I sort of love Pope Francis. This past year, he has done and said so many great things, but I think this one is the best. He is encouraging women to nurse their babies during his services.
We go to an Episcopal church, where I have always felt very supported in my parenting. Our priest has a daughter a few months younger than Alma, and they are (mostly) good playmates. I’m sure being a father himself adds to his attitude on children, but he encourages all participation from children. Even the noisy participation is welcome. Even the occasional spilling of communion supplies is tolerated.
I have been to churches where they have separate rooms off the sanctuary where moms can take care of their children. This doesn’t make sense to me. I love hearing kids of all ages during our services. It makes the church feel alive. People enjoy when children respond and interact.
For a while, we were trying to get Alma used to the nursery, and Jesse would spend the entire service with her while Harriet and I would attend the service. This past week, we decided to just take both girls with us. I was amazed and humbled. I held Alma during the processional, and she sang along to the hymn. She was very serious about it, and even hit a few of the notes. Somehow, she even knew when to say ‘amen’ after the prayers. It felt right to all be together during the service.
I love that I have always felt welcome and comfortable nursing Harriet during the services. I love that I can look a few pews up, and see another mom nursing her baby. I love that it is what Mary would have done with Jesus. What is more magical, beautiful, or spiritual than that connection?
Thanks, Pope for understanding this.