The Secret of Natural Mothering
So often, when a young mother hears about Ecological Breastfeeding, her mind jumps to ‘the cost.’ You know, what it will cost her- sharing her bed, turning down certain party invitations, being always ‘on’, and maybe the worry about how long it will go on. A mother, whether choosing eco-bf or not, does give a lot. And our society ill prepares parents for that fact.
But what a mother gives to her naturally-mothered child is only half the equation. No- it is less than half the equation. Because what can’t be properly communicated before it is experienced, is what an Ecologically Breastfed child gives back.
You give yourself to your baby unreservedly; he gives you an adoration you have to feel to believe. You give your baby your arms and breasts when he is sad, hungry, frightened, or hurt; he gives you a sense of empowerment- a sure knowledge that you and you alone are the most important being in the universe to him. You give your baby a place in your bed; he gives you hundreds of peaceful nights.
My husband and I have the privilege of knowing a wonderful Catholic psychologist. Several years ago he was working on his thesis; attachment disorder was his subject. He was talking with us about co-sleeping and bed-sharing. He was wondering how it worked for us, how we felt about all the sacrificed sleep. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. “Well, Doctor, we can’t answer that question, since we don’t sacrifice any sleep!” He was surprised, and delighted. Studies do show that while bed-sharing mothers do wake more often that their crib-using counterparts, that bed-sharing moms report feeling better-rested. Most bed-sharing mothers are back to sleep before the milk even lets down!
So often what looks like a sacrifice for the greater good of our children turns out to be a greater blessing to us than we could have fathomed. It’s actually a simple Christian concept of spirituality. The more we embrace a sacrifice, the sweeter it becomes, till it ceases to be a sacrifice and becomes, in the end, a treasure we would not trade for anything in the world.
And that, to me, is the secret of natural mothering.
Written by Maureen Armendariz