Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Breastfeeding

You may remember that I previously mentioned that I knew when I was young I'd breastfeed my children. And I'm sure you also think that probably didn't happen, because how in the world can a woman breastfeed a child to whom she didn't give birth. Well she can, and I did. And this post is about how that happened.

So in our adoption class (which lasted about 8 weeks), we met this really cool couple who were, as my husband says, the "crunchy granola vegetarian-type". (Side note: that's actually come to be a compliment, coming from hubby. Poor man, never realized when he married me that he'd end up being "a composting, gardening, recycling, cloth diapering kind of guy", and actually liking it. To be fair, I never realized we'd end up there either, but those were all times when I dragged him along and he was happy when we finally arrived - see it's just our "thing".) Anyway, we ended up having some things in common with the couple, one of which was an intense desire to breastfeed.

Throughout our journey, I'd let go of the need to actually be pregnant and give birth. Seriously, I have like the lowest pain tolerance ever, plus I cry whenever there's a needle anywhere near me. But the breastfeeding, it just wasn't something I could let go of; it wasn't anything I wanted to let go of. All the women in my family breastfeed. I mean, some of my cousins never even had the 1st bottle, not even of breast milk. It's what I grew up seeing. It's just what moms did. It's what I needed to do to feel like a "real" mom. (This is not to suggest that adoptive moms who don't breastfeed aren't "real" moms, because that's ridiculous. However, it is what I needed.)

So when A., the wife of the couple, and I realized that this was something so important to both of us, we both felt immense relief to not be the only ones! She'd done some research and knew not only that it was possible for adoptive moms to breastfeed, but how to go about it. It was like the last piece clicked into place for me. I think part of what I was feeling then was empowerment, which is, as the word itself suggests, powerful. Hubby, though he didn't understand at all why it was so important to me, got that it was, and was 100% supportive. I bawled like a baby when our son 1st nursed in the hospital. Even hubby teared up a little (yes, you did, honey. I saw you!). It was amazing and I can't wait to do it again.

So, today's lesson is only tangentially relevant to the rest of the post. I'm sure most of you already know this, but it's what I learned from my path to breastfeeding. There are some people in our lives who initially don't seem all that relevant, but end up making the biggest difference, even though they have only a short role in our lives. I am fairly certain that I would never have breastfed without A.'s knowledge, support, and solidarity. I haven't seen her in a few years, and we only email once or twice a year. But not only would I not have nursed my son without her, I don't think I would have ever felt the peace I needed to be fully present for my son when he came into our lives. I wouldn't be the pretty good momma that I know I am.

3 comments:

Michele said...

I think that is absolutely fantastic!! How fantastic to press on and have the courage needed to move forward with what you knew you needed to do!
I completely understand what you mean about people coming into your life that help you do things you might not have otherwise done.
Just wow!!

Becky said...

Thanks so much!

sarah said...

I had no idea you could breastfeed when adopting! How wonderful!