I’ve been staying with my family for the last few days, and by this point, I have little modesty left about breastfeeding/pumping. So I was just sitting on the sofa with a pump on my right breast, talking with my parents, when my brother came wandering by.
My brother is 22. He has Down syndrome and Autism. He’s seen the baby. He’s seen me feeding the baby. He’s seen me pumping milk for the baby. But apparently, he’s never really taken the time to figure out what I was doing, and apparently I’ve never taken the time to explain.
He stopped mid-stride and froze, like Bigfoot. His face was frozen in blank horror, and his eyes went from my face to the bottle on my breast, slowly filling with milk, as he connected the dots. After a few very long minutes, we explained with some comment like, “This is where I get the milk for the baby.” He was beyond weirded out. I couldn’t find any non-weird way to explain any further. “Boobs make milk, man. That’s why mommies have them.”
He went to sit down on the recliner as we laughed at his reaction. He leaned warily away from me, eyeing the contraption attached to my chest. Dad told me that, shortly after little John was born, Andrew signed, “Baby. New. Throw up.” I laughed.
“I didn’t throw him up,” I said to Andrew. “It’s more like I pooped him out,” I said, reflecting. Then I saw that look come back onto his face and realized this was not accurate, nor was it any less unsettling than the idea of throwing up a baby. “Well… the doctor helped…”
“…He’s okay now. The doctor helped me get John out, and everybody’s okay.”
Andrew was looking at me with a face that said something like, “I really don’t want to believe you – but I just saw you make food out of boobs, and at this point, I’m really not sure what kind of world I live in anymore.”
A few minutes later, he was on the couch, giggling, holding his shirt up and pointing to his own nipples. I offered to let him use the pump, but he didn’t follow up after I finished pumping, and I figured it was best to just leave it at the explanation we’d offered him: only moms make milk.
Meanwhile, I feel like I’m failing miserably at teaching sex ed, and I haven’t even touched the subject of how the baby got there in the first place. I’m just gonna leave that one to my parents. Oy. ♦