Merry Christmas, for those who celebrate!
Last year my husband, baby, and I were Joseph, Jesus, and Mary in church on Christmas Eve. This was a really lovely experience, with one big problem: the Mary costume was clearly not made for a breastfeeding mother. My floor-length outfit fastened at the back of my neck, leaving no possiblity of nursing without lifting the entire thing up from floor to armpit. I nursed just before we went into church, and baby slept during our first walk down the aisle and through virtually the entire service. He woke up, hungry, just as we were supposed to walk down the aisle again and stand in front of a manger during the singing of “Silent Night,” and there was absolutely nothing I could do, short of hiking up the whole costume and revealing my un-Mary-like jeans and sensible (front-opening!) shirt underneath.
Particularly ironic was the fact that we’d sung earlier that evening, while the baby still slept, the Christina Rossetti carol “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which contains these lines about the baby Jesus: “Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day, Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay.” I had elbowed my husband meaningfully at that line (though honestly I don’t think he noticed)–here we are, singing about Mary nursing Jesus (for your reading enjoyment, here’s a good blog post with some great links, especially in the comments, on the history of the nursing Madonna in Christianity), and the costume can’t even accommodate that? If I could sew, I would totally make a new Mary costume–either something two-piece, or else with a faux-empire-waist kind of nursing opening, so that future Marys don’t have the same dilemma I did.
In any event, Merry Christmas, and a quiet, relaxing family-filled day, to all!