It feels strange to be packing away all of my breastfeeding gear – pumps, pillows, nightgowns and such.
This time last year, my Isaac and I were deep in the throes of bonding and loving and feeding and growing. He was barely 2 weeks old, we had just found our rhythm, and though I was hopeful, I was still very unsure that we could make it to the full year I was aiming for as our goal.
Fast forward 365 days, and almost as if an alarm clock went off, my little man was ready to stop nursing, in the few, short days following his first birthday. Thankfully, he still loves to snuggle up close to mommy, just not for food…unless she’s holding a spoon…that’s a different story.
Being my baby’s sole source of nourishment for so many months, and then his preferred source of nourishment once he started eating other foods, was work…worthy work. He often determined my schedule, my availability, my mealtimes, my social life, and even my travel plans, journeying with me on both major trips I took during the last year.
In the process of breastfeeding my son, I learned lessons I never expected. I learned to defend my time and space, both physical and mental, fiercely because my children need me. I embraced an alternative schedule and found myself accepting the challenge of teaching online, from home, finding ways to make our lifestyle work. I learned to remember that this was, in fact, OUR life, OUR family, and OUR first priority.
To serve my son in this way was my greatest ministry, and I pray that I will always be willing and able to serve and to sacrifice, to give love and nourishment to my husband and children, to keep the things that matter most as my top priority, and to never take our time together for granted.
During that year, I was able to heal from the self-inflicted wounds of regret and guilt about not even making it a full three months breastfeeding my older son. With God’s help, I was able to forgive myself for making choices I thought were necessary at the time, like pursuing my MBA and going back to work full time, making life stressful, and breastfeeding difficult. In hindsight, I understood that those hard choices helped to bring us to this place where we can breathe a little easier…together. Those choices were the keys in my hand when the door of opportunity opened, allowing me to stay home with both of my children. Without them, this moment, this achievement, this indescribable feeling of fulfillment and completion would not have been possible.
To Mamas struggling with the decisions, the forks in the road that sometimes seem to rip us from the place we are needed most, never give up hope, or allow yourself to drown in defeat. Promise yourself that you will try, try, and keep on trying. Find what works for you and your family, and commit to holding your head high. Learn to embrace the resilience of your children. Attempt, every once in a while, more often if you can manage it, to see the world through their eyes. They are far more forgiving, far more loving, and far more emotionally intelligent than we often give them credit for. More importantly, learn to see yourself through God’s eyes – cherished, perfectly and wonderfully made, royal and highly favored.
Reflecting on this past year reminds me of how quickly the time passes, that the hard parts don’t last forever, the pain isn’t permanent, and that I was created for this!
It reminds me of how our Heavenly Father loves us, responding to our cries, providing for our needs, loving us through our growth process, building us up, comforting us, and feeding our souls. Out of my love, I gave TO my son. Out of God’s Love, He GAVE US His Son. And that kind of love changes EVERYTHING!
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
#WorldBreastfeedingWeek #OneYearLater #WeMadeIt #TheLoveOfAMother #ReflectingTheHeartOfTheFather