A few months ago, I told you I’d signed us up for a breastfeeding class “designed for couples” at the local hospital.
(I gave up breastfeeding Colt after only a week, for many reasons, but the biggest being that I didn’t know WHAT THE HELL I was doing, and I was too stubborn to ask for help.)
Mark your calendar! Hot date at the maternity ward!
Just you, me, a flip chart, and lots of plastic nipples.
You seemed confused by my proposal, but you didn’t complain.
Perhaps you were just being supportive.
Perhaps you knew you’d be able to see lots of breasts without getting in trouble.
Whatever the reason, you obliged.
Last night, we joined three other women (none of whom brought their spouse like the class description suggested.)
You could’ve backed out, but you pulled up a chair and introduced yourself.
The instructor began by asking each person in the class how much she already knew about babies and breastfeeding.
She turned to me first, but my mind went blank.
I must know something about babies.
I turned and looked at you, reeking of desperation.
Helppppp meeeeeeeeee, I begged with my eyes.
You cleared your throat…and recalled that newborns eat 8 to 12 times a day.
They only have one wet diaper their first day of life. Their first poo is called meconium.
Sometimes babies prefer the left breast because it’s closer to the heart beat.
I started taking notes.
You knew that clucking and smacking was bad, and gulping and swallowing was good.
You explained what cluster-feeding was.
Was I even around when we had our last baby?
Maybe I used to be a CIA agent, and there was some kind of Jason Bourne brainwashing incident.
As we began to discuss the anatomy of the breast, the instructor turned to you and asked how many milk duct orifices are in a nipple.
You answered confidently, “I’d say 8 on average.”
She gleamed and declared you an “A” student. I was floored.
Wait, why do you know that?
How many milk duct orifices have you been inspecting?
You know what. I don’t want to know.
At the end of the class, you showed the new moms how to properly swaddle a baby.
And then you demonstrated how to hold that swaddled baby in the “football hold” like the quarterback of the 49ers.
The crowd went wild!
My heart went pitter patter.
And when I looked over at you cradling our fake plastic baby as if she were real…
Participating so enthusiastically that hopefully the instructor didn’t notice my blank stare…
Explaining to the class that I had postpartum depression with our first baby. That it was really hard, but not the end of the world. And that I was still a good mom….
I fell in love with you a little more.
A lot more, maybe.
And maybe the most important thing I learned in the class wasn’t how to properly position the baby, or what to do when my duct gets clogged.
Maybe the most important thing I learned was that everything is going to be OK no matter what.
Because I have you.