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Inspiring Mothering

Alexandra Harned
Columbus OH USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 5, September-October 2002, p. 177

Everyone who has in-laws knows that they are something of a gamble. I got lucky. My sister-in-law, Diane Beckman, of Cary, North Carolina, USA has been a great model of motherhood. My baby girl is only eight months old, but a few years ago I noticed that Diane's bond with her children is something special and something to learn from.

During an annual holiday visit to the family, Diane and her teenaged daughter, Selena, were singing and playing duets on their piano. They looked so comfortable together. No competition, no criticism, just fun. I saw a mother-child relationship that I admired. Before I even met Diane I had heard that she breastfed her children as long as they wanted to and kept them close to her morning and night. At the time, I thought this was pretty strange. But after nine years of observing the love and respect she shares with Selena and her son, Max, I am convinced it is the best way to raise a family.

Diane has been involved with LLL for 18 years. She coordinates the reviews of books that are approved by LLL and helps to accredit LLL Leaders. Diane is the Area Librarian for North Carolina, a local Group Leader, and an online chat host with the breastfeeding forum on "Parents Soup." Diane is also a member of the Review Committee for the Chaordic Initiative that has sent her to meetings in Paris and Mexico City.

In the midst of all this activity, her children are growing up and the first baby is heading off to college this fall. Selena and Max are evidence that the special bond that breastfeeding provides doesn't end when a child is weaned.

This is the best part: When I became pregnant, Diane did not push me to breastfeed or become a member of LLL. She sent us a few Dr. Sears books, chatted with me on the phone, happily answering my breastfeeding and parenting questions, but gave me the space a newly pregnant woman needs. At first I went to my local LLL Group out of respect for her (and so I could at least say I had done it) but, lo and behold, I love it! Without Diane's commitment to LLL, I might never have found the supportive environment of my local chapter. In a quiet way, by example, Diane Beckman has inspired my mothering and inspired me to give my little baby, Emilia, the best love I can give.

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