I was born in Nigeria, Africa while my parents were serving as missionaries over there. My older sister (by 22 months) was also born there. My parents moved their then-family of 2 boys and a 7-month pregnant mother to Africa in 1981. She now remarks at how flipping crazy that sounds today.
I came along in 1983.
My mom did not breast feed my brothers, it wasn’t the vogue thing to do on the Pacific Northwest when she was having her first baby, then her second. She did however brave the delivery room without pain meds. All four times. She is ridiculous.
When my sister came along in Africa my mom decided to breast feed because bottle feeding was a health hazard to the villagers in which they were missioning. As in, proper care of sterilizing a bottle and using clean water not to mention being able to buy formula at the open air market. So, she went with the flow and breast fed. For like 2 years, and then me – for almost 3.
Totally kidding. The reason for this post has nothing to do with breast feeding actually, but I can fit it in there somewhere – what I’m trying to tell you all is, she did everything. Everything in Africa. Made our own mayonnaise. Fried our own potato chips. Cultured our own yogurt. Popped the boob when we were infants and ordered cuts of meat from a freshly slaughtered pig or steed hanging upside down, still dripping in blood.
Some of that I remember. Most of it I do not. But now as I’m trying out different things in the kitchen and making my own marshmallows, frying my own donuts and whipping up some mayonnaise – I get to hear stories about when we were in Africa and I love those stories.
Those parts of my life I can’t put pieces to, she can. I have no idea if this wild, fearless kitchen person inside of me has anything to do with Africa or my first 3 years of watching my mom cook, bake, and make but if I’m allowed to draw my own conclusions, and let’s be honest – we all are – then I’m going to say that yes, yes it has everything to do with this fearless need inside of me to create and to make with my own hands.
That is one of my talents. My hands. Their ability to dig in soil and nurture nourishment. Their ability to stir a pot of stock into a stew for dinner. Their ability to capture, watch and hold the moments in my life that are now creating roots for my own breast fed children. (Fed with the boobs, people! WITH THE BOOBIES! NIPPLES!)
It’s a beautiful life. Why people are afraid of it, I just don’t understand.