Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thank you, Mom!!

I don't remember how old I was when my Mom told me the story about how she did NOT breastfeed me. She was 17 years old when she got married, 13 months later I was born.

As a young Mom, she trusted her own Mom and the doctors completely. When her breasts became swollen with the first milk and hardened, her doctor told her that THAT milk was NO good for the baby. He also told her NOT to breastfeed me during the night otherwise she would spoil me.

My Mom tells the story of how she would cuddle me and rock me through the night, trying to soothe my desperate hungry cries. She would hold me close to her chest. I still remember the regret in her eyes, as she told me this, realizing the torture she had put me through as I smelled the milk letting down from her swollen breasts, and being denied what was mine by God and nature. I knew her own Mom had breastfed her so I inquired about Grandma's reaction. Unfortunately Grandma thought that the male doctor knew better than her.

I would say, with no doubt, that this story was one of the reasons I decided to nurse all my children. This story put the resolve in my heart to co-sleep and nurse my babies in the middle of the night, and all night if they wanted to. I cannot imagine parenting my children without breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding taught me to trust my instincts, to believe God and His Word, to value the wisdom of older women and to question modern research and data that does not support breastfeeding.

Now, after breastfeeding 3 children successfully until their second birthday at least, I am peacefully and trustingly breastfeeding my 4th who is still in our bed nursing every night.

Breastfeeding has made me a better Mom and has been an evolving journey.

When my first daughter was born, I breastfed her whenever she wanted, but I felt tied down. I felt a lot of pressure to perform. I had to be the Mom, the wife, the creative scrapbooker, the Christian. I felt I had to juggle all those positions and always look the best and keep everything running smooth. So, of course, when I had to sit down and nurse for an extensive time sometimes, I felt very frustrated. I got angry and resented my daughter. So although I knew it was the best thing for her and for me, I resented it. (I have come to the realization of that and have long forgiven myself and my daughter.)

When my son was born, 2.5 years later, breastfeeding became a moment to relax and take a nap. It became my opportunity to rest. My son, more laid back than my first daughter did not want to breastfeed all the time, and usually ate and slept without much fuss. So while I didn't have to be tied down for long, I actually wanted to. While breastfeeding him, I could let the house go and get my feet up. I finally realized that I didn't have to wear make up to go to church and I finally gave myself permission to not have to proof anything to anybody.

When daughter #2 made her entrance 2 years later, I realized that I wanted to be a more gentle parent. I wanted to be caring, loving, peaceful, a mindful parent - one not only mindful of my children's physical needs but their emotional and spiritual needs to. I wanted to be more present.

Now with daughter #3, who is a year old, I find myself realizing that breastfeeding goes beyond supplying your child's best food. It's nourishment for their soul, their mind, their spirit, but it is also nourishment for a woman's life. Yes, there are so many physical benefits for a woman who breastfeeds, however I think the most benefits are the ones that happen in the soul and spirit realms. As a woman who breastfeeds and puts her children first, I have grown spiritually. I am constantly seeking how to do things better but without pressures, external or my own. I have finally understood what it is to rest in God, to wait upon the Lord. I am a mindful parent, seeking to be in touch with my children and their needs in all aspects of their lives. I am learning to be in the moment. I am less anxious about everything. I don't worry about money, my physical appearance. I don't worry about what people think. When I do worry, I pray and commit the matter to Jesus. I am finding that I am constantly making the decision to rest instead of fret and worry.

I have not arrived. I have much to learn and to mature, but I know breastfeeding has changed me. I don't think I would be the parent I am today if I had not decided to breastfeed, no matter what. As for my Mom, not only did she learn to breastfeed her children but she is one of my greatest supporters. Thank you, Mom for sharing your mistakes so I could learn and do better. Thank you, Mom, for sharing your life and for being there for me. I love you!

How has your Mom influenced you to become a better Mom? What is one thing you did as a Mom that contributed to change you as a person?

Reasons to Breastfeed past 12 months of age 



scripperscrapper said...

Tereza, I loved reading your post this morning, it really touched my heart and brougt tears to my eyes as I remeber those days of breastfeeding my babies,now ages 25 & 21, and that special bond that was created and that we still have today. Thank you for sharing your story, Have a blessed Mother's Day!
~Lisa a.k.a. ScripperScrapper

Graciete said...

I love you so much. Mom.

tulio120 said...

Feliz dia das mães! Temos contado pra Estela do tio, da tia e dos primos que ela ainda precisa conhecer. Sentimos saudades de vocês. Eu li pra Elize o que você escreveu. Nós gostamos muito. É um desafio a amamentação, mas com paciência e tranquilidade, tudo vai bem.

Amamos vocês.

Túlio, Elize e Estela.

*Ma* said...

Oi Tereza! Prazer em conhecê-la tb! Obrigada por todos os elogios!

Noddy said...

Hi Tereza,

This post really touched my heart. I know Mother's Day are passed but for me Mother's Day come everyday in our life.

I think you are a good mother.

Have a blessed Mother's Day!