I Hate Breastfeeding: 2nd Baby Confession

12496528_10100828356823473_3734553706941214189_oWhen Potamus was born, I struggled for the first 7 weeks to get breastfeeding down. I had overactive letdown, oversupply, and there’s a picture that will never make it to the internet where my areola was bigger than his face. It was a struggle, including one 8 hour sleeping stint leaving him too weak to nurse, even with the nipple shield, where I was sobbing and spoon feeding milk into his mouth while Boof was on the phone with La Leche league. Rough.

And then, when I went back to work, he reverse cycled. And until he self-weaned the night before he turned two, I nursed him all.night.long. It was rough. But I enjoyed it, for the most part. It was what made me a MOM, and I fully recognize that all of my obsession with bonding and attachment were due to my own adoption trauma and while I sometimes resented that I was the only one who could feed him, I was also glad that I was the only one who could feed him. I was mom. Nobody else could take that role.

Now, with Lil G, I’m struggling. It feels very reminiscent of the pregnancy, where, with Potamus it was all glowy and mama goddess, and then with #2 I hated it. Having had mastitis, which left me feeling like shit and ramped up my anxiety to almost agoraphobic levels, paired with nipple trauma, a clipped tongue and lip tie, disorganized suck, on top of parenting a 4 year old who is struggling with the loss of his Universe/Mama to the demands of his new brother, I am thisclose to throwing in the towel on breastfeeding. I had already resigned myself to weaning or partially weaning around 6 months when I go back to work, because I loathe pumping, but part of me feels like the women who allow themselves the option of pain meds during labor and then request them 5 minutes in.

Because, you see, breastfeeding the first go round was for me. I was recently talking to my sister-in-law, who’s exclusively pumping for my niece after a rough start breastfeeding, about how I think that is the hardest route to go. And that if I had to pump I would just use formula, because for me breastfeeding was about the ease and the bonding, not about the nutrition. I nursed for me, not for my baby. Maybe that’s selfish to admit, but it’s true. I needed to feel the bond. I needed to be needed in that way. I needed to nurse to make me a mother the first go round.

But now I am a mother. Now, when Lil Go was born, and I stared into his sweet face, I felt the deep love that I knew nothing could replace. I AM his mom. Nothing will make me anything less than his mom. Nothing will take away my deep love for him. And so I stare at the two free cans of formula on the top of my fridge and think…what if…what if?

It’s only been 4.5 weeks with this little guy, and a struggle, so I don’t want to make a decision out of difficulty. I know I will give it more time, but I also want to enjoy my baby, enjoy time with Potamus, and not dread every feeding. I don’t want to plug my ears when he starts his 5th fussing of the night, pretending for just 5 more minutes that he doesn’t need my barely healing nipples. And the thought of someone else in the future being able to feed him, while I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding, or out at a yoga class, feels so refreshing that I want to skip around in the sunshine. Does that make me a terrible person?

Perhaps in 5 months, when I’m truly weaning (currently my goal is to give formula at daycare, and nurse on off hours), I’ll feel nostalgic and sad that I didn’t extend breastfeeding like with Potamus. Or maybe I’ll feel relief. Can I do something completely different with Baby #2 and still be a rockin’ awesome mom? I think so. I love all the moments with this baby…except when he’s attached to my boob…

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I wrote a thing! It got published!

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Since quietly moving my blog over to Egypt Titchenal, I have been trying my hand at writing pieces for publication by online magazines, and I’m proud to announce that yesterday I was published over on Mutha Magazine! Maybe head on over there and show me some love? I’m hoping to write more pieces like this in the future!

And while you’re at it, go ahead and follow my new blog!

Jealous Mothers

I think we need to invent a specific word to describe the jealousy of mothers. Or maybe more accurately, the jealousy of mothers with grandchildren. Because I am about ready to pop my mom and my mother-in-law in the face if they don’t get their shit figured out. I mean, seriously, their mutual jealousy is driving me batshit crazy.

It started a few weeks ago, when I was explaining to my mom why we were looking at non-home daycares, stating, “Potamus has a grandma, and a mom and dad, to watch him” but before I could even finish the sentence she inserted, “he has another grandma, too.”

face, meet palm.

Seriously? Yes mom, I know he has “two” grandmas (though if we are really being honest, he has FOUR grandmas since I am adopted, but I let that part slide), but if you would have let me finish the sentence it was about primary caregivers. I’m sorry that she made the choice to stay living 25o miles away and my mother-in-law is right down the street, but I can’t do anything about that.

THEN, my second sister-in-law got married and my mom said, ‘I don’t know, is MB (my mother-in-law) stressed, because I tried to say “hi” to her and she didn’t respond, but she gave your dad a hug.”

Seriously.

WTF.

My mother-in-law is the mom of the bride, probably not in the best frame of mind to be chit-chatting and worrying about my mom’s feelings on the matter. But, to try and nip that nonsense in the bud, Boof had a wee chat with his mom about making extra sure that my mom feels included in stuff.

BUT THEN, after the wedding shenanigans were through, MB comes to me and says, “I’m not bothered by it, but your dad says that your mom is going by grammy, so I guess I will go by Grandma Lastname.”
(which is the most martyeriest thing she could say, because she originally told us she HATED that name.)

Seriously. It’s like being in freaking junior high, and I have less patience now for that kind of drama. Who the fuck cares if Potamus calls you BOTH grammy? Why does it matter? Why all the jealousy and insecurity?

AND THEN, in reference to my 30th and Potamus’s 1st birthday party in my hometown, my mom made a snide remark about “I hope it’s okay we just to a family dinner. That’s how we do it,” which was clearly referencing my in-laws (who have more money) who go out to eat a lot. GAH! I’m about to pull my hair out.

On my mom’s end, it seriously feels like she is having those child-feelings that I had because of adoption. It feels like she now understands what it is like to worry that someone (me) is going to leave and not think of her as family anymore. But I don’t know what the deal is with my mother-in-law, but at this rate I am getting VERY annoyed about the prospect of having to deal with it all on Thanksgiving. I want them to just communicate, work it out, and hell, maybe even let Potamus pick his own name for you all. My pick, right now,  is Beavis and Butthead.

Easter

Last Easter, Boof and I hosted a family celebration, where we announced (to everyone’s surprise) that we would be expecting around Christmas. So this year we decided to host a repeat celebration, complete with Potamus being baptized at our church. Of course his personality shined, and where many other babies cry through the whole thing, he sat there (looking quite dapper in his little suit) and made dove eyes at all the little old ladies in the congregation. It was so much fun to have everyone over to our house, and I loved watching my cousin’s kids run around the backyard looking for Easter eggs. I can’t wait for NEXT year, when Potamus is old enough to hunt for the eggs himself! Image

It takes a village

I had so much fun this weekend with my sister-in-law, her fiance, and his parents all visiting from Georgia. It is moments like these that I realize how TRUE the “it takes a village” statement is in relation to how I want to raise Potamus. There were 10-14 of us all hanging out together, visiting local sites, eating yummy meals, and Boof and I did not have to parent alone. When Potamus was smiley he had an audience. When he was fussy he had several aunties and grandmas who wanted to hold him to try their technique at getting him to calm down. There were funny voices (okay, funny accents since they were from the South), and falling asleep in auntie’s arms, and the best part…poopy diaper duty fell on more than us 🙂

At the end of the day he is still my son. There were momens where only I was able to calm him down. He tried nuzzling in one of his auntie’s bosoms and it only frustrated him more. There were moments where the overwhelm of all the people and lights and noises from the various restuarants could only be tempered by my arms, as we walked and rocked slowly in quiet hallways. While our sleep schedule has been severely interupted by this weekend, we spent slow snuggly mornings together, nursing and napping in bed.

I feel refreshed. Tired, but refreshed. Having so many loving people around to hold, and snuggle, and bounce and tickle Potamus relieved me from having to feel the need to be super mom 24/7. And for that, I am grateful!

Valentine’s Day

I think the biggest lie that we believe is that we are alone and that nobody else could possibly understand our inner fuckedupness, and so in order to not risk people leaving us, or judging us, we keep things hidden inside and inhibit the process of truly creating intimacy in romantic or friend relationships. For example, I have only disclosed to a few people (my husband, mother-in-law, midwife and one friend) that I am struggling with postpartum depression/anxiety and that I am taking medication for it (which is helping tremendously). I haven’t shared this with many others because of shame/guilt/embarassment that I am going to be judged for being a bad mom. After all, people could certainly judge a woman who has thoughts of hurting her baby or herself, as motherhood has this saintly ideal to it.

So I was asked to coffee by an acquaintence of mine (she’s a HS friend of my cousin), who gave birth a few days after me. We hung out a couple times before we had our little ones. We met up at the cutest little coffee shop and talk turned to all things motherhood. About halfway through the conversation she mentioned that she was thinking she had some “post partum stuff” going on, and that she might go and see her doctor. That little opening left me spilling my guts about my own experience being on meds, the events leading up to it, and how crappy I felt even having to go through all of this. It was a immediate connection. When you’re sitting there, about to sob into your latte, telling the deepest secret, that you even contemplated hurting your baby, you can’t help but feel connected, because before this you felt like you were the only one in the world who could possibly be in this dark place.

I am connected to another person now. And in my recovery we can support each other. And because of this, I have expanded myself. My heart has been opened to another, who I can call a friend. And the ripple effect is more love, at the end of the day, for myself, for Boof, our real life dog, and of course the sweet little Potamus.

Making the call…

Boof did it. After a long talk, Boof, with my blessing, called the midwife to seek advice for my-likely-post-partu-depression and the result has been cautiously magical.

After talking to my favorite midwife, explaining my episodes, she prescribed me my favorite anti-depressant and encouraged me that I was an “amazing mama for recognizing this.”

I don’t know why that means so much to me,  it it did.

So, I braved the snowstorm and drove, solo (for the first time, leaving baby Boof in his daddy’s hands) to the pharmacy to pick up my medication, to begin a hopefully-new chapter in this whole parenting challenge.