OPEN LETTER TO A BRAVE MOTHER
This letter was written to my friend who just underwent a double mastectomy for cancer. Thankfully, there was no cancer found in her lymph nodes. She gave me permission to post the letter…
Your letter just before surgery expressed that you wept and mourned the loss of your breasts to cancer, and you made it clear that the struggle and grief were not from the loss of body image but the loss of feeling the hugs from your children. “My nerves will be cut, ..my feeling will be gone, ..a hug will never ever feel the same again..”
What you did not verbalize was the grief I’m certain you felt for your children who would also suffer the loss of the soft, comforting hugs from your breasts. A hug will never ever feel the same again.
While in the Philippines, I regularly hug several orphaned or abandoned children at the compound. The children love to come and get a hug from their Ma’am Faylene, whose chest is like a grandmother’s. I brought it to my husband’s attention one day and asked him to watch the hugs of the children. If they are small, they desire to crawl into my lap and lay their head on me. If they are as tall as me or taller, they will squat down a little in order to hug the heart of a nanay (mother). There is just something in every child that wants that comfort, and it is missing if there is no one to hold them close.
I’m contemplating creation…
When God made Eve for Adam, “the mother of all living,” He equipped her with a womb (a place that would temporarily seal up the growing baby until it was ready to be born), gave her just the right hormones to make it all work right, and adorned her with breasts to give the exact nourishment and comfort needed for the growing baby and toddler. Such precision. Such an example of Himself.
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isaiah 49:15
God compares the great bond that a woman has to her sucking child and says His own compassion is even greater. The abandoned children I hug are still searching for the missing breasts of a mother who forgot.
The sweet picture of motherhood that God has also given us is of the growing baby nestled in that safe, warm womb, listening moment by moment to the rhythmic song of her beating heart and the sound of her voice. Familiar. Pre-birth comfort.
One of the first, most comforting actions after birth is for the baby to be placed skin-to-skin on the chest of the mother so the newborn can hear that familiar song of her beating heart and hear her voice. It calms the sensory overload experience of life outside the womb.
My friend, you are such a great mother! You have carried your children in your womb and let them hear your beating heart song. When they were born, you placed each baby on your skin so they could hear the sound of the familiar, pre-birth comfort. Even now, your maturing children will need to hear your beating heart, your voice, and your faith which comes from your heart full of the Spirit of God living to comfort them.
Brave mother, who still loves intensely even without “feeling” breasts, draw your children close to hear your beating heart. In this sensory overload of life, let them be comforted that their mother’s heart is still beating and your tender voice is filled with love words about the God that saved you and gave you new life.
I love you, dear friend, and I deeply respect your life.