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No, my breasts aren’t for my baby

Why is it that the minute you get pregnant, your boobs become community property?

I have long been a vocal defender of women who cannot or choose not to breastfeed their babies. I won’t ever stop speaking up for those of us who make the very personal decision about how and when to use our bodies to feed our babies — and yes, that includes moms who embrace nursing whole-heartedly.

But can someone please tell me when it became OK to consider my breasts open for public discussion? It feels like the second that egg gets fertilized, we cease to be women and instead morph into mother with a capital “M.”

I’ve never been the type to wear my sexuality on my sleeve, but it occurred to me early on in my first pregnancy that society sends expecting moms a clear message that the opportunity for bodily pleasure is over, kaput. And some of us, myself included, swallow that message whole.

Recently, Dita Von Teese and Destination Maternity teamed up to offer breastfeeding moms a little more sex appeal than the typical cotton nursing bras that most closely resemble the underthings of a prison matron, and the internet raised its eyebrows. It shouldn’t come as a surprise or a shock to anyone that moms want to look and feel sexy.

Frankly, the notion of women’s bodies as public property extends well beyond breasts in our current culture. However, for many of us, it becomes starkly clear once we are pregnant that what we choose to do with our sex organs is everyone’s business, from your mother-in-law to that guy in the mall who wants you to stop using your boobs to feed your baby in public.

When we let others decide how and when we use our breasts once we become mothers — be it for feeding babies or getting our happy on with our partners — we’re buying into the idea that we’re no longer women, we’re just moms.

That isn’t my truth. I am so much more than “just” a mom. I’m an autonomous human being with feelings and desires and it’s never any of your business what I do or do not do with my boobs.

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