When Elias was first born, I thought that most of the painful, hard stuff would be over. I mean, I knew I would be sleepy, and wouldn't know what I was doing for awhile, etc., etc., but I was looking forward to the mostly physical stuff being over: being so uncomfortable, ending the pre-eclampsia symptoms, and that sort of thing.
But when we started to nurse, it quickly became apparent something was wrong. He wasn't getting what he needed; he fell asleep as soon as we started, and I couldn't for the life of me wake him up; he started losing weight. Then the doctor told me that I needed to supplement him with formula. I can't really express how much this hurt my heart. I had been looking forward to nursing as I had been looking forward to Elias! I loved the simplicity of being able to continue to feed my baby with my body alone, and I longed for the quiet closeness of feeding time.
There was none of that in the early weeks. I cried, he cried; we struggled with the supplementer. Feeding him took well over an hour, and then I would pump afterwards to stimulate more milk. I took (and still take) herbal supplements. I would set my alarm to wake him up at night to eat. It was harder than pregnancy and labor put together. The hardest was giving him formula. I know that formula is an amazing product, that it keeps babies alive, it even helps them thrive. But to see that he needed more than me to do that, killed me. I wanted him to have my milk. And it hurt that he was just as excited about formula as he was about what I had to give.
He's not having to be supplemented anymore because I have enough to give him. And that has been AMAZING. I've started to gain the benefits of those hard, hard hours of work.
But this whole situation made me think about God, and about how He nourishes me. Now the two situations are so different: Elias DID need something more in the beginning. But again, he seemed to like the formula just as much as the milk that I produced for him. And I thought about God, and how He has this perfect food for us: it nourishes and grows us better than anything else could. And yet, for me, and probably for others too, it's not enough. I need more. I need Jeremy and my comfort and pretty clothes and people to take care of me. I need, I need, I "need". And do I love those other things as much as I love God? I take less of His perfect food, made just for me, because He provides those other things for me as well. Because He is kind and gracious. And those other things together can be part of His nourishment of me, but I think that many times I start to look to those things first. I look to the formula first, instead of the other way around.