Monday, August 16, 2010

Lucky Mother, I

I have been wanting to write some prose about breastfeeding for a while. My first few attempts were awkward and forced. As I honored and processed a few difficult events including the anniversary of a particular suffering for our family, the passing away of a 15 year old former student and son of friends of ours, the stage 4 cancer diagnoses of a young woman friend of ours about to get married and honoring the memory of 3 babies born to a friend 9 years ago that didn't survive, a feeling of fierce protection welled up within me. Every time I sat down to breastfeed Smunchie my heart would pound with longing to protect my children and my thoughts for prose kept turning to this feeling. Though our own past as a family has shown me I can't protect them completely from everything forever, I can do this. Offering the protection of my milk is something I can do right now and I feel so blessed as a mother to be able to guard my children this way. Down the road my milk won't be the comfort and protection they need but right now, for my youngest, it is exactly what she needs. This poem came out of these thoughts.

Baby sigh
Contentment breathed
Lips slumber's smile keep
Cupids bow stretched
In this moment
I hold you safe
Guarded by my arms
Flowing into you
Filling me

Whispers at my breast
Security expressed
Today I can protect you
A love you can taste
Would it to last forever
And never be replaced

Try, I said I'd try
Afraid that I would fail
But now I'd fail a thousand times
If it meant you could prevail
Someday you'll fight alone
The lions on the prowl
But in this moment I press on
Slaying lions to the ground

Science may support this
As a great thing that I do
But for me it is no greater
Than simply loving you

I offer time and again
In mystery and awe
Part of me redefined
For beauty so small
Once, you inside me
Now I in you
Vulnerable action
The risk of love true
Melding together I find
I am yours
And you are mine

Pain, oh yes, pain
But I traveled through
Pain and back
Just to hold you
And when my breast
You no longer require
I will remember
Like a burning fire
Searching mouth
Gentle hands
Satisfied smiles
Safe, I held you
If for but a time
Safe, I fed you
Lucky mother, I.


  1. So beautiful! Everytime I see your little girl nursing in a photo, I just feel so happy. You truly are a lucky woman to have such amazing children. You really made my baby fever act up :) You are a wonderful mother and this is a touching poem.

  2. What a lovely poem! I especially love the phrase "Science may support this, As a great thing that I do, But for me it is no greater, Than simply loving you" that's exactly how I feel about my brought tears to my eyes, as I'm sure you will do to many other readers! Great post!

  3. Oh, I just loved it! It made me cry! Gorgeous, just goregous!!

  4. As a mother whose baby is preparing to wean, it is as though you you pulled the words from my heart. I ache at the thought of not nursing my baby girl and I often don't have the words to explain why. Thank you for finding those words for me and so many other mommies! ♥♥

  5. i so wish i felt like this about nursing! my baby is seven weeks old and nursed like a champ the first three or four weeks, then started gulping air. i don't have a supply problem or an overactive letdown, just a baby who inhales through his nose and swallows the air. so, instead of it being a calming, relaxing,, happy time it's full of squirming, kicking, burping and crying. we live in a very rural area so we're lacking resources like a lactation consultant but i'm going to the next state to my first LLL meeting next week!
    wow...i'm now the creepy girl who vents all of her breastfeeding frustrations to strangers!! sorry!!! beautiful poem!

  6. That made me well up in tears. Simply beautiful, Jessica. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Anonymous between Alex and Kimk, I wish I knew your name but I just have to say hang in there. I have had plenty of times where breastfeeding wasn't easy, relaxing or even something I wanted to do. In fact, even now, breastfeeding my 5th baby and past most of my breastfeeding challenges, I don't particularly enjoy it. Lots of physical contact can overwhelm me but I've learned how to make it work. You don't have to love it. What you are going through with your little one sounds very difficult and stressful, you are an amazing mother to continue pressing on in search of answers to give your baby not only the very best but the normal, healthy way to feed a human baby. This poem, for me, was less about my love of breastfeeding and more about the protection I know breastfeeding provides my babies and how I wish I could always keep them that safe.

    It sounds like you could use some support. I'd love for you to join The Leaky B@@b forums, a private forum parenting community for breastfeeding support and more. I really hope you get some real help at the LLL meeting next week.

    By the way, you don't sound creepy at all, you sound tired and stressed, like a new mom experiencing breastfeeding problems. I've so been there. Vent away, we're here to help!

  8. Oh. My. Heavens.

    This is absolutely beautiful. I think I may share it with our breastfeeding support group that meets in a few weeks.

  9. I'm nearly bawling. My youngest is 2 months and I love our breastfeeding relationship. You did a great job expressing this most tender feeling.

  10. Love it, love it, love it....perfectly written!

  11. Jessica, my husband and just read this together. Both of us have tears in our eyes. Tears that come from being truly touched in a place that so rarely gets reached in everyday life. "Publish this!" says husband. I could not agree more. Share this with more of the world. You are very, very talented.
    Hugs from Sarah HG

  12. Wow, Jessica, this made me cry it's so beautiful. I breastfeed because I wanted to give my babies the best, I never imagined how much I would get in return. You said it all so perfectly.

  13. Absolutely beautiful! Really makes me stop and remember why I do this, when I'm tired, exhausted and have a fussy baby. I'm glad we've fought through the GERD, the thrush, the latching problems and everything else to keep on going...

    Thanks for putting this in to words. I'm going to print it off and hang it in my office at work, if you don't mind...

  14. Lovely. I also do not particularly enjoy breastfeeding, it is something that I do for the benefit of my baby. "But now I'd fail a thousand times, If it meant you could prevail". Exactly my thoughts as well.

    Thank you.


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