Mothers Happy Day 2020

While not all of us are mothers nor do we wish to be…. we all have mothers! Some we know and love, some we have lost … some at best struggled to be any sort of parent. Today I would like to remember our mother and our Mother Earth and thank them.

If you took a moment and thought about what would make our mother happy; could you … if it was within your power to give her that with all of your love.

At this time, we remember those mothers who lost their babies . Dreams of what their children might be. No mother wants to believe that it is their child who might harm someone else … we live in guilt and shame when our children fall from the mark. We believe it is our fault even when that was not our intention.

Sometimes we don’t know what someone needs or wants ..yet do we have the courage to ask and do what we can to provide …

We love our mother as the one we hoped would nurture us and provide all we needed. They did the best they could. And we thank them. For some of us we never quite felt good enough but we never ever stopped trying!

We didn’t mean to break their hearts to disappoint them or make them sad. How they felt most days had little or nothing to do with us. We couldn’t know that as children .. but on this day, we are at peace at knowing we all have done our best.

Today do something that makes you happy. Today no doubt that would make your mom very proud !

It’s not too late to fall in love again; I wanna know what makes you happy

Behind closed doors good things can happen. Many of us are locked up in the house with someone that we once loved, had babies with, but rarely have we had or ever had so much unabated together time not by choice.

While stress, poverty, frustration and abuse are certainly possible so is love! It is also not surprising that this time creates a window of opportunity to rekindle the love and to approach each other in new and creative ways that may have not been possible before this time.

We have always known the language of love. We know what feels and tastes good to us. But we often have to learn new ways to approach each other for pleasure and greater intimacy. Locked down, sheltered in place, saving the world and probably ourselves can be a recipe to challenge everything that we thought we knew about ourselves and each other. Sometimes you know what makes a person happy. Sometimes you just need the courage to ask . How would you like to be approached for love???for closeness???to allow love and appreciation to grow…

What if it didn’t hurt to simply give someone what they want .. what makes them happy . I have two friends that have been married for a very very very long time.

Not always happy but within the past few days they have noticed even when they have momentarily forgotten they have found unspeakable joy. We laughed and shared how well this time was going for them. More love, more joy, more lives filled with meaning than ever. They know what makes their sweetie happy and not so so surprisingly they are willing in new ways to do whatever it takes .

I wanna know what makes you happy…. I wanna know what makes you smile!

For me this morning it was breakfast in bed. A BLT; NPR on story corps : I didn’t have to get up and get my own coffee. I didn’t have to ask for anything. It was a gift of love …an offer an invitation of willingness. If someone loves you they know what makes you happy, what you like or are willing to ask…

I made a call to my favorite long time married breastfeeding elder girlfriend who doesn’t ever give advice but is always ready with a fabulous design and a short list of ideas of solutions with what’s on hand.

Listen to some good music to get your own self in the mood!

. If I wanna make you happy. Anything you say I’ll do. Just want to see you smile !

First order of business is :

1. I have to be happy myself

2. Get cleaned up take a shower bubble bath ; I need to feel good, smell good, wash my hair & get-dressed for success like you’re going somewhere special on assignment.You know you’re on lockdown and not going anywhere ..Just pretend ..

3. Show or let them touch some skin something … what’s underneath a leg a thigh something they may not have seen in a while

4. Give each other some space. Put some distance between you. Don’t be on top of each other .. make room .. be ok with being alone. Each doing and being your own thing. Be happy with solitude. Get centered! Enjoy your own company when you are blessed in rare rare moments to have it .

5. Share a meal ! It doesn’t have to be the same thing. Two plates of beans. …perhaps the same thing prepared differently . Savor the time and the differences and the sameness …enjoy the preparation but be ready to discard what doesn’t work

6. She repeated again. Time away and apart. Crucial to wanting to be together cause you want to…your choice. Nothing forced or coerced. Give them a chance to ask and say yes

It’s not too late to tell someone you wanna know what makes you happy and have them believe you by just be willing to show up .

It’s not too late to breastfeed your little one!

In case you have been wondering, if you still have to pump breast milk, wondering if you still have milk even if the baby has long been on formula; can you still do it, can you get it back? Is it still good to you ? You can! It’s not too late to nurse your baby…

There are many things that have changed in the past few days and weeks. Maybe you were not home, now you are, maybe you were working as a paid employee, had health insurance , now you’re not! Maybe you are working from home and juggling many things in uncertain times.Maybe you had help and now you don’t …

You have mostly weaned the baby from relying totally on you and relied on bottles, friends, your partner and spending time every day pumping precious milk from your breasts.

In an instant, you could change your relationship with your baby now that you are home and you both are together.

I won’t bore you with the benefits to the baby… there are many advocates online and all around you for that. How would it benefit you to have a seat and just nurse your little one, no bottles, no baby food, no pumps, no going to the store. Just you, and the baby having this time to nurse. What if it was your quiet time, before a nap, before bed time after a bath, after shower. Did you know there were hormones released in your body called relaxin and oxytocin that might relax you and give you a few moments to allow you to drift off to sleep..content …happy, well fed comforted and comforting…

Each time you nurse your baby, the sucking causes you to produce more milk, more for the next feedings for the next day. Like manna from heaven, ready right on time when you need it. Have a snack, have something to drink, get started … you may be surprised at how you feel. How much you have in store that is essential for you; just for you alone. You could tell them you just need a minute. You could supply all you need for however long it was needed. It’s not too late! Let us know how it goes!

What do you do that makes you feel better?

I am rarely struck to silence, or even given to pause before answering a direct question.  Sometimes I suppose it depends on who is doing the asking. But when my daughter with three children ages 21, 17, and 9 asked me that question after a challenging day (hers not mine). I was dumbstruck and hesitant and should have had the good sense to just text back; “let me get back to you on that one “. Legitimately she was in the pits and couldn’t snap out of it!

I am very lucky in that I feel good most of the time. Good, better, best, I am at a good starting point. Of course life happens and many things are out of my control, but I don’t have bouts of feeling bad or in search of doing or needing something to make me feel better as a general rule.   I know there is not necessarily a magic pill, or an antidote for a bad day or yet even a series of bad events clearly one right after the other mounting up when you are already past your limit. I am an optimist; glass half-full kinda gal. My optimism annoys my daughter. It is especially annoying when she is feeling bad, overwhelmed and not well.  She depends on me for framing the issue in a different way or the gentle reminder that I find myself saying more often as I get older “that this too will pass” . I thought this bit of encouragement was coined by my mother until I later learned this maxim was somewhat attributed to bible verses allowing for anyone who calls on the name of the Lord to expect that they will be saved.  So while we are yelling in the moment, be assured and encouraged, HELP is on the way.

While we don’t understand why bad things happen to us and why we feel sad and overwhelmed and not up to the task however small; it is in fact a temporary condition that invites us to be more loving, kinder, gentler with ourselves and others. The condition we are facing will pass. It won’t last all ways. We will be drawn closer to a loving presence where we won’t feel ashamed, and not good enough.

In 12 step program fellowships when you struggle with an addiction; they ask you to just stop for a moment and use the acronym HALT!  Ask yourself, are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? This could be a trigger for searching for a way to do something to make you feel better.  What you select as the remedy may seem to work for the short term, but it does not truly address what is bothering you.  You can barely care for yourself and yet you are expected to supply someone else with their most basic needs for survival 24 hours a day seven days a week. How might that even be possible?

When I want to feel better almost instantly; I pray!  It works every time.  Even when I didn’t know it was working. Just being myself was truly enough.  I have a conversation with the Love that I know to be true in God’s presence.   If I am feeling awful, I know it is often because I believe something that I also know is not true.  There is a bit of information that I need that I am missing or help in this situation to see the reality more clearly. I don’t try to talk myself out of it, I just lovingly accept for that moment, that is how I feel, and it is the very best I can do.  It is in that moment of deep surrender that I feel the love well up around me and something shifts.  Indulging in that space of unconditional love is what many mothers do so readily for their little ones.  It is a gift we can learn to give ourselves.

At times, it may be sitting down with a cup of tea, allowing myself a bit of grace where I am not being graded or evaluated by anyone. There is joy in what we do and who we are. I am grateful to have friends I can call on that I don’t have to explain everything. It just is and hearing their voice encourages me and makes me feel better.

Tell your story, what may have worked before having a child may look very different now. I would love to hear what you do when you want to feel better. What brings you Joy?

Happy Birthday

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!

Can you imagine having grandchildren?

Yesterday, my newest grand-daughter Ava Violet was 4 weeks old.  To me, she is so affectionately known as Diva clutch your pearls, number 5. I love the way she smells!

 When I think about how transformative it was to have a child, especially for the very first time, I could not have imagined having grandchildren.  Too far in the distant future, I didn’t have a sense of the line of women before me; the women who would come after me. I do now. It makes me cry with such gratitude.

 Amazing, miraculous that I am the one left still standing among the women who thought of me, prayed for me, imagined I would be coming along and that things would be better for me. Do you know your maternal lineage?  Can you name the names of the 5 women who preceded you? Mother’s mother, her mother, and her mother, and her mother. Women yet unborn, names you don’t yet know. Connected to them for one year, 365 days, would it make it easier to have one more day with her.

Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen

Lois Antoinette

Violette Ellen

Jacqueline Lois

Amber Joy

Taylor Marie

 More powerful, more lovely, more mystical is your love for your little one. 

Do you feel the love of someone who loved you like that?

Imagine holding your baby!

Imagine being held in your grandmother’s loving arms!

Tell your story, mention her name, write their names down, tell your daughters, honor your mother

A picture containing person, indoor, sitting, wall

Description automatically generated

https://www.familytreedna.com/products/mt-dna

* direct maternal lineage is the line that follows your mother’s maternal ancestry. This line consists entirely of women, even though both men and women have their mother’s mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). This means that fathers do not pass on their mtDNA to their children. Your mtDNA can trace your mother, her mother, her mother’s mother, and so forth and offers a clear path from you to a known or likely direct maternal ancestor.

The “Price is Right” is My Favorite Game Show

There are some things I do daily.   Some things happen weekly; biweekly, monthly; bi-annually; you get the picture, they are on the calendar, a regular practice. Somethings I don’t have to remember, they just occurred. There was some security in that knowing something would happen in spite of me, or because of me.

Every other Tuesday, I would get paid a set amount.  There was some comfort in knowing that. I thought it provided some measure of control I thought over my life.  I could plan things at least I thought around my spending.  The regularity of that check made me do or not do a lot of things.

 Until I nursed a baby, I don’t think I had an activity that occurred regularly that I allowed “control” to be given so freely and lovingly by someone else as an extension of me.  TNTC (too numerous to count). Why would I count?  That’s about how often you might nurse your little one some days.  

Surrender if you will if you can… I just sat down, or lay down, or refused to move or to do anything else. Allowing little else to take precedence over that five or ten minutes to at least to take the edge off. And then maybe a bit more time when needed or without watching the clock. Just till done, till the next thing called or we felt better.

  It wasn’t scheduled, this “nursing on demand” thing. We just had to be willing to show up for each other… I called to my little one when I felt full. My little one called to me when feeling near empty or hungry, or lonely, or curious, or just when something smelled yummy, or new or whenever.

What might you be saying by now does this have to do with the “Price is Right” ? Well I will connect the dots for you.   I love the Price is Right because I get to vicariously witness people with such excitement and joy.  They hear their name called and first with initial disbelief, it then registers , they mean me and the announcer gets louder and calls their name again and beckons them to come on down. They are usually crazy ecstatic! Running or moving gingerly, slowly, or great deliberation; they make their way down and bid on the prize.  From that moment on it doesn’t quite matter whether they get the price right or win the game. The joy and possibility is there and tangible and folks are jumping and excited when it means they mean me and I have something excited to look forward to…

Some people associate watching the game with others, my grandmother watched and I sat with her and we shared a snack. She was very reliable about the cuddle time and the snack. We also watched a program long off the air now called “Queen For A Day”. I can relax easily into that memory from time to time. However most often, I just like seeing people happy, total strangers especially full of hope and expectation.  It is absolutely contagious. It makes me smile.  

I find that if I schedule my day around the Price is Right and I hold that time from 11AM to 12 Noon weekdays. My day just goes better.  Watching a game show is not a quick cure for postpartum blues, or worry that won’t go away, or even a good substitution for a nap. But scheduling time for pleasure and joy reliably is a good spiritual practice. Something I learned from watching those amazing women around me who cared about me and for me.

Maybe I just won’t answer the phone, or I will sit still a minute and not multi-task. Or maybe I will actually play along with the game and guess the prices and wonder why they listened to someone else in the audience instead of relying on their first instinct and best intuitive judgment, but I rarely come away sad, after watching the Price is Right. 

Do you have something you do that you can schedule in or spend time with that will give you infectious joy and confidence in yourself and the world and most folks around you?

Did you smoke, drink, or do drugs while nursing your baby?

Nursing your baby for 365 days non-stop or longer is a long time, but not that long if you have made up your mind to stay close to your baby and to breastfeed until you or your little one no longer enjoy that kind of time together.  

Even if you planned to nurse that long, that is a long time to give up something you have been in the habit of doing just because you have decided to breastfeed your little one…  Just like nursing one day at a time, we have habits that are hard to break, or habits that we continue because we can’t stop. 

The big “A” words for addictions and abuse may rarely come up until you are pregnant, or nursing and you begin to wonder.  Will what I am doing hurt my baby? If I am solely responsible for their health and well-being; then maybe I will stop or try to stop a practice that is potentially not in their (our) best interest.  Perhaps considering my own health and well-being prior to this pregnancy was not incentive enough. Harm to the unborn child or the innocent infant as if it was defined as a separate entity unto itself raises the stakes.

Pregnancy is one thing; a finite set of time is different from the time after birth and others can observe and step in and judge you as the surrogate mom.  My daughter-in-law and I share a love of salami, cured, uncured Italian pork products are a treat. Shortly after the birth of the baby we shared a delicious deli sandwich that tasted the best ever… because it had appeared on a long list of items she had willingly given up for the weeks of pregnancy.

I recalled giving up coffee (caffeine) and soda. I never drank so that wasn’t an issue, occasional marijuana to enhance “?” was not a problem. The list was short, and I don’t recall any hardship.  I was much more impressed with folks who could give up cigarettes, alcohol, fried foods, sugar, an intolerable boyfriend and an array of other things they “did” daily so not appropriate for an infant or toddler.  I was supremely impressed with women with serious drug habits who were able to abstain from the minute they knew they were pregnant until the instant the baby was out. Alcohol use was less a reliable indicator of abstention, while it was probably the most likely predictor of fetal alcohol syndrome, many women did not associate weekend occasional binge drinking as affecting them at all.  Denial of abuse of any kind is a feature of addiction or abuse.  Is there something more “real” about involving someone else involved in your secret. I also remember doing things that I hadn’t done before, like eating more vegetables, drinking water, counting grams of protein, reducing sugar, drinking milk before I knew about lactose intolerance, and those wonderful daily naps.

Some women don’t choose or can’t give up or add anything to their already tight health regime. They live to tell the tale and either feel guilt and remorse while noting their child survived the life they led as did they.

Please tell us your story. Many women even today feel that their child’s health status today directly stems from something they did or were exposed to before they knew or when they knew but it couldn’t be helped.  No judgment, compassion and love pave the way for new beginnings and forgiveness.

Have you ever nursed another mother’s baby?

Before the advent of readily available infant feeding substitutes, it was not uncommon for women who were unable, unwilling or unavailable to nurse their babies to engage the assistance of wet nurses who would readily nurse another women’s baby.  This would not only save the life of the baby and in some regards the life and reputation of the mother.

It was considered a noble activity, sister sharing if within the same family or close-knit community, it could also be a lucrative profession for women at a time when women were rarely paid for women’s work. Often their own infants may indeed suffer the loss of milk or time, though depending upon cultural norms, their own children could be raised alongside or just ahead of the infant they were also nursing.

I have had the pleasure and the honor to nurse another woman’s baby. Always with permission, and in my case by the request of the mother in whose absence I was “called to duty”. Whether it was due to the reluctance of the infant to take a bottle or for the expressed comfort needs of the mother who felt what I had was better than the alternatives. Today, we may freeze and share vast quantities of excess breast milk given or sold by women with an outrageous supply of milk either because their baby was not available or had passed, or who had a tremendous supply due to the efficiency of modern day “milking machines” or electric pumps.

There is a clear history of black women nursing the babies of their white slave masters, their own children by their owners or the infants of their wives at times even simultaneously. It is a tangled web of traditions, secrets and clandestine relationships between women, their babies and the fathers of their children especially in isolated rural areas. There were many stakeholders in the decision as to who would nurse the baby when mother was not around. Having accessible affordable household help has always included the nurturing of children as well as support for the women unable to maintain the house and home-making. Having a ready supply of milk from healthy mothers was one way families and communities were ready to address an excessively high infant and maternal mortality rates rampant in certain parts of the country.

Where the wet nurse lives, who she lives with and the proximity to the baby and the babies’ mother and father could make for very interesting dynamics in the household.  It also extends our notion of “family”, cooperation and sharing.

More recently in social media and blogs, mothers have reacted quite strongly to women nursing their babies without permission.  Slate, an online newsmagazine took reader’s questions supposedly regarding the etiquette of a mother-in-law and a babysitter nursing someone’s baby secretly without permission.  However well-intended and well meaning, trust was broken, and both mothers reacted as violated and saw the offenders as criminals.  

Daniel Mallory Ortberg and Emily Yoffe ” pseudonyms” for Dear Prudence neither of whom would identify as nursing mothers Dear Abby’s of our day made no mention of any endearing qualities in a person spontaneously offering a breast to a baby while solidifying the moral outrage for women who lack boundaries on when to nurse someone else’s baby. 

 There is a long tradition now broken of the source of that instinctive touch of maternal connection and comfort. When we are gender neutral and there are pacifiers, bottles, nipples as well as multiple options for infant feeding, pureed foods and liquids; what might have been considered life affirming and lifesaving for the infant rarely considered the mothers’ emotional response to a crying, hungry infant and their stressed out mom.

Hormonal surges aside, whether lactating or not, the women felt something strong that might override any hesitancy to offer their breast.   Many nursing mothers may be shy to say they only wished there was someone who could “fill in” in their absence that they could trust. Would you feel differently if you believed the infant was orphaned and there was no other mother to step in? The police officer who found an abandoned baby, who had a nursing infant at home was applauded for her quick thinking and willingness to immediately take a cold hungry, dehydrated infant to breast as quickly as someone else might perform CPR.

So, what’s your story, please tell us about your experience?  Have you ever nursed an infant other than your own? Have you heard of a “wet nurse”?  How do you feel when you hear someone else’s baby cry? What do you think about the possibility of nursing another mother’s child if she asked you, if she gave you her blessing and permission?

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_nurse

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/javiermoreno/police-officer-breastfeeds-newborn-baby-found-abandoned-in-o

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/police-officer-breastfed-crying-baby-hospital-hailed-hero-180949452.html

Day care provider breastfeeding your baby: advice from Dear …

https://slate.com/…/daycare-provider-breastfeeding-my-baby-without- permission-advice.html

Feb 19, 2019  Daniel Mallory Ortberg is online weekly to chat live with readers. Here’s an edited transcript of this week’s chat. Daniel Mallory Ortberg: Good …

Dear Prudie: I caught my mother-in-law breast-feeding my son. What …

https://slate.com/…/dear-prudie-i-caught-my-mother-in-law-breast-feeding- my-son-what-do-i-do.html

Jul 9, 2012  Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, is on Washingtonpost.com weekly to chat live with readers.