Before I begin this post, I’d like to acknowledge that every woman’s experience when it comes to feeding her child is unique. Not every woman is able to breastfeed and those who do sometimes experience hardship in that journey. Some encounter obstacles that push them to use formula and others may choose formula just because they want to. All these experiences are valid and however you chose to feed your child is good. Please keep in mind that this is my personal experience and I intend only to relate my story.
From the beginning of my pregnancy, I often heard that nursing was challenging. I believe the women who told me this had the best of intentions. Breastfeeding must have been hard for them and I’m sure they thought that they were mentally preparing me. I cultivated my own ideas about nursing thinking that it was unnatural. The idea seemed so alien that, for a while, I thought I would just do formula. Because of these notions, I braced myself for the first latch, prepared for intense pain, and accepted that I would just have to endure it.
Well, I’m here to say that breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world. After birth, I instinctually brought River to my chest. I just thought, “Baby is hungry. Feed her.” And it did hurt a bit at first, but the physical pain only lasted a couple of weeks, and River and I soon got in a rhythm. After we got the hang of it, I realized how powerful our connection was. I grew a human for nine months and now I was literally keeping her alive with my body. While it can certainly be draining, no one prepared me for how empowering it can be. Every day, I share my body to provide essential sustenance, comfort, and protection for another human soul. God created life in me and then He equipped my body to nurse this new life. My body is a miracle!
Even nighttime feedings are something I’ve come to appreciate, maybe not love, but appreciate. In those early hours, my baby wakes and asks for sustenance. In the quiet of the dawn, I feed her and when she falls back asleep, feeling nourished and safe in my arms, I thank God for the gift of my child. Being a mom gives me a small glimpse into Jesus’s sacrificial love. If I love my baby THIS much, how much more does God feel love for us!?
Isaiah 66:10-13 says, “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.” For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
I love that motherhood is the metaphor that is used to convey the peace and comfort that the Lord brings to His people. Obviously, we will never fully comprehend the extending love and grace of God, but the gift of parenthood reveals a small window into that love. As a mother, faithfully loving my child can grow wearisome and there are days that I want to give up or that being selfless feels like a chore. But God never gives up on us. He can’t. His love is too perfect. His love never fails!
I absolutely love breastfeeding. I love looking into River’s eyes as she nurses and feeling this intense bond. I feel strong and humbled all at once and I’m thankful that God gave women the ability to create and give life with their bodies. He has helped me find joy in the enormous task of feeding my child. I am now three months into breastfeeding and have no plans to quit anytime soon. If you are a breastfeeding mama who is feeling worn down, know that what you are doing is incredible and take comfort in knowing you can rest in God’s perfect love.