Julie, 38 years ago today, with her 1st born child, a son, David (biblical name) Bruce (Bruce after his dad and his dad’s dad)
For me, this has been the most life altering experience ever. There’s nothing to compare to growing a person inside of your body, giving birth and being responsible for molding another person’s life, especially with everything happening for the first time.
At 25 I had quite a bit of experience with babies and children. My parents had been foster parents and I was expected to babysit. I’d babysat for neighbors too. I had been a preschool teacher, Girl Scout leader, children’s swimming instructor – but – there’s NOTHING like having your own child that you are completely responsible for, not to mention the physical aspects of being pregnant, giving birth and nursing, all while your hormones do whatever they like…
Trying to be good environmentalist, we weren’t going to use disposable diapers. We started with the diaper service we were given as a baby gift and kept it. Pick up was every two weeks. The diaper pail was as tall as an average 5-year-old. The smell…well you can imagine. Nursing baby’s poop is…well let me just say that rubber pants did not keep the poop contained. There was a lot, a lot of laundry, all the time which had to be attended to as soon as possible if I had any hope of getting poop stains out of baby clothes, my clothes, baby blankets…
But I loved nursing. From the very beginning nursing came naturally, for both of us. It was also what was best for both of us. It felt emotionally satisfying to be doing the very best by my baby. David didn’t get anything but my breast milk for the first 6 months of his life and he thrived. It was so easy too – always handy, the right temperature, no bottles or any of that paraphernalia to deal with and a baby blanket was always handy for my privacy.
We took a car trip when our son was a few months old and we used disposable diapers. OMG!!! No diaper pens, no rubber pants, no leaks, no diaper pail and not nearly as much laundry! We never looked back.
As much as I loved nursing, at a year I was done. By that time I was no longer food. We were nursing first thing in the morning and the last thing at night for routine and comfort. I didn’t want to be a pacifier and knew how important it is for babies to be able to comfort themselves. David had always fallen asleep nursing but Bruce stepped up and sang and walked his baby son to sleep, until finally we could put David down awake and our little son could get himself to sleep! There was great rejoicing!
Autumn (our favorite Lake City season) David, (about 20 months) my towheaded toddler and me, his mom, in Lake City, throwing rocks in the river near our cabin. I can still feel the sweet coziness of the moment. I remember him calling Lake San Cristobal, “Crystal Ball”, and falling on a rock that gashed his little cheek. First time parents, we didn’t think to bring David a jacket. This little yellow jacket from Wal-Mart got a lot of wear and being a light color that was worn outside, a lot of laundering. We had fun. I remember a lot of joy.
Proud mom with my son in his engineering office at Notre Dame University (where he earned his PhD in aerospace engineering on a complete scholarship and stipend) and he is a kind person too.
Happy birthday David!
“May you live all the days of your life.” J. Swift