If you read my last post, you know breastfeeding is a topic that brings up a lot of uncomfortable memories for me. If you’re a new mom and struggling with breastfeeding, I truly hope something here helps you through this time; just know it gets better. You’re not going to have to do this forever. Continue reading
One of most useful things anyone ever said to me about parenting came from my husband’s mother. I was a new mom feeling guilty about having to supplement breast milk with formula and she said, “Honey, the ‘right way’ to do things is however you want to do them.”
I’m going on KC Live today to talk about helpful accessories for breastfeeding mothers, and while I don’t normally post about what I’ll be talking about before a segment, I’m going to share something with you here: breastfeeding is wonderful…for women who are not me. It was one of my worst experiences in motherhood. I felt like an engorged, leaky cow tethered to a fence post just waiting for some screaming, unappreciative blob-human to come along and give my life purpose.
When Savvy was an infant our little family went to Indianapolis for my sorority sister’s baby shower. The baby shower turned into a girls’ night out ending with me leaning over a hotel bathroom sink, squeezing tequila out of my boobs in hopes that I wouldn’t get my baby drunk when she inevitably woke up at 6am. If you’ve never tried to wring your own breast out like a wet washcloth, let me be the first to tell you, it’s as painful as it sounds. And don’t even get me started on the time I got a clogged milk duct (I shuddered even as I typed it.)
For people who love the experience of breastfeeding or didn’t love it at first, but worked like hell at it for the sake of their child; I respect and commend you. Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience to some people, just not to me. To me, it was awkward, painful and gross. There I said it. So freaking gross. There was no technique, support group, or product that could have made me love nursing the way some mothers do, but there are things that can make it more bearable. And that’s what I’ll be talking about today on KCL.
So if you’re a new mom reading this, I want you to know, the “right way” to do things is however you want. You don’t owe anyone an apology or explanation. To paraphrase my mother-in-law, you do you, Boo Boo.
A friend of mine recently had a baby, and it got me thinking back to my first few weeks of motherhood. I cried a lot. When Avery was ten days old, I woke up, put on my makeup, cried it all off, and then continued crying for the entire day. My parents picked up my Grandmom and brought her over to meet Avery. I was so depressed (and depressing) that she actually ASKED them to take her back to the retirement home. How sh*tty of a hostess do you have to be before your own Grandmom is like, umm, listen, I know I live in a home, but you’re a real downer, kid.
Days after each of my beautiful children were born, I said to my husband, “This was a bad idea. It’s too hard. I don’t want to feel like this anymore.” I felt raw, vulnerable, and like I could never be by myself again. As an introvert, this terrified me. My battery drains quickly and I need to spend time by myself to recharge. With the obligation of nursing and pumping and diapers and laundry and bottle-washing it felt like there would never be time for me to just be me.
Now my girls are older and things are getting easier. One goes to preschool and the other is still with me 24/7 but that will change next year, so I’m cherishing the hours I get when it’s just us and she’s not overtaken by 2-year-old drama. My husband has a demanding career, so I’ve found myself “alone” a lot with my children. I often hear myself say, “Kevin’s traveling so I’m alone with the kids.” What is it about being responsible for another person 24/7 that makes you feel so lonely sometimes? It’s not like I’d have it any other way, but I do get burned out. As a wife and mother, I cycle between elation, annoyance, guilt, frustration, forgiveness, tenderness and amusement. And that’s by like, 9am. When I sing my babies to sleep at night, I’m relieved, but then I miss them and look at pictures of them on my phone.
And I just don’t know if I’ll ever stop feeling lonely.
So welcome to this sisterhood of motherhood, new mommies. No matter how lonely it gets, sometimes it can help to be reminded you’re not the only one.