Nursing wear. It’s revolting and retro in a non-vintage way. I found it so bad it almost triggered a phase of postnatal depression. No joke. After feeling compelled to update my entire wardrobe with maternity jeans and bump-tastic dresses, suddenly it’s like I don’t exist for the next six months (if I’m to stick to the NHS / WHO guidelines and breastfeed only).
Nursing bras from wherever (Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, to name a sorry few) are matronly and utilitarian or just plain ugly if I’m honest. And why are there no matching knickers? I know Elle Macpherson has a limited range but her bras have so much lace and scarlet it’s like I’m on the pull.
Mostly though, it’s as if there’s an assumption that the nursing mum doesn’t care. Like I’ve suddenly transformed into this puritanical, altruistic figure. A slovenly, unsexy, beast of a woman with no desire who derives all pleasure from feeding her child manna from heaven (sorry, I mean breastmilk). In my starchy plain white bras I feel ready for war not peace.
And don’t even get me started on the clothes. Just when I thought I might be able to reacquaint myself with my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, I’ve discovered my breasts still do the talking. Only big-busted blouses and baggy t-shirts work – and you can bet your last pound there aren’t any on the high street when you need them. Any online nursing wear resembles a pastel bin liner.
Either way the lack of choice is enough to make a postnatal woman cry. And just when I’m feeling about as seductive as a mule.
Once again I feel as if the message is one of giving up. You’re a mother now so don’t even think about looking or feeling sexy. Well, what’s the point? After all, you’ve a baby to look after now.
The point for me is that being a good mother and a desirable woman needn’t be mutually exclusive. I want to try and be both. In psychoanalysis this is sometimes referred to as the Madonna-whore complex. Unpopular as he might be today, Freud coined the term to explain why some men find it hard to get turned on by the mother of their children: ‘where such men love’ he wrote in 1912 ‘they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love’.
Well who could blame them? The average nursing bra would kill desire in even the most ardent of partners.
You might think I’m reading too much into this but I really am horrified and genuinely intrigued as to why there’s such a lack of choice.
So what’s your experience? Why do you think nursing wear is so neglected?
All that’s left to say is thank the lord for red lipstick!