So I was pumping today at work (that’s breastmilk for the uninitiated), and I had a thought. “I was made for this.” I had just gone and pumped because I felt a let-down. Again, for the uninitiated, a “let-down” is the tingling/pins-and-needles feeling that women get when their milk comes in. So I felt this let-down and went to pump, which took about 10 minutes. I don’t use an electric pump mostly because I don’t use it that much and a manual means that I can pump wherever, without worrying about finding a plug. Plus there’s not that pump noise that is very much not conducive to the relaxed feeling necessary for a good pumping session. But I digress.
I had finished and had poured my milk into a milk storage bag and I was looking at this substance. This whitish/greenish milk that came from me and I was just amazed all of a sudden at the fact that my body can do this. Make milk.
There are these t-shirts that you can buy and they say “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” I love that shirt. Because the ability to feed another human being from the substance of my own body is amazing. I make this living food. I use the term “living” because breast-milk is alive and ever-changing. No one knows what breastmilk is made up of because it changes from woman to woman, from child to child and from hour to hour. Depending on the age of the child, breastmilk has different ratios of fat and protein. As a woman comes in contact with viruses and germs, her body makes anti-bodies to pass on to the child. It’s alive! And I make that.
And I give it to my baby and he grows and benefits and is comforted and kept healthy. I am connected to him through that let-down. The feeling that reminds me who I am. I am a mommy. I am not with him now. He’s with his daddy and brothers at home and I am here working. But the let-down is not just a physical feeling. It’s a fullness both in my breasts and in my heart. I feel that fullness in my being. A connection that draws me to him even as I am here at work. A feeling that encourages a tenderness in me towards him even when he is at his worst as a little screaming being.
And God made me for this. Wow.
Copyright 2009 Katherine Barron