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Archive for May, 2009

A Found Memory

May 27, 2009 4 comments

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out the other contributors, whose links are listed at the end of this post. Also, please share your thoughts or comments!

As my son is now weaned, here is a story from August 18, 2007. It is one that means more to me than just about any other.

I was just nursing Maddox and my mind was wandering as it usually does. But this time I stumbled upon a memory that had been lost for a long time and I felt compelled to share this with all of you. I suddenly realized how much breastfeeding is at the core of who I am. When I was at my Peer Counselor training I had made the comment to one of the amazing women there that breastfeeding had changed me at the deepest levels of who I am. She said, “I don’t think it has changed you as much as it has helped you find a part of you that you did not know”. I thought that this was profound and it changed my view quite a bit. But now this new found memory just totally solidifies that!

So, here it is… first of all, some background.

Before having Maddox, Aaron and I became pregnant. We were ecstatic, but we lost that baby early on. The miscarriage broke me, shattered me. And to make matters worse, it continued for nearly 2 months. My body had retained something from the pregnancy and after the miscarriage it continued to grow and my HCG levels began to rise. The ordeal lasted several weeks before I finally had to have a D&C. I had blood drawn nearly every other day during those months, along with the surgery, and the pain of not being able to move on. It was a true low point for me emotionally. I was very angry and have realized since then that I was depressed and mad at my body for not “working”. I mourned this loss, but was steadfast in wanting to be a mother and wanted to allow that to happen as soon as this wonderful world felt it was time. At first, Aaron was completely with me. But as the drama drew on over those two months, fear began to wear on him. Then the realities of being a father began to scare him. Soon we found that we were arguing about whether or not to try again right away. I was again devastated… after all, if my body had done what it was supposed to I would be pregnant with my baby. I felt robbed all over again.

This is where the memory comes into play… this is something I had forgotten until now. One night during all of this I had a dream. It was so real that when I woke up I was in tears and could still FEEL it. I had a dream that I was nursing my child. I could FEEL the warmth of his body, smell his sweet scent, and FEEL the overwhelming love and pride created by this connection. I woke up and told Aaron, as I cried in his arms, that I need this, I am ready, I need to have my baby in my arms. I need to feed my child from my breast and connect with him in this miraculous way. It was not long after that that we were able to work through his fears and come to an agreement.

At the time the dream was nothing more than that, a signal to me that I wanted a child more than anything in the world. But, now, 2 years later, I see so much more. I find it intriguing that, even though at the time breastfeeding was not something I had thought much about other than knowing I wanted to do it because it was best, it was rooted in my soul as the pinnacle of mothering. It represented to me the absolute most basic and profound experiences of motherhood. Without giving it direct thought, I KNEW that breastfeeding would be the greatest joy of my early relationship with my child. How? Was it something engrained in my psyche from being breastfed myself? I will never know the answer to that, but I do know something now. My friend was so right. Breastfeeding hasn’t changed the core of who I am… it has been there as a part of my natural state. It has however helped me realize and fulfill that internal longing that had been resting so patiently inside of me.

Breastfeeding has offered me so many gifts. I have been thankful for its power to heal my anger at my body, for its ability to create a wonderful connection with my son, for its many health and emotional benefits to Maddox and I. But tonight, as I nursed Maddox back to sleep, I am thankful for it helping me become truly who I was meant to be. That is the true power of breastfeeding.

Goodnight all.
Crystal

Be sure to check out the posts from these other Carnival contributors:
Strocel:
The Story of Hannah’s Weaning
Bangerlm:
Weaning a Toddler
Stepping Off the Spaceship:
Life, Death, and Nourishment
So Fawned:
Sticking with It: Our Breastfeeding Story
Mommy News Blog:
How Breastfeeding Changed My Life
And All That Sazz:
Flying Breastmilk
Grudgemom:
Breastfeeding Failures and Success
Baby Carriers Down Under:
Kandy
Massachusetts Friends of Midwives:
The Best Breastfeeding Advice from the Least Likely Source
Breastfeeding 1-2-3:
The “I told you so”
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom:
Breastfeeding is not Easy, but it’s Definitely Best for Baby
Breastfeeding Moms Unite:
Can Early Public Breastfeeding Sightings Shape One’s Future Breastfeeding Practices?
Zen Mommy:
Celebrating my Chest, in Honor of Breastfeeding
The Towells:
Breastfeeding after Reduction Surgery
Blacktating:
Nursing in Public
Breastfeeding Mums:
Breastfeeding Made me the Mother I am

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Thoughts I am enjoying…

“A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.” – Lisa Miller, Newsweek

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. – Cyril Connolly”

To Facebook with Love

May 6, 2009 5 comments

My recent postings on Facebook about breastfeeding have stirred up some interesting conversations. I have been compelled to share some thoughts, but far too much for a comment on there. So here it goes.

First, I will say that I am unapologetically pro-breastfeeding. I think breastmilk is a superior infant food. However, I want to be clear that this does not mean that I judge others for choosing formula. Some of my favorite women in the world have used or will use formula. I was personally very close to not being able to breastfeed myself. It was through the grace of God and a very strong will that I ended up being able to breastfeed exclusively.

Actually, I think formula is important. There are some (very few, but some) that cannot physically breastfeed. They need to have the best possible alternative. I think that the formula companies should constantly seek to catch up to breastfeeding, although it is unlikely they ever will since it is a changing and living thing. But the children that do need formula and those whose parents choose formula, deserve to have the safest and healthiest food that can be created.

I truly do think that judgment is not the right way to reach women about breastfeeding. A new mother does not need heavy handed pressure at a time when she is so vulnerable and scared. I think that by being supportive, informative, and gentle, more women would be open to trying to breastfeed. This is why I do what I do in my online communities. I am a firm believer that many women choose to formula feed simply from lack of information about breastfeeding. Formula is what they know and they haven’t given breastfeeding a single thought. It’s these women that I hope might stumble on my stories and find a piece of information that peaks their interest. I also post my research because there are SO many misconceptions out there about breastfeeding. The more accurate information I post the more chance I have to educate someone. It truly breaks my heart to hear a woman who formula fed talk about it in a regretful or apologetic way. Sometimes they wanted to breastfeed, but felt they weren’t able to. If only they had the proper support and information, they would not have that regret. So maybe by reading an article or two, a woman can avoid that feeling in the future. I post my research to share with my fellow breastfeeding mommies because, like every mom out there, we need rejuvinated too! And reading about all the amazing things related to breastfeeding helps do that. I post my research so my friends and family can understand more about me and the lifestyle I have chosen. They can get to know me a bit better by seeing my passion for this topic.

I do feel that breastmilk is superior to formula. I don’t know any other product in the world that has to say that it is inferior in its commercials. We are lucky to live in a country where the risks associated with formula are minimized, but there are many places in the world where formula and the mentality against breastfeeding is deadly! There are countries where women are pressured to use formula but they are too poor to buy it and end up diluting it and babies die. Or the babies die from dirty water mixed with their formula. And yes, we could have a serious issue in this country if we had a contamination issue like China had. And yes, that means our babies would die. I don’t take that issue lightly.

When we choose to use formula we are at the mercy of those corporations. We have to rely solely on them to ensure the safety and health of our very young children. I am just not willing to put that amount of trust into a corporation. I posted a quote recently about formula being the worlds longest lasting uncontrolled experiment in medicine. This is so true. Formula is just that… a FORMULA… it is a man-made, man-researched, and man-flawed concoction. It has changed GREATLY over the many years it has been available. It seems to be constantly improving, which is great, but I do not want my child to be the test subject for the latest design.

I WILL NOT judge a mother for her choice to use formula. Every family has to find what works best for them. But I also will not apologize for my ardent support of breastfeeding, my passion for the science relating to it, or my desire to educate anyone willing to listen and seek information.