Are you stupid?
Or are you dumb?
What in the hell would possess you to breastfeed a new, precious, innocent life?
Do you hate her or something?
Why break something that ain’t broken?
You already know the drill:
Birth the baby.
Give the baby the little bottles they have waiting for you in the hospital.
Let ya boobs get hard.
Grab a cabbage.
Then cry and be depressed for a little while.
Why you gotta do all this extra shit?
You act like it killed you the last time or something.
It really could be simple.
Baby stays free of HIV.
You doing too much.
Why would you even want to expose a 2021 heartbeat to your 2008 virus?
For another time?
You already did that with Zion.
You was lucky when he came out your hole and was still negative.
Now, you just tripping.
Why would you even consider putting a baby on your breast?
You know that shit’s toxic.
You gots ta be a selfish mf.
Why you can’t just make a bottle and go on raising a second negative HIV child?
Publicly praise the medicine for making it possible.
Da da da da da.
And shut the hell up about some breast milk?
Them people gone call the folks on you if you do it.
They gone pop up on you when you least expect it.
And they gone take your kids.
Now they gone be all traumatized.
You gone have to go to court and shit.
Cus what type of competent mother would disrespect medical advice?
This baby ain’t did nothing to you.
And you gone do her like that?
You knew when you got diagnosed with HIV that these things were over for you.
I mean, you ain’t have all the logistics or nothing.
But you knew life was going to be different.
And this is one of those different things.
I mean, I know it is possible to breastfeed and the baby could stay negative.
But that’s gotta be some special shit they doing over there.
Cus people over here look at you crazy when you even bring it up.
They try and talk you out of it.
They refer back to what the CDC recommends.
And who is tryna argue with the CDC?
My bad y’all. I be rambling in my head sometimes.
Imma start the blog now.
At the time that I am writing this, I have fed my baby for 137 days.
And not just fed her.
I’ve fed her, fed her.
From my two breasts.
Keeping babies alive and shit.
I have been able to exhale on a breath I’ve been holding for almost 14 years.
I feel complete.
I feel whole.
Something HIV had held captive for so long.
I was given the permission – the support – to break free from.
That acronym stings a little less now.
Mama I made it!
I got that liquid gold they be talking about.
I feed her like you fed me!
I’m a cry baby for real.
So you already know what’s going down.
Tip: Get you a support system.
I would have gone crazy without mine.
(See lines 1-57 above).
I would have never been this far without my tribe.
Whether it was a support group, a provider, friend, family, or The Well Project …
I leaned onto them all.
Everyone gave me the space to make whatever decision I wanted.
Us all learning along the way.
And to tell you the truth.
This liquid doesn’t always feel gold.
Shit hurts sometimes.
Your body is y’all’s body.
Shit happens way too often.
And sometimes I just wanna cuddle with her but all she wants to do is bob her head on my chest.
To keep it all the way a bean –
Formula don’t be sounding too bad in the middle of the night.
What not to do: Do not try to do this by yourself.
You don’t have to.
You are not alone.
If I can inspire just one woman to seek the support she needs –
And convince one provider to provide that support –
Then I have done my job.
Actually, I would have overachieved.
Cus, for real for real …
All I wanted to do was feed my baby.