Now I want to talk about breastfeeding. Before my kids where born I set my mind that I wanted to breastfeed. I am very lucky to be in a country and situation with many options. And I think it is great how most women around me can choose freely how they want to feed their babies. I mean, in the end, all that counts is that the little baby survives.
Well, I wanted to breastfeed because I thought thats just the nost natural thing to do. You know, Tao and Wuwei and going with the flow of nature and all that. I prepared by reading a book (I know that sounds intellectual, but I did not know any women in my immediate circle who had experience with it).
And then, my son was born. And I had to find out: breastfeeding hurt! It was really bad! As a baby, I had to wake him up to feed him. And I resisted the pain of it. I thought “just another 5 minutes” and then I would feel bad for not letting him drink immediately. The pain, when he latched, was breathtaking. A fierce arrow of pain going from my nipple right back to my spine.
But I was determined and wanted to keep going for at least 6 months. I saw all those happy breastfeeding mums and thought I want that, too. I mean, its just natural right? Just follow the Tao.
Well, 6 weeks after birth, when I would raise my arms up during the postnatal exercise course, rückbildungskurs, just from that move my nipples would hurt. And even though that slowly changed and I was painfree after a couple of months, breatfeeding was still not just all fun. I had several mastitis and blocked milk ducts. At 15 months, my son went on “normal” food completely. And then, this story repeated itself when my daughter was born.
What did I learn from this experience?
First of all I learnt that I am actually capable of taking a lot more pain than I thought. If I set my mind onto something, I can do it. I mean, in western modern everyday life, most goals are not intertwined with painful arrows shooting from your nipple to your back. So I knew: I managed that, I can go through a lot more.
That knowlege of an inner strenght is really valuable to me. Whenever I feel like “I cannot do it”, I remember these months.
And I learnt one more thing, which helped me with my Qi Gong practice more than any other Qi Gong exercise: I learnt how to let go when I know there will be pain.
Because I soon discovered: the more I relaxed, the lesser pain I had. I mean, that really sounds like a no-brainer. But to experience that yourself under constant pain is a game-changer.
I noticed: breathing is a game-changer!
And even though I did not practice Qi Gong much during those baby years (which I regret but that is abother dtory), at least I practiced letting go.
Not letting go while standing in a park in the sunshine and the birds are singing. Not letting go while I stand in a Qi Gong studio with Yin Yangs and chinese paintings hanging on the wall and a nice cup of tea waiting for me.
No, I learnt letting go while going through pain. While fearing not having enough milk for my baby. Letting go while knowing this pain will be there again in 2 hours and for the next months to come.
I learnt letting go of the image of a perfectly calm, relaxed and “doing the natural thing” mum. Letting go of the idea that only because I am human I can do anything human (like breastfeeding) just naturally.
I learnt letting go of everything and giving in to the situation and just letting go again.
And the best thing about it is: no-one can take this experience from me. I just tend to sometimes forget it. That now I can apply THIS kind of letting go while standing in a park. I can bring THAT feeling of relief when in a Qi Gong studio.
And I can tell you about it. Maybe you are not breastffeding, maybe your experience with it was completely different. Maybe you are in big pain because of an illness.
No matter where you are or how you suffer: letting go is scary. But once you do it, it really helps.