Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nursing Mother

Moonlight streamed through the horizontal blinds marking the bedroom wall with soft lines as Mary and her son, Andrew, swayed slowly in the gliding rocking chair. She looked down at his suckling infant lips watching him peacefully drink with a steadily slowing rhythm, as satisfaction replaced hunger. No sensation is quite like that of nursing a baby. Parenting books claim to inform the mother and father of what to expect. Yet, only a mother truly knows. As Mary nursed, her heart stood still and every cell in her body filled with gratitude, knowing her body nourished this child.

Earlier that night, Mary had sung a lullaby to Andrew and then had tip-toed out of his room hoping to get some rest herself. A few hours later, crying filled the night and worked its way into Mary’s dream. Eventually she realized the crying was not rising from her subconscious, but from down the hall. She had no choice but to get up; she and her husband had agreed nursing for the first several months was the best thing for Andrew. She stumbled out of bed and groggily made her way down the hall to her son’s bedroom. Opening the door, she tried to soothe him, “Shhhhhhh.”

She laid her hand on his small body lying in the white painted crib. She was grateful for her short stature, because had she been a bit taller her head would have knocked into the musical mobile. Starting music going at 1 am was not a good idea. Hoping Andrew would go back to sleep without having to be fed, she continued whispering, “Shhhh,” as her hand gently attempted to settle her child. Some babies stop feeding at night by three months, so it was possible. Not tonight.

His crying got louder, and she conceded to picking him up and brought him to the gliding rocker in the corner of the room. She had selected this corner for the chair because there were two tall windows, only two feet wide, where she could enjoy the view of their backyard and the tree line not more than twenty feet away. When she nursed, which felt like a full-time job, she looked outside and gently glided back and forth while spending precious time with her son.

It’s difficult to think of being woken at various times of the night as “precious;” fatigue tries to block the realization of how special these moments are. But as Mary sat there that night seeing the moon cast long shadows against the wall over the crib and feeling the pull upon her nipple as her body let-down the milk, her eyes watered over. She gazed lovingly at her child and cherished the sleepless night.

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