Posts tagged ‘post-partum’

The First Year.

 

It’s not even that I have been procrastinating, I just haven’t really had time.  The start of the first year, our lives changed dramatically, and the same goes for the start of the second year.  What a whirlwind.  I got to a point tonight where I started to feel severely overwhelmed.  I can keep my shit together, for the most part.  We’re nearing the end of back to work week 3, and it is sort of sinking in that, yup, this is how it will be for the next little while.  It is hard and draining and emotionally overwhelming.  Being AT work itself is not horrible.  My office has a window and that helps exponentially.  I think about my my boy, my love, and my pooch constantly, but the work itself?  Fine.  I am not knee deep in it yet though.  Maybe ask me in a month?

The after work part is the hardest.  At about 3pm I start to feel completely tapped out and drained.  So by the time we pick up the boy from daycare (which is going swimmingly!) and then get home, unload, put away stuff from the day, I am spent.  And that’s before supper.  I’m trying to go to bed at a decent hour, and I have to, because as of 3 days ago I made a decision to start waking up at 5am so I can be at the gym for 5:30.   But I’m still absolutely drained of energy by the end of the day.  The thought of cleaning, the thought of doing dishes, the thought of any extra responsibility tires me.  I know it will take getting used to and I am really trying to be positive.  It’s just hard.  The year I had with my boy is the year I got used to, and now it has changed again.  The post-partum adjustment period was crazy.  I remember March being a rough month.  In hindsight, it was pretty bad.   I was in a bad place and didn’t bother to seek out support aside from my immediate peeps.  Not good.  So my point, is that it took me awhile.  I thought I was awesome with change but apparently it takes me a little bit.  The only thing I can think to do, is to remind myself that this is okay.  It’s okay if I need time.

The issue I am struggling with the most is that the bulk of my energy is going to work.  I don’t think this is a bad thing, obviously.  I like my work, I enjoy what I do, and I’m passionate about it.  I put in my all when I am at work, but I have made a promise to myself that I am not carrying it home with me.  I cannot do that.  It would not be fair to me, but mostly, it would not be fair to my family.  I already am struggling with the fact that at the end of the day, when I’m spent, my fuse is shortened, my patience thinner.  I am not being the best mother that I can be.   I am not being the best partner I can be.  I am probably not being the best friend I can be either.  I know what my potential is (sorta – sometimes my modesty gets in the way) and it saddens me that I am not living up to it.  I don’t think my standards are high, it is simply a matter of routine, and getting into it.  Figuring out how to jive with this new life thing.

So technically that is part of the second year and since this is supposed to be a reflection… onward!

My first year of motherhood, eh?  I don’t even really feel like I can completely capture it appropriately with words, but I’m going to give it a shot.

For starters, the moment I birthed my boy, my life was forever transformed.  And at that point, I didn’t even realize how much that statement was going to be truer than true.  From the getgo, I fell immediately in love with this most precious little being.  (We officially 100% completely bonded on all applicable levels, not immediately, not even the next day, but I remember the moment I thought oh THIS is bonding, I thought that I was bonded before but no, THIS is it.  Before?  That was survival).  My body, our bodies, created life.  This simple fact blows my mind to this very day.  It’s not even unnatural, obviously, it’s happening by the second, worldwide.  But it’s beautiful and unreal.  It is captivating.

We began to embark on a journey of sorts.  It started out rocky.  We still hit rocky patches.  But mostly, it’s smooth.  And journeys are sort of boring when they become too consistent, right?   I am grateful and overjoyed that my boy keeps me on my toes, every second of every minute of every hour of every day.  I am not even exaggerating.  He is a busy, busy little soul, and an explorer at heart.  I am so excited to watch where his soul, his explorer capabilities take him.   Every day he makes me smile, every day he makes me laugh.  What gets me through every single work day, is knowing that at the end of it, I get to run up to the door (sometimes if I’m nice I let Kyle go), open the door handle, and see the most beautiful little face, waiting for me, reaching for me.  It warms my heart.  Honestly, sometimes so much I fear the risk of overheating.

It blows my mind the amount of stuff children learn and do in the first year of their life.  That is IN-TENSE.  Smile. Laugh. Roll over. Hold things. Sit up. Crawl. Stand up. Walk (sometimes).  Play.  Learn.  Talk.  Eat.  Drink.  Develop the strongest relationship with his pup.  ;)  The other day I was asking my little angel to give his mama a kiss, and he, without breaking his look away from the passerbys in the grocery store of course, opened up his mouth, leaned in to me, and planted the sloppiest wettest most awesome kiss ever.   It fascinates me (but not really, because I already know that children are obviously so smart, they are human friggin’ beings!) that he knows how to do this, and just picked up on it like so.   And that is only one example.  Kid blows my mind.

And as for my own personal journey from being a woman, to being a woman with a child, a mother, this little boy has changed me in ways that even I will not be able to pinpoint.  All I know is, I feel in some ways like a completely different woman, but in some (a lot) of ways, exactly the same.  There are things I get now, that I had no concept of before, mostly because I didn’t feel the need to have a concept of.  There are things I am passionate about now that were over my head before.  My ability to be assertive has increased tenfold, and along with that, I have softened up by even more.  Everything is touching, everything is special and sentimental.  A friend said to me, it’s because we have given birth, and so we feel like we have given birth to everything, and I couldn’t have said it better.  I feel like I am on a path that I was not on before.  I have hopes and dreams and passions that I want to fulfill.  The concept of health means more to me than it ever did.  I really feel like I have never worked this hard to be healthy in my life, aside maybe from when I was pregnant, because I truly felt at my healthiest then.  It is one thing to put healthy, wholesome things in our body, and to regulate how we manage our muscles and our bones.  But this here mind, this here heart, this shit needs to be in tip-top shape.  I have recognized ways in which I am not being the best person I can be.  It’s not even that I have some ridiculously high standards for myself, because I really don’t think I do.  In fact, I think that I am living my life in an even simpler way than before, if that is even possible.

I have never had as little money as I do right now, but I have never felt this happy.  Or this excited about what tomorrow, or next week, or next year, might bring.  I have never felt so connected to a little being before.  I still cannot believe I am a mother and I have a son.  I have never felt this intimate with my spouse.  There’s this super intense level of intimacy, bonding, and energy field that has developed – or maybe not so much developed as expanded – between the two of us, and how we interact with one another, and with other important people in our lives.  I have never had as many ridiculous 3am sleep-deprived arguments in my life, but I have never had as much positive growth and soul-searching either.  My life, our lives, have changed exponentially.  I can’t put it into words but as you can see – if you’ve made it this far – I have tried.  I might have different ways of doing things, or varying ideas and beliefs than before (or perhaps they are simply just interpreted as so or are just being voiced now by the new assertive me ;).  But different does not have to mean bad or negative.  I am not scared of change or growth, and I don’t want you to be either.  Look where it’s got us so far?

November 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm 3 comments

A Story of Blessings, a Baby, and Breasts.

 

 

*EDIT: I forgot to add this within the story, and I just want to make a note that I did have blood work done in November when I was first struggling with low supply.  Nothing of concern was noted.  I also had more blood work (hormonal levels and thyroid) checked in March at my annual physical, and again, no concern.  I do realize this does not MEAN there are no physiological reasons, but these were explored and so that is why I am at such a loss!  Thank you for reading – I am overwhelmed with the response to this post, and I feel SO honoured to hear so many stories from amazing mamas.  <3 

When I was pregnant, one of the biggest themes present in my crazy, extremely vivid pregnancy-style dreams was that of breastfeeding.  My baby, in my dreams, was faceless, but beautiful.  I didn’t know if my baby was a boy or girl, because we had decided not to find out, let nature run it’s course, and find out when I gave birth to our child.  In my dreams, it was the same, I didn’t know if it was a boy or if it was a girl, and sometimes, it was a boy, and sometimes, it was a girl.  But for the most part, when I would dream about my baby, my baby was simply that – a baby.  But MY baby, a beautiful tiny little being, full of life, love, and full of dreams.

Just like I was.  I frequently had dreams about my unborn baby, and I would always wake up and tell Kyle what happened that previous night in dreamland.  Most of the time, it was nothing new.  Most of the time, it was simply that I was holding my baby, rocking my baby to sleep, and breastfeeding my baby in my arms.  Simple, right?

Throughout my pregnancy, and for any of you that have been pregnant I’m sure you can relate, one of the hot topics is how you are going to feed your baby, except it is not asked in such a way, it is asked of you if you are going to breastfeed.  It’s just one of those natural things, right?  Right.  I had done a lot of reading about pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding (however, not NEAR as much as I do now, the birth junkie that I am) and so I felt like I had a good handle on it.  I was not fearful of the labour or birthing process, in fact, I was looking forward to it.  I was amazed that my body was going to take over, with the aid of my brain and my baby, and we were going to do something miraculous, yet totally normal and happens all the time.

For the 9ish months that I was pregnant, I was waiting for my breasts to change.  I was waiting for them to get ginormous, to say the least, and it never happened.  I knew that this didn’t always happen, but I never really experienced much in the way of breast changes.  The only time I remember any pregnancy symptom that was breast-related, was in the summertime, being in the hot sun and going for dunks in the lake, and having the sorest most tender nipples EVER.  It was uncomfortable but secretly I was cheering inside because I had always wondered up to that point what was up with the lack of boobie changes?  On more than one occasion, did I wonder out loud if I would have issues with not being able to produce milk for my child because my breasts were not showing any evidence of this whole pregnant deal.

Cade was born on November 3 at 8:08pm and as most of you know, it was the most beautiful and transformative experience of my life.  Cade was born and I was born as a mother.  Just like that.  It still blows my mind, really.  He was immediately placed on my chest for me to introduce myself (though he had known me all along) and love all up.  I was in a state of complete bliss, and perhaps a slight amount of shock, but most of all, I was ecstatic and beside myself.  I couldn’t believe it.  “Oh my god, Oh my god!  I can’t believe this!  I can’t believe you are mine!  You are so cute!  Oh my god!  You are so beautiful!  I love you so much!”  I wish, to this day, that the moment that Cade was born was video’d, because it was incredible.  And not only that, but my declaration of love was, am I allowed to do this, flippin’ AWESOME.  I was over the moon for this little being!

And while I was beside myself, blissed right out, it did not cross my mind at that moment to breastfeed my son.  I don’t know if it crossed anyone’s mind, because it didn’t happen right then and there.  I wonder to this day if it would have made a difference, and I don’t THINK it would have, but I’m a sucker for not knowing.  I held my son for quite awhile, and Kyle and I gushed over him like mad.  I don’t remember timelines exactly, I don’t remember when he was taken to the warmer, Kyle right beside him for the whole time, and I don’t remember when they wrapped him all up, but I know that we had skin-to-skin for awhile.  I have tried not to have any regrets about this moment, because I know in my right, rational mind, there is nothing I can do differently about it, and having regrets is unhealthy.  So I don’t regret it, but I use it as a learning tool.  I would loved to have delayed everything, the “cleaning” of my son (rub that goodness right in!), the weighing, you name it, and I would’ve wanted us to attempt the breast crawl right off the bat, to initiate eye contact and bonding in such a way.

It wasn’t until we were up on post-partum, after I had showered and cleaned up, and after Cade had been wrapped in blankets, warmed right up, and had a bath, did we attempt breastfeeding.  He knew exactly what to do.  I remember the nurse that was helping me, bless her heart, said “look, wow, he knows exactly how to do this, he is a pro.”  I believed her and we went on with our night, as rough as it was.  Cade cried most of the night, despite frequent attempted feedings, cuddles, and skin-to-skin.   Kyle and I were both exhausted, and I broke down at one point because I “didn’t know what to do and I was so tired” and the nurse swaddled Cade up tightly, rocked him a bit, and handed him back to me.  It was not until 6am that he finally got some sleep, and so did I.

I always say that the beginning of motherhood is so insane.  You start off after going hours, days without sleep, and then you are thrown into a whole new wild world of breastfeeding, caring for a baby, and trying to heal, physically and emotionally from everything that just took place.  That’s exactly where I was at.  I could barely lie in bed without my perineum aching, and not only that, but I couldn’t pee due to the epidural/IV combo I had been infused with.  Toss in sore and cracked nipples into the mix and I’m spent.

The next day I remember being a bit calmer.  I would frequently breastfeed Cade, and I felt that things were going well.  I was in a sleep-deprivation induced haze, but was over the moon and in love with everything.  The tears poured out of my eyes over any and everything.  I was tired, so I cried.  I was in love with Kyle as a father, and so I cried again.   I remember the nurses in the hospital telling me to rest up that day, as baby’s second night of life was usually chaotic and they wanted to be up eating all the time.  I felt somewhat prepared, but that didn’t really happen.  That night, actually went off without much of a hitch.  Cade would wake up every 1.5-2 hours to feed, and would then go back to sleep.  Kyle and I woke up feeling somewhat refreshed, but still extremely exhausted.  Mostly, we were excited to be taking our little boy home, as that was the plan.  They tested his bili levels and they were fine, he was not jaundiced, and so we were able to go home.  That morning, I remember asking a nurse for the help of a lactation consultant, to ensure that everything really WAS going well and that we were latching.  The nurse basically denied me this request, saying that the LC’s were usually reserved for individuals who were struggling and having breastfeeding issues.  At the time, I accepted this, especially because she told me she had a passion for breastfeeding and offered to help me out.  I thought this was fine and dandy, and she really WAS of great assistance and showed me different positions to ease my achy nipples, however, looking back, I do think this was wrong.  I should have not have been denied the support of a LC by any means, and while I don’t think this affected our journey at all, I just think it’s unfortunate.

So homeward bound we were, and we couldn’t be happier.  I was on a strict regiment of having 2 baths a day, and to feed my son on demand, which I would do anyway.  The thought of using formula never crossed my mind.  I thought things were going quite delightful actually, until that night.  The sun went down and the evening reared its ugly head.  Cade turned into a nightmare, and in turn, so did his mama.  I must say, thank goodness for the best father ever, because he really was our rock at this time.  I’m sure there were times where he wondered who he should comfort first, though obviously that answer is pretty clear-cut.  Cade screamed.  All.  Bloody.  Night.  Despite constantly nursing him.  Despite endless cuddles and swaddling.  We swaddled him with an additional blanket.  It was shortly after that that he stopped crying and slept.  That was around 7am.  And I must say, we were pretty proud of ourselves.  Oh, so THAT was it. He was just cold, well DUH!

But it wasn’t just temperature regulation that was the issue, oh no, because he lost his mind the next night too.  And I felt oh so bad for this poor little boy.  What an entrance to this thing called life.  He screamed.  He screamed some more.  He cried.  He yelled.  He wailed.  I cried.  Kyle rocked and swaddled and patted and rocked and cuddled.  I think it was about 8am that Cade finally crashed for a couple hours.  Kyle and I were absolutely zonked.  I knew in my heart that something wasn’t right, and Cade looked a little on the yellow jaundicey side of things, and so I called the Healthy & Home nurses and demanded that they come for a home visit that day.

It pains me so hard, it breaks me into pieces, and it hurts my heart to think what COULD have happened if the nurses didn’t come that day, if something wouldn’t have told Kyle and I that we NEEDED to seek out support immediately.  I was starving my boy and I didn’t even know it.  Except, I did.  I knew something was wrong, and it was only after 2 nights of solid screaming did I wonder if perhaps he wasn’t getting enough to eat?

I was in tears on the phone with the nurse.  They sensed my urgency and they came over within an hour and a half.  They weighed my poor, sad, hungry little boy, and he had lost a pound of his body weight, which totalled 13 % which is a major red flag.  He hadn’t pooped in a couple days, and I really don’t remember his wet diaper count, but it wasn’t good.  I know that some major lactivists might say I was booby trapped after I say this next point – and maybe I was and maybe I wasn’t – what I DO know is my boy HAD to eat and he was a completely different baby after we fed him formula.  The nurses with Healthy & Home are lactation consultants as well, and Cindy, oh dear Cindy, was a kind, compassionate soul.  She understood my deep desire, my need, to breastfeed my son, and she understood my need to nurture him, with love and with nutrition, and she understood that he HAD TO EAT.  This was not an option, and I was not producing enough for my poor, sweet boy.  When we came to this conclusion, I was heartbroken.  I burst into tears, I had a million questions, and Cindy was amazing.  I swear, I should’ve sent her flowers.  I don’t know if it’s because she was the first nurse we encountered after going home or what, but she is the only LC’s name that I remember, and there were I think 5 different LC’s that visited us at home within a few days, to check on Cade’s bili levels and to provide breastfeeding support.  (Actually, this is an aside, but I think I am going to contact Cindy and let her know how much I appreciated her. )

Cindy basically demanded that we had to get some calories into this boy asap.  She asked if we had some on hand, and sure enough, WE DID (go on lactivists, attack me for not tossing out the free formula samples).  I saved everything we got in the mail, why?  I don’t know.  I remember thinking when I got the formula samples “oh, well, I’ll never need these, in the closet they go.”  I showed her the only bottle we had on hand (also a free sample), and she encouraged us to try the Supplemental Nursing System if we wanted to continue breastfeeding as well as getting formulas into our boy at the same time.  I remember the method seeming petty and confusing, and WORK.  But we agreed to try it out, and she showed Kyle and I how to team up and make it work.  It was complicating and stressful and just thinking about it gives me a lump in my throat.  Basically, we would fill a syringe with formula, attach a tiny sterile tube to the syringe, and then place the tube alongside my nipple as Cade latched on.  We were still trying to perfect the latch, so adding an extra step in caused much grief, but we did it.  For nearly 4 weeks, every feed, we would use this tiny little tube and place it as Cade latched, so that he would still nurse and hopefully stimulate my breasts to provide milk and increase my supply, but that he would still get substantial calories as well.  I remember feeling increasing anxiety as it came time for Kyle to go back to work, because how the hell was I supposed to do this on my own?  It took my tears, many tries, until we figured out a system that (sort of) worked.  When the tears got to be too much, I would just use my finger and feed the tube along my finger to feed Cade, after breastfeeding him.  I was scared of the bottle and we avoided it for as long as I could stand to.

After going in to the Breastfeeding clinic to meet with an LC there, Cade’s suck was evaluated and determined to be great.  The LC checked out his slight tongue tie, and also determined it to be very slight.  Our doctor has said the same.  This is still something to this day I wonder about.  Everyone has said it would not affect breastfeeding because it’s so slight and far back, but I am skeptical, if only because I am searching desperately for answers.  At one point when we met with the LC, I was breastfeeding Cade, and the LC was doing hardcore breast compressions to attempt to get the milk flowing.  And it still didn’t flow.  It just would NOT flow, stubborn supply.  The plan was to rent an electric hospital grade pump and attempt to pump after every feed for approximately 10 minutes per side (or all at once if using a double pump).  Needless to say, this was exhausting, but we did it.  The pump became my worst enemy.  I felt overwhelmed and intimidated by the pump.  We were not friends and I don’t believe this helped to increase my milk supply either.  I began to despise the pump, everything about it.  I hated washing out the pump parts a million times a day, I hated sitting there with the flanges on my breasts, making the “werr, werrrrrr” noise with every suction.  I hated anxiously watching the bottles that would catch the pumped milk, waiting to see a bottle at least half full.  I hated seeing next to no milk come out of my pumped breasts, my breasts that were so desperate to be full.  I’m sure one day I will regret it, but I wanted to experience hard, aching, full of milk boobies.  I felt envy and jealousy when my friends would have to slip in a breast pad because they were leaking.  I wanted to leak.  Shit, let me leak all over my shirt, let’s soak it up.  It never happened.

I attempted to take Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, two supposed galactagogues, but the only thing they did was give my body a sweet and spicy odour.  I took these in combination with Domperidone, a prescribed medication used to treat stomach issues with the sometimes fortunate side effect of inducing lactation.  Again, I’m not sure it did much, though I did take it for about 6 months.  After 4 weeks of feeling in my heart that I tried everything I could to increase my supply, but to see really no improvements, I retired the SNS and revamped our routine to 1) Breastfeed Cade for as long as he would latch and suckle 2) Give him a bottle with formula to top him off.  This worked and I felt like a huge amount of pressure was eased off of me.  The SNS created stress and I began to cry at almost every feed.  Was it worth it?  Was Cade benefiting from a depressed and completely worn-down mother?  Eventually, I returned the pump.  I held onto it for a very long time, because I couldn’t bring myself to take it back for fear that it was signalling I had given up.  I hadn’t used it in days, and it was sitting there, taking up space, it was almost daunting in a way.  I returned it, and I felt a twinge of sadness, until I realized why I was returning it.

It took me a long time to realize what our feeding routine was doing to my son, and to myself.   I was completely worn out, I was stressed, and I was depressed.  I had begun to question if I really did everything I could, surely I missed something, right?  But when I realized that I did everything I could, and when I realized that it was worth it for our feeding routine to change, was when I felt a complete let-go of the stress that had been bogging me down.  I felt this within myself, and I noticed a change in my son at feeding.  He took to the bottle like a champ, and he took to the breast like a champ.  There were no issues with him going from breast to bottle and back.  Was it so important to me to not use a bottle because it might mean failure, even when it might have meant not so pleasant things for my son?  He truly thrived when I was happy, and I didn’t realize that in the moment until we had decided to change our routine, for everyone’s sake, but mostly Cade’s and my own.   Cade needed me, he needed his mother, to be happy, and to be content, and to feel GOOD about the time spent feeding him.  I was not feeling good about this, and what was this doing to him?  Did I want to transfer so much negative energy to a sweet little baby?  Of course I didn’t, so why I was doing that for so long, I don’t know.   I have determination and I have perseverance, and because I knew in my heart that that was one of the best things I could do for my son, was breastfeed him.

This was what factored into my decision to keep at it for so long.  I understand that everyone has a choice to make, and that choice is truly their own.  I respect each woman’s choice, and I do believe that decisions are made for a reason, based on past experiences, life issues, and the like.  The choice that I made, that we made, as a family, was for me to continue to breastfeed Cade for as long as we could sustain it.  Even if it was a teaspoon of milk he was getting from me.  Even if it was a drop.  We had become pros at breastfeeding, and it was part of our routine, so we kept on keeping on.  Gradually, he started to get more formula and less breastmilk, though there were times where he would breastfeed and did not want to take a bottle after that.  Those times?  I felt happy.  I felt good.  I felt like that was a huge success for us, and it was sort of a gift, a karmic gift, after the breastfeeding struggles we had endured.

We kept on with this routine until Cade was about 8 months old.  Eventually, it had turned to where he would only breastfeed in the morning when he first woke up, before having a bottle, or in the middle of the night when he would wake up to eat, while waiting for the bottle to warm up.  He got to an age where he got so distracted, and nursing was not on the top of his priority list, and so we went with it, and we excelled at that for awhile too.  Around 8 months old, he lost his interest in nursing, and it sort of happened gradually, which I am thankful for.  I remember thinking that I had to prepare myself for the end of this rocky journey that we had had, but because it just dwindled off, I am just now mourning the conclusion of it, pouring it all out there.
Truthfully?  I feel okay with how things went.  I had to come to terms with it, and I still have many what if’s that cross my mind, sometimes on a daily basis, but not as much anymore.  Do I wish that things would have went differently?  I do.  But I have learned so much based how things did go, and they went according to the agenda in which they needed to go.  Not only have I learned an insane amount about breastfeeding, pregnancy, birthing, and how the birthing process can affect breastfeeding, I have learned even more about my son and myself.  My son is patient and determined.  He possesses these traits like no other, and while some might argue that I can’t determine that since he’s so young, I CAN and I know that he will fight for what he wants, and if he wants it, he will get it.  I feel like at such a young age, only 8 months, he already knows exactly what he wants and how to go for it.  When my son is old enough to understand, I want to talk to him about our journey, and I want to thank him for being patient with me as I learned, and for helping me to learn.  He taught me the gift of patience and perseverance.  He taught me to believe in myself, and to be strong when times were tough.  And really, by simply being born, he has encouraged me to conquer my fears, to take on anything.

Still to this day, I don’t know why we were not able to exclusively breastfeed.  I don’t want to say that we weren’t successful at breastfeeding, because the way success is measured can be so trivial.  We were successful in ways that we had to be.  Was it the tongue tie?  Is it because I was induced and my body just wasn’t ready?  Was it the epidural and intense infusion of IV fluids?  Did the pitocin have something to do with it?  Should we have done skin-to-skin sooner and commenced the breastfeeding journey right then and there?  Do I have insufficient glandular tissue, a physiological condition that can prevent a sufficient supply of milk?  There were times where I wanted to be more successful, and around 6 months old I seriously considered attempting the process of ‘relactating’, but aptly decided that I would be doing more damage than good by taking on that.  That’s just a whole other ball game.

Just like any other mama who breastfed once but is no longer, I miss the feeling of my beautiful little angel’s tiny hands on my chest, resting on my breast, as he nursed and looked at me, or nursed and got so comfy he dozed off.  I miss being skin-to-skin and having his warm and so very soft tummy pressing against my own.  I miss his little “hmm” noises he would make when he was latched on.  I miss the feeling of nutritionally nurturing him, knowing I am providing him with the antibodies that he needs and his body desires.

I had many moments where I felt extreme amounts of guilt.  I didn’t want to feed him in public, because pulling out that bottle meant that I had failed breastfeeding, and so obviously I had failed as a mother, right?  WRONG.  I learned that breastfeeding did not equal perfection, nor did it equal motherhood.  Was it a huge component of motherhood?  Yes it was, but it was not the be all and it was not the end all.  In the end, I was doing for my son what I needed to do for him.  We learned along the way.  I’m hoping with future babies (probably only just 1 ;) that breastfeeding will work out, and that I will be able to use the tools that Cade taught me, in order to be “successful.”  But that’s for another time, and for now, this is where we’re at.

But most importantly, I am proud of where we were and where we have come.  I feel blessed that we were given an obstacle, a hurdle, and we flew right over it, with a little bit of turbulence along the way.  I know that my experiences might seem trivial compared to other’s, but the fact is, this is our story, and it does matter.  Our story might help others, but most of all, it has helped us.  It will make us better people, more empathetic, stronger individuals.  I feel like I have a surge of compassion that has been injected in me because of it.  I feel better able to understand other’s experiences with breastfeeding.  I never realized the emotional intensity of a breastfeeding journey and all that goes along with it.  I now do, and I think that that is beautiful and such an important part of the life that I want to lead.   My boy is thriving and I am happy and as healthy as I’ve ever been.  We work as a team, and this was only the very start of it.  We are in for a very wonderful, a very fulfilling, and a very triumphant ride.

July 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm 26 comments

Poop.

As you can tell, my creative juices are just flowing at maximum rate lately.  Except… they’re NOT.  AT ALL.  Someone give me some inspiration.  I have a feeling that once I start the C25K running program, I will feel inspired and challenged, and perhaps I will have some of that to share with my dear readers.  PS:  Does anyone wanna join me on the program?   I downloaded the podcasts from Running Into Shape, and they have all the prompts, etc. for each day and each week.   Let me know if you wanna join and we can perhaps motivate each other.  We all could use a little bit of motivation.

But for now, I’m going to be awesome and talk about poop, because a good chunk of my life revolves around it now, and has, for the past 7 months really.  First there was the awesome mid-birth poop, which I’m blogging about because I find hilarious, and not gross in the least.  I wrote about it before, how I thought it was funny, because as I was pushing my dear baby down into the birth canal and out of me, I knew exactly when I pooped, and made sure to ask my doctor and nurse “Did I just poop!?”  Of course they answered yes.  After I gave birth, I expressed fear at having my first post-partum poo, and I super appreciated my doctor’s response: “Well, see, it’s good you went tonight!”  Now, that, THAT, is compassion.

So there was that, and then we progressed to anxiously awaiting the first meconium poo, which came, and it came full force.  And then it stopped for awhile due to jaundice and my boy being essentially starved ’cause this mama wasn’t producing enough milk.   So we waited, and I have never been so excited for my boy to poop as I was those couple of nerve-wracking days where the dipes were just consistently not dirty.

Cycle back to post-partum bowel movements, read: NOT FUN AND SUPER SCARY PANIC INDUCING FEAR DRIVING MOMENTS.   Sometimes they require the assistance of a little stool softener, and they often require the assistance of truck loads of fiber.  My favourites were prunes, fruit, vegetables, and fiber packed cereals.  So, when those big PPP’s happen, they are cause for celebration.

Fast forward to, once again, the boy’s poops.  They happened every diaper change for a little while, and then went to twice a day, and now they are typically consistently once a day in the morning when he’s eating his breakfast.  Awesome and so routine.  (Plus, makes those poopy cloth diapers even easier to clean – it’s not even that hard in the first place, but anywho – because I just toss a biodegradable flushable liner in the diaper that I know is gonna be a poopy one.  Simple!)  (CADE, I am SO sorry I am blogging to the world about your poops!)  Last week, a friend and I went for a walk with our little ones in tow, of course.  At the end of our walk, we were standing in the parking lot by the wier, getting ready to say our goodbyes, and obviously the topic of baby pooping came up.  At that moment, a professional looking gentleman in a suit walked by, and I looked at my friend, and my friend looked at me.  We knew.  We both had the same look.  This is what it has come to.

(I believe it was that same week where I met a different friend for a walk, and after doing our hello hugs, she pointed out the small bit of leftover dry toothpaste on my face.  This is also what it has come to.)

On a non-human-but-still-poop-related-note, today I was dancing with the boy in the living room, and we happened to notice a woman walking by with her dog.  They stopped in front of our house, on the patch of grass between the sidewalk and the road, and the dog did the potty dance.  I watched for a bit, and couldn’t discern whether dear old pooch was peeing or pooping.  I stared at its backend but still couldn’t distinguish if that was poop I saw, or if the grass was just too long.  I saw the woman anxiously looking around, and that’s when it pretty much confirmed my suspicions.  The dog was shitting and she was most certainly not picking it up.  I started walking towards the door and had planned to yell something out.  Originally it was “PICK UP YOUR DOG’S SHIT!” but then I thought that was too harsh, so I was going to go creeper-mode and instead say “I saw that.”  However, I decided against saying anything, for fear that the dog actually was just taking an innocent pee.  Later, when we went on a walk (with poop bag in tow, might I add), I checked the grass and sure enough, a big ol’ pile of doggy doo.  Not cool, not cool at all.  Aside from pet owners leaving dogs in sauna-like hot vehicles, pet owners not being responsible and picking up their dog’s feces is one of my big… pet peeves. (Sorry, super lame pun not intended there but it just happened.)  On the one occasion that I have walked Lily accidentally without a bag, I found something to pick up her crap.  Granted, she is tiny and her poops are as well, I made do.  Luckily most human beings are disgusting, so there was some kind of litter (I believe it was a cup) that I was able to use to scoop up the shit.

So with that, last night was kind of hellish in terms of getting some decent quality sleep, so I’m shuttin’ it down earlier than usual tonight.  A mama’s gotta rest.

Hope you enjoyed the poop stories.  It’s all I’ve got tonight, and for that I apologize… but not really, ’cause I kinda find it funny.  Nighty night y’all.

June 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Oh Boy.

Four months ago I wrote a post called ‘Fussy Gussy Wussy Woo‘ about my boy being needy and always needing to be held.  I just went back and read the post now, and honestly?  I wish I could sit down my Self from 4 months ago and have a little chat.  A pep talk, if you will.  I know it is all about living and learning and trial and error.  Figuring things out as we go.  Being a first time parent comes with its challenges that is for certain.

In hindsight, I remember the conversations with people (often random strangers) who would ask, “Good baby?”  First of all, that’s a loaded question, and in my humble opinion, kind of a silly one.  Let’s reframe that and get down to specifics, though if you are a random stranger, not sure why you’d want to, however I get that you maybe are just making small talk and love babies.  Sort of like asking someone ‘how are you?’ as a salutation rather than a genuine concern.  So yes, instead of asking if someone has a good baby, ask if the baby is a good sleeper, or ask how the parents are getting the hang of their new role.  I remember people asking if Cade was a good baby.  The opposite of good is bad, and when people ask if a baby is good, I think what they are basically asking is, is your baby needy, does your baby cry lots, and does your baby party all night? By those definitions, no, Cade was not really a good baby.  Was he needy?   Of course he was, he was a baby, he still is a baby.  He has specific needs, and it is up to Kyle and I to meet them.  So if they’re not getting met, then yes, he is going to scream and cry until they are met.  And sometimes, even long after that, as he often did his first 3-4 months of life.

Looking back, the equation seems so simple and so easy now.  Why on earth was it so frustrating at the time, having a baby who wanted to be close to his parents all the time?  Why was this so hard to believe and understand?  Of course he wanted to be close to us.  Of course he wanted to be kept warm, safe, nurtured, cuddled.  Can you imagine, within hours, going from living in your nice cozy warm heated home, perhaps snuggling with your pet or your partner on the couch or in bed, to living on the cold street in the middle of winter, having to rummage for food, seek out some sort of warmth, all while you are feeling alone and no longer have your snugglebug so close to you?  It would be traumatizing and dreadful.  It is no wonder the 4th trimester is so brutally hard on babies and parents.  Everyone is adjusting to this new life that has suddenly grabbed the reigns and taken control.  For the wee one, that means not having immediate and consistent access to food and nourishment (yes, a breast is always close by, but not as close as being DIRECTLY connected to your food source), and not being surrounded and kept warm by a cozy aquatic bubble.

If I could go back and have that pep talk with my Self from January 2011, well, even earlier than that, I would hammer home these very critical points:

  • Your baby needs YOU and that is it.  YOU provide everything else it needs, but first and foremost, it needs you.
  • Sleep, rest, take care of yourself and don’t worry about the state of the house.  It’ll get clean.  I realize this sounds cliche and you don’t want to hear it because you have a teeny little bit of an issue around control, but just let it go.
  • Sleep and cuddle your baby.  It’s winter and winter is a great time to hibernate and rest, so do that.  Lie in bed and take a vacation, a true, restful vacation with your babe.  Set up a diaper station near your bed so in those early days, you really don’t have to get up and you can heal yourself and be healthy and happy enough to care for your child.
  • If your baby is needing to be held constantly, that’s okay.  Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it.  Don’t google too much because there are some weirdos out there who say that you are spoiling your baby.  You’re not spoiling your baby, you are LOVING your baby and giving your son what he needs, which is YOU.
  • Do whatever you gotta do.  It’s really as simple as that.  Sometimes desperation sinks in and you do what you have to do to survive at that particular moment.  You might even do things you swore you’d never do.  THIS IS OKAY.  Do not feel guilty.
  • Your son will grow to be secure and attached because you have helped him to feel this way because you have not ignored his cries, you have not ignored his cues, and you have not ignored his needs.
  • Cannot say it enough, but the most important thing you have to do for your son is not only take care of him and meet his basic needs, but take care of yourself, take care of yourself, TAKE.CARE.OF.YOURSELF.  If you don’t, your son won’t have a healthy strong parent to take care of him.  This is not cool!
  • Reach out to people.  Tell them how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.  If people reach out to you, ACCEPT IT.  If they want to cook for you, by all means, let them.  If they want to bring you a coffee or lunch, don’t say you’re good, you need nourishment too, and in those super early days, when your child needs nothing but to be close to his mama, it’s much easier having someone else do the cooking or at least the meal picking up and dropping off.

There’s so much more I could say, but basically, I wanted to hammer home that a baby needs love and protection, safety and nurturing, first and foremost.  Was I tired and exhausted and run down?  Yes I was.  But my son needed me, he needed us, and we gave him what he needed.  I really do believe that all the cuddles, all the lovin’, all the holding, all the carrying, and yes, the co-sleeping, helped to begin solidifying his identity and his healthy levels of attachment and security that he is starting to display.  This boy is a HAPPY, happy boy.  He barely even likes being held and cuddled now, unless he is super sleepy or super over-tired.  I never thought we would see this day, but it’s here and it’s here full-force.  My boy, who could not be put down, is itching to GO.  The only thing really holding him back is his abilities, which are very quickly developing.  And once he goes, he’s gonna be gone.

May 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm 1 comment

SNOOPY SUNDAY.

RULES:

1) Every Sunday, I will post an answer to a question from a reader.   You can ask me questions on Facebook or by commenting on my blog.  The question I choose will be random – I will put the questions in a hat and pick one out; that will be the question I answer.

2) Once I answer a question, I will visit your blog or your Facebook and ask you a question in return.  I will also link to your blog when I write the answer to the question you asked.

3) I don’t know if this is exactly a rule, but I will encourage my regular readers who have blogs to also participate on Snoopy Sundays.  Let’s make this fun, shall we.

4) Questions can be relating to anything, although try to keep it somewhat appropriate.  I cannot police how you interpret appropriate, so be nice.

Chandra was nice enough to shoot out something like 4 questions for me so I got the pick of the litter, and this time I chose: Do you think after the experiences you have had, are you more inclined to have more children or less?

Honestly, I guess I picked this one ’cause I thought it was an easy question.  Call me a copout.  I slept on a camping trailer-style table-bed last night, and my hips still get achy from giving birth, so my sleep was a little on the not so great side, forgive me please and let me just have my moment.

The short, super simple answer is, my experiences have not really changed my mind about how many children I want.  Not really.  For the first 3 months post-giving-birth, I was totally on the fence because I was down in the dumps about my experience in terms of my perineal tear and not so fun healing process, breastfeeding struggles, and the cryfests of 2011 that turned into late-night (think 4am) parties that only technically involved 1 of us as the 2 adults and 1 dog were basically were walking zombies, sleep-deprivation induced mania, if you will.   But guess what?  Things are looking up.  My hormones were all over the map and so I was upset and sad about every and anything.  I know that it’s not the worst thing that could have happened.  I know that.  I am fortunate.  Things could have been more hectic, things could always be worse.  Always.  But, it’s all relative and I must give acknowledgment to my experiences and how they have shaped us.

So with that being said, I could not believe that I would be going through that whole journey again.  Give birth again to another child?  Yeah right.  As beautiful, amazing, empowering and wonderful as it was, the after-part was the sucky part, and it scared me to think that we would trudge through those murky waters ever again.  However, look at us, we made it, and I’d say we passed with flying colours.  But then again, I’d say every parent does because parents are wonderful beings and can take on the world.  Especially some parents, whom I am so blessed to say, I know some of those people.  And they are fricken’ amazing.  They take on challenges like nobody’s business.  They possess the kind of strength those silly UFC fighters would be jealous of.   Anyway…

So yup, we made it through the 4th trimester. The 4th trimester is one thing a lot of people fail to talk about.  Seriously, I think instead of trying to fear-monger every pregnant woman with war-like stories of birth, let’s talk a little bit about the stuff people seem to ignore, like the 4th trimester, realistic breastfeeding tips, how to heal yourself physically and mentally, sex after childbirth (which may or may not happen in the 4th trimester, depends on how brave you are, really), what to do when you seriously feel like you just might lose your mind and never ever EVER find it again, and maybe a good tip for partners: how to deal with your baby when your baby is screaming at 3am and mamabear is screaming louder than the baby.  NOW we’re talkin’.

Ok, I keep getting off topic.  4th trimester…. yup, made it, and it seems after that 4th trimester, well, give or take a couple months, I found myself slowly creepily climbing back on the baby bandwagon.  Read that carefully people, BABY BANDWAGON, NOT BABY-MAKING BANDWAGON.  Instead of being all, omg, how will I go through this again, I was all, yeah.. I could totally do this again, and even, I want to do this again.  Yes, want, as in, desire.  K and I for sure want at least one more child, possibly two, and if you asked K, possibly three, though that seems a bit hectic and chaotic panic-inducing to me.  The thing is, I have one sibling, and always thought it would be cool to have one more (sorry broseph, you’re like, really cool and all, but…).  But then three siblings is an odd number, but four, while an even number, seems just WILD.  And expensive.

Another thing about my experience (and I’m merely talkin’ labour/birthing experience here) is that since I’ve given birth, I have been a crazy lady with research, reading birth stories, watching birth videos, reading birth plans.  I have already begun to create a birth scenario and birth plan for our next one.  I have visions of home births (or at least, doula-accompanied and major talked about “natural childbirth” plan with lovely doctor style hospital birth) dancing very rhythmically in my head.  But with that being said, there’s things I need to do, personally (physically, emotionally, etc) before we bring another life into this world.  There’s also this thing called time and age gap, both of which we want a decent chunk of.

Personally, I can’t imagine just having one child.  And I say that without any judgment (seriously!) on people who choose to stick with just one kiddo.  I just picture Cade and his brother(s) and/or sister(s) playing in the yard, setting up forts with miscellaneous items, and of course, with the aid of nature.  I picture them creating games and implementing their own rules, each helping the other how to figure out fairness and justice via an awesome game that they imagined and then put into action.  I picture them fighting and tattling on each other.  It makes my heart glow and beam so, so, so much.  I know we’re in for still more challenges and just ’cause we’ve made it through the 4th trimester (and well, an additional 4 months after that) it’s not that I think we are just totally good to go.  I just know that we can take on whatever challenge that this little dude is gonna present to us.  You deal with what you’re dished out, right, isn’t that how the saying goes?  Some people’s dish is piled high with medical needs, some people’s dish is piled high with super active toddlers who might as well be nicknamed Crash, and some people don’t even just get 1 dish, they get the whole friggin’ buffet.  Whatever it is, whatever it may be, we can do it, and you can too.  So with that, I say, bring on the kidlets.  But not too soon, will ya?

May 29, 2011 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

Why I Refuse to Join the Mom Bashing Club.

Besides the fact that it is ridiculous, juvenile, and basically just mean, it goes against everything that new parents need first and foremost, a strong support system.  I am a lover of all things pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and parenting blogs, and I love the communities that have been created as a result of these blogs bringing women from all the world, all different situations, together. And before I go out on a tangent, a bit of a rant, I should preface myself by saying that there are several possible reasons for why I am about to say what I am going to say: 1) I am mighty sensitive (to language, and sometimes, to life) 2) Everyone thinks they have all the answers and are doing things the best and right away (I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong about this, however, can we still not at least be like, “dude, you do things hella different than me, but know what?  I’ve got your back” 3) Mom guilt sets in and makes you rethink every decision you have made, every interaction you have had with your child (maybe not every single one, but a lot of them, mom guilt is the worst, GUILT is the worst in general, let’s ditch it, all together now, 1, 2, 3, NO MORE GUILT) 4) People are just mean and/or insensitive and there is nothing more to it.

As I so bravely confessed on Facebook last night, I have an addiction to reading blogs about birth, parenting, cloth diapers, breastfeeding… you name it.  Not only that, but I am a junkie for talking about and learning about all things birth and babies.  I want to take in as much information as possible, and because of that, I am often subjected to a lot of information that is counter-productive to what I am seeking out, which is support and community.  I guess thems the breaks right?  Can’t have it all, can’t have it all.  I hate when I stumble across some super strong one way article or post, one that proclaims to be the be all end all to one particular subject.  This was even worse when I was 4 weeks postpartum and ridiculously hypersensitive to everything I read.  But now, it just makes me mad.  And sometimes sad – I’m not going to lie, while I do consider myself a confident person, and fairly self-aware and strong in my values and belief systems, and can feel good about that, sometimes people make me doubt myself, and sometimes people make me feel sad.  OMG!  Human and emotional being, alert.  I’ve seen it more than I’ve needed to, one group of parents bashing the other, or at the very least, not supporting.  I get that we all have our own ways of parenting, our own ideas of what is best for our own children.  I get that some of us might follow one specific set of ideas over another.  However, what I don’t get is why some of us feel the need to pinpoint mamas who aren’t doing the same thing, to run them down, to attempt to make them feel like balls.  There are always situations in life, in our daily interactions, in our work, where we will have differing opinions and different beliefs, so why does it seem like when this happens in regards to parenting, birthing choices, rather than attempting to come to an understanding, and learn (NOT adopt, I simply said learn) about what another woman is doing with her children, and what her reasons are, we go into attack mode and full-on pull out the harshest Weapons of Mass Destruction – our words used in anything but a lovingly, nurturing and supportive way?

I had a bit of experience with this the other evening, after I posted a comment to an article about breastfeeding, and why one mom chose to breastfeed.  The article was great, and was written in a very supportive tone, in a way which did not berate anybody, but rather, shared her experiences and encouraged others to do the same.  Since breastfeeding is very dear to my heart, I of course had to leave a comment, briefly touching on my experiences and the support I had/have.  I talked about not knowing why my milk supply never fully came in, and I mentioned that I thought that maybe it might had something to do with the epidural, induction, pitocin and IV.   Another poster commented about how she wished there was more support for breastfeeding mothers to have a natural labour and delivery, so as not to interfere with the body’s processes and to further encourage breastfeeding.  In total, there were 34 comments, most of which were positive, supportive, and a sharing of individual experiences, however there was one that made me angry.  In short, the poster suggested that since she had had an epidural and been induced and had more milk than she knew what to do with, and this was the situation with most people with similar experiences, that she did not like how women “put the blame on those things.”   My reply to this was, I didn’t suggest epidural/pitocin/IV because I need something to ‘blame.’ I think we need to be careful around the language we use in terms of breastfeeding (read a good article about that today, can’t find the link, sorry.) Suggesting that there needs to be some sort of blame placed suggests that we need an excuse for not being able to breast feed. I would like a REASON as to why I cannot produce more milk, and I have had tests, blood work done which has produced no answers. I have read a lot of studies that talk about how epidural, pitocin and excessive IV fluids MAY affect breastfeeding and milk supply. I’m not saying that this is why I am unable to exclusively breastfeed, I am just lost as to what another reason might be and think this might be one. Thanks to all the women for sharing their stories. I think that as mamas, there are so many pressures, so many issues that we face. First and foremost, we need to support each other in this sometimes rough, but mostly beautiful journey.

I admit, I am sensitive around this issue, and perhaps take things in somewhat of a defensive manner, however, I do think that as part of this whole ‘let’s just be supportive’ thing, we need to be careful how we approach these very personal issues.  As I have written before, breastfeeding is highly personal and highly emotional.  So is birth, and so is pregnancy.  For some, it is a rite of passage, and for others, it is a journey to hell.  We need to be respectful of each of these journeys, no matter how they differ from ours, and instead of bashing, accusing, or disrespecting our soul sisters, let’s engage.  Let’s talk about things, let’s put our fabulously expanded and wise brains together to figure things out, to brainstorm.  Let’s learn, let’s educate, and let’s share information.  I promise, we’ve all got a lot to learn, be it in line with the way we live our lives or not. 

May 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm 2 comments

Mom, mama, mommy, mother.

When I was pregnant, on one hand, I had no idea of what to expect once the growing bean decided to make its entrance into the out-of-my-body world.  On the other hand, my head was filled with loads of expectations and fluffy, idealistic images of what life would be like.  I had no idea what parenting was all about, yet I had ideas in my head of what my life with my baby would be like. Because obviously I was going to be able to navigate parenthood oh so smoothly and direct my days Spielberg-style, effortlessly and flawlessly.  Of course I was never going to have my children sleep in bed with me; bad habits are for suckers.  FAIL.  Desperation calls for desperate measures, and co-sleep we did, for nearly 3 months.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely I would.  I miss the cuddles, but am happy and ecstatic that the little one feels secure enough to sleep on his own.  And obviously I was going to breastfeed exclusively, of course I was, all my dreams of my baby featured a foggy, dream-like glow to them, with me cradling my child to my breast.  FAIL.  Written about incessantly, we’ll skip it for this post.  Oh, and we probably don’t want to go the pacifier route, because that only creates addiction, and what good is an addicted baby?  FAIL.  Got a bit of a sucker on our hands, and a sucker who does not necessarily always only want my nipple.  Clearly my child will be sleeping in his crib by about 2 (if we’re going to push it, 3) months, and if my child cries a little bit, that’s okay, because I know he is safe, fed, dry and warm.  FAIL.  The sound of Cade’s cry makes me cry and makes me hurt deep within the depths of my heart, all the way down to my toes.  It breaks my heart, it really does.  Even if I know he is safe, fed, dry and warm, I just can’ t let him cry and cry.  I am not a fan of the cry it out method and am glad thus far we have been able to avoid that having to be an option.

But let’s take another look at this and try to be positive, shall we.  They are not fails.  They are simply decisions we made based on what we had to do at the time, and so, I think I can see them as successes.  I think.   Being a parent is about so much more than whether something is a fail or a success.  I don’t want to call our decisions mistakes, because that they are not.  They have helped shape our parenting styles, they have helped us to raise our son in a way that is appropriate for him, and in a way that meets his needs, rather than what we think his needs might be, based on a certain belief we researched, read about, or created within ourselves.

So even if these can be considered fails, by some standard which is a shitty standard to base things on to begin with, we’ve learned from them and they have benefited our family in one way or another, and that is really the only thing that counts.  Everything we do, we do for the boy.  If it suits him and is going to create happiness, security, attachment and confidence within him, then I’m game, and I’m all over that.  Momma guilt is the worst thing to have, ever, and I am guilty (sorry) for experiencing it.  Other than needing to slightly loosen up and place just a tiny bit more trust in my abilities and decisions as a parent, I haven’t quite figured out how to whisk myself away from the confines of that whole Feeling My Every Move Is Being Judged thing.  Like I’ve told Kyle countless times, basically every time we have to give the boy a bottle in public, I wish I could pass a copy around of this or this to detail my struggles and justify why I wasn’t breastfeeding.  I already know it’s ridiculous but can’t shake the nasty feelings.  It’s these moments where I need to proudly tighten up my mama shoes, hike up my mama jeans, and walk proudly knowing that bottom line, my son is healthy, thriving really, and happy, and there is nothing more to it.

To me, being a mom is so much more than the decisions I have made, and foolishly felt judged on.  It is about love, first and foremost.  And budding from that love, it is about an unreal connection, a joining of souls, a creation of a family.  It is about feeling a truly unconditional type of love, a love that will never go away, a love that is not dependent on actions or words, a love that only grows and grows, to become something so unreal, so profound.

It is about detaching part of my heart, and gluing it on to the outside of my body, where the other part of my heart lies within.  It is about the sacrifices we make, but more than that, it is not even considering them as ‘sacrifices being made’, rather, a responsibility of a mother, of a parent, that is made altruistically.

The birth of a parent comes internally and not externally.  For one, parental birth may be from the moment of conception, for another, it may be the last final push, when your child is placed on your chest, and for another, it might be the welcoming of a sibling group of 2 into your foster home, a place which will be their safe haven as need be.  It is about children, it is about expressing love and nurturing towards a child, be it in whichever way makes the most sense at that time.  It is about creating safe spaces, allowing children to grow up and be the individuals that will blossom within them.

I might have had expectations about who I was going to be as a parent.  I might have even beat myself up for making decisions that went against those expectations.  Perhaps I shed a tear, or maybe even several.  But when it comes down to it, I am going to make so many more decisions that I may question.  There will be many more moments where I will question whether I did the right thing or not.   And with every decision that I have questioned, there are a hundred more that have provided my son with a generous tool kit of life lessons, of skills, and most importantly, of values he will live his life based on.  There are little gifts that are greater than that, giving my child a beautiful start in life, and him knowing that I will be behind him the whole way, and more. 

May 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm Leave a comment

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