Tuesday, October 31

Isn't He Getting a Little Old for That?

I’ve heard this question multiple times about nurslings of many ages, from just 6 months on up. Because it is a common question, many nursing moms learn to either just ignore it or even keep a low profile around certain people.

However, for the first time ever, today I said something very similar myself. I am pregnant, my due date is today, and some prelabor stuff in the night had me thinking that a walk was just the thing to get labor started, so off I went. Forty-five minutes later or so, I was walking around our local Greenway, part of which actually circles a cow pasture. Just the other day, I had been walking there with my husband and son, and my husband had remarked on a calf nursing. We all thought, “How sweet!”

Today, as I was walking by in nearly the same spot, I saw another nursing cow couple and had to do a double (or triple) take. There he was, a fully-grown black bull, nursing from a slightly smaller brown and white cow. I said out loud, “Don’t you think he’s getting a little old for that?” and chuckled to myself for several minutes afterwards.

So it seems that humans are not the only ones to enjoy the benefits of mother’s milk past infancy. My son may not have weaned until he was five, but at least I was still bigger than he was! :)

Friday, October 27

Heartache and Loss

Heartache and loss are the only words I can think to describe what has happened to an aquaintance of mine, but they seem so inadequate. On Sunday, she lost her 2-month-old baby girl to SIDS. I heard about the whole situation in detail, from this mother discovering the baby had gone on right through the funeral, with some friends last night, a few of whom were personally involved. I must say, it was very difficult for me to hear.

As a mother, it is your worst fear—to lose a child. Just imagining it breaks my heart. Thinking about losing one of my children just tears my heart out of my chest. I can’t speak for fathers, but I know as mothers, our children carry so much of us around with them. I didn’t understand this properly until I had children of my own. They walk, run, and fly (as we do as daughters) and never know they’re pulling us along with them. Losing one of them is the greatest loss there can be.

I can only hold this mother in my heart and try not to let my own fears overwhelm me as I enter this stage of motherhood where that very fear is so much more intense. Of course, I still lay my hand on the back of my DS whenever I check on him at night (which I still do and probably still will when he’s 16). It’s almost like I'm checking to find out if my own heart is still beating.

Even though you probably don’t know her, hold this mother in your hearts and your thoughts and pray in whatever way you pray or reach out and hope that her little two-year-old DS and her family and friends can hold her up until she can grieve and stand on her own again.

Wednesday, October 4

Blessing the Way

This past Sunday, some of my closest friends joined me for a birth blessingway to celebrate and bless the upcoming birth of my daughter. We gathered with the usual chatting and food (luckily, someone remembered to bring chocolate!) and then sat together in a circle. I got to sit in my glider rocker most of the time (the “throne” of honor--I couldn’t have taken the floor for too long with my hips, anyhow). Some of the women (mostly moms) sat on pillows and others on the couch.


I opened the ceremony with a reading of “The Passage” a poem out of the book She Births by Marcie Macari. It is a very powerful poem and sort of sums up the purpose of a birth blessingway (at least for me): that although I am going to give birth, I am only one of many thousands, hundreds of thousands, of women who have done it before. They did it, and so can I. This is what my body was designed for.


We continued with a little yoga, mostly light stretching and breathing. I don’t know if I remember the exact order, but here is some of the rest. Each woman introduced herself and lit a candle. Bree, who had organized the whole thing (thank you!), read the book She is Born (by Virginia Kroll) aloud. Another powerful story, especially for those expecting a girl.

The blessings were given, blessings for my birth and baby and also affirmations. Some blessings were even sent from a distance with friends. I was also presented with a flower from each mother, a gift, and a bead (or more) from each of them. The beads were often symbolic of these women’s own children and/or birth experiences. Each blessing and each bead was unique, and each bead was strung on a bracelet for me to hold during my labor, as a way of connecting to these wonderful women. While the blessings were given, one, two, or even three moms pampered me with a little grooming. My hair was brushed, and my shoulders, feet, and hands were massaged: nurturing the mother as she prepares to nurture a new child.

Everyone present also added a little something to my belly cast, which my husband, son, and I had prepared earlier in the week.


At the end of the ceremony, after we had cried, laughed, hugged, shared, and bonded once again, we were all linked by a length of shimmering white cord, wrapped around our wrists. We cut and tied each other’s cords into bracelets. We’ll all wear these until the baby is born, another kind of link between us. The women also took home candles to light during the birth, symbolizing our connected spirits.

A Rite of Passage

I just have to say that I am wonderfully lucky to have this group of friends. They are all so different, yet we share so much. They are there for me, even though not a one of them lives in the same town as I do. Their strength, their courage, and their love will be added to my own and that of my family to help me not just cope but thrive through the labor and birth of my daughter.

Now, I know why they call these things rights of passage. I was left with a feeling of contentment and readiness. Another stage of my life will soon begin.