Saturday, March 30, 2013

No Longer Breastfeeding

It's with a heavy heart that I write this. Really, I can't believe I'm about to. As quick as it will be to read this, it's taken me awhile to sort out what to say. I want to get it right, because it's important. It matters to me, and if God forbid one of my daughters wants to breastfeed but can't I want them to read the raw emotion that can sometimes come from that and know they are not alone.

I have gone back and forth between being ok and being crushed by guilt. I go back and forth on whether or not I gave up or if I made an intelligent choice that was truly best for our family. I will probably never know. I don't know what happened. I know that from the start Natalie has never been very interested in nursing. I know that she was not growing properly and very lethargic. I know she wasn't going to be a breastfed baby, but what I do know I gave up on his her being a baby that received breast milk. I didn't want to pump for nine months. I wanted to enjoy those nine months. So was it selfish? Would it be more selfish for her not to get breast milk the whole nine months or would it be more selfish to tie myself to her feedings and pumping. For both kids. I don't know.

I do know deep down that there was probably more I could have done, but I didn't.

My body feels empty. I feel like I have this infant, but my body doesn't quite understand now. Some times I feel like it's almost yearning to do what it knows it should be, but it's not. Then I sit and think wow this is so much different. It really is entirely different. No fumbling in public with her as she refuses to latch. No pump parts and hour long pumping sessions. No weight worries. It's just different. It's the first time in almost three years that I haven't been pregnant or breastfeeding. Is it different in a better way? No.

The thing is it's not just the guilt that gets to me. It's that who I am as a mother feels like it's been shaken. I am a breastfeeding mom. What happened to my goal of two years this time? I like a million different natural, attachment, pro breastfeeding pages. Every day I feel bombarded with facts I know. I agree with even still. Yet now all it does is fill me with overwhelming grief and guilt because I...gave up.

It's like with all that I do to fit into that crowd I feel like this outsider. How can I still be this pro breastfeeding advocate but not breastfeed. I feel like a phony.

So that's it. I feel like my body is empty. I feel useless sometimes to my child. I feel guilt. I feel like I no longer belong with the women I once strongly identified with. Then the next minute I feel fine.

I will probably never really be sure if I was one of those women that just couldn't get breastfeeding to be the best choice this round or if I just gave up. Either way it sucks.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reflux {And Following Your Mommy Instincts}

I swear there is something to be said about a mother's instinct. I knew from the beginning something was different about Natalie. She didn't have much interest in eating. She got what I would describe as a frothy mouth and would often choke on her saliva. She often breathed like something was in her throat. Then at two months she developed a cough.

This past Monday was her two month check up and I asked her doctor about her cough. He said she had a virus and prescribed her some amoxacylin. I also asked him about the possibility of her having reflux. It was quickly dismissed even with her very low weight gain and that also being a sign of reflux.

I didn't really like the answer, but hey I'm not a doctor. Still I knew something wasn't right. During this time I had decided to no longer breastfeed. I was going to use up my freezer stash and then switch her to formula. It wasn't an easy choice, but more on that later.

While I struggled with wanting a different opinion and feeling some sort of loyalty to a doctor I never really liked going to I had a MOPS meeting. Thank goodness for mom groups. What an awesome thing to be able to come together with different knowledge and perspectives. At this meeting I was approached by several moms who were as concerned about her weight as I was. They gave me a number to a pediatrician. I called the next day and luckily got in right away.

This doctor is amazing. She listens, and she doesn't even need to, because she knows. She knew in minutes that Natalie had REFLUX! Even her cough is caused by her reflux. She didn't have to listen to me. She just had to listen to Natalie.

We now have a totally different baby. She's gaining weight so quickly. She is happy and alert. Her cough is gone. Right now she is on Zantac three times a day and a teaspoon of cereal in her night bottle. She no longer has horrible breathing at night because of it. Of course my worry as her mom will always be there, but I feel so much better now that she feels so much better.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I don't know if I'm crying because of how you're acting or because of how I am reacting

Breath in. Breath out. I hate to say that I need to take a little break from the person I love more than anyone in the whole world, but I do. So I closed off everything and put up all the gates. Got in the shower and closed the door. Breath out. I ran through all my thoughts and emotions and collected myself. I hate these days.

One day you'll think about having kids and then one day you'll come to that point and five hundred people will tell you how hard it is. They're right, but they don't need to put it like that. Dear Lord is it hard. Just not hard in the way that you think. What's hard is having to raise your voice to someone you never want to do more than shush, rock, and hold close. What's hard is being stern when you wish you could just be enjoying every second you're given. I hate getting on to you. That's one thing. What absolutely kills me is when I get to this point. Where it's to the I need a break point.

See what hurts more than your developmentally appropriate two year old rebellion is the parent role where I teach you boundaries. That part of parenting sucks, because you always second guess how you're doing it. Especially when you have to do those things in anger. If someone were to tell me they have never been there I don't know if I should give them a medal or call bull shit.

So with that I got you girls together to go out for more milk. The plan was for you to take your nap while I got peanut and I ready. What happened was you fought me for two hours. I stepped away and then collected myself enough to take you two in pajamas. Yeah. I was that mom. Which gave me a new found respect for that mom.

Here is the killer. Once we got out of the car it was snowing big beautiful flakes. The whole way in you laughed and laughed saying snow over and over again. Damn. I put in your lessons I hope to teach you that no one can make you feel anything. I find that to be the most important thing to know in parenting. You can't make me mad if I don't allow it. I think every parent can agree that once it happens it is always followed by some sweet moment that makes you kick yourself for letting it happen. At this point I'm aware, and when these times happen I know I'm going to kick myself later.

I'm trying. I don't get angry often, but lord do I hate when I do. I'll never be a perfect parent, but I promise you that I'll always keep striving to be.

You are the most strong willed person I know. You are just like me. It's one of those things that I love the most about you, but it can be one of the things that drives me crazy about you. I just need to move forward with nurturing it and learning how to control it a little bit instead of reacting to it.

I love you and tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not the update I wanted

I wanted to write a positive update on breastfeeding, but it looks like I won't be for now. I just need some deep breaths and some thought gathering. I want to enjoy feeding Natalie. I want it to be like before with Molly. It just isn't. That's a hard thing to swallow.

I am this breastfeeding mom that wears my babies in slings and we all pile into one bed. Do those things really define me as a mother or is what defines me my love and attitude. Is what defines me the approach I take and the way that I listen. As Dr. Sears says the 7 baby Bs aren't all or nothing. Attachment parenting is your calm and instinctual approach to raising your children. Right now breastfeeding isn't feeling calm and its not instinctual. What is is doing what is absolute best for Natalie and I. So I am back to that cross roads where I don't know which is.

Yesterday I heard what no breastfeeding mother wants to hear. She isn't gaining weight. I think the news hit me like a ton of bricks. It took all the air out me even though deep down, I know. I know she's tiny. I know she doesn't want to eat often. I know she does better with a bottle.

So the answers he gave could be three things. I don't make enough. It's not fatty enough. She has been congested and can't eat as well. Yesterday I thought one of those answers could change everything and I could be fine to breastfeed. Two of them could make the choice formula. Today I don't even care, and I just want this to be enjoyable. I want her to gain weight. I want her congestion to be over. I want her to stop spitting up so much. I just don't want this worry. Is formula the answer to that? I guess I wouldn't know until it happened.

So for the past two days I've been pumping. In so much pain I can hardly bare it. See to add to all of this I have horrible thrush. Like no skin on my nipples thrush. Each time I pump it's just more gone. It is so extremely painful and I get a couple ounces.

So I'm sitting here thinking what am I doing this for? When does breastfeeding not become best? If this were Molly I would be beyond crushed. This time around is different though. I feel like this time I know breastfeeding doesn't completely define me. I know that slings and bed sharing and all of those things don't make me the mother I am. I know I am a damn good one without it. This time around I don't care what people think. I remember with Molly I was self conscious to feed her a bottle of pumped milk in public, because hey I breastfeed damnit! This time is just different. This time I have settled into my role as mom. I am who I am as far as all the fluff. Like what she eats and where she sleeps. I love her with all of me and every decision she is what is taken into account first. That is who I am as a mom.

Now if only I can be brave enough to face whatever emotions I have when I let this go and accept that it isn't really working.

Monday, March 11, 2013

15 Things I Want To Teach My Daughters

It's a hard thing to express what it means to be a mother of a daughter. As I am sure it is of a son. I, however, have two daughters so that is what I know. I know the overwhelming sense of pride I get. I know I wouldn't trade it for the world. I know that while I wouldn't mind having a son I am quite content and happy that I am a mother to two daughters. I don't have that desire like some do to parent each. I look at them and even so young I identify with them and what they will face in life. Obstacles I know they will one day have to overcome. While it kills me to know those things it also makes me a stronger women in order to be a better example.

I don't want to talk bad about myself. I don't want to spend hours in front of a mirror. I don't want to pick apart someones shoes or outfit. I want to take care of myself. I want to take pride in who I am. It's a harsh world out there and I won't pretend that it's not or shelter them from it to the point they aren't prepared when there is no choice but to go out into it. I know it's harsh, but I want them to be some light in it. That's all that I can really hope for.

As I was thinking on all these things tonight I thought to myself that I should write this down for them, because having two daughters has made me connect to my own mother in a new way. It's made me walk in her shoes and how terrifying it must have been to face not being there to walk her two daughters through a harsh world. How she would have given anything to be here to show us she does identify and that we aren't alone in our feelings. I know that this fear can tragically become a reality. Which is why it needs to be said. So if God forbid there is a day where I'm not there to say it, I already have.

1. The most interesting people are the people who are themselves, because they aren't like everybody else. Take solace in dancing to the beat of your own drum.

2. Someone will always find something wrong with you. Take the time to find everything right with them. Don't be that someone for anyone. Put love into the world and you are bound to get love back.

3. As crucial as high school may seem it does end in four years. The only crucial part is the education. Everyone looks back and has at least one regret. Don't let your regret be how you treated people.

4. No matter what you know or feel is wrong or sin don't judge the person who does it. Instead think or listen as to why, and be there. Learn to put yourself in others shoes. Then do what you can for them.  Be a shoulder or a hand to those who struggle. You'll have a shoulder or a hand in them for life.

5. Whoever it is that you love is ok. Just as long as they treat you how you deserve to be treated. You accept the love you feel you deserve, and you deserve a lot.

6. You are worth it.

7. Just because everyone is doing something doesn't make it cool. Usually that's when it becomes uncool.

8. Nobody can make you feel anything. Don't allow it.

9. Learn to keep a secret. It's hard to turn back from being the person who tells it all.

10. Be the friend you want to have. Be the wife you want your daughter to be and marry the husband you would want her to have.

11.The guys you attract by playing dumb aren't the guys you want.

12. Speak to people the way you want to be spoken to. Respect gets you a long way.

13. Listen. It's not always about you.

14. Do everything with your whole heart. Live life with passion.

15. Don't hesitate to do or say what you feel. Opinions and thoughts should be shared. Don't just surround yourself with people who share yours.