dear mama supporter
dear mama supporter,
you might be a partner, a parent, a friend, a co-worker, heck, even just a really kind, observant barista.
here is what you do know: this mama is feeding her baby.
it's the most commonplace, normal thing a mama and baby do. you might know about the engorgement, the hunched shoulders, and the lack of sleep that comes with breastfeeding. you might go out of your way to make sure her water bottle is full, that she's fed, to hold the door for her. you might offer to burp and change the baby, to hold the little one while they fuss.
what you don't see is this:
the endless time and energy she spends researching how to make sure the latch is right. how she is constantly timing feeds to make sure baby gets enough. her scheduling out her life in three or four hour increments. nursing and pumping more often than she eats. all of the energy required from her body to produce this liquid gold for her baby. the way it fills her with joy to literally transfer her life energy to her baby, and just how bone deep exhausting that can be.
the truth is, her insides are running on hyper drive. she might be sitting on the couch, stroking her baby's cheek as she nurses, but her body is a machine, churning out ever more milk with the exact nutrients and antibodies that baby needs at that precise moment. she hasn't slept, really really slept, since back in her second trimester. she doesn't complain about how tired she is because this baby love keeps her wired. and if she does complain, then know its the type of tired that deserves to be treated like a burn or a broken bone: urgent action needed, deserving of every bit of attention.
know that she loves nourishing her baby but is still getting used to be so completely tethered to the needs of someone else. know that her needs are now second to the baby's, and so everyone else needs to step up to take care of themselves and her. know that her heart and hands and breasts are so full that they ache much of the day.
and so what do you do with all of that information?
you celebrate her. you honor her. you praise her.
you massage her shoulders and her feet.
you take the time to really see her.
you let her know that you can't begin to understand the wonders of her body, the depth of her love.
you push her hair out of her face when her hands are full. you make her favorite meal. you help her make the very most of her brief time in bed or to herself. you help arrange child care. you clean pump parts and wash bottles. you bring her coffee in bed. you go to the grocery store without being asked.
you mail her a love letter.
you cue up her favorite movie to play right after her last feeding of the day. you send her feminist memes that celebrate the glory of her full womanhood. you give her space to cry or complain or snap, if that's what she needs.
you let her know that what she is doing is hard and beautiful and selfless and uniquely hers and her baby's while also connecting her to the millions of other mamas and babies in the middle of this same act of glory.
you say thank you, with all your heart. thank you, on behalf of the baby who will only know a generation later the love and commitment that this mama is making for her little one.
and you do this not once, not once in a while, but every single day. because she is too.