Lactation

It is not easy for me to stop my mind from wandering and focus on what my body is doing this moment but today I manage to reign in my thoughts for a few seconds and notice.

Notice that I am sitting in a rocking chair, gliding softly back and forth, holding my daughter. She has attached her body to mine and, though I cannot see it or feel it, we are connected by a lifeline. From somewhere deep within me flows sustenance which has kept her alive and thriving for almost 11 months.

In the handful of times that my babies have had the stomach flu I have marveled at being soaked, suddenly, entirely, in ounce upon ounce of warm milk. Where did all this come from? My babies and I have performed this ritual again and again, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year upon year, and yet somehow I find it difficult to believe that these miracles are actually taking place: my body creating food for her, it flowing into her, it transforming into _her. _

Neither she nor I can handle being apart from each other for more than a few hours. Emotions aside, our shared physical need – her emptiness, my fullness – pull us together, hold us together. Often this tangible tether feels like bondage rather than the lifeline that it truly is, for both of us.

Her wiggling and giggling have stopped and my ever-growing baby is lying asleep in my arms. I quietly break her latch and watch for the thrilling moment when her face turns peacefully towards mine, lips still puckered, fast asleep. As she drank from me now I drink in her downy hair, her baby cheeks, her trusting weight in my arms.

Surely breastfeeding, with all its difficulties and sacrifices and joys and pains is a true spiritual discipline – I give of myself and she is made; I pour myself into her and I am filled.

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My aim is to awaken myself and others to the creative, redemptive work of God in this present moment. I am striving to see beauty, learning to expand my perspective, praying to keep my eyes and heart open.

Connect with Catherine at www.catherinemcniel.com.

 


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