We’ve been busily preparing for the Christmas season in our home. There are still presents to wrap, cookies to bake, holiday movies to be watched, and family to welcome. I’m always drawn towards Mary during this time. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for a young girl, pregnant in circumstances that weren’t understandable, birthing in an uncomfortable place. As far as we know, she wasn’t learning to breastfeed her firstborn surrounded by other, treasured women who could help her. And yet, the Scriptures say,
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
I think back over my motherhood journey. It has certainly been a “thrill of victory and agony of defeat” kind of time. But, in it all, I gather up all these thoughts, these emotions, these memories and hold them tight within me. I treasure them. I call on them in times when I feel completely incapable of parenting.
Your stories are all examples of “things treasured”, even when they aren’t pleasant of desirable. Hold them close. I so appreciate you sharing them with all of us.
My son was born nearly 40 years ago, at a time when both mother and child stayed in the hospital for up to a week. During that week, kind nurses helped me get him to suckle, encouraged me when I got sore, taught me how to hold him, how to fill his little belly and then pat him when he was full. Soon the patting became almost second nature, but when I patted too long, he communicated his feelings to me for the first time–he gave a little imperious jerk, as if to say “Enough already, let me sleep!
They laid him upon my breast.
The first latch
The second- Pain!
The third- blood!
And so it went, the first week,
and the next,
and the next.
Through the tears, the scabbing
and the re-scabbing.
The toe-curling pain.
“You can do this” they said.
Then came help and healing, and hope.
Before long, the next issue… Overactive letdown, oversupply.
“You can do this.” I can. Block-feeding. Relief.
Then mastitis. Through fever, sickness.
I can do this.
I WILL do this.
And 17 months later… I have done it! Still do.
Mystery of anatomy. New vocabulary, wondering, dreams of breastfeeding before I knew what it even felt like. Colostrum then milk – capacity tested (physical and emotional). Nursing pads, bras, wet shirts, let-down. Daughter self-weaned at 13 months, surprising sorrow followed. Infertility, miscarriages, deep loss with the longing to breastfeed and nurture and nourish again. After six years, a son. Nursing challenges, full-time job, pumping, freezing milk, all worth it. My two-year-old still enjoys “me-me”, in no hurry to wean. Deep sigh, thankful for these sacred seasons, and the job that only Mama can do.
Breastfeeding truly is a “sacred season”…
If you would like to submit your own story to this site, please sent it to me through my Contact Page. Submissions must be 100 Words or less and be about some aspect (the good, the bad, and the ugly!) of your breastfeeding journey. I am honored by your stories. We have many more to come.