Losing A Mother

This pandemic of 2020-2021 has hit our mothers in many ways that are unimagined.  Having a baby, nursing a little one and supporting one another through our stories is one way we make a difference in the lives of someone close to us or maybe some mother we don’t even know.

I listened to a story on the radio of a young woman who memorialized her mother who was lost in the pandemic.  What was so sweet about it was the memory she shared about the daily ordinary presence she played in her life that allowed her to just go about the everyday business of her own life.  

I write a devotional as part of a series for my beloved church family and while it’s not usually this personal, as I re-read it this morning, I decided to share it with you.  

Many of you over the years have so courageously shared your stories of missing your mother.  Even if it was not the best or most supportive relationship.  It has indeed impacted how you have parented your own child.

                                                         
 
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
 
by Jacqueline Lois
 
 
Today as I share my devotion time with you, I took a peek at the daily numbers as we approach a half a million people all beautiful souls who have died from a novel virus.  A life force that was looking for a host to land and thrive and grow with abandon is taking no prisoners, no son, no daughter, no parent, no sister, no brother is left unscathed.
 
I am struggling with the numbers creeping upward unabated as we all try to fathom the sheer weight of it all. It is easier for me to pray for each person, wondering about their story and wondering if I sit quietly for a moment and I can try to take it in without unending despair and grief. As millions recover, we hold them close and see them restored.
 
This hits home my house it hits home as I am the last grandma standing for a portion of my family tree. In less than two weeks, another grandmother and great-grandmother were called home to the Creator.  Returned to the Source to stand in the gap on a different plane than the everyday where we are left behind to care and do and be our very best.  Ancestors of two generations pass the gate.
 
The sudden and cruel devastation causes me to step in and look for ways to spread hope and encouragement. Love is the best of these virtues in finding the courage to be love.
 
I hope you will find a way that allows you to sit with me in pain, anger, and frustrations for whatever time you need.  I see me and the other Grands surrounded by Glory wondering what their hearts would feel where their bodies fade, and they return to Spirt.
 
I like to say, we are not our bodies, we are Spirit.  This does not comfort me in my hour of need. It does comfort me to imagine how it might feel to bow in praise, knowing the sweet peace that comes when all is well, and all is unfolding as it should.
 
I want to be good enough to stand in the gap and do all the things Grands could do and keep healing memories alive. Both my parents were raised by mothers who had no mothers in their living memory; not exactly orphans but their mothers were gone and watching,  protecting from afar.  I had the most wonderful loving parents ever.
 
Without Grace, and Love, where would I be?  I am blessed to give love until my last breath and ever after. Amen!
 
Thank YOU so much Grandma Ann and GG!
 
You both have blessed us all your sons, your daughters with Mercy, Grace and Love.   We will make you proud!  Lives well -lived!   Surrounded in Glory. Well done faithful servants! Your labor has not been in vain.
 
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless  1Corinthians 15:58 (New Living Translation)
 
Here is a link to a wonderful song, “I Can Only Imagine,” with its images of love and hope. https://youtu.be/1v6nIjuTeCs  
 
 
A picture containing grass, outdoor, person

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Thank you so much, Grandma Ann and GG!Backyard graduation celebration on June 30, 2020. None of us knew it would be the last family gathering with all present. From left to right is Grandma Ann (aka Antoinette Montague, 1960-2021), Taylor Meadows(2002–), and her paternal grandmother, Ann’s mother GiGi (aka Delores Marie Montague (1942-2021). Jackie is Taylor’s maternal grandmother and also delivered her. [Photo by our own Donald Burch III]
You both have blessed us all, your sons, your daughters, with mercy, grace and love. We will make you proud! Lives well-lived!  Surrounded in Glory. Well done, faithful servants! Your labor has not been in vain. “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” –1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/26/pandemic-grief-could-become-its-own-health-crisis/?arc404=true&utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F302af7d%2F603a76119d2fda4c88f526e3%2F5978a9659bbc0f6826ca1ba6%2F18%2F70%2F603a76119d2fda4c88f526e3

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8th

As a day of Holy Obligation, I attended on-line Mass today. Not because I had to; but because I wanted to truly celebrate A Feast Day for Mothers. It was really quite lovely. It has been many years since I went to Mass. However, I have found myself moved to prayer most days, these days; and as you would imagine I pray mostly to Mary in all her mysterious glory to intercede on behalf of all Mothers.

It is a simple prayer, probably one that I first learned in my childhood.it goes like this…

Hail Mary

Full of Grace

The Lord is with Thee

Blessed are you Among Women

Blessed is the Fruit of thy Womb

Jesus.

It is the foundation of the Rosary , a calming and repetitive devotion that is an integral part of a long held ritual often enjoyed during Advent, the season leading up to the birth of the Christ and all of the celebratory events we associate with Christmas.

You don’t have to be Catholic or even religious to imagine what it might be like for you the 17 days before the birth of your little one. In addition to feeling fat, and wholly unready for the task at hand and how you might ever care for a little One; you hope for a moment of calm and the knowledge that all indeed will be well. it can be very reassuring to know that God is within you.

The tale is really quite magical, that a Virgin gives birth. There is NO sin, Original or otherwise and this was known well before your (Mary’s ) conception. Her mother (the baby’s grandmother) Anne knew and it was foretold that her conception was like no other and that She alone would give birth and nurture someone incredibly special who would save the world because of her Divine Love and Grace.

Today no matter what, I hope and pray that you feel special and wonderful and capable of even the impossible. Spirit’s got your back and you need not worry about the details.

My granddaughter introduced me to a word that she had tattooed on her forearm in plain view, she was “Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words”. Pope and a bunch of folks used the same Word to describe Mary and why we might worship her.

ineffable

In case you have forgotten, you are truly Divine!

Featured

Weaning After A Really Long While

I know this sounds trite, but it’s time to wean when you want to…

Madison and Leilani Still at it at 9 months!

The tricky part is how!

https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/weaning-i-want-t

If you have successfully sustained the womanly art of nursing your little one for at least 365 days or more; no one need remind you that how you transition to another way of loving and nurturing yourself is as unique a path as you could imagine.

If you were under the false impression that weaning was simply the transition to solid food, how wrong you would be.  This blog came about as a space for testimony for women to speak about the maternal experience of breastfeeding for an extended period of time.

  The longer a woman nurses, the less we tend to talk about it. Partly because we lack words and partly because once again it’s both intimate and private and we risk with our disclosure a harsh critique of extended nursing as selfish and not in the best interests of the child.

It is very very helpful to have someone to talk to about these things. Ideally a nursing mother; but clarifying why you no longer wish to nurse is a different conversation than how to gradually do it with love. Mother’s who have nursed in isolation particularly struggle with grief, loss and guilt when they often times have only had their little one to support and understand the importance and connection of the mother-baby couple.

Child-led weaning is a great concept.  Proponents advocate for allowing the little one to ease of the tit when we ask if the little one is ready leaves decision-making up the shortest person in the room without considering the needs or demands being placed on the mother.  While nursing is one aspect of parenting and child caregiving, for some of us, nursing made our lives easier, joyful and peaceful and leaving that part out increased the drudgery and lessened the joy.  Having a partner in child rearing, and care giving means a shared responsibility.

Often times, sitting in a still place, weaning is not so much a “choice” as a decision that is determined by the circumstances surrounding the separation of human mothers and babies. Raising animals for food and pleasure reflects cultural beliefs about making it easier to care for animals if they are separated 

from their attachment to their mothers. What does it do to their mothers?

Politically and socially, we separate mothers and fathers from their children to punish them for seeking freedom. How do mothers stay physically close to their babies without distancing yet not nurse the way they did in the past.  This is not just a question of graduating to alternate ways of sucking and nutrition.

 How do we experience letting go, and setting limits when the time is right and in the best interest of meeting the shared needs of mother and child. Saying no when someone cries for us, or when we are spent and fatigued beyond our limits.  Unavailable to our child because we are not present and whole within ourselves.

Attachment with love and interdependence is thought to be something that you get over.    Outgrowing the need for nursing, how does that look in your world?

https://www.llli.org/weaning-gently-outgrowing-the-need/

Have you heard some of these absolutes before… I am sure you could make your own list. What now?

If they (the baby) (fill in the blank).

  1. has teeth
  2. will take a bottle
  3. cries when the mother leaves
  4. eating solid food
  5. has a sippy cup
  6. is potty trained
  7. can talk
  8. can walk
  9. can sit up
  10. can hold their own bottle
  11. has a dad 
  12. has a sibling who didn’t nurse
  13. is spoiled

there is no need to continue nursing.

If the baby’s mother (fill in the blank). 

1. has to go back to work

2. has a fever

3. taking medication

4. has to go back to school

5. isn’t married

6. using drugs

7. is an alcoholic

8. is mentally or emotionally unstable

9. has other children

10. is nursing another baby

11. enjoying nursing

there is no need to continue nursing

if you don’t want to….

Consider gently with love…..

TODAY is MY DAUGHTER’s 40th Birthday

See her there, gorgeous mound of amber Joy pretending to cheez for the camera. She is about 15 months old. My dad took this photo just past the 365 day mark. This is a lovely Sunday December near Christmas Gathering. We are nowhere near weaning. I am getting some good natured teasing from folks, I am smiling, she is ignoring them. Weighing in about 36 pounds, my Nana is whispering in my ear to ignore them reminding me she is strong and healthy for a girl and I look happy and well. “You will know when it’s time” I find it’s so interesting today that both my grandmothers who had a chance to nurse their babies well past a year gave me almost verbatim the same advice. “just sit down and nurse that baby and you will both feel better”

My daughter is wondering why I wore that stupid midi dress, turtleneck no less which provides no access to titties. I was trying to look grown up as if we no longer nursed at a moment’s notice. She more practical still than I wonder how long does she need to be polite and wait and eat finger foods olives, cheese, crackers, codfish cakes, deviled eggs.

See her reaching over pulling the fake pearls, not distracted a bit from what she knows will be our quiet time when we are done with these family folk. I just found this picture. The only one I have with me and my Nana. She lived a few years more and died my first day of midwifery school, passing the torch as it were. I now can see the power of Elder blessings!

I have been uncharacteristically teary today. I just finished the last payment on the headstone for my mom. She’s been dead now since 2009. The cemetery couldn’t find the account number or paper working barely the grave site if not for my daughter. The cemetery changed hands or pandemic stuff; records not digitized whatever? My daughter is the only one that visits the grave site and I think it is a fitting present that today on her 40th birthday, we remember my mother properly with so much gratitude. The gravestone goes to production, no more debt. We are so free to love and remember.

Violette Duckett Strachan April 27, 1927- January 9, 2009

Legacy is love. Inheritance is joy, and hope and promise.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Daughter. You are my Joy! I love you so!

Wise Woman Ways

One day your time of fertility, and nursing a little one will go away. One year, one full cycle of 365 days after the birth will seem to be such a short time. Hours, minutes, days are all relative. It is such mystery that we have a time to menstruate, we bleed and for the remainder of nearly half our lives we cease to be able to reproduce and we have menopause; the bleeding stops.

During lactation, and then again as we approach menopause, we have extraordinary powers and are extremely sensitive to the ways in which we interact with the world. When our flow changes, when we nurse our babies as we prepare to let them go from relying on our bodies: we heal ourselves, we heal each other and we heal our planet.

One of my favorite authors and teachers is Susun S. Weed. She has written several books on healing and most recently I have re-read Wise Woman Ways: The Menopausal Years. As I remember vividly the time of nursing my children, I don’t think I thought of the days of how it would feel for me or that the cycles I experience as a woman (Some ONE with a womb) would change across my lifetime in a predictable pattern. We are all unique, but we share many things in common.

Susun describes and expands on a concept she calls the six steps of healing. She reminds us that we have ancestors and grandmothers who have been through this before and that we can listen, tell our own stories and also rely on them to teach us and guide us whenever we are ready. It is the role of the elder. It speaks to wise woman ways. As you grow and nurse your little one , you are becoming a wise woman.

She describes an archetypal character called Grandmother Growth. She advises us to:

“Let Grandmother Growth help. She knows the ways of woman’s mysteries. She lives the ways of the wise woman, healing and wholing person and planet. She offers stories about Change, new ways to understand the menopausal years, and new visions of old woman, She-Who-Holds-the Wise-Blood-Inside. “Shall we begin?”

Step 0. Do Nothing

Step 1 Collect Information

Step 2 Engage the Energy

Step 3. Nourish and Tonify

Step 4. Stimulate/ Sedate

Step 5a Use supplements

Step 5b Use drugs

Step 6 Break and Enter

Most of what we share and promote here in this breastfeeding365 blog centers around the healing that takes place during steps 0-3. For many of us, in our contemporary society we have never done anything even remotely like this. We have never been allowed to make the time.

STEP 0. .. Do nothing …sleep, meditate, unplug the clock or the cellphone, a vital INVISIBLE step

STEP 1 …Collect Information …low tech diagnosis, reference books, support groups, divination

STEP 2…Engage the energy…prayer, homeopathic remedies, crying, visualizations, ritual, aromatherapy, color, laughter

Where are you on your healing journey? Are you nursing a little one right now? Are you supporting and helping someone as they make this change in the way they are living their lives. Tell us your story! We are listening! And so is Grandmother Growth!

References

http://www.susunweed.com

Freedom To Succeed #3

“What do mothers need?
 
The Keys for Success
 
• Love
• Knowing What You Have
Freedom
• Mother-Baby Couple
• Healing”

True freedom comes from having boundaries and feeling free to take action on your own behalf to do things that benefit you. Doing for others doesn’t mean doing things at your expense in the name of someone else.

When what you are doing for your child is killing you, things are out of balance and something is wrong. When you rationalize what you are doing is for your baby and it’s hurting you that is even more wrong.

You can’t be guilt-tripped into nursing your baby. It’s not something you do for show or to impress others. It must be what you want for yourself. You don’t spoil a child by breastfeeding. You spoil a child when you allow anyone including your baby to take what responsibilities rightfully belong only to you.

My mother always used to tell a story about what her mother Lois told her about giving to your children. ““Always leave something back for yourself. You will ruin them if you don’t and they won’t know how to learn to live in this world.””

My mother’s stories were always told repeatedly and were usually enhanced by being told late a night after just a wee bit of scotch.

It would always start with this opening . . .  “Now let me tell you something, you have to remember . . .” If I knew know how precious those words of wisdom would be I would have taken notes.

She would say:

““Now what’s wrong with this picture? The baby has everything, you have nothing. The baby needs everything, and you need nothing[… Child what is wrong with you, there are no flies on you . . .  You are the mother, nobody will love that baby but you like you do . . .  but you teach them . . . . Like this. And the she would motion to her hands to show me imaginary money and dollar bills . . .  as if she was counting the national treasury out.

One for you, two for me

Three for you, five for me

Six for you, ten for me

When reminded of this story of my mother by Suji who she also lectured on this point many times when she thought we were spoiling the children and allowing them to take advantage. I was struck with how often I heard so many mothers say . . .

Now that I have this child, life as I know it is over. The baby’s needs are more important than mine. If we truly believe this, how could being a mother possibly be pleasurable?

“No wonder we are taught to hate and pity teen mothers and unplanned pregnancies, and single moms. Have you assumed, or allowed someone to influence you to feel that having a baby is in conflict with what you really want to do. You are taught to delay childbearing and childrearing because you believe that having a child causes a conflict in your life. Every aspect of your life, your career, your lover, your marriage, your friends, your home and your lifestyle, your ability to make money and care for yourself are ALL in conflict with having YOUR baby. Really?”

All other things or important relationships are perceived as competition for your inner desire and calling to mother. We are not always taught to think about the ways in which we powerfully create a new life in partnership with others.

How do we learn to integrate mothering with who we are as women? Who will join us and sustain us during this journey? Who will love us while we learn to love another part of ourselves that we must one-day release to the world?

We often feel we are free to make decisions and to have choices, but how often are we influenced by people around us, the media, expectations we have of ourselves and others have of us.

If you watch television, read magazines, and live in the world, you are affected by what you see, hear, and feel. I will give you a great example of how what we really need as mothers and what we think we need to function as a good mother can be two very different things if we are not very careful.

“HGTV is my favorite network. I actually pay extra for pay TV and could watch it endlessly. In fact, watching TV was my main barrier to completing the work on this book. I dream about my dream house, decorating, remodeling, square footage, what stove or fridge I want. Hunting for houses with open floor plans, checking for double vanities. Browsing real estate websites, it is positively hypnotic. My son calls it house porn, I laugh, but I still watch and from time to time, I do wonder how does it affect me and how I feel about myself and how I feel about the space that I live in and my neighborhood and my bathroom when I look around my personal space and it doesn’t look like that.

The master bedroom suite must contain a walk-in closet, a bathroom with a double sink so two people can brush their teeth at the same time and maybe even shower or take a bath separately.

“Never on my TV is there even a sign or a line of sight for a baby. The baby’s room is down the hall, perhaps even on another floor. The baby too has its own bathroom. Color-coding is very important so you and everyone else will know the sex of the baby from fifty feet away.

There is room for toys, a rocking chair or glider, a changing table and of course a fantastic crib that transitions into the daybed with an obligatory mobile. You can install an intercom throughout the house or a baby monitor but you as the mother are expected and even taught to monitor the baby from another location while you are with the other adults and to listen for signs of crying, hunger or life and you go when summoned. You can also check in on the baby by surveillance cameras and video monitoring.

An open floor plan for your granite counter topped kitchen with stainless steel appliances so your guests can see you while you are cooking and entertaining are critical.

This is why all pregnant women everywhere must move to a larger more expensive location in a better school district with an additional bedroom sometime during pregnancy or just after the birth.

Your baby MUST have it’s own room; their own closet and designer adult style clothes. Shoes when they can’t walk and jeans when they are still in diapers.

What would your dream space look like if you were designing a space for taking care of yourself so you can nurture your baby from pregnancy through weaning? What if mammals (the mother-baby couple) were designed to be together from conception through weaning to ensure survival of the species and smiling faces with good mental health for both parties?

“What kind of space would make it easy to be with your baby and to sleep with your baby and to not have to run all over the place or to be positioned to hear the baby monitor and still keep your husband or your regular sexual partner or the one you want if you don’t have one?
 
Do you have the freedom to decide that and do you truly know how important you are and what you do have for your baby? Will watching hours of television make you think that your relationship with your partner and with your baby will be improved in a bigger house with more bedrooms?
 

Excerpt From: Jacqueline Lois. “Little Black Breastfeeding Book.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/little-black-breastfeeding-book/id529791868

Your baby MUST have it’s own room; their own closet and designer adult style clothes. Shoes when they can’t walk and jeans when they are still in diapers.

What would your dream space look like if you were designing a space for taking care of yourself so you can nurture your baby from pregnancy through weaning? What if mammals (the mother-baby couple) were designed to be together from conception through weaning to ensure survival of the species and smiling faces with good mental health for both parties?

Excerpt From: Jacqueline Lois. “Little Black Breastfeeding Book.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/little-black-breastfeeding-book/id529791868

MILK without MOM

Breastmilk AS A Commodity

My beloved Son and Daughter-in-law Emily just celebrated the first birthday of my fifth grandchild Ava Violet.  She is still nursing!  I couldn’t be more thrilled!  She is walking; talking; dancing in her first pink tutu; and generally running the household in charge of her three year old brother.  I am strangely grateful for this period of holy hibernation during our new age pandemic. This cataclysmic shift in the universe has had both parents very close at hand with few ventures away from home for this little girl except for daily strolls now that full time center-based day care has been closed in Southern California Coronalland.

Emily and I surprisingly talk little about nursing and breastfeeding. She loves me and knows I am a bit of a fanatic; but she also knows that I know that she is intensely private and that nursing her baby is her business and she’s got this…

She also knows that I am fiercely and intensely proud of this 365 day breastfeeding milestone: not just for her and me, and her daughter, and my son, and the blog but but but just because she is doing what she wants her way with delightful abandon.  This is really good stuff and hope for the planet.  It has been a tumultuous road with bottles, breast pumps, dizzying fatigue & fear, and a healthy dose of not good enough; work; worry: and wondering is she going to be all right.

It is with such humility that I get to selfishly witness such love.  Pleasure, divine maternal attachment and what if anything she might gain for herself for this time for this “last baby” was her primary motive.  Seems to me I guess for this go-round; willpower or perseverance was simply not required. They all figured it out! Love always wins!

Edging the mother out of the picture as the sole arbiter of nursing her baby is a trend that has ominous consequences for all but especially for the mother. During this last day of Breastfeeding Month 2020; I caught a reference to a workshop on Breastfeeding WITHOUT NURSING! Human milk for Human babies, but no touching, no connecting required, needed, or even perhaps desired.  Mom and mom and baby interaction are essentially obsolete. How many ounces did I pump today?  Not latching on; not a problem!  How many little bags can I produce for storage today?  We could get a freezer on sale. No value added for the time we spend together.

If the product is milk, even your milk, how can the product be delivered to the consumer without you?  The stuff of scary science fiction or just relief from an unimaginable burden.

What if there was a vaccine for hate, a slow growing time for learning the capacity for giving, loving and nurturing and it had something to do for all us but especially that mom and that baby having that time to connect, to attach, to learn how and why we may experience belonging and pleasure and the sweet part about just being human. Where do we learn this?  Where might it be taught? Who will teach us if we have lots of milk, but no MOM.

Tell your story,  what happens after staying close to your baby; nursing as best as you can for that very first 365 days after cutting the cord?

References

https://genacorea.com/the-mother-machine

Knowing What You Have #2 Key to Success

“What do mothers need?
 
The Keys for Success
 
• Love
• Knowing What You Have
• Freedom
• Mother-Baby Couple
• Healing
 

“Shortly after a birth, my postpartum midwifery teacher Betty would switch her focus from the actual act of giving birth to the mother-baby couple. She would always say to those brand new moms just seconds after the baby emerged from her before she ever cut the cord.
 
“Do you know what you have inside of you?” She would wait for a response and then answer: “Liquid Gold”

“It is so precious and wonderful and only you have it made especially for your baby and it is ready right now at the right temperature, just the right amount, ready to give your baby a taste of all the sweetness there is to come in this life. And then if she needed any assistance she would support the newborn latching on to mother’s breast for the first time. If you can imagine the delight in the eyes of most of those young mothers and the joy and confidence they felt in hearing those words and feeling that rush of pride. Most times those first few minutes went well, sometimes not. Some would say “oh maam I am not breastfeeding” It’s Ok, I just need your help to coach the placenta out and then we will be all done.” I learned so much about that mother and the family in just those few precious minutes.

“I was often amazed with what happened in the next few hours, how often they may be asked what are you going to do, do you want to breastfeed, what challenges did they face in bonding with their babies how many hands, visitors, questions later did they have to deal with so that by the time of our next rounds was the wonderment gone, and did she already forget how important she was in the transformation of that pregnancy and the connection between her and her baby.”

“When you think you have something special and unique that you must give and share with your baby and you are in love, tolerating separation for any reason or for any length of time is intolerable.
 
Furthermore, seeing, allowing, or just witnessing others interact with your baby and offering other food, water, or equipment in to their mouths or to their skin can bring up many feelings that encourage either attachment and further connection or detachment and further distancing and alienation.
 
Keeping your baby with you, making sure your baby gets your Liquid gold and can smell you, taste you, feel you, hear your heart beat, and share the substance of you the body the baby just left. This opens the path that establishes the journey for successful breastfeeding and all relationships. The baby orients and synchronizes with you as the mother sharing the space that was their home since conception.
 
If you know what you have is precious, priceless, irreplaceable, you are unable and unwilling to allow anyone to not have you give it to your baby
 

Excerpt From: Jacqueline Lois. “Little Black Breastfeeding Book.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/little-black-breastfeeding-book/id529791868

Wonder if our President’s mother was able to nurse her baby?

YES OH MY YES.

I confess it was very late at night, and I began wondering about our President’s mother. Where was she born? How old was she? What was her name? How were things going in her marriage? Was he her first baby, her first son? Where was her mom? Her sisters? Her auntie, her grandma? Had she had a successful experience by the time it came time to nurse the amazing child who would grow up to be President.

Mothering a son is different than a mothering a daughter. Or at least that’s what we are told, Somehow gender is a factor in how we love and nurture. When I held my son close, and cuddled, was it different than holding my daughter? When I lost control, or felt ill, or inept, was I different with my son than my daughter. Did I have higher expectations for myself and for him?

My Nana, my paternal grandmother was an immigrant traveling here by ship from Trinidad . She first arrived here at age 17 years old with her two younger twin brothers in tow. Some nine years later, she had her two boys both born at home with nurse midwives. She nursed them both for a long time as was their custom and she prayed that her sons would be great and promised God all good things if their lives would be spared the pandemic of their day, the 1918 Spanish flu. I can barely imagine what it was like to nurse my baby in the midst of quarantine. 50 million people lost worldwide. Would fear completely overwhelm me? She described so many children lost, soldiers quickly wounded and dying from the Great War, and traveling by ship across The Atlantic. She first traveled alone, and then with her twin brothers, recalling her own mother’s illness; their faith, the violence, the lynchings; sons who inflicted unspeakable harm, unimaginable sorrow, grief and separations, days when it seemed that none would be spared.

Our President’s paternal grandfather died in 1918 from the pandemic. Apparently they were together one day for a walk and the next day, he died suddenly. I wonder how his mother with a young son only 14 years old felt losing her husband alone in a new country. She too was an immigrant! A young woman having to go on alone with her son who had the courage and foresight to build a prosperous family business. By the age of 31, her son married a woman he loved in 1936 and they soon started a family.

Our President was the fourth of five children born to a MOM, the youngest of ten children who immigrated from Scotland to join her sister in New York at age 17. Like my grandmother, leaving a small island; the future essentially unknown, but filled with promise. Maybe there were no other choices! She wanted only the best for her self and her sons. Something more, but she would gladly settle for survival and a long healthy life of service and joy. What might we have to endure? What might we all have in common?

my grandmother who had a chance to nurse all of her babies

I have to think on that one a bit and wonder a bit more. It has been a very long time since I held a baby at the breast. and drifted off to sleep, knowing all was well, feeling safe, not hungry, not thirsty, and not afraid. As a mother I felt the most power ever in my ability to not only love, but to protect and dream and wish for a world full of wonderful things I would prepare my son for when he was no longer small enough and portable enough to be held in my arms.

my father and his brother surviving the pandemic with a mother’s love, hopes and dreams

Today I pray for all mothers and sons. May they be protected for all the days of their lives. May our mothers find courage, find comfort, find love and the gentle space to wish and wonder and care for their babies. We have no idea what our sons will become, or how we will manage. We teach love at the breast; but it is not our only tool.

Today we unite with all mothers everywhere. We call for peace, grace, mercy, justice, but most of all the capacity to love safe from harm. Tell your story. Listen closely to the mothers all around you!

https://www.scotsman.com/arts-and-culture/film-and-tv/donald-trumps-mother-story-mary-anne-macleod-trump-bbc-documentary-uncovers-us-presidents-scottish-roots-1407481

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What do Mother’s need? The keys to Successful Breastfeeding #1


 
• Love
• Knowing What You Have
• Freedom
• Mother-Baby Couple
• Healing
 
1 Corinthians 13:13
 
“ . . . For there are these three things that endure:

Faith, Hope, and Love. but the greatest of these is Love.”
 
LOVE
 
How are you with the love that you have in your life and the love that you have in your heart and the love that you have for your child, the love you have for yourself? Do you love God, the Goddess; do you worship and feel loved and perfectly made by your Creator?
 
Does it (love) feel comfortable and good and unblocked? When you have a baby love comes up because for most of us we fall in love with our babies in a way that we could not know was possible. Maternal love is different, especially for a small infant. Breastfeeding your baby is one way that you can love your baby. Not the only way, but one way and a very important way that establishes the primary relationship that child will have with the world and everyone in it.

Breastfeeding triggers all sorts of feelings, and hormones and chemicals that allow us to extend the connection and bond that starts when you make love and a little one is conceived, grows during pregnancy and extends through the first few years of life.
 
In some respects, breastfeeding is a continuation of pregnancy and NOT breastfeeding aborts a relationship between you and that, which is part of you and cannot exist independently of you for quite some time. To be a mammal, live birth and warm milk is something we share with many species in the animal kingdom. We can learn a lot from watching them.

“If you do not feel and experience love for your baby, it is impossible to breastfeed and to have a close and intimate relationship with that child. The sucking on your breast causes changes in your brain, your uterus, your breasts, your heart, and your muscles. The sucking also causes changes in the baby. The sucking that occurs several times throughout the day at regular frequent intervals maintains levels of hormones and changes in your body that produces the nourishment for your child, reduces stress, promotes sleep and relaxation and a sense of well-being for you both. The more unrestricted sucking you allow, the more milk that you have. The more at ease you are and the more relaxed you are, the more milk your body makes. It is creamier, sweeter, and higher in nutrients based on how well you feel, how you are eating and drinking and how much you are loved and how loving you are.”

Excerpt From: Jacqueline Lois. “Little Black Breastfeeding Book.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/little-black-breastfeeding-book/id529791868