Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Understanding What it Means to Nourish

In case you're wondering -- No, I haven't forgotten about my Nourishing November series, I've just been calmly "doing the next thing" and hoping to work my way back to it!  ;)

Today, I want to focus on the word nourish.

According to the Webster's 1913 Dictionary, nourish means:
  1. to feed and cause to grow; to furnish with nutriment
  2. to support; to maintain
  3. to supply the means of support and increase; to encourage; to foster
  4. to cherish; to comfort
  5. to educate; to instruct; to bring up; to nurture; to promote the growth of
Some synonyms are:  advance, encourage, incubate, foster, nurse, nurture

Some antonyms are: discourage, frustrate, hinder, inhibit 

In looking at the etymology of the word, I found it very interesting that nourish originated from a Latin word that meant "to suckle," a Greek root that meant "to flow," and a Sanskrit word that meant "to drip." Obviously, the origins of this word depict the concept of a mother nourishing her infant at the breast. 

As a mother who has nursed ten babies for a collective total of more than a decade of my life, this is a very vivid word picture!  I know from personal experience that when a mother nurses her baby, she provides  her infant with the perfect physical and emotional nourishment, which encourages optimal growth and emotional security in her infant.  However, the amazing thing is that breastfeeding also nourishes the mother, because it causes the release of the hormone prolactin, which is often called "the mothering hormone."  Prolactin causes the mother to feel calmer, more relaxed, and increases her maternal and nurturing feelings.  Isn't God amazing to design a way of feeding babies that would nourish both mother and baby at the same time??

Even when a mother no longer has a nursing babe, she still nourishes and nurtures her family.  However, she may get so caught up in nourishing her family, that she forgets to nourish herself.  We can see by observing God's design, that a mother needs to be nourished just as much as her family does.  Hopefully, we can explore some ways for women to nourish themselves and their families this month.

I welcome your comments and insights on this topic.  Please feel free to grab my button and put it on your blog so that we can spread the word about Nourishing November.  Also, if you'd be interested in writing a guest post, please contact me!

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