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.