breastfeeding hurts & other things we need to be more honest about.

blog breastfeeding hurts* i wrote this post in march and never got around to posting it (i do that a lot).  it was after a conversation with an awesome mommy & ministry leader who told me how hard it was to juggle being a mom and leading at the same time.   in her mind, she kept falling short.  in my mind, like so many others of us, we just haven’t had enough safe spaces for reality.  

* * * * *

anyone who tells a new mom, “oh, breastfeeding is easy, it doesn’t hurt at all” is a liar.

let’s be honest, it hurts at first.  there’s no way around it.  when i had my first baby 20 years ago i remember people around me spouting the joys of it.  and not one person told me how bad it was going to hurt.  they only told me all the reasons why it was so great.

i agreed with them; it’s awesome. i’m definitely pro breast-feeding.

but i wish they had been more honest because it hurt like hell for the first few weeks.

it shouldn’t have been a stretch for a seasoned mom ahead of me to just say: “listen, this is really a big sacrifice, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to hurt, but hang in there and over time, it will get easier.”

that’s not asking too much.  but it’s often how it works.

i usually don’t talk about breastfeeding on my blog, but what i do like to talk about is honesty.  and i think what’s lacking in so many circles–especially christian ones–is the lack of honesty when it comes to many things. 

we sugar-coat, we avoid, we over-spiritualize and over-simplify, and we do a really big disservice to people who just need safe places to talk about the truth. 

we need to talk about stuff like:

how many of us are always comparing ourselves to someone better, stronger, wiser, more-this-or-more-that than us in work & play & school, and how draining that can be.  so many of us live with the sucky feeling of being too much or not enough but with no safe place to talk about it.

sex is weird.  and that most of us didn’t have good conversations about it when we needed to and are left to figure out all kinds of things related to it on our own.  it’s not going so well for a whole helluva of a lot of people.

having kids will always mean that we don’t get to do some of what we want to.  there’s a damaging myth that with the right balance of body-mind-soul-spirit we can pull off everything we want to do.  that if we try harder, pray more, shift our schedule, go to sleep later (or earlier), that we can make it all happen.  we can’t.  being responsible for little people (who then grow into bigger people who still need us) will always mean some of what we want is impossible.

shame and it’s hold on us.  how often we feel it and don’t know what the $*#&$^!@! to do with it because we think we’re the only one.

how terrifying doubt really is.  what it feels like when we wake up one morning and wonder if we’re really an atheist. or what it’s like when things-about-God that felt so sure now are like sinking sand and we aren’t sure who or what to believe anymore.

and how scary dreaming really is.  how when other people start talking about their dreams it freaks us out and we wonder if we’ll ever be brave enough to try what we long to do. how we get jealous & scared & mad at God for not making dreams come easier.

that feeling stuck is common.  so many of us are stuck in hard jobs, tough marriages, weird churches, unsatisfying professions, and a long list of other things that leave us longing for change but silently convinced that it might not ever happen.

these were not things that i was taught in most of my church experiences.  while i was being fed things like “pray more, believe more, serve more” these thoughts were  rattling around in my head & heart.  i was fortunate enough to become part of a safe women’s group when my kids were very little that opened the door to these kinds of conversations and since then have been able to be part of little pockets of safety where these conversations are possible.

but the more i talk to others, the more i wrestle with the crazy stuff always swirling around in my head, the more convinced i am that we need to work harder at  figuring out ways to be more brutally honest about these things.

to have safe spaces to talk about them.

to be with others who are asking the same questions and wrestling with the same things.

to gather hope that we’re not alone.

that’s why we need more safe communities, people gathered in all kinds of shapes & sizes, where we talk about things that need talking about.  where we are not afraid to say hard things out loud.  where we download the crazy stuff in our head and learn we’re not that crazy after all.

where we don’t pretend breastfeeding doesn’t hurt.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

57 Comments

  • YES. and YES. and YES.

    I don’t know about breast feeding, but I know that no one ever warned me about how tough the first year of marriage is. I swear, the church is as bad as chick flicks and Disney princess movies. It would have been nice to know that what we’re going through is normal, especially since my parents’ nasty divorce had me convinced that nothing is sure, not even a seemingly “perfect” Christian marriage. For a while, I was completely terrified that my new husband and I were doomed from just a couple of months in, and I felt like such a failure. Then someone finally told me, “hey, it’s okay, this is a normal part of figuring out how to coexist.” Thanks. I could’ve used that information a few months ago.

    Thank you for writing so honestly. I just love that about your blog.

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    • best line: “i swear, the church is bad as chick flicks and disney princess movies”. oh, that is awesome. and unfortunately so true. i remember a long time ago we did a premarital class and told the truth–it completely freaked some of the couples out but we were so glad we were honest about issues of sex & money & inlaws & spirituality & all kinds of things that needed to be said. thanks so much for sharing!

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    • OMG yes! I had it with my first child and I had no idea what it was…I was just getting sick. Finally my mom figured it out….and it hurt to nurse through it, so my mom, and every other adult woman told me to STOP nursing!!!!!!!! So I did 🙁 I was 19, single, and had no idea what the hell I was doing. I’m still so sad that they all told me to stop, when you just need to get through it and it doesn’t last forever.

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      • I had it twice in two months with my 2nd child. He was always distracted and never finished on a side!

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      • oh yeah, everyone has an opinion on this. and it is so true, that “just stop and relieve the pain” advice (which we give as a message in lots of other contexts, too) instead of pushing through and hanging in there to get to the other side. thanks for sharing.

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        • Exactly what I went through with my first! Infections, pain to the point where I flipped out to cursing most times it was time to nurse…. starving the poor thing because he wasn’t latching correctly… I couldn’t figure out how I couldn’t get him to stop crying and *every* other newborn we saw anywhere was so content & sleeping. Nightmareish for a new mom that already felt so inadequate & unworthy that I just wanted to give him away to somebody that could love him better!

          Add onto to that LOADS of self condemnation/guilt/comparison —- it was major grounds for postpartum depression!

          Thank you God for getting me past those years!!!!!! 🙁

          It has taken me a long time to not even beat myself up over how I used to beat myself up. Ohhh how I would long for the chance to go back and do it ALL again —- but the reality is — it was what started my healing – God truly stepped in & rescued me starting with that experience — and used it for my good. It did also give me humility & grace/compassion/understanding for others that I definitely did not have before. If everything were perfect/in my control — I never would have moved from being the prideful, righteous in self – person I always was.

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  • Thanks so much for listening to me. I’ve never been good at the balancing act of leader, wife, mother, friend, etc, but safe people like you along the way have reassured me that I’m enough just as I am. It’s such a gift. Thanks for being the listening ear I really needed that weekend. 🙂

    The first thing I always say to new moms and dads after congratulations is, “It’s really hard, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be kind to yourself.” I say the same thing to people who’ve just gotten married, to those who’ve just entered counseling, to those dealing with trauma, etc. I mean really, there are so many challenges in life and you are so right that what we don’t need is positive spin. Instead we need to feel we’re not alone and that we have friends here on the journey with us.

    Working hard with you on figuring out how to create those safe spaces of honesty. . .

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    • i am so glad i finally got this post up, ha ha. it’s a metaphor for my life–always about 3 months behind 🙂 i love your advice–respect it’s hard, be kind to yourself and ask for help. that’s so important in so many areas of our lives. thanks for sharing & for being on this crazy journey together from afar.

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  • I think this is so hard. Hard to create those types of spaces, hard to find people to really be real and honest with. It seems like when I try to be like that, people don’t reciprocate, and sometimes it feels like you are on the outside of the group, because you are willing to challenge the status quo; willing to open up and speak truth to the lies, when it’s the lies that keeps the wheel spinning.

    I’m having a tiny episode like that right now and I’m not sure if I’m actually on the outside or if it’s just been an unintentional overlooking of me….but I’m so self-conscious already about being ‘different’ that I can see everything as a slight. Yet I have to just keep going, even if I am being put on the outside, because I have found so much freedom and joy in being real and authentic that I couldn’t give that up if I tried.

    I think it’s hard, too, because if people aren’t willing to be honest and not over-spiritualize everything…they don’t know what to say when you are honest. We had a few friends over the other night, and this past week I’ve been super-jealous of my husband and all of his awesome perks he’s gotten from his new job, while I just stay home, boring as always 😛 So we were talking about his job with our friends and he told them all how I was so jealous, and that was kind of hard and uncomfortable. I wanted to be mad at him at first, for saying something that I thought was private, but then I was like, who cares. If their spouse all of a sudden got an expensive phone, camera, computer, car, and a used the corporate jet….you’d be jealous too, haha. I don’t care what you say.

    But no one really responded to me…except to say that it would get better as I got used to the changes and stuff. So that was kind of awkward, because it wasn’t a conversation…it was some form of confession, and then silence.

    I just don’t think people know how to be gut-honest with each other, because it’s so risky, and we’d rather have a false sense of security than honest, hard relationships that are meaningful.

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    • I would’ve told you I completely understand, b/c I get jealous of my husband galavanting around the country/world while I’m home with the kids.

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    • Caris Adel, thank you for your reply! I’m a 69-yr. old woman who stopped going to her church’s women’s Bible study groups because I DID feel like an outsider! I went in WANTING to be honest and authentic, as proof that I finally believed in my own worth. But over and over I experienced the ‘silence’ that came after I’d shared some problem or experience. I soon felt like a freak – that everyone else was ‘perfect’ except ME.
      Some may say that I should have stayed on to help change the situation. But I grew to dread the group, and finally quit.
      Later, I made a point of developing friendships with 3 Christian women with whom I could be honest; they are a true blessing to my life!

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      • Yeah I stay because …otherwise I’d have 0 friends, lol. There are benefits to being in a group even if it isn’t as deep and authentic as I’d like…but yeah, it’s rough a lot of the time.

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    • oh i can picture that moment & know it well. it is so hard, the awkwardness & the silence. it can really leave us hanging. but i have come to believe that regardless of the responses we get it’s the right thing to do (if it’s safe “enough”) because it’s just the truth. there are so few models for just being honest that it’s kind of nuts, really. but oh it is so risky when we’re the ones exposing ourselves and others don’t come to play and can really leave us feeling vulnerable. ps: i’d be totally jealous, too. i actually am sometimes when i’m here juggling 10 thousand things and all these kids and jose’s working out at the gym on his layover watching espn. it’s not rational, he works his butt off here, too, and would rather be home–but it is this feeling sometimes that is real and feels cruddy.

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  • Again, note to self: Should not read Kathy’s blog while at work (on break). It will induce tears. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. Thanks for that.

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    • dear mollye, you always make me smile. i am glad you are here, even though it’s tear-inducing 🙂

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  • the truth sets us free. honesty is the only to freedom. real, honest, safe community changed my life. thanx for the reminder.

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    • yep, it sure does. i am so grateful, too. it saved my life.

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    • I’m still looking for that – real, honest, safe community. But you are so right.

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  • “we sugar-coat, we avoid, we over-spiritualize and over-simplify, and we do a really big disservice to people who just need safe places to talk about the truth.” This is the “positive spin” that I was referring to the other day. This positive spin is good for marketing purposes, good to make every gathering fun, good for encouraging many very broad and shallow relationships…it is bad for making real disciples and building real and deep relationships, bad for real learning, real growth, real sharing, real humility, and real love! We need to speak the truth in love!

    One thing that I have been thinking about lately is how different communities define “safe”. What does it mean to be a “safe” community? How people answer this question reveals their motives and priorities. My experience is that there seems to be an issue with semantics when it comes to the word “safe”. When I seek a safe community, I am seeking people that are open and honest about how they think and feel…the good AND the bad, the victories AND the struggles, the beautiful AND the ugly, the inspirational AND the failures. Safe means an inclusive community in which everyone has a voice, and everyone is loved and respected. It has been my experience in some faith communities that their definition of a “safe” community is very Very VERY different than mine.

    Thanks Kathy for keeping it real AND safe! : )

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    • I also feel that definition is very important. In our Faith Under Construction group, the safety of the group is one of my primary concerns. But I also want to keep it simple, so I encourage members to not make comments which have the effect of placing anyone’s beliefs into “right” or “wrong” buckets. This not only dishonors the person who holds those beliefs, but also the path by which they arrived there.

      It’s the forbidden fruit. When we are feasting on our knowledge of good and evil it is hard to hunger for the fruit of the Spirit.

      Am I being overly simplistic? Or is this really all it takes to create a welcoming, inclusive space where we can all seek a unity in Love even in our disparate routes to get there?

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    • that is so true, people’s definitions of safe are so different. i think most churches i know would say they are “safe for everyone” and “welcome people’s pain and real stories” but many experiences with it are quite different. i think some has to be testing the waters, discernment, and experimenting to see. every time, though, it’s always a risk. i

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    • That “positive spin” thing is hard for me. Can you give me some more insight on what you’re saying here!?

      Like I was saying in previous comment/response here……

      I’m still trying to figure out when to speak truth & went to just listen. I do believe I am just one of those naturally “positive” people — I’ve always been positive/optimistic…. and I do find that I am an encourager — so part of my personality/life is to encourage and “put the positive spin” on things for people….. and I hate that it can be seen as a negative thing. I hate how people automatically judge the positive spin as me trying to quiet them or not hear them.

      I think that the *heart* of it all is what is the issue — not the actual positive spin itself. If I’m saying a positive spin because I’m not gonna follow up with you, I think it’s a pathetic thing to worry/stress about, I’m trying to send you a message to NOT complain to me — then I don’t believe it’s a good thing or a safe thing.

      BUT if I’m putting a positive spin on what you are telling me because I want to encourage you and help you steer your thoughts and give you a new perspective to chew on (and because I want to be REAL with you and tell you what *I* am thinking and feeling of what you are saying) …. then I think it’s a great thing.

      As long as WITH the positive spin we are giving our ears more than our mouths – lots of hugs & patience & care – then I don’t want to try to change who I am and NOT be positive.

      It really is just about being REAL right?? — am I being positive for marketing purposes / to pretend all is okay. Or am I being positive because I really do see the positive here and I want you to know there’s hope.

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      • @Randi
        This is what I mean by positive spin.

        This is a definition of Spin (Public Relations) from Wikipedia: “In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, ‘spin’ often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics.”

        Google “Spin (Public Relations)” and check out what Wikipedia says about it. They even show some different “spin” techniques people use.

        Hope this helps clarify things.

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      • Randi,

        I can relate to your dilemma. I used to believe it was my ‘gift and calling’ to encourage, to inspire change, to share the truth, and to help in any way I could. Listening was what I did before i did the ‘real’ ministry. Listening is so unnatural for me, just listening without sharing something that might make it better.

        But I am learning that the first step, often the only step is JUST LISTENING.

        Maybe with a smidgen of reflecting back what I heard, and asking open ended questions.

        Nothing more.
        At least for the space of a few deep breaths.

        So in this dilemma of knowing when to speak truth and when to just listen, I believe the first thing is always to just listen.

        I am finding that if people want my ‘wisdom’, they will ask for it. Often they figure it out on their own, well with the Spirit and an accepting, listening, caring friend. The less I say, the wiser and more encouraging people seem to find me.

        Weird, but that’s how the Spirit is working in me!

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  • Love this, Kathy. I wish I could remember the title of the book I read at one of my sister’s — it was about all the things about childbirth that no one tells you. Loved it!

    The space to speak and listen is so rare and precious … thanks for nurturing it!

    But, since we’re being honest, I do have to say that I only had about two days of pain with my third son — because he had a hard time figuring out the right way to latch on. Once he figured that out, he was good for the next three years! 8)

    So, I think it is important to say that there are a wide variety of experiences — and honor each kind without shaming or boasting.

    I needed some wonderful stuff with pregnancy and childbirth and all — because having that third one at almost 45 really did a number on my body and it’s “blue-eyed tissue is not as resilient or elastic” bit of truth I found out about after my first one at 39….

    Yeah, my favorite sermon of all time was one I preached on Mother’s Dad in 1996 on “Joy through Loss” — but all the things I have lost in having three huge-headed boys at 39 and beyond is more than compensated for in the joy of bringing these amazing gifts from God into the world and watching them grow up.

    Motherhood … it is the best of times and the worst of times!

    …and ditto to all the other things you talked about which don’t see the brave light of truth often enough, either. 🙂

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    • that is so true, so many different experiences. it’s so funny how we all have our breastfeeding stories! for me, it was just really really hard at the beginning and then we made it to the other side. i really like what you said about honoring each of our stories without shaming or boasting. when we make everything seem so easy (like oh, it was a piece of cake for me, why isn’t it for you?) it can be so damaging and at the same time, we can celebrate that it wasn’t as hard for us and that’s a gift and also respect that for others, it was really rough. (the “it” being all kinds of things far beyond breastfeeding!) holding an honest, safe space for each of our own truths is the idea…

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  • Yes, it really does hurt! And yes, you’re right about all of those other things, too. I hate feeling so stifled in “polite Christian company”. The pressure this puts on all of us not to ever admit when we feel like we don’t measure up is just too much. Not to mention when we actually do screw up…no way we can confess that!

    Why are you all the way in Colorado, and all of these like-minded commenters are spread all over creation, and I’m in South Carolina…all alone. With just a few exceptions, I can’t seem to find anything but “polite Christian company” around here.

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    • I feel the same way you do, Lindsay–but unfortunately, I’m in Iowa and that’s no where near Colorado OR South Carolina either! And from what I understand, the community in which I now live is one that is very, very polite!

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    • “polite christian company”…oh that politeness drives me nuts. and i do think it might be more prevalent in certain parts of the world, too. it can be so lonely. i bet there are others over there, too, who are feeling the same way but thinking no one else understands. the trickiest part is somehow finding each other…wish it were easier to smoke each other out so more could find each other.

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  • I loved this post Kathy! I am the cheerleader for telling it like it is at our church!! I am so sick and tired of praying for someone’s sick relative when I know we all have hurts and needs we aren’t sharing in our circle. Two friends and I have agreed to try and be more open and honest at church and to back each other up when we do. It is a good feeling to have friends who “get it” and then try and live it out as best we can.

    Thanks for your insight and ability at putting words around tough issues! To me, one of the biggest failings of “evangelical Christians” has been the idea that if we just give our lives to Jesus everything will be fine. He never promised that!! He promised to walk with us through the hard stuff and I think he wanted the church to walk alongside us when we go through stuff. No one needs to offer a solution or fix things, they just need to be there for comfort and companionship.

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    • thanks, patty! i am so glad you are going for it up there. i can think of so many of those prayer times where we were praying for random people when the truth was that those sharing were in all kinds of tricky places but never shared it. it is risky and we need more places where we just go for it and really challenge each other to be honest.

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  • Beautiful, Kathy!

    And I’ll throw out another (non-conforming) idea … it can truly be a blessing to choose NOT to have kids. There is more freedom for you and your spouse. You can love the little ones around you (I make an excellent aunt!) … it takes a village. When I talk with newlyweds I always share this. Some people think that babies are a necessity. But honestly, some of us are really not meant to be parents.
    _____________

    some good quotes that relate:

    All this to say that the truth, the real truth, is that no one has it easy. No one.

    “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.”

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    • good stuff. the comparison game kills us in so many ways & shuts us down & keeps us so stuck. when the truth is that everyone’s doing the same thing, thinking we’re the only ones who suck.

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  • So glad that I am now part of a world that is so honest about real life. A littttttle nervous about what is to come- ie what marriage is *really* like, new trials of parenthood, etc-but so grateful that I don’t have to hide behind the gcw life anymore. Being an x is so so much more free, waaaaaay less pressure. But I am still nervous. 😉

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  • I’m always so THANKFUL for people who make space for honesty. As part of a group that has travelled to Romania to work with orphans, I have struggled SO MUCH with anxiety. One year it looked like the kids wouldn’t be allowed to attend our camp due to some stupid government official. What was shocking, was that part of me was actually RELIEVED! Now THAT’S hard to admit. I truly love these kids. Their situation is DESPERATE. But at the same time, it’s such hard work!!! As we prepared this summer, one of the team leaders asked us to go around the circle and tell how we were feeling (scale of 1 to 5). I couldn’t believe that EVERY SINGLE person has some level of anxiety. I wasn’t alone. What a blessing to be part of a community that can be HONEST about the parts of ministry that SUCK!. And how wonderful to see all the ways that that honesty freed us to go forward with new joy and anticipation of the incredible work the Spirit was doing in each of us–orphans AND caregivers. Thanks, Kathy!

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    • thanks, melanie. i can picture that moment where you say what so many others are thinking/feeling/want to say and then the floodgates open. so beautiful! and so relieving to know we’re not the only one. i can so relate to what you are saying, too, about loving the work but also sometimes it is soooo freaking hard and tiring…it doesn’t make us sucky people, it makes us honest ones. lots of love from across the miles, always praying for you guys!

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  • well, you should try it as a guy! i did it just once….
    kidding of course, but i also have in my memory the pact of “lets all tell the truth, you go first” and it felt like we were all skinny dipping and i noticed everyone else had a suit.
    it is tough to be exposed. try as you might to find a safe group, the risk will feel huge. the pay off however is bigger.

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    • Um, Karl? I actually experienced it, once. I was dozing on my back while my wife was feeding our daughter. My daughter was done on one side and looked over to my exposed chest and rolled over and latched onto me. Big time! OUCH! She tried REALLY hard to pull some nourishment out of that dry well. I pleaded with her to give me back the nipple which I SWEAR she tried to suck and stretch across the room.

      I have humbled myself in reverent respect and appreciation of breast-feeding ever since.

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    • so funny. yeah, no kidding, i know that moment well, where i go first and there are blank stares. so hard. finding the safe group where everyone’s diving in is tough to do, but what a gift.

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  • This blog touched me and reminded me of how thankful I am for the women in my life that listen to me without judgment and empower me to let go of the guilt.

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    • i was reminded of the same thing when i wrote it. what a gift!

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  • Can’t share any breastfeeding stories but you sure hit on sooooo much as far as finding safe places to share certain things. I thought of a few you really hit home with me on and wanted to share on here.

    Being able to talk about having a lifelong fear of death that stems back to my dad dying of cancer at 8 and struggling even nore because as a christian that fear should be gone.

    Being able to talk about feeling a lack of how to go about romantic relationship leading to marriage and the hurt from bad acne in jr high and always feeling unattractive to girls to ever be able to find a soulmate.

    i feel very vulnerable sharing so personally but you challenge to do so Kathy and my hope in sharing is maybe others experience similar things and i can encourage in some small way. You do such a wonderful job at stirring up desires of the heart and soul for community my special friend!!!

    PS- check back in your email archives for one i sent you in may, some stuff on there I wanted to hear from you about.

    Love you sister!!!!

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    • thanks, robert, yeah, it is so hard to find these safe spaces!! but i hope we can all keep trying and being part of creating them in some way, shape or form, because there are so many people longing for them. i am so behind but i will check my emails. sorry i stink in that area! love from colorado.

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  • What a nice post! Thank you!

    It makes me reflect on the source of the distortion. Culturally we are unceasing promoters and the American church is more deeply impacted by its culture than it cares to admit. Fidelity to Christ in many segments of the church is synonymous with a promotion that is glib and one sided.

    Compared to the propaganda spewed by churches and preachers the Bible itself is horribly honest. The American church and its publishing arms have launched a determined effort to take the edges off the canon, to make it sweat, easy, and convenient, like spiritual cough drops. Jesus too becomes a well groomed, hygenic, smiling, therapeutic tender of lambs and children who look like the offspring of the Cleavers and Huxtables.

    The New Testament betrays a story of a Paul who is regularly thrown out of town by Jews and Romans like for causing trouble, and a Jesus who would have been very difficult to follow indeed. He was kind to outcasts, but very hard on disciples and religious folk. I suspect it won’t just be the Revelation 6 crowd of the elite of the earth that won’t enjoy his return. Jesus is disruptive and we so like controlled routine.

    I remember my wife’s struggles with breast feeding (she did all 5 of ours). I know the complaints of many who quickly leave the church because it couldn’t deliver on their expectations. Thanks for your honesty. pvk

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    • thanks so much for taking time to share. i love what you said and it is so true, the Bible is horribly honest, sometimes so honest that it can completely freak us out. the ways some of christian culture has sanitized real life is so sad and forces a split for people–the part on the outside and the part that’s on the inside. learning to integrate our dark & light, our strength & our weakness, our good & our bad is such an important part of growing into healthier more loving human beings. i think Jesus calls us to that but his church calls many to hide the dark and expect ourselves to always be light. i appreciate your thoughts. ps: we have 5 kids, too 🙂

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  • YES YES YES Kathy!!! To everything.

    So much of my passion for this true intimate real community you (and I) always talk about is a result of not having it when I first became a mom. Oh how different my experiences and life would have been if I had had a community of mommies or even older ladies to reach out to. Yet I trust God’s sovereignty and I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had not experienced that. I hope God will help me reach out to other young mommies and use everything I’ve learned & experienced. To be a mom so unexpectedly and soon after marriage, to be so far away from ‘home’ – those years were TOUGH. More people than we realize are in that position. God absolutely uses parenting in our spiritual journeys – probably one of His best tools – and one of the most common times of life when women “return” to the Lord – their first love. It is imperative for the Church to answer God’s call to reach out — to women in that crucial time/lifestage! 🙂

    Thanks for everything. Miss your encouragement. Need to stop in here more.

    P.S. ohh I love what God has done in our home/my community!!! So much has happened since those first years I remember reading your blog — maybe 2007?! 2008? I have such a great community forming — I know it’s never gonna be “formed” and it’s such a journey and takes so long & such work…. but I’m so encouraged by how far we have come and all God has done. That being said…. oh tension I’m always seeming to work on is trying to find that balance of being ‘real’ but not being a dumping ground (going both ways – either doing the dumping or letting others to me)…. when to ‘sharpen’ and when to encourage people to surrender their areas of fear/weakness — always LOVE being the motivator there…. still trying to figure out how to be safe yet not be a pushover who won’t be REAL with the Truth of healing/the Healer. Anyway – so much growth needed in my discernment/listening to Holy Spirit’s guidance still…. Anyway — just rambling 🙂 thanks

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    • it’s a beautiful and wild and brave journey you have been on, randi. it is so fun to hear what continues to evolve. you definitely jumped into the deep end! your honesty will help others become more honest, too. love from colorado & glad we can stay in touch out here and on facebook.

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  • Kathy, I rarely post links to my own blog posts on other people’s blogs because it feels, well, way too self-promoting for my Australian self to handle comfortably. But I loved this post, and if you need a laugh you might enjoy this one I wrote about a year ago now, a couple of months before my first child was born called “Life lessons on breastfeeding and pregnancy from cows” http://www.lisamckaywriting.com/life-lessons-on-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding-from-cows/

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  • The best place to go to for breastfeeding advice is the La Leche League. I “failed” in my attempt at breastfeeding my first born, cracked and bleeding nipples. Because of this, I went to some meetings before my 2nd born. I don’t know where I learned it, but I have passed it on to every pregnant woman who cares to know. Condition your nipples! Every bath or shower, use the washcloth to gently rub a minute or less. It works. Painless breastfeeding for me the 2nd time around. Until she grew older and started looking towards sounds while still attached! Youch!

    I can identify with the one commenter about the first year of marriage. Even if you do the unholy thing and live together first, the first year of marriage is the toughest. But it can also start making you into the strongest.

    You are so right. No one anywhere talks about the hard times and pushing through to the good times. They always gloss over the hard times. Like when I really started thinking I wasn’t saved, because of “da dada dada”. Now when I start getting down on myself, I go back to the source – God Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and pour out my sorrow, frustration, hurt, etc. Talking to anyone other that these is so unfulfilling. Platitudes is all people offer. I have yet to find ANYone who is willing to get down and dirty and support me in all the hard times in life. But it makes me depend on God alone, and that is a good thing for me, now. Maybe forever.

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