She's fifteen years old. Her baby weighs four pounds.
His little legs are deformed.
A teen mom in Haiti. I wonder if there's any harder demographic to be a part of in this world.
I went to Heartline this morning and worked with this young mother to get her baby to nurse well. Breastfeeding is vital in this country. Heartline works hard to teach the women of Haiti about breastfeeding and to encourage them...cheer them on...as they learn how to feed their babies. Heartline is saving the lives of mothers and children in Haiti. Crucial. Their ministry here is crucial. If you want to invest in Haiti...in something sustainable, in something that is effective, put your money on Heartline.
Every time I am at Heartline it's emotional. It's not very often that you get to be a part of something so obviously good, vital, and redemptive. It's like pure beauty, right in your face. You have to sort of sit there, stare at it, and soak it in awhile.
I have helped many new mothers learn to breastfeed over the past 10 years. What a sweet joy that is. To get to be a part of something so real and honest is a huge privilege. Birthing a baby has a way of stripping away all the falsehood. The phony parts of us fall apart. What we're left with is raw and frightfully human.
A new mom calls. She's crying. She wants so badly to nurse her baby, but her nipples are killing her. Nothing is working right.
I think there are three times in life when you realize what's on the movies isn't real.
The first time you have sex
In the delivery room and
Nursing your new baby.
Did everyone just nod and say, "Amen?"
It's always hard to watch a new mom doubt herself. She's delirious from lack of sleep. She wants to cuss or kick her husband in the man parts every time she goes to latch her baby onto her breast. During one of the most vulnerable moments of a woman's life, I'm invited into her home. She hates her post-baby body. She looks like hell. Sitz baths and pads the size of a twin mattress are sitting in the bathroom.
And yet...because she loves that tiny little life so much and would do anything to give her baby the best gift ever, she sits there, tears running down her face, body exposed, begging for help. Teaching a woman to breastfeed is more than simply teaching technique. It's about loving a woman right where she is. She's tired. She's scared. She's in pain. She needs love and encouragement. She needs to be reminded that God is there...right there. She is loved. She can do this. God is inviting her to be a part of a miracle.
After you share this experience with a woman, you are automatically bound for life, in some unwritten covenant of friendship. The women I have loved and served this way are forever mine, and I'm forever theirs. What a blessing to share this special connection with them. No matter if we see each other often, or hardly at all, we hug and some times tear up. We squeeze each other, look one another in the eyes, smile, recognizing that some things in life have no words, no words that work or say the right things. I hope in those moments these women know how thankful I am to have been a part of something so beautiful, intimate, and personal. I hope they also know that I'd never tell anyone what their abs looked like, or how messy their kitchen was, or repeat any of the things they said to me as they sobbed and sobbed. Those are forever our secrets. Ours and only ours.
There are some things you wake up and find yourself a part of that you know, without a doubt, you were not worthy enough or smart enough to sign up for on your own. That's how I feel about teaching women to breastfeed. It's a sweet part of my story that God wrote into my life. He chose this goodness for me, and I'm incredibly grateful.
It was moving for me today to get to use this gift in Haiti.
Lots of things were the same, but I have never taught someone to nurse their baby in Creole.
That part was totally frustrating. I get so irritated with the language barrier some times I want to take a bat to it. Beat the crap out of it.
It was wonderful to help this new mom. I loved every second of it.
But today, by golly, I'm learning the Creole words and phrases for
ram it in
open the baby's mouth...huge
supply and demand
do your nipples hurt...if they hurt, we can fix it...I promise...nursing your baby is not supposed to hurt
your boobs won't always be giant freaks of nature (unless they were giant freaks of nature before you had a baby, then I can't help you, but you should really, really invest in a good bra)
You can do this, God made you to do this, no one can love your baby like you can love your baby.
I'm here. I'll help you. You're not alone.
For pictures of Adema, and to hear more about what's going on with her little boy's legs you can visit the Livesay's blog. Go check it out.