I am privileged to be a mother of 5 precious treasures. Before becoming pregnant I had not thought much about parenting except that I wanted to be one and have many kids.
I am a product of the baby boom and a new frontier of child birth where the fathers were just beginning to be allowed into the delivery room. Formula was being pushed on mothers for convenience and perceived health benefits.
Most of us grow up and do what we know, what we saw done in our homes growing up. I was the baby of the family so I had no reference point of how my mother handled a baby. I did know my mother formula fed, so I would formula feed.
In my small hometown I was not aware or exposed to anyone who breastfed except one lady who was in my mother’s Homemakers Group. To me she was weird! Public breastfeeding! Little did I know she was quite the clever woman and that I would later in life do just as she had done! I had one aunt whom I knew breastfed but I paid little attention at family events. My sister-in-law also breastfed but I lived on the East coast at the time so I again had little exposure.
Thankfully about a year before we became pregnant God planted us in a church where we met a young couple that we began to spend a great deal of time with. We met them shortly after they gave birth to their 3rd child. She was a breastfeeding mom and a peer counselor for WIC. It was very awkward for me at first when she would nurse around me. I was curious but it just wasn’t something I felt you just sat around and talked about nor did you stare/watch. I gradually became more comfortable and began asking questions. It was in this time that God began to open my eyes to the marvelous gift that I could give my children. By the time we became pregnant there was no question that I would do nothing but breastfeed. How could I not?
During my pregnancy I would ask my mom questions about her experience and would get the response of “I don’t remember.” The doctor’s office gave out a copy of the book “What to Expect When Your Expecting;” a useful book. My sister-in-law also pointed me to the book “Your Pregnancy Week by Week.” Books provided some info but I yearned for a person to answer my questions. My doctor was good to answer questions when I asked but I felt a lot of my questions would be perceived as silly so they were never asked. The hospital we delivered at had classes but they were all for your last months of pregnancy and very surface level. To top it off I went into pre-term labor in the first session of my labor & delivery class and was put on bed rest 4 weeks before I delivered. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! No book can really ever prepare you for the miracle of birth & life after.
After delivery I was able to get my son to latch on within that first hour and from there I can’t complain. I was blessed with a model breastfeeding experience. I had tons of questions along the way. It was not easy. Thankfully I had the support of my family, my friends and also I had access to an incredible lactation consultant through the hospital that was available to me 24/7 and made me feel comfortable and at ease and free to ask anything. I also had determination. I was dead set on nursing at least until 1 year of age when Vitamin D milk could be introduced. I was not going to spend a dime on formula when I could produce it for free.
It was not easy. I was a working mom. I thankfully had an employer that was very accommodating that gave me much freedom to do what I needed to do to be successful. I pumped while away and nursed while at home. There were days when I was ready to throw in the towel because I was so tired, when I didn’t even know if the milk would come. The milk always came and I always found that last bit of energy to press through. I not only had a great support and determination; I had God on my side. By the grace of God we made it to 11.5 months!
I loved being pregnant. I loved breastfeeding. Sitting here thinking about it I can’t even put into words what it was like. Here inside of me was life being formed. WOW! I was the sole source of nutrition for this little one and he was thriving! WOW! It was during this time God began to plant a seed for a passion that would later bloom.
I can hear you now. Man you had it easy! You had support at home, among friends and at work. You didn’t have difficulty. I did have it easy compared to others. I have heard many stories. Breastfeeding takes a lot of commitment, a lot of sacrifice, but the rewards far outweigh it. Being a mom takes a lot of commitment, a lot of sacrifice, but again the rewards are far greater.
It was out of my experience of knowing practically nothing and finding little resources for answers and these stories that my passion grew. I wanted to be a cheerleader, an encourager, one to have answers when it seems there aren’t. I wanted to be a person that provides moms with the right information so that they can make informed decisions in raising their children in the way that they should go. One of the greatest tasks a mother has is to train up their children in the way (God’s destiny for) they should go. Don’t go unprepared.