Breastfeeding and feeling like a Thala-siren


To me, the grotesque Thala-sirens who gave Luke his daily green milk had a bizarre beauty when I first saw The Last Jedi on the big screen. Still pregnant with my daughter, I was aware that I would take on the same thankless task they carried out with bloated stoicism. As Luke pressed on the patient creature’s teat, took a swig from his flask and grimaced, there were sounds of amused disgust from the audience. Confirmation that a good portion of people would rather separate the udder – or breast – from their own chilled beverages.

Flash forward a few months to where I sit now, tapping this out on my phone as I feed Lorelei, I share even closer kinship with these aliens. I feel comical to myself with a baby hanging off my boob at any given hour of day or night. When the ritual has knocked bathing to the bottom of my priorities, I feel a little grotesque too. But watching The Last Jedi at home, creating an infinity mirror as I fed my daughter yet again, I rediscovered their beauty, and mine.

In keeping Luke alive on a small island, and doing so with the merest groan of complaint, they are part of Ahch-To’s grand life cycle. A warm refuge, peaceful on the jagged edge of a cold cliff, they are part of the Force that life creates, and so am I.

Being able to breastfeed is beautiful – even when some, and my own tired, sore and less-than-fragrant body would say otherwise. Thank the stars for space sea cows, and those familiar weary eyes, for helping me see their misunderstood (mis-udder-stood?) grace in myself.

2 replies »

  1. Haha nice pun! Yeah, breastfeeding is a blessing and curse. On one hand, you think “I’m giving my child the best I can and I’ll be thankful I did this,” but sometimes you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, it’s all on me, all the time. I’m exhausted, it’s draining, and they are so needy.”

    I remember I didn’t get my FULL 100% energy back until I stopped breastfeeding entirely. I got most of it back after 3 months postpartum, and then when she slept through the night too. But it wasn’t until about a month or two after I stopped BFing that I was able to feel like “myself” again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, I’ve definitely been feeling the strain of it recently, and especially the last couple of days while Lorelei’s been really clingy. I wasn’t fully prepared for how energy sapping it is, in more ways than the not getting a full night’s sleep bit you expect. When you’re being regaled with all its benefits during pregnancy, you don’t hear this bit.

      I know I wouldn’t have it any other way though, and that Lori will get less demanding with time. She deserves the very best in the meantime, and on those days when I’m less tired I remember why I wanted to breastfeed in the first place. There’s nothing like that closeness and the love you feel.


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