Breastfeeding: A Found Memory
by Crystal at cfoutz.blogspot.com
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.
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