Megali - adjective, noun - adjective 1. great or big in Greek -noun 1.. A nickname derived from my first and middle names

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chronicles of a Nursing Mama

I am more than just a mother.  I am more than just a former breastfeeding mother.  I soak books up like a sponge and will read anything I can get my hands on: trashy crime novels, classic literature, even the junk ads stuffed in my mailbox.  I try to encourage my family in healthier eating and fitness habits after having spent a lifetime battling an unhealthy relationship with food.  I started running in 2010 and fell in love with it; I've run in several races and anticipate (once I figure out which area half marathon I'm going to register for) several more.  I enjoy camping and travel, although I don’t get to do either as often as I’d like.  My favorite place in the entire world is a family friend’s home and multiple acre property in New Hampshire.  I left the workforce to become a stay at home mom, and still question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

I am a mother.  I have two wacky and amazing sons.  Slim is nearly five! (oh my God, how and when did that happen?) years old and Curly is two.  Slim is so funny - intentionally and accidentally, he has an admirable sense of empathy, and is incredibly strong-willed.  Curly is adventurous, bordering just this side of reckless at times, is loud like his mommy, and gives some of the greatest hugs in the world.  My greatest goal is to raise two intelligent, happy, well adjusted, and contributing members of society.  A favorite quote of mine is, If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much.” – Jackie Kennedy

I was a breastfeeding mother.  6/13/08 and 5/29/11 are memorable, bittersweet dates for me, as they mark when each boy weaned.  I love this stage of momhood, but I sure miss nursing.  Breastfeeding defined me not only as a mother, but as a woman.  From the time I developed breasts, I have been large chested, which has caused both wardrobe hassles and physical pain.  When I was seventeen, I had the opportunity to have a breast reduction.  During the consultation with the surgeon, I asked how the procedure would impact my future ability to breastfeed.  Looking back, I don’t recall a time when I had decisively concluded that nursing my babies was important to me, but when the doctor explained that a breast reduction might interfere with milk production, I immediately knew I’d decline the surgery.  That was my defining moment as a nursing mom, nine years before Slim was born.  Breastfeeding is a big part of who I am; it transformed me into the mother that I have become.   How?  Nursing hugely influenced my parental philosophy, helped me appreciate my breasts for the first time ever, changed my perspective on life and love, introduced me to like-minded mothers, and allowed me to simply be in the moment, enjoying the oxytocin fueled awesome serenity in a life that was not always calm.

I want to be good at not letting motherhood define me as a person, but I am glad that I can define myself as a mother who chose to breastfeed and allowed it to change my life. 

There are two pieces of advice I offer my friends and family when they become parents.  One: only you know what is best for your family.   Ultimately what matters is that you love your kids.  Two: find a support group of some sort.  I want to be part of an organization that helps support moms, new and seasoned, when it comes to helping them when they choose to breastfeed.  One of my life’s most rewarding ventures was volunteering with a crisis hotline in college; helping others in their time of need was incredibly fulfilling. I want to be a La Leche League Leader to encourage and assist mothers in reaching their breastfeeding goals, whatever those might be. 

I was a La Leche League Leader applicant until life started falling down around us this Spring.  Now that we've settled into our new world and we're no longer (please, please, please don't me be tempting fate in saying this) victims of Murphy's Law, I'm eager to resume that path again.  The problem is I don't know how!  I'm no longer a nursing mom and despite an unexpected resurgence of baby fever about a week ago on my part, we are done having kids.  So how do I integrate myself into the local breastfeeding community?  Here's to hoping I get it figured out. 

No comments:

Post a Comment