*Addison is recovering very well from her surgery yesterday (the bloody tears have stopped)...thank you for continuing to pray for her!
*Feeling a bit restless today, so I'm afraid this is a bit of a vent...only read if you are feeling sympathetic...and don't mind breastfeeding discussions...
Once upon a time
there was a beautiful young woman who got married to the perfect man. When she became pregnant with their first child, her body gained the perfect amount of weight and remained a stranger to bloating. During delivery, everything happened naturally, quickly and easily for her. She, of course, walked away from the labor room wearing her pre-pregnancy jeans. Her baby immediately latched on to nurse which started an effortless nursing relationship which lasted the perfect amount of time. She did everything right with her perfectly healthy baby and smartness and genius abounded as she taught and nurtured just the right amount -not so much that she smothered, but not so little that she was negligent.
The words "bad mother" could never describe this beautiful young woman whose body never showed a mark of having birthed her baby. The best part of her life? She never ever felt "mommy guilt" because she did EVERYTHING right....never a slip up, never a hormonally charged moment full of regrettable tears.
This woman is fictional. A fairy tale. (did the "once upon a time" not give that away?)
Being a mom is hard work. The lack of sleep- not having time to take care of yourself-a constantly messy house- all of those things don't hold a candle to the guilt that comes with motherhood. No matter what you do, it seems like there is always someone out there telling you that your efforts aren't good enough, or that your take on motherhood is completely wrong and your kids will grow up needing lots of therapy just to cope with the emotional scars you no doubt are inflicting upon them.
It's as if an evil witch put a curse on all pregnancy tests- that as soon as you hold the urine soaked stick and see that positive, from here on out you will feel guilty about EVERYTHING. (that's not as much a fairy tale as the first story)
Why do I bring this unpleasant subject to light? (It is much preferred to just let it simmer under the surface...pretending that it doesn't exist)
I've been feeling a lot of guilt lately, and I spend most of my days reassuring myself that the guilt is ridiculous, I'm doing the best I can- but the guilt has a way of eating through most all assurances.
When Addison was born, I really, really, really wanted to breastfeed her. But she had so many physical problems she couldn't even take a bottle- she was g-tube fed and we worked up to a bottle. So, I pumped for 4-5 months to still give her breastmilk, but then I had to stop because I couldn't keep up with all of her appointments, working and pumping. I was sad, but I had done the best I could.
One of my big desires with Carter was to breastfeed and make up for that lost experience with Addison. When he was born healthy and strong, I knew that this was my chance.
The only problem was, he was SO healthy and strong that he wanted to eat ALL THE TIME (and no, a pacifier would not cut it) The kid is almost 14 pounds at 9 weeks, so yes, he is a BIG eater.
For about a week, he demanded to eat almost constantly (he ate so slowly...but still needed huge quantities) and Addison would be completely on her own, spending too much time in her crib, watching signing time...and wandering the house creating trouble. Finally, I told myself that this wasn't working, so I went back to pumping because it's what I knew.
After a couple of days of measuring out his food (NICU trained...I can't get it out of my mentality of "good mom") and figuring out that he needed 4-6 ounces every three hours (he would drink it much faster with a bottle as well), we were able to get on a schedule and I was able to split my attention between the two again.
Now, I'm pumping almost exclusively (managing to keep up with Carter, no problem...but how long will that last) and.....
IT MAKES ME FEEL GUILTY.
So many women seem to effortlessly breastfeed and make it work, but it wasn't working for us, so I did what I could to keep some sanity.
Whenever someone sees me giving Carter a bottle (of breastmilk-but they don't know that), I get comments like
"Oh breastfeeding my babies was my favorite thing to do"
"I just loved the connection that breastfeeding gave me and my baby"
"Breastfeeding is so amazing, I'm aiming to keep it up for 3 years"
and my guilt multiplies.
I do want the best for my baby, and I do want to breastfeed. But not having done it successfully for my first baby really put me at a disadvantage and I was on my own from day one with 2, so I never was able to just sit all day with Carter and make it work for us.
Right now the pumping is working great...he gets breastmilk and Addison still gets a mommy too.
But I wonder how long I can keep that up, and I feel like I missed my chance to figure out breastfeeding.
I'm just now starting to overcome the guilt a bit and feel happy that I am able to still supply him with breastmilk even if it's not conventional...and that I remember to feed both children....and that they both are happy babies. Isn't that the ultimate goal? I am doing the best I can.
So why do I still feel guilty? Curse that pregnancy stick witch....and the fictitional woman in the first story that makes me feel inferior..