Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fearfully, Wonderfully, and Awkwardly Made

Today Cathy and I went to our first Antenatal class. This first session was all about breastfeeding.

A number of things struck me. One was how awkward it can be walking in to a room full of people you don't know. As we crossed the circle of shame and sat facing (probably 15) people shifting nervously in their seats, no one breaking the deafening silence, I didn't quite know what to do with myself. We got a slight peek into the cracks of a fractured humanity there in the antenatal day room.

Many walk in to church or a seeker Bible study for the first time and no doubt share some of my apprehension - but for them it's coupled with a greater fear of the unknown than we experience - what will these crazy religious people do, now that we're in a room that they're in charge of? We need to do all that we can to make that initial impression better than ours was today.

That was a negative observation. But what was more striking was how clever, as they suggested, Mother Nature is. Here are some facts we learned:

- When breastfeeding, some of the calcium stores in the mother's bones are taken to feed to the baby and strengthen his bones. Bad news? Well no, actually. After breastfeeding these Calcium stores are not only replenished but actually made greater, reducing the risk of osteoperosis in old age.
-  Breastfeeding has been proven to greatly reduce the mother's risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.
- In breast milk, the antibodies that the mother has built up through her lifetime as she's fought off various infections are passed to the baby, thus building his immunity and protecting him.
- Here's a fascinating fact. Immediately after the baby is born, 'skin-to-skin' contact is encouraged, where the baby is placed straight onto the mother's tummy. I find that slightly gross, to be honest. What's astonishing though is that the mother's thermoregulatory system (internal thermostat) will adjust the temperature of her tummy by +/- 1 degree to warm or cool the baby, as needed. Isn't that cool? Even though the baby is now external to the mother, the altruistic body serves the baby regardless of what the mother needs. (A small picture of our Father?).
- Just after this aforementioned skin-to-skin contact, the baby will naturally seek food from the mother. To do this, it performs this crazy crawl (crazy given how young this 5 minute old person is!) to reach the milk.

Clever huh!

Here's a thought. Could it be that it's not Mother Nature coming in from the land of tooth fairies and santa claus that makes all these things possible. Perhaps it's the God who has revealed himself time and again in history over to be outrageously good and supremely wise who has fashioned us in this way?

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with you.

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