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Sharing the Joy

Susan Joul
Oxford Michigan USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 6, November-December 2004, p. 215-216

Last night we went to the bookstore and Ivy was so happy in her sling. My LLL Leader, Deb, made it for me. We love it because Ivy is close to me and content all of the time. While we were looking at books, a young woman came up to us and inquired about my sling. She was intrigued that Ivy was making such sweet and gentle sounds as we walked around. She asked me if the sling "means anything." I stopped for a minute. In my mind I was thinking about a short answer but my heart was overflowing with such happiness I had to say it all.

I told her how a baby needs to be in her mother’s arms all the time, and that a baby nurses not only for hunger but for encouragement, comfort, and love from her mother. A sling lets us do all of those things at our convenience. I told her that being so attached and connected is wonderful because when Ivy wants to get down and play or take a nap or sit on the sofa, she just lets me know. She never has to ask to be picked up. It is really amazing how holding a baby more often, essentially wearing her, makes her more independent as she gets older.

The young woman was not overwhelmed. I think she sensed just a little of the happiness and contentment we feel every day. She was impressed that I know what my baby needs and that we are so relaxed together. I explained that I never knew any other way. A nursing relationship is different because you truly get to know each other. Ivy even knows to nurse when she senses that I am overwhelmed, too busy, or frustrated. She takes care of me, too.

The young woman didn’t see any fancy techniques in mothering, expensive toys to keep Ivy occupied, an elaborate stroller system, or a diaper bag bursting with supplies to keep Ivy happy. What she saw was very simple. She saw joy and felt it for a short time with us. As members of LLL we have a job to do. We are not only mothers but we are examples to the young women who will be mothers some day. Take a little time to answer their questions and share your joy.

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