This post is to remind me how the fog will clear after you have a baby. Honestly the fog lasted quite a bit longer than Mommy expected. Humbling. (If you don’t want to read the word ‘breast’ several times, skip this post.)
Eating is something that has come very naturally in my family. Aaron’s too. We’re good Germans like that. From birth on eating as never been a problem. When it came to feeding a baby, I was breastfed, my sisters all breastfed their eight children, so I was in the breastfeeding lane when prepping to have Sam. How challenging could it be? Women all over the world do it. I’m sure Eve did it. I quickly became critical of women that didn’t breastfeed…did they really try that hard?
And then I had Sam.
I won’t go through the entire journey it has been for us, but it’s been a challenging one. Two weeks after I had Sam, I came down with mastitis…then an infection followed…and I was still have extreme pain every time after he ate. All the while I was working with a fabulous lactation consultant from NMCRS trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Sam was growing like a champ so I figured I must just suck it up and deal with the pain, since that’s what good moms do for their kids. Right? Wrong.
Several weeks into breastfeeding, blisters began forming and more pain followed…and a few clues made us look at what could possibly be going on in Sam’s mouth. I then had to remember that breastfeeding is a teamwork activity…I do my part and Sam has to figure out his. After going to our pediatrician, we were referred to a speech pathologist (seriously, I had no idea infants could be helped by a speech path). She taught us some exercises to do with his face/mouth and we thought we’d be well on our way to successful breastfeeding. More blisters, more pain, and little improvement.
Now, mind you, many tears and conversations of giving all this up were accompanied through this process…much learning for me how easy it is to make something ‘good’ for your child an idol that you cling to so tightly…how gross it is to see my independence as I try absolutely all I can do FIRST and then run to Jesus when that doesn’t work…and for God to humble me and cultivate a heart of compassion for women that struggle with this part of motherhood. Who knew this would be my journey?
So here we are at three months and I feel like I’ve finally emerged from the fog. I thought I’d be back to many of my normal activities by now but feeding Sam (he’s a slow eater taking about 5-6 hours of my day) has consumed a lot of it. Two weeks ago he seemed to have gotten the whole eating, suckling, swallowing thing in a non-painful way for his mother…soon after I completely surrendered it and knew I could move on from this place and feed him formula if necessary. I have chosen to not believe the lie that good mothering = breastfeeding. I have chosen to not let something good come in the way of me loving, nurturing, and enjoying my baby. I am choosing to let this experience shape me into a better mom knowing there will be many things Aaron and I will desire to give Sam that is the ‘best,’ but that it’s not always possible. And trust that God will still care for and grow Sam as He chooses. After all, Sam is His.
Hopefully other mom’s who have struggled in this area will come into my path so I can encourage them. I am glad to be out of the fog…and this post is more for me than anything. To remind me when another child comes along that the fog will clear and ‘this too shall pass.’