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The Gift of Healing

Rosalinda Riva Harper
British Columbia Canada
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 2, March-April 2004, pp. 56-58

I have been involved with LLL for 10 years now -- as a frantic first time mother, as a new co-Leader in a vibrant Group in Nelson, British Columbia, and now as telephone help in a small town. My favorite part of New Beginnings has always been the mothers' stories that begin with the words, "I was glad I was still breastfeeding when...." As the mother of three avid nursers who weaned "late" at their own pace, I have appreciated the perspective on long-term nursing that these stories give.

Now, I have a story of my own to share. My second daughter, Cleo, always a very passionate, intense child, was diagnosed with cataracts in July 2001 when she was five-and-a-half years old. In her right eye, the cataract was small and she could still see. A cataract completely covered her left eye, however, leaving her without vision. Cleo needed surgery on the cataract in her left eye.

I was glad I was breastfeeding when I was snuggled up in the hotel bed with my daughter, holding her tight after the days of what seemed like endless medical examinations. I was glad I was still breastfeeding when an unfamiliar nurse tried to put pre-surgical drops in Cleo's eyes, who didn't want any part of it. I was glad I was still breastfeeding when I carried my terrified little girl down the hall to the operating room, and when she woke up after surgery completely disoriented and screaming.

I was glad I was still breastfeeding to provide comfort to Cleo in the days following her surgery. Through the three different eye drops that we administered every hour, through the explanations of why she had to wear an eye patch, I was glad I was still breastfeeding.

Now that Cleo is eight, she has 20/30 binocular vision in both eyes (after two surgeries). Her surgeon continues to be amazed at her progress. I am, too. I believe that all of those years of my milk kept her eyes, body, and spirit healthy. Our continued nursing gave her the gift of healing.

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