Friday, April 29, 2016

Taking Offense and Finding Humor Within ANR

Because it has been a hectic week and we are preparing for S' departure, which means attempting to fit in as much together-and-family time as we possibly can before he leaves, I had previously planned a few different things for my TGIFriday post, but a message that I received this morning really caused me to reflect on some things, and led me to write this article.

Although S and I have practiced the ANR lifestyle throughout the course of our marriage, I didn't understand that there were others--many others--who enjoyed the experience, too, and after wondering for a very long time if we were "normal", that way of thinking led me to do a lot of soul (and Internet) searching about six years ago. I found a limited amount of information on ANR, but a lot of what I discovered viewed the lifestyle questioningly, negatively, or in a light of fetishism, so I closed the computer, and gave it very little more thought until we re-opened our dedicated ANR, incorporating lactation into it, in March.

It was then that I decided I wanted to meet other ANR couples and people who shared our ideals regarding the lifestyle. By the time I made the decision to seek out others, I had already begun blogging about my personal journey, and was shocked to find that visitors were actually reading my posts--and enjoying them! It was a humbling and amazing experience, and because of the support and encouragement, I continued to write with a liberating freedom and a lot of joy.

While doing some research online, I happened upon a website dedicated entirely to the Adult Nursing Relationship; I won't mention the specific website, but it was there that I began to meet some truly wonderful people, and there that I learned even more about this lifestyle. Although we don't all view ANR in the same way (and why should we? After all, it's a very private journey, and our reasons for embarking upon it are uniquely exclusive to each of us), I found that we all share a very basic desire: the need to nurse. I have formed friendships with many of these people, and many of them now follow my blog, come to this site, and leave beautiful private messages for me. (If you are one of those people, then I am sure you know which website I'm referring to.)

One of the reasons I was drawn to this particular website was its very basic, no-frills appearance; it is not overrun with images, and there are guidelines on what is considered appropriate--and what is not. I appreciate and respect that. This site offers many features to its visitors, including discussion boards, a forum, live chat, and a message center where members can communicate with one another. I also found it very interesting that this site offers free space for personal blogging. Because I became so busy with my own blog, I found that I wasn't able to frequent the site very often; I participated in a few discussions, shared some of my thoughts, and occasionally enjoyed utilizing my personal blogging area. Readers' responses were very supportive, and so kind and uplifting. Because of this, I posted a blog on the site earlier in the week.

And that's where I inadvertently made a mistake. 

Uh-oh. I used the "B" word.

I did. I used the word boobs.

And it seems that I have overstepped my bounds.

Apparently, I am a rebellious guideline-breaker who must now bear the branding of the dreaded Scarlet B upon my blouse for the ANR world to see. ;)

One of the site moderators actually contacted me about the error of my ways, and after a bit of consideration, I sent a return message to her, politely, but firmly, defending my position.

The offensive post ( a simple copy and paste of Boob Chat: Part II) was my most popular one. Readers left messages that read:
  • I love it!
  • Thank you for brightening my day!
  • Hilarious!!
  • You have an agile mind and you can WRITE! I look forward to reading more of your posts.
and appreciated the tongue-in-cheek humor of it, while generously commiserating with the struggle of being a big-breasted girl, and adding their own humorous anecdotes in the comment section. Some who didn't feel comfortable enough to publicly comment left me private messages.

It's so odd to me that the blog post that received the most positive responses from readers is the one that the site's mod found the most inappropriate--and took upon herself to delete.

I get asked a lot of questions, and one of the most common is: Do Christians judge you and leave rude messages for you, telling you that your lifestyle is wrong?

No. They do not. I have spoken to many Christians since I began blogging about my lifestyle choice, and their response has been overwhelmingly encouraging.

It's ironic, isn't it, that I managed to offend the moderator of a website that caters specifically to ANR and breasts simply by using one euphemism on a personal blog, but have yet to offend the sensibilities of many who do not participate in such a lifestyle.

Although I take my own ANR very seriously, and respect others' lifestyle choices as well, I am still able to find the humor in it. And there really is humor in all aspects of life and relationships, including the adult nursing one. Believe me on this, I know! Trust me, there is nothing funnier than almost suffocating your husband during a soothing nursing session. This actually happened, thanks to my boobs breasts. S and I shared so much laughter that night--it truly enhanced the feeding experience; we felt so giddy and light-hearted. (It's a really funny story, and I think I'll turn it into a blog post! :))

Not everything is meant to be offensive--and not everything should be construed as such.

And this includes using the words boobs, knockers, and jugs in reference to the female breasts.

I am a female. I am also a fierce advocate of positive body image. Women are fabulous beings--and all breasts are exquisite, regardless of shape, size, or how you refer to them. Sometimes, euphemisms aren't meant as derogatory; sometimes, they are used as mere alternatives. I discuss "breasts" every day, and I'm afraid there are only so many times that I can type that word without sounding repetitive, so...I sometimes use alternatives. Sometimes, euphemisms are even cute. Breast Chat just doesn't have the same ring to it as Boob Chat.

I could have ignored this entire topic and conveniently swept it under the proverbial rug, but I chose not to. Staunch stoicism is sometimes necessary, of course, but humor is important, too, and laughter is vital--it's what keeps many of us going throughout the day.

After exchanging messages with the mod earlier today, I'm not sure that I will be a welcome addition on that site any more; as a matter of fact, I might have been banned. I don't know because I haven't bothered to check. I'm okay with an account deletion anyway, because I honestly realize that although I am a member of the ANR community--and proud of it--that site and I aren't a very good fit for one another. It's much too stifling for someone like me. :)

Regardless, I know that I am always welcome here.

And so are you!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Separation Anxiety and ANR

S is leaving.

I knew this day was coming. I've known for quite some time now, and I've been able to put his departure out of my mind and focus on everything that is wonderful. But now that the time is drawing near, it is all that I can seem to think about.

We've been apart before in the past, often and for very long, difficult periods of time, under much worse circumstances. You would think I would be used to it by now, wouldn't you?

But I'm not.

I hate it when he goes away.

I know that it won't be forever. He'll be home again in a week. And what's a week, really, when you think about it?

Seven days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. 604,800 seconds. 1/4 of a month.

It will seem like an eternity to me.

When he is away from me, the house seems so empty and our bed feels so lonely. At night I sleep on his pillow, and it brings him closer to me, but it's never enough to really satisfy me, because I miss feeling his chest pressed warmly against my back and his arm curled protectively around my waist as we spoon through the night. Every night that we have been together, we have slept that way for almost 15 years (unless a little one has had a bad dream or was frightened awake by a thunderstorm, and feels comfortable enough to snuggle down between Dad and Mama in their big, warm, cozy bed with the piles of soft pillows and fluffy queen-sized blanket), and I've grown very accustomed to his night-time presence.

Perhaps even too accustomed to it.

When S leaves, it always feels that he takes half of me with him. And I never truly feel whole again until he walks back through the door, filling our home--and my world--with his strength and security.

I miss watching him shave in the morning and sharing coffee with him at the breakfast table. I miss listening to him read a bedtime story to our daughter and telling our sons good-night. I miss his voice, the way his laugh fills an entire room when he's really amused by something. I miss him.

I am already beginning to feel the on-set of separation anxiety--and it's horrible.

But I think it's one of the realities that you have to face when you are in a committed ANR. You invest so much of yourself in another person that it's difficult to let them go--even for a little while. And the challenge of separation doesn't just stem from the act of nursing, but from the emotional drawing and pulling that comes along with nursing. Even if it is temporary, that connection is hard to break.

And, now, even more so because I am lactating.

I have reached a level in my lactation journey that I am very comfortable with right now. Although I plan to continue on to full lactation in the future, a goal that S and I have been working together to accomplish, I am satisfied--and thrilled--with what my breasts have achieved in just one short month. My milk supply has come in beautifully, and continues to increase, replenishing itself quickly after each feeding, but I remain at the place where I need S to draw it from my breasts, as I haven't yet reached the point of being able to express through pumping. This is another concern: I don't want to suffer from engorgement, and I certainly don't want to drop to a lower level of lactation.
S and I have spent many hours discussing our situation, and he was open enough to tell me how difficult the separation is going to be for him, too, while also showing so much support and encouragement regarding my milk dilemma. (It's so wonderful to have a supportive partner who reminds me every day that he is not nursing from my breasts for the milk, but for the intimacy and deep connection we share; even though I understand completely that he will dry nurse just as contentedly as he is feeding now, I have grown very, very fond of my milk, and I know that he has, too, and I honestly do not want to see a decrease in supply.)

After weighing and considering our options, and deciding that, as the end of the school year grows closer, it just wouldn't be practical for me to join him out-of-state, I have chosen to pump in his absence, to provide as much breast stimulation as possible. By pumping during each regularly scheduled nursing time, and possibly a couple of times in between, if time permits, I hope to maintain my milk supply, which, of course, is why I have been on a proper breastpump search and find mission over the past two weeks. :) The Mister and I are going breastpump shopping on Friday evening, as a matter of fact, which he ought to find a lot more interesting than shoe shopping, which I have been known to do on the rare occasion.

Now that I've had time to truly think about our situation, I'm sure that everything will be okay. Things often have a way of turning out better than you think they will. I am confident in the abilities of my body--and my breasts--and secure in knowing that even if my milk supply is hindered by this impending week-long separation, I have a loving man who will be eager to return to the shelter of my arms and the comfort of my bosom.

But I'm still going to miss him...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why I Love Mr. S: Reason #128

Saturday was extremely eventful! Along with our weekly date, I had my very first ever podcast interview! Wow!

Believe it or not, I am something of an introvert. (I know, shocking, right? :)) I always seem to have a lot to say, but I just find it a lot easier to express it through the written word rather than the spoken word, so giving an interview was a bit nerve-wracking!

My love knew how challenging it was going to be, so he took extra good care of me! This TLC included a back rub, lots of kisses, and many, many words of support and encouragement. He also took the children out for the afternoon to ensure that I had plenty of peace and quiet during my Skype session.

It really is the little things that mean so much!

So, how did it all go?

Pretty well...I think. I actually found my voice, remembered how to speak, and didn't suffer from too much, I'm happy!

And the romantic evening that followed was magical!

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday  and that your weekend has been wonderful.

I'll be back tomorrow with new questions (and answers) on my advice page as well as a brand new ANR interview, and new posts will follow throughout the week.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Date Night with the Mister!

I love to date my husband, and have come to anticipate our Saturdays when we will have long intimate moments that belong only to us. There is unspoken passion as we exchange eager glances across the breakfast table as the children scamper underfoot, a deep desire that must remain bridled until we're alone. There is something so exciting and intriguing about the careful preparations I will make to ensure that I turn his head and catch his eye.

I feel giddy.

Our personal ANR has helped to spark such deep passion and rekindle the fire of romance...we are closer physically and emotionally than either of us could have believed possible. It's so beautiful to fall in love...especially when you're falling in love with your spouse! ❤️

I have many articles (and maybe even a few surprises) planned for the upcoming week, so I hope you'll visit again.

Until then, stay happy! And enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Missed our Morning Feeding

S and I have been able to incorporate morning nursing sessions (along with our nightly nursing) into our daily life, and the feedings have been a wonderful way to start our day. Both of us feel relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to face the challenges of work and motherhood. It has become routine that when the alarm goes off, I roll over in our comfy, sleep-warm bed and find him waiting for what he teasingly calls "pre-breakfast".

Until this morning.

Our alarm did not go off. Which meant he overslept. Which meant he was going to be late for work. Which meant he missed his morning feeding.


The Adult Nursing Relationship is a beautifully complex thing; once you have begun a scheduled nursing routine, it is incredibly difficult (both emotionally and physically) when a feeding is missed. Now that I am in the process of re-lactating, I have reached the stage in the process where I become uncomfortable if I am not able to nurse. I actually NEED it.

My breasts are protesting.

I have experienced the familiar tingling prickles of the let-down reflex and the fullness that tells me that my breasts "need" to be emptied.

Manual expression it is...until tonight.

I think the emotional need is even greater. For both of us.

S just left me a text message that read:

Missing you and our time together this morning

So I know that his need to be nursed is as strong as my need to be nursed FROM.

My advice to women who are involved in a loving ANR where feedings are carefully planned and scheduled?

Do NOT miss a feeding (unless absolutely necessary). Stay committed to your routine and focused on your feeding schedule.

Your boobs will thank you for it!