Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Life, Death and Nourishment

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!
Make sure you take wander through the links to other carnival participants.

August 8 2009 edit: This post is being entered in the Breastfeeding Awareness Mommy Moment Contest.

I've mentioned this experience in an earlier post and I considered mentioning this in the recent discussion about unexpected benefits of breastfeeding, but I thought this would be best explained in a post all its own.

On the first anniversary of my brother's death, I nursed my daughter while praying and I will be eternally grateful for that experience.

My brother was given six months to live. He never made it that far. Cancer stole him from us the day we found out we were pregnant with twins.

In the Jewish tradition, you recite the Mourner's Kaddish on the anniversary of the death of a loved one (the yarzeit). This, however, can only be done with a minyan. You cannot stay home to pray. Kaddish must be said within a community of Jews.

So, I struggled to sit through services with two tiny babies, but without my husband (the military sent him away for training). Just before Kaddish was said, Girl1 got fussy. My initial reaction was, "Why now of all times?" I was annoyed, sad and overwhelmed, but my baby needed me. She helped pull me out of my misery and forced me to focus not only on what I lost, but on the remaining blessings I held in my hands, literally and figuratively. When it was time to stand for Kaddish, she was still nursing. I stood, clutching my daughter, and prayed.

While reciting those words for my brother, I stared into that tiny face of the child he never even knew existed. He was gone. Nothing could change that. Yet, while mourning that loss, I was effortlessly nourishing this new soul. It was such a simple moment, yet so profound. I was reminded that the world continued. Yes, there was death and destruction to be feared, but there was also love, beauty, and sacred simplicity to be cherished.

Breastfeeding does so much more than simply nourish my child. In that moment (and in others since then), breastfeeding fed my soul.


For other great breastfeeding stories, visit these other Carnival of Breastfeeding Participants:

Hannah's Weaning at Strocel.com
Weaning a Toddler from Laura's Blog
How Breastfeeding Changed My Life at a Mother's Boutique
Sticking With It: Our Breastfeeding Story at So Fawned
Breastfeeding Failures and Success from Grudgemom
Flying Breastmilk at And All The Sazz
Baby Carriers Down Under by Kandy
Ben’s story: The best breastfeeding advice, from the least likely source at the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives
The “I Told You So” at Blisstree.com
Breastfeeding is not easy, but it's definitely best for baby at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom
Story week post #1: "They said the latch was fine." at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog
Breastfeeding Made Me The Mother I Am at Breastfeeding Mums Blog
Can Early Public Breastfeeding Sightings Shape One’s Future Breastfeeding Practices? Breastfeeding Moms Unite
Celebrating my...chest! Zen_mommy
A Found Memory by Crystal Gold


A Soldier's Mother said...

With my first daughter, I faced nursing her with opposition from my mother and mother-in-law. My mother-in-law nursed because there was no option at the time; my mother never nursed her children, as it simply "wasn't done."

I was pressured, after 5-6 months of nursing my first child. "It's enough already," I was told. With each child, I learned it was not enough...not for the child and not for me.

With my fifth child, I nursed until I saw she wanted to stop, close to her second birthday. I was ready, she was ready. I gave it up with regret...and to this day - 7 years later, remember that there is no feeling more fulfilling than knowing all that your child is...comes from the love and the nourishment you give to her (or him).

Desiree Fawn said...

This is such a special story -- nursing is so much a fulfilling experience and it's beautiful that you were able to commemorate the loss of a loved one with your babes.
Best wishes.

Sazz said...

Thank-you for sharing such a special breastfeeding story, I've got tears in my eyes. "Feeding [your] soul" is so apt,thank-you.

Steph said...

That's such a beautiful story. Thankyou for sharing it.

Melodie said...

What a beautiful story! It sent shivers up my spine. Absolutely lovely. Two for two on affecting me so emotionally as aI make my way through the list!

Lori T said...

I'm part of the Carnival, so I saw your link that way, and I'm glad I stopped by. Thank you for sharing your story. Way to go for nursing twins! Congratulations on your success.

Elita said...

What a beautiful post. One of my favorites of the Carnival. That connection with my baby has gotten me through terrible days at work, arguments with my husband, my mother having to be rushed to the hospital, the disintegration of a friendship...so I get it. I really do.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. :)

Emily said...

Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Crystal Gold said...

What a beautiful moment to share! It is incredible when even the most natural and simple things in life can offer so much in the way of healing and fulfillment!

Hobo Mama said...

That was so touching. I'm sorry about the loss of your brother.

I'm glad that you ended up feeling comfortable to nurse during a religious service, because I know that's something that some nursing mothers have struggled with. Well, at least in my own church experiences, children aren't always (often) welcome, so I like to hear stories of people making it work.

Thanks for sharing your story, and so beautifully.

Yakini said...

This post was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing like that breastfeeding relationship and the bond that it creates. I love feeling that closeness with my son and there really is nothing else like it. Thanks so much for sharing this special story.


Future Mama said...

Wow! what a great story! I love reading about relationships moms build with their babies while breastfeeding! I can't wait to experience that bond! Thanks so much for sharing this post! I linked to it on my blog! :)

Mom of Three said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your loss, the emotion is very real in your writing.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful testimony to