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

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


 

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

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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?