Thursday, November 10, 2011

a hard look in the mirror


It's all I can do not to scream some days. At myself, not anyone else. You'd think 2.5 months later, equaling out to about 600+ bottles, I'd be used to it by now. But I'm not. I've got the hang for being a mom, learning to tell the difference between my son's cries, and keeping him on a healthy growing track of the 95th percentile. I can handle juggling my job, my husband's job, and family time ((the little that we do get)). I am doing great at keeping everyday life interesting for my three month old, making sure he's meeting his milestones, and getting out of the apartment at least once a day for fresh air. With all of this, feeling like I have sacrificed my entire life, my art and photography, and my marriage, I'd still do it all the same. I absolutely love everything I have given up for this little one. I only have one major regret. And it kills me everyday.

I hate hate hate more than anything  I have ever done in my life, that I gave up breast feeding my baby. The pregnancy and delivery were nothing I planned on them being. Being pumped with drugs and having my son come into this world in the most unnatural way possible was hard for me to deal with. However, I could care less about those things now.  I just wanted some part of the beginning of his life to be au natural. Breastfeeding was the only thing I could have probably controlled. But I gave up. He wouldn't latch. Pumping became a very painful and difficult task. It was an emotionally draining and mentally exhausting journey those few weeks I tried to keep supplementing. But then I just gave up. Now I am kicking myself every day.

I cry reading friend's posts and blogs about their sleepless nights because of feedings. I would give up sleep for that now. I also get emotional reading other mom's blogs about how they still breast feed their 18 month olds. Before, I would have thought this was absolutely insane. Once a child can walk up to you and say "I want mama milk" I would think that's when to pull the boob. However, now I want to be that woman. I don't care if people would look at me as that crazy mom. Given the chance, I'd do it. A few weeks ago I was in Babies-R-Us, in the little separate area for women to change and feed their babies. As I bottle fed my absolutely beautiful and content baby boy, a woman sat next to me with her daughter, who was nine months. She whipped out her boob and started feeding. And I started crying. In the middle of Babies-R-Us, next to a complete stranger, I stared down at my son and cried. In my head I was saying, "I'm so sorry. I love you so much and want to be the best mother to you. But selfishly I gave up feeding you like that because I couldn't deal. I could've just sucked up my own feelings and pain and kept pumping and kept trying to get you to latch. It's a bond now you and I will never have and I'm so sorry for that. I am so so sorry."

Now even though our pediatrician reassures up again and again that Vedder is growing amazingly in the 95th percentile, I cannot help but think my selfish decisions have hurt him. The doctor has told both me and my husband that our son is impeccably healthy. His verbal skills are even beyond his level and he's as "strong as an ox." But I keep thinking, What if I just tried harder and dealt with the pain? How much farther along would he be? I am not a person who has really ever lived her life asking "what if." I have always just done what I wanted, taking chances, blowing down barriers, because if I didn't try then, what if would rule my life. And now that is exactly what it is doing.

I have written this blog not for a need for sympathy or even apathy. I am just a new mom and this is the journey most of us are thrown onto - the crash course of parenthood that we are supposed to just figure out while holding a fragile life in our arms and not fumble. Making sacrifices is a daily norm for parents. My parents did it. Their parents did it. And so on. But what if I sacrificed the wrong thing, his health for my emotional sanity? This is just something that I struggle to forgive myself for. And probably will for a while, maybe forever..

1 comment:

  1. Oh Cait, don't beat yourself up for this. I have three kids. I nursed one for over a year, he never took a bottle I was miserable. The second 6 months the third strictly formula. Every benefit they claim nursing has my kids shot to shit. DJ is 7 still in speech therapy has allergies. Tyler was on 15 antibiotics in his first 8 months and hAd ear tubes before he was a year old. As they get older they don't even want to think about drinking from mommys boob! You are an amazing mother regardless of how your baby is fed and he will and probably does know that already ;)