So, when a mother breastfeeds her child, she isn’t just feeding it. She is also building a world inside it and simultaneously manipulating it.
Some thoughts from my Facebook friend Jenny about being done having babies and not feeling sad about it:
Today, my heart is too full of four little people, and the man with whom I created them, to even allow room for an ache. In that tiny corner where an ache might form someday, I’m growing my own dreams, my someday-plans that have nothing to do with raising children, nurturing seeds of myself apart from my role as mother. Truthfully, I kind of love having that corner to myself. I’m not sure I want to share it with a sense of sadness over who or what won’t be, because I’m pretty happy with who and what is as well as with what lies ahead…
Tanner is such a sweet treasure bonus of a baby and I feel like I’m cherishing him a great deal. And, I hold two realities: a definite sense of “doneness” and readiness to be done with the baby stage of my life, as well as a bittersweet pang at the babyness of his babyness and how swiftly it is passing me by. I want to soak in it and yet the world keeps spinning so rapidly and every day he grows bigger right before my eyes. I want to memorize it. I keep telling Mark, “we only get this year to have THIS BABY!” and it kinds of freaks me the heck out!
I think about what’s coming next,
The beast that is postpartum.
I think about what’s coming next,
The love that is new baby.
My labor will be (I pray) just one day,
One day among thousands
My mothering will go on and on,
And I’ll need to know how strong I am…
Her poem made me get a little teary and brought me back to the Standing at the Edge song by Nina Lee that I found so meaningful during labor and postpartum…
Every mother deserves excellent care postpartum, however, the “arrowhead” of American postpartum care does not show us a culture that values mothers, babies, or life transitions. I am fortunate to have had the kind of excellent care that every woman deserves and that few women receive. Part of this was because I actively and consciously worked towards building the kind of care I wanted following birth, but part of it is because I am lucky enough to belong to a “tribe” that does value pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and mothering.
I enjoyed this post by a dad about why mothers don’t want to be touched. My instinct to shrink away or duck under his arm, doesn’t stop at just my husband though, I don’t feel like I have a lot of physical caregiving energy left for my other kids lately either—Tanner uses up a lot of me!
…I felt offended. It made me feel like she didn’t love me. I was her husband of 10 years. She should want to be held by me… right? I wasn’t one of her children, I was her husband.
“I just wanted to hold, you.” I said. “I’m not asking for sex, or anything. I’m too tired for that. I’m getting old, obviously. It’s been just a long day.”
At the mention of being held, Mel cringed a little. Once again, I was offended. I usually am when this happens. And it doesn’t happen all that often, but always more than I’d like. But it was late, and I didn’t want to fight…
In last week’s post I just missed including this powerful post about the courage and strength of women who give birth by cesarean:
But in the birth world, I see a certain type of birth held up as ideal, and in my work I capture many that would fit the standard. The fictional “first place trophy of childbirth” always seems to go to the un-medicated, vaginal births where mom and partner are active and unhindered by doctors or nurses. Just last night, I read an amazing birth story where mom, unintentionally, gave birth at home in her bathtub. Her husband caught the baby because no one else was there. They sat at home on their couch and soaked in all the newborn goodness. It was a great birth story…and I’m sure it will get passed around again and again.
I had the honor of photographing this gorgeous cesarean birth – not the plan, (she was hoping for a VBAC) but beautiful, powerful – and redemptive, in its own right.