Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

On nursing while pregnant, and the intercession of Saint Giles.

I've been a little hesitant to write this post for the last few days, simply because I'm not sure how well it will be received, and up until now I've not been able to decide if I wanted to subject my experience to as much scrutiny as I most certainly will by posting it on my blog. I decided it was a story worth telling, regardless of how people--non-Catholics, in particular--respond to it. So here goes! I should warn you, though, that the following post is pretty long and very personal. I always love comments, but if you want to debate the intercession of the Saints, do it on Matt's blog.

So first, I should say that since a few weeks after finding out I was pregnant again, I've been having a really hard time nursing the baby. Alot of women have trouble nursing during pregnancy, so I did expect to encounter some bumps along the road. What I didn't expect, however, was to feel the way I did. That is, to suddenly begin to HATE nursing. It was almost like a switch went off in my brain one day; one minute I loved nursing, as usual...the next, I wanted to throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum every time the baby so much as looked at me in a hungry way. I mean, really. We're talking about a serious case of sensory overload, and every time I sat down to nurse, it began to feel like a serious violation of personal space. I honestly just wanted to throw the baby off of me and run screaming from the house. It was awful. I was tense and Ambrose knew it. I'd let out a frustrated sigh, he'd start bawling.

My milk supply took a dip last week sometime and I began to notice fewer and fewer wet diapers coming from him, not to mention a more intense need to nurse (both for comfort and for food), which just added to my frustration. I've also had a hard time drinking water lately, which didn't help that situation at all.
So I felt kind of trapped. I feel pretty strongly that 9 months is too young to wean a baby, and I so desperately did not want to resort to formula (It's from the devil! Not to mention that Ambrose is CLUELESS as to how to drink out of a bottle. I'm sure he'd get hungry enough eventually, but still.). It was heartbreaking for me, too, because up until this point I really, truly loved nursing and it was awfully sad for me to come to the realization that this relationship that I've so cherished might really be ending. Don't get me wrong, I was really hating it. I just missed loving it.
Last Saturday I spent nearly an hour trying to feed and put the baby down for a morning nap. I'd get frustrated, he'd get stressed out...we'd take a break, try again, repeat. It made me so sad, and I felt like I was doing such a terrible job (and I was!). I've been telling myself for weeks to just grit my teeth and get through it each and every time, but it just didn't work that way. It seemed to be a battle between pregnancy hormones and breastfeeding hormones, and the pregnancy hormones were winning. This was something I've been in prayer for constantly, something I've asked others to pray for me about as well. But still, I had no tangible solution, there was nothing I could do to talk myself out of the way I was feeling, and I was pretty much at a loss as to what to do next.
After the baby was finally sleeping that morning, just a few days ago on September 1st, I returned to the living room, feeling defeated, and began flipping through the book of Saints that I keep on our coffee table. I came across the section of patron Saints for Women. There were patron saints for childbirth and mothers and wives and...yep, breastfeeding mothers. I read the few paragraphs written about St. Giles, the patron saint of nursing mothers and how he'd given up his wealthy heritage in Athens, Greece and lived as a hermit in France, living off the milk of a doe (thus, his patronage) and giving his riches to the poor. His feast day? That very day, September 1st.
Yeah, it seemed a little eerie. (In a good way!) After a few google searches on more of St. Giles' life, I offered up a quick prayer for his intercession: "Saint Giles, pray for me." And I did each time I nursed for the rest of the day.

I don't want to cast the intercession of the Saints in a light that makes it seem like some "magic" that "works instantly!!!" like one of those internet ads that claim to help you lose 20 pounds in 3 minutes. Obviously, it's not like that at all. All I was asking and hoping for was for someone holier than I to present my needs before the Heavenly Father. And he did. That very afternoon, I sat down to nurse, bracing myself for battle.


Really, nothing. I didn't want to throttle him! I felt as nauseous as ever, and there was absolutely no physical or logical explanation for the sudden change in attitude. Saturday passed peacefully into Sunday. I began each nursing session with a "Saint Giles, pray for us!" And repeated it each time I felt myself growing tense or frustrated. And the thing is, I really wasn't tense. In fact, I was downright relaxed. For the last few days, I've honestly enjoyed our nursing relationship--something I haven't been able to do for over a month, and I'm so thankful for that. In many ways, I feel like we both still need it.
There still seemed to be a problem with how much Ambrose was actually eating, though...since we were down to approximately 2 *very slightly* wet diapers a day, and a moderately wet diaper at night, and this had lasted for close to a week. Monday night I prayed specifically for this, and asked St. Giles for his intercession, in particular, for my supply issues.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), I changed two heavy, very wet diapers. Things are going well today, too.

So interpret this post however you like. As for me, I'm praising God for being faithful to hear and answer my prayers, praying that He will continue to do so, and eternally thankful to Saint Giles for his powerful intercession on my behalf.

Comments on "On nursing while pregnant, and the intercession of Saint Giles."


Blogger eLr said ... (September 07, 2007 8:52 AM) : 

I'm not questioning your genuine relief, and I don't want to argue. :)
Really and honestly.

It's just, while I do adore the saints in that I love to read their stories, and learn from them, and aspire to be like them... it's just, I've always wondered (and perhaps this is just me regurgitating what I've been fed), how are the saints supposed to hear our prayers? Does being in heaven with God give them God-like ability to hear us when we call?

ps - on a complete side note, formula "of the devil!".... that's pretty strong language. Can you point me towards some information so I can learn why it's bad? I'm not pregnant, but definitely learning about children and child rearing. :) I love your blog!


Blogger erin said ... (September 07, 2007 10:52 AM) : 

It's always been held by the Church that the saints in heaven are aware of and have a roll in presenting the prayers of the saints on earth before God. If you're looking for scriptural evidence, I think it's best depicted in Revelation as angels and elders coming before the altar holding golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (5:8, 8:3-4). Aside from that, I think you'd be hard pressed to find scriptural evidence against the intercession of the saints,lol. :)

As to the formula thing: sorry! I do use hefty language when it comes to things I feel strongly about--breastfeeding vs. formula feeding being one of them. Obviously, it's not ALL evil, because there's been many a situation in which a mother absolutely couldn't nurse, and in such case, formula looks alot better than death;-) I do, however, think it's way, way, way overused, and I say that it's evil for a number of reasons. First, nutritionally, formula doesn't hold a candle to breastmilk. Formula is made from ultra-processed cow's milk, destroying it's natural composition and dehydrating it, then artificially enriching it with vitamins. Cow's milk is really made for cows, and is extremely hard on a baby's digestive system, making it much, much more difficult for the baby to absorb the vitamins and iron that's been added to it. This is why formula fed babies have weaker immune systems than breastfed babes, deal with alot more colic, constipation, and, later in life, have lower IQs than babes who were breastfed. There's other, more complex reasons why I dislike the stuff so strongly, but that's pretty much the basis for it. If you ever want to chat more about it, feel free to email me at tolovemercy AT yahoo DOT com. :-)


Blogger erin said ... (September 08, 2007 10:47 AM) : 

whoops, I meant to put this link in the first comment.


Anonymous Rebecca said ... (September 09, 2007 9:29 AM) : 

Fellow Catholic here, and I just have to say, I think intercession of the saints is one of man's most under-utilized resources. My husband and I have had bonafide miracles happen for us thanks to St. Jude, and we are ever so incredibly grateful... I can say for sure that we would not have the life we have now without his help. Bless you for sharing your story!


Blogger Sarah said ... (September 14, 2007 12:31 PM) : 

Wow Erin thanks for this post. I'm definitely going to try that. I am really this close to throwing in the towel myself. The ONLY thing keeping me to my theoretical ideal of nursing to at least 1 yr is the fact that C LITERALLY cannot drink out of a bottle... oh how i have tried... and straws and sippies and spoons and a glass... she is only interested in nursing!! And I seriously am so over it just like you were. I didn't know about St. Giles though I've half heartedly petitioned the Blessed Mother on occasion... Thanks for the tips and encouragement.
By the way I totally agree with you about formula and the good news is, it is not the only option. There are more healthful things you can give instead; email me to find out more.


Blogger Lisa said ... (July 26, 2012 10:08 AM) : 

Dear Erin- I can't even explain how your story truly touched me. I cried while I was reading it because right now I am in the very same position. It's so nice to read another's story that sounds like someone telling your story for you. I just went onto google to research Saints to pray to for breastfeeding and came across St Giles and your story. I truly believe in the intercession of all Saints and our blessed Mother. Today I am going to pray to St Giles for help. Thank you for sharing your story and don't ever be ashamed to share how Jesus, Mary or any St has helped you!


Blogger Victoria Cloud said ... (May 19, 2015 7:31 PM) : 

Thank God, all the Saints, and you for this!!! +


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