I breastfed both my children. It was a choice I made before both were born, something that felt right for me. I knew I wanted to support them as naturally as I could concerning their immune system, building a relationship with them and cradling them. I did not know what this looked like in reality before they were born, I had no preparation for it.
Over the months of pregnancy I began to observe and become used to my breasts being something other than attractive appendages. They began to swell, feel tender, look different and feel different. I began to get a sense that my breasts had a different purpose other than being craftily placed in a bra for maximum cleavage and impact, but this was very new to me and I had not realised how much being observant of my body and so connecting to it, would alter how I felt about myself and life.
On the day of the birth of my first child, my breasts began to swell exponentially. I had thought breast-feeding was natural, so breast-feeding would happen naturally. And yet I found myself confronted by a breast the size and texture of an under ripe melon and a delicate petite head of a new born baby and I wasn’t sure how to bring these two objects together. After a few attempts and adjustments in position, over the first few days of her life, we found a way to work it out together and she latched on and so our relationship with breastfeeding began.
I found that the initial stages of breast-feeding demands that we are still, we are completely absorbed and present in the process and latching of the baby with mother, we don’t get up and move around, we often marvel at the miracle before us. However, I had not considered how willing I would be to remain absolutely present and surrendered to the act of breast-feeding once I got savvy with the breast-feeding holds and latch. Or whether I would find many ways to distract myself and busy myself.
In the first few weeks after the birth, our family was held in the most amazing stillness, and moments of the experience were expansive and timeless. Becoming acquainted with the divine package of love that was delivered to us was a miracle to behold, our daughter’s delicateness and sensitivity was stunning, the depth of warmth in her eyes had me gazing at them again and again, a wonder to behold.
And yet a few weeks in, I had already begun to get used to picking rice out of her hair while I was trying to eat my dinner, watching TV, reading a book, even getting up and cleaning the house, being on the phone, chatting to people and generally doing all sorts of activities while I was offering my daughter nourishment.
I judge no woman for going into the act of multi-tasking, as I do not judge myself. Most, if not all of us have done it and we all have told ourselves and each other that it is to be admired in the female sex, and yet what does the choice of trying to spin many plates in life offer us and those we are with?
I would suggest it cheats us of many amazing confirming and supportive experiences, to complete one task with care, to stop and bring all our attention to the subject and or person at hand, to connect fully with the person we are with, to deeply connect with how we feel, to feel stillness, to allow ourselves to truly feel what is required in that moment, instead of rushing off to the next thing. In being ever busy and distracted we lose the moment, we overwhelm ourselves and we bury the opportunity to feel our natural stillness.
And with my daughter, there were many times when I was deeply connected with her, and I did not always seek to do another activity when we were breast-feeding.
But, and again without judgment, it is an interesting subject to look at … what truly nourishes a child, breast milk or the open connection and willingness to be with a child and honour that relationship?
What do I reflect to my child when I cannot allow time to be with them, with no distractions? We know children learn through reflection, so does she learn that we are too busy to connect?
How open does she remain in the relationship when she is not met for who she is, and her mother is distracted looking at a screen or a book?
When I did allow time to breastfeed with no distractions, settled, still, warm and comfortable, I could feel how being this still, present and aware was rare for me. The moments I allowed myself to surrender rather than race to the next thing were a precious lesson in life.
I began to understand more fully that connection with others is what life is about, not what I do or say. It is how we are with each other that matters.
Will our children as they grow up, feel truly nurtured through a deep connection, feeling completely seen, being met as an equal and being appreciated for who they really are because when we are with them we are completely 100% with them?
Breast-feeding is a wonderful activity to participate and share in, but we are not less as mothers for choosing not to, or not physically being able to do it. True nurturing of another is through connection and meeting them for who they are.
Are we willing as women to offer ourselves the foundation that supports this connection and connect with our own natural stillness and essence first?
by Samantha Davidson, Business Owner, Massage Therapist, Complementary Health Practitioner, Presenter and Mother, UK.
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