Last night as I ran through the nightly routine of cooking dinner, cleaning up, prepping for the next day – I made myself STOP. I made myself slow down and rearrange the steps I made. I forced my brain and body to move with more intention and I stared at my children & got lost for a moment.
I reminded myself that these not so tiny anymore humans that need me so bad, right now, will not be so needy one day and I will need them. I picked up my toddler, placed him on the counter and asked him to help me. He cut all the grapes that I had just washed. He cut them with a smile & pride. Without being asked or encouraged to, fed his little sister as she watched from her highchair. Looking back at last night – THOSE are the moments. The big moments – the ones that take center-stage in the memory bank.
I am a Mom. I am trying and on most days I feel like I am trying so damn hard to figure it out. Just like you. Over the past week I made a promise to myself, my family, my kids … to start slowing down and being better. calmer. Filled with more grace & passion and less irritation & hurry. As a Mom, there are things we go through that play factors on how we feel and act. Things we don’t always talk about or recognize.
I just crossed the 10-month mark of breastfeeding my second baby. This is a prideful accomplishment for me but also one that brings a lot of baggage & let me tell you what … it isn’t designer.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful privilege that my body has blessed me with the ability to do. I was able to breastfeed our son for 16 months. I felt proud, happy, so good & yet, so broken.
There is a dark side to breastfeeding that a lot of women don’t openly talk about. The part of the journey that causes emotional ups and downs (way downs). The sleepless nights because that sweet baby only wants Mama and what she can provide. The days when you are in tears, ugly, can’t breathe tears because your body senses fear and stress & decides not to produce enough that day. The feedings that end because you’ve been bit, pinched, hit – yeah, that happens. And then there is the part that hurts the most … the hormones that are so viciously cruel. They are the mean girl of the world. They come out of nowhere and truly make you feel like a worthless human. I know that may sound extreme BUT if you are a breastfeeding Mama or even a Husband that has seen your Wife throughout this journey you too know this is real.
Y’all – I have recently cried tears that made me feel like every ounce of air was being sucked from body. Ask me why – my answer: I don’t know. I just felt broken.
My body was and is still (but better) stressed and overwhelmed and ready to end this journey. We are two months away from One Year which is my goal for my daughter’s breastfeeding journey. Last week I was really stressed about it all – my body felt the fear and reacted. It reacted by not producing. As a working out of the home, Mom, I have to pump throughout the day in-order to provide for my daughter at daycare. I usually pump 4-6oz, per pump session – 3-times a day. Last week my body yielded 1-2oz. Do you know what this did to me? It wrecked me. It made me feel like I was failing. Like I was broken. Like I was doing something wrong. Now, I know this is not fact but in a moment of Mama Panic – I didn’t. I knew fear and pain and sadness.
I turned to my Husband because HE is my comfort. With tears in my eyes I sent him an email after a stressful morning in the house all because I was emotionally toxic and well, mean.
“I just feel broken babe. I hate how I feel. I think I need to stop breastfeeding or at least get formula this weekend and supplement a bottle or 2 a day. I feel so stressed out like my body is failing at this and its not a fun feeling. I am starting to hate this relationship (breastfeeding) between getting bit, not pumping enough, etc. I dont have enough milk to give her bottles Monday. I feel broken about it.”
This Man. This amazing, selfless, strong, keeps this ship afloat, man broke me with his response:
“I completely understand babe and i empathize with you. To hear about how many woman cant do it at all is a testament to you as a mother. Imagine the total number of ounces you have fed our kids over these years. How many bottles washed… How many hours spent feeding or pumping… How much money you have saved us. Its super hero status babe!! Thank you for all of it!! I don’t blame you for wanting it to end. And honestly she is so close to being one I can’t imagine it making much difference stopping at 10 months or 12.”
Be still my heart – after reading that my heart calmed and my body felt a sense of safety like no matter what I decided to do – everything was going to okay!
I did buy formula which she didn’t care for. Over the next few days my body, the one that kicked my ass the week before, decided to return to normal – with me – and started producing 4-7oz a pump session. Moral of the story. Take care of your mental health to keep your physical health in-line. That and marry a Man that has the ability to make you feel like you can do anything. p.s. I love you.
Are you a breastfeeding Mom? What do you do to take care of yourself? Both Mentally and Physically?