For the Love of Moe

In the last six years, I gained and lost 40 pounds, and watched my midsection balloon and flatten, three separate times. I have given birth to three babies.

Two-day-old Agent J
My body changed, but it accomplished much. My tummy may be a little stretchier, my hips a little more, um, vast, but it's been a beautiful vessel three times over, and our family is now complete

What I remember the most fondly of those early, wiggly, newborn days is the time I spent feeding each of them, even when I had no idea what I was doing.

Breastfeeding, more than anything else, forever altered my perspective of my body, my abilities, my calling as a mother. I love that I fed my babies my milk. But I also love that I can reflect that sense of joy to my daughters. I know that when they hear me speak of my body, it's not to disparage or to wish for my old self, but to beam about what great things our bodies can do. 

I don't think my girls really remember breastfeeding; they stopped at 3 years and 2 years, respectively. But they still have an innate affection of sorts for my breasts. When J sees me with my shirt off, she says, "Mommy's Moe! Two Moes!" (Anyone want to guess what her word for nursing was?) Sometimes E gently pats my breasts when she hugs me, and talk softly to them, like an old friend.

Agent E holding five-day-old Agent A
And of course they witness me caring for their little brother, which includes lots of nursing time. My baby boy turns one this coming week. When their little brother breastfeeds, the girls watch, and ask questions, and imitate with their dolls. When he wakes up in the morning, they greet him with enormous love. When he is sad or hurt, they comfort him (and tell me, "Mommy, he needs some love"). They do these things because they have seen me do them. And for that I am most thankful, and proud.

I love that my girls see and hear me speak of my physical self not in terms of size or shape or weight, but in respect and awe of its purpose. I love that they think Mommy is beautiful as is. I hope they carry these memories with them as they grow into the awesome women I know they will become.






9 comments:

  1. I *love* seeing little ones nurturing babies like they see us nurturing them :) The times Kieran "nurses" his babies or wears them or talks so lovingly to them, I have to admit - it gives me a little bit of validation that I did something right.
    And I, too, wonder what he will remember about breastfeeding - it will be interesting to ask him in a few years!

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  2. I can really relate to the things you write here, as I also have felt a deeper sense of love for myself and my body in particular since I was pregnant with my son. There's something truly *awesome* about seeing the functionality of womb and breasts bringing new life and then nourishing that little person on the beginning of their journey in this world. Thank you for writing this!

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  3. What a beautiful post - our bodies are so amazing! I love the start - all the changes we go through as life grows within us and we give birth and nurse - it's all just amazing! What beautiful little treasures you have :)

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  4. I love that my girls see and hear me speak of my physical self not in terms of size or shape or weight, but in respect and awe of its purpose. I love that they think Mommy is beautiful as is. I hope they carry these memories with them as they grow into the awesome women I know they will become.

    I love this paragraph, quite a lot. Girls and women in US American society receive so many messages about the value of their bodies, many of which are damaging, that they absolutely need to hear messages about how truly amazing a body is. How fantastic and lucky for them to have such a positive source of affection and appreciation in their lives!

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  5. I loved reading this. Breastfeeding, too, has changed the way I feel about my body. Life-giving vessel :)

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  6. This is so beautiful. I really love it. Your children are so sweet. You writing here is infused with feeling and warmth.
    I especially love the way your girls care for their little brother.
    I'm so glad you shared this!

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  7. When I was about three, I think, I had a habit of pretending to nurse a babydoll of mine..."just like Mommy." I guess my parents and their friends thought it was funny, because everyone would talk about it and laugh. It made me self-conscious, as if there was something wrong with me wanting to grow up to be a mother. Glad to see your kids getting a more positive response from you.

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  8. Love reading all these comments. Thanks for the positive words. Jenny, I'm so sorry that happened. I try really hard to be positive about aspects of child-rearing when I speak to my daughters. I read (I think Dr. Sears) a line about how your children will care for their own children the way they witness you caring for their younger siblings.I try to keep that in mind.

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  9. Beautiful post - it is certainly amazing what our bodies can do! My two young kiddos regularly pretend to breastfeed each other! It's great to hear from a mother with such a positive body image.

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