is an important step to women’s freedom, I’m not one for flashing body parts. Never have been. My young student friends will tell you that I stay on their cases about their cleavage-baring tops and low riding jeans. All of which is to say that even if I could have, I don’t know if I would have openly breastfed my daughter back when I was a nursing mother. Especially not in church. I lacked the courage and self-confidence.

And now that I’m older and have the courage and the self-confidence, the milk is gone.

So, what say the rest of you about breastfeeding in public, in particular at church?