You may be asking yourself why I or any man would write a prayer on this topic. Well, to me it is not a topic. It is not a taboo subject. It is an act of beauty. About a woman taking the time to give nourishment to her child as God nourishes us as His children.
Breastfeeding is about a mother setting aside a few moments each hurried day to be fully present with her child. To be as close as one could be with her infant child. To provide peace. Comfort. Security. Love each of us needs as we start our earthly pilgrimage. A child’s pilgrimage to grow on the road of faith is part of a deeper journey to be with God in heaven.
When my mother had my brother, Gary, in the morning and at bedtime, she often pulled up her rocking chair in my bedroom to breastfeed him. Gary received nourishment from her. As Mom cradled her baby, Gary, in her arms and as the rocker creaked on the oak wood floor, she sang hymns or popular songs of the day. Three years later my brother, Russell, was born. These simple, ordinary, and beautiful acts of giving of Mother were reenacted for him.
Gary and Russell are more than 60 years old now. But the passage of time has not washed away the memories of such beautiful, loving acts. Acts that Mom shared with me without embarrassment or concerns for privacy. What is inappropriate with siblings, children, and you or me witnessing such things?
When I was a young lawyer, I often saw mothers breastfeeding their children in public at the courthouse or in the jury assembly room. These mothers were not shamed by bailiffs or the judges. They were not asked to go somewhere else. They were doing what mothers did when their babies needed to be fed.
A few years ago, I attended a kids’ soccer game. A young mother sat next to me. During the game, her infant cried. Instinctively, the mother picked up her baby and began to breastfeed her child. I looked down momentarily at the mother and child. I saw the beauty of this mother and child. She did this so naturally and so unashamedly. Seeing them together, I was instantly transported back to the days my mom fed my two brothers.
On the sidelines of the soccer field, this beautiful moment between mother and child was interrupted by the father of one of the soccer players. The man, like me, saw the same young mother feeding her child. I heard him say loudly to another man at the practice, “Can you believe she would breastfeed her baby like that here? That is so inappropriate!” The young mother heard him and a few more of his choice and inconsiderate words. His words upset me and her. At that moment the mother stopped feeding her baby and hurriedly left the field. She did not return.
I was angry at the loud-mouthed, insensitive man. I felt bad for that sweet mom and her baby. I was upset that her loving, beautiful, natural act of breastfeeding her child was canceled by that man’s inconsiderate act.
Working moms can have the most difficulty finding time to breastfeed their children. When they cannot do so, they go to great lengths to use breast pumps to recover and provide milk to their babies when they cannot be physically present with them. A few years ago, I read a newspaper article about a professional woman and mother in New York City. Prior to coming to the office and dropping her baby at the nursery, she used the 1-hour drive time to work to hook herself up to a breast pump. She said that this was a real hassle. But doing it for her baby was worth it.
None of us should forget that there are those mothers who are not able to breastfeed their children or maybe they have no children of their own. At times they are filled with loss, regret or guilt. They all need prayers too.
God has spoken in Scripture about breastfeeding.
1 Peter 2:2
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
By the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
Let us pray together.
Dear God, You made mankind, men and women, in Your image. I thank You for the beauty and wonder of creating women—women who are gifted with breasts to nourish Your children.
God, as You and Your love nourish me, may children be nourished by mothers’ milk and grow up to be Your good and gracious servants.
God, please bless women who breastfeed their children and those women who do not or cannot do so. Not every mother is able to breastfeed a child or may choose not to do so. In that case, please reassure those mothers that their love and Your love through them are shared in their every embrace, kiss, comforting act, and all the little things they do for them.
God, please support and strengthen all mothers who strive to breastfeed their children and in doing so successfully overcome the challenges of life and work. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.