I posted this poem, written by a friend, on Facebook but it’s too good not to share on here as well. I couldn’t help but tear up at the perfectly written summarization of the absolute joy and challenge from nursing a little one and the subsequent sorrow and relief when that relationship has to end. It’s full of truths that might not always be described in such perfect detail. Mamas who nursed a day or a year, I think there is truth in this for you.
A Prayer for the End of Nursing
O Lord, you have searched me
and known me.
You knew the moment when that sweet baby skin
first touched my chest
when that sweet little mouth
gaped like a fish
when that shocking moment of connection was made:
Mother. Child. One.
You knew the struggles, and the pain.
The mostly sleepless nights
The one- (two-) (three-) (three-thirty-) a.m. wake-up calls.
The disconcerting, disorientating, barely-functioning
the sweet baby skin and the gaping little mouth
the instant peace and the murmuring suckling.
You knew the feeling of miracle
that awesome moment of realization
that exactly what they need
is exactly what I have in me
and everything that is me
(milk, body, heart, arms)
is given freely to sustain and nurture their life
—and then that awe-full moment of recognition
of deeper appreciation
for the words “this is my body,
given for you.”
This is my body, given for them.
You knew the rhythms and the hours
of nursing and pumping
of sleeping and snuggling
of crying and impatience and the frantic, shaky, waving tiny hands
as the shirt gets caught
or the store clerk goes too slow
or a hundred other impediments leap up
between the present moment and MILKRIGHTNOW!
You knew the feeling of panic
the counting of bags in the freezer
of hours between pumpings
of ounces in the bottle
until this all could be DONE
secretly knowing how hard it would be
for it all to end.
You knew the feeling of gratitude
for those rosy lips, parted in sleep
for that instant smile when we’ve been apart
for the feeling of expansion
of my heart
of my life
of yet another way I will live out my vocation as your child
by stewarding and tending and nurturing my own child;
the awesomeness of being part of your Creation—
You knew the twinge
the first twinge
that first moment when they start to pull away
when the solids that were rejected
or tasted and then used as hair gel
become interesting, delicious, good
and the sessions of sleepy suckling snuggling
start to lessen.
And you know now
The feeling of wrenching
because it all is done.
The sadness, the mourning, the loss
interwoven with the relief, the joy, the pride
the cords of reassurance and the embroidery of gratitude
that we made it this far in the breastfeeding marathon
that I gave them this much
that this experience of oneness, of miracle, of struggle
of sleepy suckling snuggling
will live on in my body
as they once lived in my body:
nourished, cherished, cradled
in a safe place of sweet memory and thanksgiving
give me comfort
give me peace
give me reassurance
that though this type of sustenance is through
my hands, my body, my heart, my spirit will still be needed
Just as you do for me.
You knit me together in my mother’s womb:
knit my heart together now.
By Rachel Wrenn. Originally found here.
Photo by Kristy Powell.