She walks slowly, for fear of rocking the stroller too much and waking the sleeping baby. It had been a long night; a night of much screaming, a night of much feeding. Her breasts were sore. Her head hurt. She was tired. But everyone had to eat, even her other children, her husband and herself. So, a visit to the supermarket was necessary.
Her husband had stayed at home with the other children. He too was struggling to keep his eyes open. Hopefully, the kids were finally sitting quietly watching the television, so he had time to cook dinner and recharge before another long night ahead. Newborns were deliciously gorgeous, yet exhausting.
She pushed the trolley to the counter and watched the checkout operator scan the groceries, willing the baby to stay sleeping so she could get home and feed her. They traveled everywhere together at the moment because there was no set routine. When a baby is hungry, it’s hungry. And then it happened, the baby began to stir. “Please don’t wake up yet,” she whispered. “Please, please, please, please.” But her pleas were useless and the baby begun to whimper and root around for food. And then the baby girl started to cry. The cry became a scream and the Mum began willing the checkout operator to go faster. And then the Mum pleaded for the ground to suck her up so the people would stop staring at her. She was so tired.
Once she paid for the groceries, she knew she had no choice but to find the closest chair in the shopping centre. She pulled her breast from her top – her ENORMOUS BREAST. It filled the entire shopping centre. It had lights flashing around it – “BOOB. BOOB. LOOK HERE’S A HUMUNGOUS BOOB”. People were horrified and screaming: “She should have been more discreet and shown some common courtesy. Her breast is offending us. It is going to suffocate us. RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. AAAARRRGGGHHHH.” The Mum was uncomfortable. Tears fell from her exhausted eyes. She felt alone, exposed and judged.
But as the people spilled from the supermarket, the woman looked down at her feeding child, oblivious to the uproar, sucking on her breast and filling her tiny belly. She was no longer hungry. She was no longer distressed. And that is all that matters.