Blessings, what a difference a year makes. Just 365 days, when is your birthday? Today is my grandmother’s birthday, she taught me the most I know about breastfeeding my babies. She would be 111 years old today had she not died in 1985. She gave me her old car after driving it awhile. It was her suggestion that I could take her Chevy Impala, when my pregnant self would no longer fit behind the wheel of our International Scout. Reaching forward to shift the gears was just too awkward came and she sat with me in the scary weeks as I awaited my first child. Her loving presence made all the difference.
My grandmother was the only family member I knew at the time who had totally breastfed a baby. Her mother died when she was three. An unbroken chain of maternal mammalian connection until my mom and then me. There is something about being an elder that is an unvarnished reflection of of yourself as a young person. Youth with another perspective Id say. When I started this blog I wanted to connect and intersect with the elders, the ancestors who had nursed their babies, the ones who didn’t and the women who might need to talk with us now, about what was on their minds and hearts and how we might be able to help.
Who would whisper in your ear that it would be alright, and that nursing your baby would be good for you if that was what you wanted and that fierce longing was your passion for how you wanted to be just this once just this time.
I am a grandmother now. Five grandchildren all breast fed, nursed long and lovingly by their moms just because they wanted to without influence from me. I hope I was there for their mothers when they needed someone older and wiser. I am the elder, wise woman in the room, the one with the gray hair. Some memories are crystal clear. Some things, the hurts and petty slights have lessened over time and I mostly remember the love and how it feels when you are called to do something and be someone and follow a path that you may catch some heat for. I miss my grandmother, but I also don’t have the illusion that I appreciated her as much as I do now that she is gone. I see things differently than I did then.
Many of the women I meet now or know casually on social media are surrounded by family many of them women that don’t support what they want. Maybe because it is different, or strange, or that nursing calls for a level of support that they are just unable to provide. There may be a full generation or even two who have never nursed an infant. If all your advice comes from your contemporaries or “Health” professionals. You just may be missing the long view and those who have weathered the battle and the sweetness and lived to tell the tale.
Be gentle with them; but be yourself even when it feels a bit scary. Do it anyway and know you are loved and cared for just because you are you! You both have some important stories to share, we are listening! Happy Birthday! We celebrate you! Just one more year to go. This too shall pass!