Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Last night we took a family walk through our neighborhood nature preserve. Reid beat us to the bridge over the creek, and he immediately started shouting about the low water level and all the logs that were now exposed. Once I caught up to him I instantly shushed him.

"Look at that mom and baby deer!" I whispered with excitement. I couldn't believe it. Straight in front of us, in the middle of the creek, there stood a gorgeous doe and her growing fawn. It appeared as though the fawn was nursing in a rather playful manner. I immediately felt the most sincere kinship to this mother and infant pair.

When Ben and the girls caught up I told him I thought the fawn was nursing (though it was now staring straight at us). "It looks a little big to still be nursing," Ben replied.

I agreed with him. The child had to duck it's head under the mother's stomach to get at her nipples. But I swear I saw it. And I had, because soon enough we both witnessed it. That sweet little fawn bent its neck and tucked its head right into its mother's breast.

I can't adequately explain why, but that display of affection between the mother and toddler deer was so sweet to me. I wasn't even holding Mara at the time. But the love of their bond (of my bond to each of my children) was palpable.

Of all the beauties of my own motherhood experience, breastfeeding is one I feel most sensitive about. It almost feels sacred. I feel like I have never captured that love here on this blog, and I am keenly aware that in just a few short months it will be over forever.

There are several reasons I don't write about it. 1) Speaking to the beauty of breastfeeding can often feel like shaming to the bottle-fed. 2) It's such a personal and private experience. 3) There are not adequate words to describe the emotions of the experience.

Also, it's just plain hard! It hurts; things crack and bleed. Biting is inevitable; catching a break in the daily chaos of infant care is impossible. The sacrifices are nearly as great as the reward. And sometimes I focus a little too much on those negative aspects of nursing.

But standing on that bridge and watching that sweet mother and her child just melted my heart. It was such a simple moment, but perhaps documenting it here will help me always remember the beauty of nursing my own children.

I am forever grateful for the sparkle in their eye, when they have gazed up at me from my breast. I will always cherish those sweet chubby hands as they played pat-pat-pat on the top of my chest. I pray the smile that cracks through in those playful and grateful moments is forever seared into my memory. I am almost in tears, realizing that the number of times a sleeping child will doze off to the suckling of my nipple is nearly at an end (see what I mean by personal and private?). The beauty of breastfeeding has been one of the most sacred experiences I have had as a mother.  

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