Thursday, August 1, 2013

Memories of Breastfeeding in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week

My Labor Day baby.  Born so many years ago, that baby now an adult with her own baby.  Born at home in the quiet early morning hours.  Born in awe and wonder.  Our house just glowed with the joy of this new person's appearance.  Birth at home was easy in comparison to learning to breastfeed.  It was a struggle that is hard for others to understand, except for mothers who have also struggled with breastfeeding.  I gave up on Day 11.  You see, I still remember like it was yesterday.  I gave up in tears of sadness, pain, and frustration.  Two months later, I relactated and once again we were a breastfeeding mom and baby.  I learned a lot about myself and breastfeeding during those months.  I learned a lot about people's views when breastfeeding fails.  People told me it didn't matter whether I breastfed or not--even her pediatrician.  But why did I feel so broken?  Why the tears?  Why the feeling of loss so deep, I could not even speak about it?  I feel that deep in a woman's heart we know breastfeeding matters.  I was one of the lucky ones, I successfully relactated and went on to breastfeed her for 4 years.  And, went on to breastfeed my other two children.  Not without problems, because problems are a part of living.  But I realized my gut instinct about breastfeeding and its importance to me was right.  And the more I learn, the more I realize the importance of breastfeeding for families, communities, and the world.
I have about 4-5 pictures of me breastfeeding my children.  Yet it was so much a part of my daily life for many years that I feel a sense of sadness that there weren't more pictures.  There are many pictures of my children and babies but only a few of what was part of my life for many hours, days, nights, years.  It's a part of our family history that is relegated into so few pictures.  How can this be?  Me, who has advocated for breastfeeding for many years, having so few pictures of what was so precious to me?  One of those pictures is rather humorous.  My last baby/toddler wore sunglasses to nurse.  Obviously, a reflection of living in the sub-tropics and seeing her sisters wearing sunglasses everywhere.  My head got cut-off with this picture.  I think the photographer was another child of mine. 
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I'd briefly share my memories and my few pictures of breastfeeding.  Should we treasure patents on human milk components, or treasure the time spent breastfeeding?  

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