Wednesday, May 22, 2013

reason 628364 why I love breastfeeding

Just when I started to panic that Bronwyn might still be nursing in elementary school and that I’ll never wear a turtle-neck ever again, I read the most beautiful description in Kay Arthur’s book on the names of God:

“The thought expressed in the name “Shaddai”… describes power, but it is the power, not of violence, but of all-bountifulness. “Shaddai” primarily means “Breasted,” being formed directly from the Hebrew word Shad, that is, “the breast,” or, more exactly, “a woman’s breast.”
“Shaddai,” one of the Divine titles, meaning The Pourer or Shedder forth, that is, of blessings, temporal and spiritual. I need hardly explain how this title, the “Breasted,” or the “Pourer-forth,” came to mean “Almighty.” Mothers at least will understand it. A babe is crying – restless. Nothing can quiet it. Yes: the breast can. A babe is pining – starving. No: the breast can give it fresh life, and nourish it. By her breast the mother has almost infinite power over the child…
This is “El Shaddai,” the “Pourer-fourth,” who pours Himself out for His creatures; who gives them His lifeblood; who “sheds forth His Spirit,” and says, “Come unto me and drink:” and “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it:” and who thus, by the sacrifice of Himself, gives Himself and His very nature to those who will receive Him… This is the truth of the name “El Shaddai.”

Wow. Even as I re-read the words for the fifteenth time, I’m still awestruck that my body and my gifting as mother-nourisher would serve as a most accurate example of the nature of God.

I’m truly humbled.

I've expressed before my love of the African nursing culture and frustration over the lack thereof in America. I understand it’s cultural and that’s just sort of “our deal.” Africans don’t bear their thighs. Americans don’t bear their boobs. But in making women nurse in seclusion, even communicating shame upon the act of nursing itself, is it possible that we are dishonoring the very name of God? With some of America’s attitudes towards the publicly nursing mother, are we profaning that which the Lord has called holy?

Just some (baby) food for thought. 

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