When I change for bed at night, every article of my clothing smells like the musty sweetness of breastmilk. It is my constant companion. I remember it when I absentmindedly pour myself a cup of coffee, and realize it’s my husband’s brew, and pour every last delicious caffienated drop out. I have taken to a delicious decaf cinnamon tea, which I drink constantly in place of my old bitter brew. I remember it when I go to schedule meetings while at work, trying to navigate around my private appointments to pump. I remember it on the weekend, when I am immersed in chores and laundry and dishes and little housecleanings, and my husband’s play with Miles is interupted by an urgent need for a snuggle and nurse.
This is the biggest sacrifice of self I have ever offered another human being.
There is sacrifice in marriage, which is a post in and of itself, and that is different. That is sacrifice for someone who is able to communicate their needs and compromise.
There is sacrifice in pregnancy, and that is different. I gave up certain food and drink, but it was temporary, and contained, and for the most part did not change the shape of my days and nights.
This is continual. Every three hours at work, I stop and think of my baby as my body works to provide his nourishment. When I am home, it’s when he’s tired, or frustrated, or just needs reassurance. It’s when he’s hungry, of course, and it’s when he wakes in the night and cannot calm back to sleep. It’s in the grocery store parking lot, at his grandparents, at a rest stop.
I am here when he needs me. Whenever that is. Wherever that is. While I may attempt to buy a few minutes with a toy or a distraction, I am ultimately at my child’s beck and call.
And in my humanity, this is exhausting. Emotionally and physically. And I am reminded of our Lord’s words “This is my body, broken, for you” and I remember that this is a part of my ministry, my earthly calling. And tonight, when I am tempted to feel weary as the sweet mustiness reminds me, yet again, of the small life that depends on me, I will remember the far greater bodily sacrifice offered me, and I will rejoice.