Tuesday, August 17, 2010

at mother's breast

A few months ago I volunteered to be in a photography project to showcase the beauty and normalcy of breastfeeding. I met the photographer (Katrina Anderson) through a dear friend and was so thrilled to not only have the opportunity to have pictures taken of me nursing my baby girl, but also advocate for something I feel so strongly about. Some of the photos went up on At Mother's Breast today. If you are my brother or something you may not want to go to the site because there is a photo that shows some of my breast. Just so you know. I don't feel uncomfortable about that (what is more natural and beautiful than providing the best possible nourishment for my baby?), but I also don't have an agenda to shove that down peoples' throats who may not be comfortable with it. Katrina asked me to write up a little blurb about my feelings about breastfeeding so she could post it along with the pictures. I will include what I wrote here, too, just in case some of you don't feel inclined to click over to the site.


"I always knew I would breastfeed my babies. Barring any crazy medical issues, I just knew that nursing was what I would choose. What I didn't know is how passionate and strong my feelings about breastfeeding would get as I got to experience the miracle of sustaining and nurturing life from my own body. I wasn't expecting that-- in fact, before I had babies, I remember feeling a little weirded out by the thought that my own mother had nursed me until I was two years old (something that was not nearly as common then as it is now), and I didn't think there was any way I would want to do something so crazy :). Makes me smile now to think that I was so naive about the beauty and love that can grow out of a nursing relationship.

"I breastfed my firstborn, a little boy, until he was a little past two. And it was the opposite of weird or strange. It was beautiful and sacred and tender. It meant so much to me to have that time with him every day, especially once he was a busy toddler. To have him come lay in my lap and look into my eyes, play with my hair, and hold my hands while he nursed was truly a gift that I could never have known I would have treasured so much. The hours and hours I spent nursing him are some of my most precious, priceless memories of his baby/toddler hood. And when weaning came, it happened quickly, quietly, and naturally, without any pain or trauma to either of us. (Okay, maybe there was a little emotional pain for me because the thought of closing that chapter with him was bittersweet, but we truly were both ready when it happened, and that is why I believe the transition went so smoothly.)

"And now I have a baby girl and the blessing of breastfeeding is mine again. There is something so empowering and fulfilling about knowing that I am truly all that she needs. It almost makes me emotional to think about how vital my role is in her little life, and I hope to honor that by truly treasuring the opportunity I have to be with her 24 hours a day and never resenting the fact that choosing this means there aren't days off. Nursing these sweet babes of mine has brought with it so many special, sacred moments of love and joy that I do not have the ability to cleanly wrestle into words. I can't imagine our lives without breastfeeding, and I feel grateful every day for a healthy body and healthy babies that are able to come together to create something so uniquely bonding and beautiful."
~Liz, mama to 3 month old Pearl


A Place 2 Gather said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. You are a good momma, pure, natural, loving and christ-like. What a great example you are of what momma's are suppose to do and feel.

Thanks Lizzie!

Shellie and Bryan said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts on breastfeeding. It helped me to remember not to take it for granted. You have a gift when it comes to writing and expression. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

Also, I just wanted to ask you when you started solids with your babies. You breastfed G till 2. What was the ratio of milk to solids as he got older?

the mama monster said...

good for you liz! i am a very big supporter of breastfeeding if people are able to. i had a friend once ask me how long i was planning on breastfeeding with a disgusted look on her face ( as i was nursing my 6 month old!!!) i was so shocked that someone thought it was gross to nurse a 6 month old! i didn't nurse as long as you because my kids lost intrest but i think as long as mom and baby feel comfortable with it, then it is just like you described so beautifully.