You are currently 101 days from your due date, squirming around and kicking me as your big brother nurses himself down to sleep on my lap.
You are my third child and first daughter. With my sons I was passionate about giving them the best, and because of my experiences with early breastfeeding I was passionate about helping others past what hurdles I could. I wanted to normalize breastfeeding so that they would understand the breast to be a comforting source of nutrition long before they became aware of the way in which society has sexualized women. I wanted their right to eat in public to be protected and free from harassment. I wanted them to grow to be strong supportive men like their father is so that one day they could reassure and support their wives through those early sleepless days and nights of motherhood.
You, however, have given me an extra goal.
You see, the mothers of my mother’s generation had to relearn breastfeeding from the ground up after their mothers were sabotaged by the “formula era” where women were discouraged, injected with medications to dry up their milk, and lied to about the needs of their babies and the quality of their milk.
They never experienced the cultural flow of breastfeeding from mother to daughter. They remember things dimly from decades ago, and fumble while trying to help us. Often the best they can offer is the reassurance that things seem okay.
For you, daughter, I want you to have a community rich with mothers who have inherited the information they needed from others and who are continuing the tradition of support. I want breastfeeding to be normalized so that it is no longer looked upon as something to be hidden. I want the infighting and guilt tripping and negativity to fade, and the judgement to wither as women learn to mother each other and be gentle with one another while helping them provide for their baby’s needs.
It is my goal to help other mothers, discuss the controversies surrounding breastfeeding, reduce the attacks, and to encourage moms to help one another.
I want to be a contributor to this particular layer of the foundation of your future support network as a mother.
I love you and your brothers dearly. I, as we all are, am deeply imperfect and am blessed and honored by your existence in my life. You are my life’s most precious moments. While I cannot give you perfection in every area of life, I can give you the best where I can, and when I can I will.
Mahmie/Mommy/Nursh/Mom/Mummy and all the various names I have been called thus far.
(Who started this letter last night while nursing your brother and finished it this morning because he ended up biting me and rendering me unable to use my cell phone. 😛 One bit of advice to you: Nursing manners do not always work with teething children. :p)