Gifts to ourselves

It’s Mothers’ Day. I hope all of the mothers out there have a lovely day. Mine has been really nice. In Madison today it’s sunny, cool, and all the spring flowers are blooming. All my kids are getting along and they’re all doing their work — even my oldest who needs to study for finals. So I’ve gotten lovely gifts from nature and my family. As a good feminist, though, I don’t think we should wait for other people to recognize that mothering is a really cool thing to do. Babies don’t say thanks, older children don’t necessarily appreciate us, and almost none of our public policies are mother-friendly. We aren’t going to change our babies and children. Like the rest of us, they probably won’t really appreciate their mothers until they have children of their own. We can work to change public policy because children that are cared for are a benefit to everyone. This change will take time, though. So in the meantime we can recognize and take advantage of the things that mothering rewards us with. The more I’ve thought about this topic, the more ideas I’ve had but since this blog is about breastfeeding, I’m going to do a series of posts on why breastfeeding can be a gift to mothers. After spending years breastfeeding my own children and even more years helping breastfeeding mothers I’ve come to realize that breastfeeding is not just a gift to our children but is a gift to ourselves as well.

I realize that breastfeeding (and mothering) isn’t always a pleasure. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it is overwhelming. Sometimes it is discouraging. Sometimes we wonder why we’re even doing it at all. Of course a big reason that we keep going is that we see how good it is for our babies. But it isn’t all self-less. Breastfeeding (and mothering) can be really good for mothers too.

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