Tuesday, August 3, 2010

my body is not my own

I've been thinking lately about the sacrifices we make as mothers. Pregnancy, birth, and mothering young children are very physical endeavors. Being a mother definitely involves sacrificing our bodies. It's not just the 9 months of pregnancy either. It's saying goodbye, at least temporarily and maybe forever, to the pre-baby body. It's watching your breasts swell to previously unheard of proportions as they fill with milk to feed your baby. It's spending hours and hours suckling said babe. It's losing sleep and sometimes a bit of sanity along with it.

Yesterday was one of the most trying days of my young career in motherhood, but it was also one of the most rewarding. Asher was sick. The kind of feverish sickness that just left him tired and weak and clingy. He woke up from his Sunday afternoon nap with a fever. He had refused to eat much breakfast or lunch but had nursed. After napping much of the afternoon he nursed again and then threw up all over me. This was actually my first experience having a child vomit all over me. It was nice to realize that it didn't gross me out at all. I just picked him up and took him to the bathroom where we both showered. The poor kid had never really vomited before and didn't understand what was going on. I will never forget the look on his face as he looked at me with scared questioning eyes before throwing up again.

He actually had a good nights sleep but woke with a fever still. He refused to eat more than just a few bites of oatmeal. All he wanted was to nurse. Thus commenced the day that I spent doing nothing else but nursing my two babies. Miriam is a newborn so of course requires lots of breastfeeding and Asher in his misery didn't want anything but Mama. If he wasn't nursing, she was. Or they both nursed at the same time.

I've never felt so used before. I mean that in a good way. It was very draining to be needed so much, but I never resented my sweet children for it. I never felt upset with them for needing me in such a physically demanding way. We spent most of the day in bed snuggled up. I just feel so grateful that I am able to provide for them in this way. Breastfeeding is about so much more than food.

It made me think about how at this time in my life, my body is not my own. I am sharing it with my children. It's not always easy, but it's the way it is supposed to be. This time is so short. They will be big so soon. Then they will need me in a different way. But right now even with my leaky breasts and squishy belly, I am so fulfilled in being their mother.

These pictures are actually from the week before Miriam was born.


  1. Margaret gets fevers when she teeths and she still has 2 more molars to go. I have a feeling we'll have a couple of days like yours in the future. It's hard because you pretty much have to decide that nothing will get done that day at all.

  2. Hmm, I'm never this philosophical about it...just thinking, "this too shall pass" as I grit my teeth.

  3. Thank you for writing this. Before I had the Boy, no one ever talked to me about how breastfeeding is much MORE than nourishing your child. And then when I struggled they reminded me that I could just give him formula and everything would be fine. And now I'm just bummed that I didn't stick with it longer than I did. Because it really is SO much more than just food.

  4. Oh goodness. I love this post. I totally feel you...well maybe not quite to the same degree (yet!) Anyway, you are such a good mommy. And such a good example.

    I think Avery got what Asher has....she has a sore throat and wants to nurse all the time too these past few days. But you are right! Its nice that we can provide that for our babies.

  5. Hello fellow awesome redhead from Ohio. The world is a small place. I also noticed you follow Amy from Progressive Pioneer. She's my old college roommate. She's also awesome, even though she doesn't have red hair.

    Anyway, I was also thinking the other day about how my body is not my own, as I was nursing the one son, and the other son was using my bosoms as a punching bag. I never envisioned myself being so unselfish and completely giving my body away for who knows how many years. But here I am in the thick of it.

    You're right it's a huge physical sacrifice in so many ways. It only makes me appreciate my body more though, and marvel at the miracles crawling and laughing around me.

  6. Hey, just stopped by from MMB. This is a great post!

  7. this is really beautiful. I've been thinking about this alot too. Last time with my little boy I remember thinking "Oh, it will be so nice to have my body back" and then it hit me really powerfully that this really isn't MY body. Christ paid a HUGE price for it-- I owe him everything and have made covenants to consecrate all I have to him. I found this quote that I thought you might like by Neal A. Maxwell:

    “Women, more quickly than others, will understand the possible dangers when the word self is militantly placed before other words like fulfillment. They rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing them by, because they know they hold tomorrow tightly in their arms.
    … I thank the Father that his Only Begotten Son did not say in defiant protest at Calvary, “My body is my own!”

  8. I love to read uplifting things like this. Often when I talk to people all I hear about is how people want their bodies back, and "need a break" etc. etc. Being a mom is dang hard (I've had some pretty trying times), but I still love, it love it, love it. If I could freeze my kids at this age to be forever, I would.

  9. Heatherlady sent me over...

    This is great. "My body is not my own." So true at this time of our lives! Thanks!!