Friday, August 3, 2012
what nursing has taught me about Jesus
I didn't get to breastfeed Aaliya. I remember feeling guilty because I just didn't. I wanted to. I had every desire and intention to breastfeed her and yet didn't know what I was doing, was in an environment that quickly encouraged me to give her a bottle and formula and move on. I remember crying as I gave her the very first bottle of formula.
My husband was a champ at encouragement. He knew what was really bugging me. "Nicole, you did not fail as a parent. You are feeding your child to the best of your ability. Forget what people (mostly at Church) will think. Formula doesn't make you a bad mother. Especially since we've picked an organic brand that we're comfortable with. Nicole. You are not a bad mother."
He's such a hunk of a man-- and man is he godly. I was comforted for the moment but anytime friends went to feed their babes under a breastfeeding cover while I shook a bottle with formula in it, I felt a twinge of guilt for having "failed" in this area.
So when I found out I was pregnant with Haven I half expected to formula-feed again. I had significantly more support this time though. More people on my corner, not only encouraging me to breastfeed, but willing to walk it through with me. Uncomfortable, awkward semi nudity and all.
I can't say I was a huge fan of it to begin with. Breastfeeding is incredibly intrusive and yet unbelievably natural, beautiful and intimate. This time around though, there was an innate commitment to it from my end. Even though I hated it to begin with, (yes. I did. I don't now-- shoot me) Jesus in His faithfulness has taught me so much through it. Here are the main three lessons God has taught me in this journey of breastfeeding.
1) God is genius! He is truly an intricate God who designed us perfectly to meet every need as mothers in feeding our children. I read this article about a week or so ago and was absolutely amazed at the brilliant God we serve. He designed a mother's kiss not only to be a method of emotional bonding (which is obvious to most of us) but also as a physiological way to ensure that the baby is protected from any threats or attacks on his little body. Reading how perfect God created my body to nourish my children truly humbled me and spoke faith to my heart on how big my God really is.
2) "Breastfeeding takes faith!" A friend texts me that as I'm going to her for breastfeeding concerns and worries for about the millionth time that day. Having been a bottle feeding mom before (and a Type A personality who enjoys control...ahem...), one of the largest concerns and challenges I faced was being unsure as to how much milk my wee-one was getting. My constant fear was "he's not getting enough food!" And then, I got this text message, and it completely changed everything. I realized that even something as simple (and complex) as me feeding my son requires faith. He created my body to nourish these children, yet did it in a way that demands faith in His brilliance and design. Breastfeeding was designed to be an open door of communication with the Father. His design beckons us to trust Him with our children and come to His throne when we feel weak in faith. Not to mention, I'm sure God knew how busy a season tending Wee-Ones can be. I believe part of this design to encourage and strengthen our faith is one of many ways He kisses our Mama hearts in the "mundane."
3) I am not my own. I mentioned it earlier in the post. Breastfeeding is intrusive. Yes, it is. But I believe God designed it that way to remind us Mamas that as mothers, we are not our own. Being a breastfeeding Mother, no one else can feed my baby, but me. No one else can wake up at 3am to nurse him or feed him. No one else can nurse him for me while I finish doing the housework, or my workout or whatever else I'm doing that may tempt me to pass on that responsibility and privilege. I bring my son with me everywhere because I know he needs his Mama for nourishment. Nursing reminds me (and forces me to remember) what's truly important.