“Their words told you that you weren’t enough and needed to change. Every step of the way, they took every opportunity to remind you of something that you are acutely aware of: you’ll never be enough for them. When they ran out of things to pick at, they made up flaws just so they could continue to put you down.” – Read More: The Truth
I wanted to let you know that after much careful deliberation by our family, we have decided that it is time to move to a platform that better suits the direction I want my writing to take. This is not a decision that we take lightly – newcrunchymom.com (previously thatnewcrunchymom.wordpress.com) has built a lot of brand equity over the past 9 months and we don’t want to lose that, nor the community we’ve built together with you.
That said, my identity as a mother is just one facet of who I am and what I have to say, so the moniker “new crunchy mom” ends up pigeon-holing me (if only psychologically) into a category too narrow for the scope of things I aspire to. I chose that name to hide my real identity, so even though I’ve become more well-known, it still feels like I’m hiding behind a mask (like Batman, according to my husband).
So instead, I will now be primarily operating as Rebecca Lemke, and have formed a new home-base blog to match! 🙂 I want to thank those who have come with me this far, and I really appreciate you for sticking with me through several changes (and ostensibly through this one as well). Rest assured, newcrunchymom.com is not closing its doors, though I will favor posting on rebeccalemke.com from here on out.
For those with questions about the giveaway coming up, it will be happening on newcrunchymom.com and it will be happening in the next week or two. The reason it has been delayed is because there was another shop interested in contributing it’s wonderful products.
Again, thank you all for your loyalty. It is appreciated more than words can express. All of my social media channels will be the same, except for the names being changed to my real name. <3
Here is our first post on the new site:
Hi there! If you have ever been a friend of mine on my personal Facebook, liked the blog Facebook page or followed this blog after a certain time, you’ve probably noticed that despite the fact that I talk about breastfeeding with some regularity, I don’t have any breastfeeding photos posted.
That might seem a little weird to you, and maybe you’ve wondered what the deal is. If you belong to one of the mommy groups I am in, have been following me from the beginning of this blog, or were following me since I began the Facebook page, you might remember a few times when I did post a few breastfeeding photos, but if you were to look for them today you wouldn’t find them. There is only one breastfeeding photo of my son and I that could be found online now, and it is a very small or cropped photo.
So why are they all gone? Why don’t I regular post breastfeeding photos to help #normalizebreastfeeding?
The answer is pretty simple to the second question, I prefer to write or talk instead of post a photo.
The answer to the first could be a touchy subject, but I am going to talk about it anyways. The reason you won’t find any past or future breastfeeding photos of me and my son is because my husband asked me not to post them.
When he asked me not to post any, it was amidst thepublicblogger competition and I had already released a professional breastfeeding photo to be used in the promos. It was already too late to take it back, and my husband was grieved about that. I hadn’t consulted him about posting breastfeeding photos (I consult him about everything) because it never crossed my mind. I was being told by other women that it was normal to post lots of breastfeeding photos all the time and any objections that were raised were considered outlandish.
Then my husband objected. Then my husband raised concerns. He didn’t just raise concerns, he was visibly wounded by my lack of consideration for his feelings on the matter. We talk to each other about nearly every decision in life, especially what goes on our social media accounts, so this was out of the ordinary.
I was saddened and confused. One side was telling me it was “my body, my choice” and that any objectors had to be insane and the other was asking me with a vulnerable and genuine heart to please not post breastfeeding photos. The voices of people who I thought were my friends would rally against people like this, like my husband. It was dividing, and everything I thought I knew about breastfeeding and society was thrown out the window.
I went back through my blog, Facebook and mommy groups and deleted the photos I had posted.
The truth was, and is, that it isn’t “my body, my choice” to post breastfeeding photos. My belief in Christ is central to my life, and the bible states in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are temples and all we are to honor God with our bodies. In order to honor God, I also honor the vocations I have taken on in this world. Namely honoring, loving and respecting the man I swore to when I married him. The man I gave myself to and said I trusted him to take care of me, even if I wouldn’t agree to everything he decided. I think it is important to note, even before I got married, my body was not my own, but a gift from God that I am a steward of and I regret entertaining a different way of thinking, even for a moment.
My husband didn’t make this request to be mean, or to flex some sort of dominating patriarchal muscles as some might suggest. He did it for the benefit and good or myself and our son, whom he has taken on the responsibility to protect. While I don’t intend to go through all his reasons, I will discuss part of them.
Many people claim that breastfeeding isn’t sexual. I would say that they are right, in most instances. With as much sexual abnormality that has been widely condoned by our culture, I don’t see breastfeeding fetishes as being stigmatized for much longer. I’ve heard stories of women being solicited to be nursed by grown men, or be told that their photos would be used for sexual activities. Before I might have considered these scenarios to be rare, but I personally know many women who have told me things like this. The perversion that our society is capable of is nothing to be underestimated.
While I was searching for a photo to use with the term “breastfeeding” for my last post on twiddling while breastfeeding, I was surprised to find that many of the photos were tagged with terms like “erotic”, “sensual” and “sexy”. Breastfeeding photos, guys. This was more than one photographer tagging their photos like this too!
Any doubts that I had heard about the concerns based on sexualization of breastfeeding, whether made by my husband or others, suddenly started gaining a little more credibility in my mind.
After I did a little bit of digging in my analytics trying to find search terms to see if my site had ever been visited by an unwanted search, I was surprised to find that a lot of my audience is male. About this same time, one of my readers began asking me a little bit about breastfeeding.
Turns out, breastfeeding pictures don’t normalize breastfeeding in male eyes as much as you might think. Instead, it makes breastfeeding an exotic unknown, which might be how it manages to be sensual to them in the first place. As we spoke, he confessed he really didn’t know much about how breastfeeding worked. What he did know was that it supposedly felt good.
While it was a little bit awkward, I decided to explain what breastfeeding has been like for me and what it can be like and has been for other women. There are so many different things about breastfeeding that we don’t talk about and even shame other women for, it is no small wonder that the topic is filled with lots of glamorous (or nursing gymnastics) photos, but we don’t really discuss what it is like to the people who would sexualize breastfeeding to begin with (not that I am saying my friend would, but speaking about males in general).
Ultimately my husband requesting that no uncovered breastfeeding photos be put on social media was the right call for our family, and I understand it is a decision that won’t be understood by most.
Am I saying you should live in fear because there are creeps on the internet? No way! I’m not even saying that breastfeeding photos are bad. I totally understand the excitement and wanting to show people the bond you have with your baby! I respect my husband so much and I regret that he was apprehensive in requesting this of me because he thought I would be angry or upset. This topic is just one that I chose to address because our family’s stance on breastfeeding photos is unique and the breastfeeding experience looks different for everyone. For us, it looks like this. 🙂
What do you think? Do you post breastfeeding photos?
I don’t talk about my faith much, especially here on my blog and personal social media pages. In fact, I discuss it so little that you probably didn’t even know I am a Christian. Sure, I’ve talked about my previous experience with fundamentalism and legalism within Christianity on topics like sexual purity, purity rings and modesty, but I haven’t talked about my faith as it currently stands.
There are a few reasons for that, but they all come down to the friends I have made over the last few years. Specifically, my non-religious friends. Theses folks range from various forms of agnostic or atheist to strange mixes of pseudo-religious, but only barely.
I started making non-religious friends in college. While I was growing up, I heard about the dangers of college and how it could lead you away from your faith because of the secular curriculum taught and the pressure of peers to conform to the majority. This resulted in me having some trepidation about coming across these people.
Luckily, when I began attending classes at one of the bigger state universities, I was blessed with a Christian friend right off the bat and I didn’t feel quite so isolated. Soon after we became friends, things took a turn for the worst. We had an art class together and quite a few of the pieces we studied were about Christianity. When the class as a whole went over these pieces and were asked to talk about them, we were shown the true colors of several of our classmates. While I don’t want to get into specifics, we were told exactly what they thought of us, and it wasn’t pretty.
We learned that they hated us, they hated what we believed and they hated Jesus. We hadn’t said or done anything to them, but their venom towards us remained.
Nothing makes me more horrified than knowing someone thoroughly hates me purely because of my faith in Jesus.
I’d be disingenuous to say that the experiences with non-religious folks ended there, but those classmates, and people like them, are the reason I rarely talk about my faith anymore. It would be easy for me to say that they were all the same and that they were all genuinely hateful people, but that wasn’t the case. As the title suggests, I later made friends with at least one of these classmates and subsequently more people late in my pregnancy with Bubba.
While not all of my experiences with non-religious folks were good, I learned a lot about myself and my own faith through them. After listening to the stories of those who had been hurt by legalism within Christianity and those who had lost their faith because of it, I gained a new perspective on how to think about and interact with them. I’m grateful to these friends who not only respectfully shared their perspective, but unknowingly build my faith up.
I recognized a tendency in myself to be heavily influenced by what people who hated me because of my faith thought, and instead of completely shutting down that tendency, which would have been easier, I decided to try something else.
I learned to listen to their stories and reasons to be empathic, not to respond, minimize or argue. I prayed for and came to peace with not trying to debate and with the answer “I don’t know” for their hard questions, and for mine. I accepted the fact that they might be angry at me, or Christianity, but that wasn’t something that I am called to change (unless it is through the Holy Spirit’s work in me).
The way my faith strengthened the most during this time, was, ironically, through taking a page out of the book of those people who hated me and also those who were non-religious due to legalistic forms of Christianity. At the end of the day, they were strong in their lack of faith, not based on having all the answers (because many admitted that they didn’t, and I admit the same), but by saying “this is what I believe” and being unmovable in that belief.
If someone who professes to believe in nothing and will defend that position with tooth and nail (and sometimes attack and threaten the safety of those who disagree), I see no reason why I should waver in saying that I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and I am unashamed of it.
I’m done with being silent, I’m done with being attacked and I’m done with wavering because of others.
Proverbs 20:5 tells us, “The intention of the human heart is deep water, but the intelligent draw it forth.”
I know that in my heart flows deep rivers of intention but I, to this point, have been unintelligent. I have let those intentions grow stale in my heart and fade to the backgrounds of my memory. If I learned anything from my best friend’s mom, it is that you don’t know how many days you have ahead, you cannot sit around thinking that you can put the intentions of your heart on hold until tomorrow. Tomorrow might not come. Therefore, I’ve made a small list of things I plan to do in this season of Lent that will help me be more intentional:
1. Send letters or cards to five different friends or family members – just because.
2. Call two people I haven’t spoken to this month, to catch up and really listen to what is happening in their life.
3. Send two small care packages with something bought and something homemade in each. These would go to people who don’t receive the letters/cards mentioned above. (I want to reach as many people as possible).
4. Designate a day to someone and be very intentional with my thoughts and prayers for that person. This will be done in the privacy of my own heart and I will NOT tell the person about my intention but God will hear the cry of my heart.
5. Make baked goods for two different neighbor families.
I challenge you to be more intentional with your thoughts and prayers. Join me in this commitment to manifest the intentions of your heart. What are some things that you can do in your everyday life to bring forth the deep waters of your heart?