GLAM

Monday, 26 September 2016

"Bottle Feeding or Shit Tits"


Oh Hai, 

A story about breasts for you today. 

Saturday night was great. It was one of those nights that's supposed to be a glass of wine at your local that turns into an evening of laughs and memories and 'omg's remember when..'s'. So good. Except for one guy. I won't name and shame him because that'd be a low blow so let's just call him, 'Richard'. Shorten that to whatever you like. 

My friend Hazel came up from London and her and I were going to have a girlie drink and a natter. Nice. Then, I invited my guy friend and he had a couple of friends there already, one of them being 'Richard'. So, a group of 5. Me, Hazel, Guy Friend, his Matey and 'Richard'. Got it? Ok. 


(A really old snap of me holding a drink - I think Zoe took this at Fleur's house a million years ago! - because I didn't take any pictures whilst we were out. Also, my 'shit tits' are in this which I thought was appropriate.)

Wine flowed (room temperature rose Echo Falls for us classy ladies thank you) and spirits were high. Chit chat, 'bants' (I hate that word) and story telling. Lovely. Richard seemed friendly. Took an interest in Hazel's love of script writing, asked about Darcy because he too has a little girl from a relationship he is no longer in, joined in with general socialising. Fine. 

Onto the second bottle and the subject of religion crops up. I'm a Christian and happy to talk about that. I'm not happy to try and persuade or force anyone to feel that same way as me though. I'm also not going to 'prove God exists'. I can certainly talk about Him and debate it all but, crazily enough, my powers don't extend to summoning the Good Lord into the village pub on a Saturday night. Hazel, Guy Friend and Matey don't have a faith and were happy to go with the, 'You believe what you like and we'll believe what we like and we're all cool', vibe. Lovely. Richard though, no. He wasn't letting it go easily, not til we all knew he was a, in his words, 'militant Atheist'. A lot of placating from me, 'Look it's fine, I won't change my mind and I'm not trying to change yours' and then eventually a firm topic change from the others and we were back on track with light convo. Phewf. 

The night carried on in good fashion, all sat on stools around a high table and the general hub-bub of pub life carrying on around us. Later in the evening, Matey's wife joined us (loveliest lady ever, Hazel and I decided) and the subject of having babies came up (they aren't there yet). Wife said, 'as long as you help me through the night with bottle feeds!', in a jovial tone. Matey said, 'Nahhh, you'll be breastfeeding!', in a matching tone. 

All of this felt fine. It was their thing. Frankly, I don't care either way how that lady feeds her future babies, she can do whatever feels best to her. I know 'breast is best' and that there is a lot of evidence to support that, but if a lady chooses to bottle feed her baby, I think that's up to her. Basically, I support both. Darcy was breast fed for a week before we had some serious health issues and had a stay in hospital. After that, it was bottles for us. I think I would have liked to have breast fed for longer but nature had other ideas and I was actually quite relieved to now be able to share the load. 

So, back to last night. Wifey and Matey are having a quippy little chat and we're all sort of chuckling along. Then Richard, good old Richard, steps in with an absolute beauty, 'It's bottle feeding or shit tits!!!'. 

I think in his mind, he was doing Wifey a favour and trying to sway Matey to bottles so that he would have to help more in the night. I think he thought he was saying something good or useful. 

Rage bubbled inside me. I erupted. 'DID YOU JUST SAY 'BOTTLE FEEDING OR SHIT TITS'?? ARE MY TITS SHIT RICHARD???', I said that as I grabbed both my boobs and kind of aggressively shook them at him (#WineRegrets). He looked instantly awkward. 'What's wrong with you? Tits aren't there for your personal sexual pleasure! They're for babies!!! NO WONDER YOU'RE SINGLE!', bit (too) harsh past-tipsy-me, bit (too) harsh. Sorry Richard. 

The situation was placated by my guy friend and everyone calmed down and moved on. I apologised to Richard for being so shouty and tried to explain that I'm just really passionate about women's bodies. I'm sure if he had a blog, he'd be writing about me too haha. 

I've thought about it this morning. Should I have semi-yelled at a man I'd only met that night in a pub? Probably not. Do I still feel the same in the cold sobriety of the morning? Yes. Yes I actually bloody do. 

'It's bottle feeding or shit tits'. No. It's bottle feeding or breast feeding. It's feeding. It's loving your baby with all your heart and making choices that are best. If you can, breast feeding is so worth it. It's bonding and nourishing and doing what your body was beautifully and wonderfully designed for. Your body has just grown and delivered an infant and your breasts are (hopefully) full of milk to sustain it. 

(Found this on my FB from 2011. Darcy after a feed, note the bottles and my enormous drink and cereal since feeding meant you were basically trapped for 30 minutes at a time ha. I wish I'd had actual pictures of me breast and bottle feeding.)

If you are unable, for whatever reason, bottle feeding is available. When I bottle fed my tiny Darcy, I felt that bonding sensation. I cradled her in my arms, held the bottle to her lips and watched her drink. I was keeping her alive, watching her grow, cuddling her warm body, it was lovely. I'm sure her Dad felt the same when he fed her, a task we were able and happy to share. 

Feeding, however you do it, is lovely. We're clear on that. 

You know what's not lovely though? Having a man put his sexual preferences ahead of your maternal instinct, your dignity or your self worth and spouting off about it. 

Child birth and everything after is beautiful and worthwhile but also, for many women, quite distressing, upsetting and esteem knocking. Your tummy is wibbly, your vagina/stomach may well be in stitches, you've just gone through crazy pregnancy changes (more hair/less hair, stretch marks, swollen feet, varicose veins, weight gain, spotty skin, the list goes on) and all in all, physically, you're feeling exhausted. 

You need love and reassurance. You want to be told that you're incredible for bringing new life into the world, that you're glowing (yeah it's sweat and grease but a lie here and there doesn't hurt), that your partner has never loved you more, watching you care for that baby. 

You know what, your 'tits' might change. They might be bigger or smaller, they might hang lower, they might not feel as sensitive sexually. They might actually stay the exact same. Ultimately, whatever you do to them, they will still just be your breasts. A part of your body to be loved and cherished. 

They will not be, 'shit'. They just kept a human alive for goodness sake! 

My breasts are not meaty toys for a man to play with. Of course I like a sexual partner to enjoy them in the appropriate moments, but they don't exist for his soul pleasure. They exist for me, for my children. 

I'm disgusted that Richard felt that breast feeding equals 'shit tits' and I'm disgusted that he voiced his opinion so brashly. When I questioned him on it I said, 'Does the Mother of your little girl have shit tits??'. 'She bottle fed', was the reply. Lucky her I guess, lucky the man she once married didn't have the opportunity to make her feel like crap. 

If you are a lady reading who has breast fed or ever does, I salute you. It's hard!! It takes determination and strength and love. I also salute your tits, whatever shape or size or, lolz, 'shitness' they are, I think they're bloody fantastic. 

And, 'Richard', if you're reading this, my tits, despite their brief stint of supplying my baby with milk, are fucking fabulous

Toodlepip!

xx

Edit - 12 hours after original post.
Richard has messaged. He, like a lot of us in our lives, made a flippant remark after a few drinks. He fully supports whatever way a woman wants to feed her baby and fully supported his wife in her choices with their child. He's glad this post has sparked support and love for women and their bodies and has apologised for any offence caused.

Personally, I of course still stand by the sentiment and message of this post. However, there are now no bad feelings towards Richard and I'm glad he is with us in our love of bodies, babies and self worth. Richard, apology accepted, you're alright! x

This post is dedicated to my good friend Clare who exclusively breast fed her baby girl, Hope,  for 5 months, with just one breast (the other wasn't playing ball). It was rough but she did it, happily and lovingly. I hope she never meets a 'Richard'. 

If you would like to pre-order my book, click HERE

Thursday, 22 September 2016

You're chill, I'm chill, We're all chill.


Oh Hai,

Yesterday I did the school run, came home, threw caution to the wind and made a video without so much as brushing my hair. HOW GLORIOUS. 



I'd half filmed it already with a vloggy trip to Homesense but I needed to complete the haul section. I'd put it off for over a week, waiting for the perfect moment to be fully made up or my house to be gleaming and then I realised- that's never going to happen. Never ever. 

'Sod it', I thought. I'll just film it now, as I am, just like this. 

So I did. And everyone was fine. In 1979, no-one died. If you know where that last line is from, we are soul mates. 

Anyway, less on my new feeling of school run-filming liberation and on to the video. 



Thanks for being chill about my new chill- long may it continue!

Have a great Thursday!

Toodlepip!

xx

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Happy 7th Blogday!


Oh Hai, 

I'm writing this on a grey and rainy Monday afternoon- perfect weather for cosying up with your laptop if you ask me. 

I looked at the date and suddenly remembered that tomorrow is a special day for me and I need to mark it. September 20th marks 7 years since I started this blog. That feels CRAZY. I can't imagine my life 7 years into the future, it feels miles away, so 7 is back feels a long time ago too. 


(www.gemmalouise.co.uk) 

Every year I write a special blog post and this will be no different. Last year I wrote THIS beast and as I read through it just now, I felt so sad for the person I was then. I felt so feeble. I was a bit broken really. I wrote a lot about how my professional life was soaring but my personal life was crumbling. 

Let's talk about this with a new year in mind. Sept-Sept. Honestly, 2015 got worse. Not in Glitter World, that was incredible, but behind the scenes I wasn't coping. A particularly unpleasant incident in October triggered a huge hideous heap of memories from my sadly, very abusive, childhood and I found myself in this awful swirling tunnel of thoughts I couldn't get out of. I would shut my eyes and remember all the things that happened to me (I won't delve into this now, in a nutshell, I was severely physically and mentally abused by a step mother and had never fully dealt with it) and panic that either they would happen to me again, or worse, happen to Darcy. 

(@charlotte_jonees)

Relationships with other people broke down, the man who had strung me along for 6 months showed his true colours and really, it was all rather shit. 

After a giant cry in my car one day (glamorous), I researched help and booked myself in to see a counsellor. 

She. Was. Great.


(@chummysketches)

Suddenly I was able to voice all my worries and concerns without spiralling out of control and could arrange them in a way that I could manage them. I could rationalise my present without dragging my past into it and could begin to enjoy my day to days again. I began to deal with the things that had happened to me and put myself back together again. I'd thoroughly recommend taking the time and expense to do this if you need to.

I did vlogmas (which was also very healing- the creative focus, the motivation to do something fun each day etc) and jetted off to Seattle for 2 weeks over the new year to visit my friend Marie and her family. With all of their love and Christmas spirit, I came back reinvigorated and felt like glimmers of my old happy self were reappearing. Yay.

(Instagram: ebunton.art)

2016 has been so kind to me. Whilst I have been productive in Glitter World (another clothing collection, the beautiful 2017 Diary, another ah-mazing tour of LouiseLIVE), I haven't felt frantic. It's been almost serene. My focus has been on Darcy and home and my heart feels warm again. I no longer cry in the car or feel panicked at night. I feel so able to handle whatever life has on offer. A stark difference to this time last year and long may it continue!

I feel strong. I am strong. 

(@flyawayels)

I cannot be bullied or broken. I will not be made to feel less than I am by the things that have happened to me or people who don't have my best interests at heart. I'm a good egg. I try my best. I love fully. That's all you can ask I think. 

This year has been so healing. It's been like a hug. Warm and gentle and just what I needed. As always, you have been amazing. Unfailingly supportive in everything you do. I know it's cringey to say but truly, you're a blessing.

Last month I took a leap and completely changed the direction of this space. I told you all that I wanted to take a more honest approach, not always sugar-coat and talk about topics that are more interesting to someone of my age. It was risky because the tried and tested safe and soft method worked. It was successful. I worried for weeks that I could be tearing down everything I'd worked for nearly 7 years to build but, one month in and it seems like it was a good idea! I've noticed a lot of women (and a few men even!) in their late twenties, thirties and forties are speaking up in the comments (of youtube or facebook or whatever platform we're on at the time) and it's like I'm making new friends. I've noticed the comments are transitioning from 'ily Louise!!' (from the younger viewers/readers, of course very lovely and welcome, don't stop them!) to short stories about your lives, your opinions, the things that matter to you. I value these a lot because you are sharing parts of yourself and really growing roots here. I love it too when I see you answering each other or starting discussions amongst yourselves. Rather rarely for the internet, our comments sections are a good place to be! So, our family is growing in size and diversity and this will only lead to great things for us all. More opportunities to learn and grow and experience. I have seen what a strong community we are. I am proud of us.

(screenshotsofyouth.tumblr.com)

In a couple of days I'll be announcing the next big thing I'm working on but if the past 7 years have taught me anything, each year holds a lot and I'm excited to see what year 8 will hold for us. 

Every year I look back on the sentence I wrote the year before. Last year I said -

Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community and sixth year, sadly, a broken heart. What do you think will come next?

As is tradition, I'll add to it - 

Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community, sixth year, sadly, a broken heart and seventh year, strength. What do you think will come next?

Strength feels like the perfect word for 2015/16.  Personally I am standing tall again, wonderful professional opportunties are in the air and you as a community are growing and showing such integrity and positivity. I'm ready to step forward into our 8th year and I hope you will come with me. 

Thank you very much to all the creative community members who have provided art work for this post, they are credited below each piece. If you submitted something and it wasn't selected, I'm ever so sorry. I received hundreds (you guyyzzzz), so narrowing it down was really hard! I saw each one and loved them all. My heart had allll the warm fuzzies!

In the comments today, please take this opportunity to introduce yourself. Tell me who you are, what you like to do, what matters to you, how you found me and how long you've been here. Let's get to know each other!

Toodlepip!

xx


 photo older.jpg  photo homebot.jpg