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From the Executive Director: Indispensable

Hedy Nuriel
LLLI Executive Director
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 2, April-May-June 2006, p. 26.

The cry of a newborn baby, a wet little body against ours, a tiny mouth eagerly searching for the nipple...will we ever forget those first moments of motherhood? Whether we fully realized it or not in those early days, our lives were changed forever. No longer would we be responsible primarily to ourselves. Though the umbilical cord was cut, a new and stronger cord -- plaited of enduring stuff like love, commitment, and devotion -- was growing in its place. We realized that we were indispensable.

Before a baby's birth it's hard to imagine exactly what the lifetime journey of motherhood will be like. There are times of bliss and times of sorrow, times of fulfillment and times of fear or disappointment. There are times of uncertainty: Why is my baby crying? Does she really need to nurse again? Am I doing the right thing? Always we are there to help and support our child. We deal with the scrapes and bruises -- sometimes on the outside when she falls and hurts her knee, and sometimes on the inside as her feelings are hurt or she is called a name or isn't invited to a party. We help with homework and with choosing a college and a career. That bond that grew from the breastfeeding relationship is still there, in a different way, as she becomes an adult. Yet the problems are not so easy to solve. Ah, for those days when a little nursing fixed everything.

Just as you have been indispensable as a mother to your children, you are indispensable to other mothers as an LLL Leader. Thirty years ago I was a young mother in Israel. I gave birth to a healthy 10-pound boy who knew exactly what to do. He taught me how to feed and mother him. But for many women breastfeeding and mothering don't come so effortlessly. The baby does not latch on or does not gain weight. The mother is plagued with sore nipples or mastitis. You know the host of difficulties that can hinder the success of breastfeeding. You are there to help mothers solve their problems and find satisfaction and fulfillment in nursing their babies. Mother-to-mother information and support are most effective at fostering long-term breastfeeding.

At this time of year some places in the world honor mothers on a special day. It's a time when we can celebrate our own mothers, ourselves as mothers, and our children. As we marvel at the continuum of life that repeats itself through history and through all cultures, our common experiences help us feel a bond with all other mothers. In the USA, we will be celebrating Mother's Day in May. Whether you celebrate Mother's Day or not, I send you my wish for health and joy as a mother. You are indispensable!

Even though I am leaving LLLI, I wish you all well in the incredible work you all do for mothers and babies.

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