There is one special gift granted only to women that makes our dealing with puberty, pms, labor, and menopause all worth it. It is the most natural gift in the world that we share intimately with those we birth. It is the gift of nursing.
Nursing my children will always be one of the most magical memories I carry with me through life. For me, it was not only the opportunity to provide a healthy start for my children, but the sensory experiences that would absorb me during those moments. I can still recall where each child placed their hand, how they looked up at me with big, wondering eyes, the unique way each cradled in my arms. Today, although school age, they still cuddle with me, and when I look down at them nestled next to me I remember so clearly.
Another mother and fellow writer beautifully captures the experience of nursing -- and the emotional journey of weaning -- in her article that appeared in Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. "Weaning Ella" by author Jill Christman traces the process of moving on and letting go, the two most difficult responsibilities a mother carries. Through her words, she eloquently captures the mixed emotions felt when that moment of letting go comes and there is no turning back. As mothers, we grab hold of that moment, playing it over and over in our minds, allowing the tears to collect and fall, until we realize our young ones have moved on to new moments. We hurry to catch up. But there is nothing that can ever erase the memories.
Jill's memoir, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (University of Georgia Press, 2002), was the winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction. It's on my reading list and I hope to share some thoughts in a later blog.
Now the moment has come to leap back into the present and get back to my "in the moment" life as a 21st century mother!