Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Breastfeeding in the Old Testament

I have been studying the Old Testament for several months along with my Alma 5 studies. The past few days I have been touched by Hannah's story in the First Book of Samuel. As you may recall, Hannah was unable to conceive a child for the longest time. This weighed heavily on her, so much so that she would weep and couldn't eat. Have you ever been in a situation where you just had no appetite and all you wanted to do was cry? I know I have.

Like they did every year, Hannah and her husband made a trip to the temple. While there, upon seeing his beloved wife weeping and not eating, Elkanah, her husband, asked her, "Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?"

It made me chuckle a little to read what Elkanah said to Hannah. "Am not I better to thee than ten sons?" That sounds like such a spouse thing to say when another spouse is grieving something. "Aren't I good enough for you? Don't I make you happy?"

I couldn't help but feel so sad for Hannah. "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore." Have you ever been where Hannah was? I know I have.

While she was at the temple, Hannah made a covenant with the Lord that if He would bless her with a man child, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life. And the Lord heard her, and she conceived a child. A little boy.

Photo Credit: LDS Old Testament Institute Manual
When it came time for them to make their yearly trip to the temple again, Hannah did not join them. "But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever."

I thought her husband's response was sweet. "And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him." How wonderfully supportive Elkanah sounded.

"And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young."

I figured the way that the scriptures were phrased that this wasn't an infant that she brought to the temple. I wondered how old her son was when he was weaned. I didn't think that this question would be answered, but I pulled out my good old Institute manual anyway. It says:

"Weaning took place very late among the Israelites. According to (2 Maccabees 7:27), the Hebrew mothers were in the habit of suckling their children for three years. When the weaning had taken place, Hannah would bring her son up to the sanctuary , to appear before the face of the Lord, and remain there forever, i.e. his whole life long." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:26)

Although I don't think weaning at three years old is very late, it is a lot later than most people wean nowadays. Being the birth junkie and breastfeeding advocate that I am, I love seeing when birth, midwives and breastfeeding are mentioned in the scriptures.

After reading this story about Hannah's amazing sacrifice (I couldn't imagine giving Lily up like that), and then her ability to sing praises unto the Lord after giving up her little boy (even though that's what she promised) is amazing to me. If I had made a promise like that, it wouldn't be very easy for me to keep my end of the deal without at least being somewhat pouty about it. What strength that must have taken!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

In which I talk about poo

I'm feeling mully grubby today, and you know why? It's really dumb. Because someone on the internet was mean to me. Someone...on the INTERNET....someone I will never meet....a STRANGER...was MEAN to me...and it cast a shadow on my entire day.

So dumb! Why did it make me feel this way? Why do I even care? I've tried to distract myself and what not, but seriously, I feel pooey because some meanie head was mean to me. So here I am, trying to find an outlet for my hurt feelings.

Of course it was birth related. Of course it was NATURAL birth related. The horror! And of course it was a turd trying to poo poo all over some woman's plans for a natural birth and poo poo all over everyone else's encouragement. This woman seeking advice, due to previous back surgery, and other problems, CAN'T have an epidural. She really wanted one. Her entire birth preferences have changed, and she really doesn't have much of a choice other than a natural birth or a cesarean under general anesthesia. No needles in the back! Yes, there are some IV narcotics, but she faced her dilemma and chose a natural birth. Didn't mean she wasn't nervous. So she sought encouragement.

And there are lurkers out there who like to jump on any bit of encouragement anyone says to anyone who desires a natural birth. I know this. It shouldn't have surprised me. But so far I have been able to be pretty neutral and I think non-offensive about the way I say things on the internet to where I have mostly been able to avoid the doo doo heads. But not yesterday! This lady was out to get people. No one escaped. I guess I had my first experience with a troll. It wasn't fun.

I guess a part of me cares because I get very little social interaction in real life. I miss having lots of friends. I don't get to see the ones I have very much. So I get lonely and seek out "friendship" and camaraderie online. Silly. Silly. Silly. As hard as I have been working to lessen my time spent on the internet, I still get lonely for some sort of interaction with other people during the day. Even if it is through a screen. With strangers.

So I guess I have talked about this enough. I don't really have anything else to say about it. My feelings are still hurt, but oh well.

So to change the subject, I finally got called to the birth I mentioned the other day. I was there a little less than three hours when she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Seems like things started really happening once I showed up. The dad said, "I don't know what those tricks were that you did, but once you got here, things went fast." I don't really think I did much. It was probably mostly mental on the mom's part. Maybe after nearly 36 hours, she was ready to be done with the induction process. AND she did it without pain meds. I'm always so amazed and impressed with women who can do that. Gives me hope that if for whatever reason I might ever need an induction, maybe I can do it without the epidural too. She used Hypnobabies as well, and I am planning on doing the home-study version of Hypnobabies. In fact, Robbie and I started our first practice last night and it was nice.

Oh, ha ha! I forgot to mention. I'm pregnant! I'm a little over 19 weeks pregnant and the baby is due sometime in January. I've been a little turdy about announcing it for some reason. I don't know why.

I have a cute story. This morning I was really moody. I guess I explained that in detail at the beginning of this post. But after that person was mean to me on the internet, it put me in a bad mood. Robbie had meetings all morning so it was just me and Lily. I wasn't being as patient and nice to her as I should have been. So after a little bit, I got eye level with her and said, "Lily, I have been in such a bad mood today and not being as nice as I should to you. I am sorry." So then she said, "It tay Mommy." (It's ok, Mommy) So then I asked, "Do you forgive?" And she kissed me. It was a sweet little heart melting moment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Forever indebted

As I am waiting for one of my clients to call me to her side, I have had a lot of time to think about the wonderful people in my life who have made the doula venture possible for me. There's my husband who drives his car to work when it is behaving sort of iffily during the past few days since I am unable to nail down exact times that this baby stuff is supposed to happen. Birth is unpredictable! There is a certain wonderful family that is on-call with me right now who is so amazingly patient and understanding of this whole birth process. There is my mom who watched Lily during a long birth process when I helped a friend at home. There are the wonderful families who watched Lily for me during flute lessons. Sometimes, they would let me pay them back with money. Most of the time, it was service. Or, dessert. There are the hugs and kind words when I feel like I am just losing my mind with this whole motherhood thing. It really hasn't been easy for me to adjust. Maybe I am trying to do too much. I love Lily to pieces. She is amazing. I am so impressed with her. But some days are just hard. There's no getting around that.

So, I keep thinking about how I will ever repay all of the people that have helped me so much during this season in my life. And I've come to the conclusion that I just can't. It won't happen. Ever. This leaves me feeling humbled to say the least. Maybe a little ashamed or embarrassed too. A little frustrated. I really do wish I could pay them all back. I wish I could return the favors somehow.

But this is my season of life. We are in the childbearing years. I am a young mother. My child can't take care of herself, so I need all the help I can get from the older, wiser mothers in my life. I am thankful for the women who have acted as my big sister, or cool aunt, or even mothered me when my own mother is far away. I guess this is what it's all about. Finding your tribe. Yes, it should include young, new mothers who are in the same place as you, but there should also be older, wiser women included. Women who have been there. Women who can say from experience, "You'll make it."

I am glad for the Relief Society lesson we had recently on charity. I remember that at some point I made the comment that at this time in my life, I am the recipient of a lot of kindness and charity from wonderful people, and I need to learn to be okay with that. Would I refuse help from the Savior if He were offering it? No. So I shouldn't refuse the help of His angels here on the earth who offer or are willing to help me when I need it. Another sister commented after that and said something to the effect of, "We have all been there. We are all indebted in some way and have all needed help." I remember our Relief Society president ending her lesson by saying that sometimes we feel like we have to return the favor, to repay everyone that has helped us. But we just can't do that. What we need to do is to help the next person when we can. So hopefully, one day, I will be able to help the next person.

It makes me think of the Savior and how much He has done for me. I will never ever ever be able to repay Him for what He has done for me. Ever.