What Is Wrong With Me.

There are a number of things wrong with me, mostly stemming from the fact that a large part of who I am is dedicated to drinking coffee, eating donuts (yesterday's count: 3), and for some weird reason breast feeding. I don't know why I wanted to breast feed Jude so badly, but it's something I  had my heart set on from the start. Kenny is alternately fully supportive with comments such as, "I am so proud of you. This is the only thing I've ever suggested a compromise on and you've rejected it every single time" and begging me to give up, saying, "Your life will be so much easier! You can get stuff done! Why do you think you'll be a failure? Do you think other mothers who can't or don't want to breastfeed are failures?"

No. I don't think that at all. There is some kind of super-powerful double standard at work here. I don't compare myself to other moms when it comes to breastfeeding. I don't care that, for example, my sister had to stop breast feeding Epperley because of the antibiotics she had to take for simultaneous bladder and urinary tract infections. I don't think she is any less of a mother for giving Epperley formula. I don't really think anything about it except that it is a lot of bottle washing. And I'm not going to compete with the mothers who nurse their kids until they're two years old. I think it's fabulous if that's your thing.

What I do think: I want to breastfeed Jude because I enjoy it and it's special to me and for some reason it's extremely important to me that I succeed at this and don't give up.

If you've been a long-time reader of this blog (and let's face it, being a reader of this blog these days is like the easiest job in the world, am I right? Once a month, read a few paragraphs. Ha.), you know that ever since I've been out of school, I've struggled with consistency and discipline in my personal life. It's like all my self-motivated behavior and over-achiever attitude were compartmentalized. They pertained to school work and that's about it. It's like the goals that I make for myself and my life don't count or something. I'm constantly making lists of things to work on or achieve and then throwing the list out because, who cares if I achieve it or not? But I've realized that making your own goals, even insignificant goals or silly goals, and reaching them is really the only way to be happy with where your life is headed. This has a lot to do with discipline. And everything that I want and am lacking in my life now stems from a serious lack of self-control and discipline.

So when I decided to breastfeed exclusively, it was like the only thing on my list. And I could totally justify my list now because ANOTHER LIFE DEPENDED ON IT. All the sleep I lost being the only one who could feed Jude, all the pumping I did and am continuing to do, all the crying and worrying if he's getting enough, all that stuff, is worth it to me. And last week when all of that was threatened, I sort of turned into a huge mess that was scary to look at.

The saddest thing was that my coming apart affected Jude. It made him stressed, too! I didn't realize that I was just compounding his "nursing strike" by worrying constantly about him and worrying that giving him bottles while I was at work was ruining him and making him lazy and going to be THE END OF THE WORLD FOREVER.

I finally worked myself up into such a frenzy that he wouldn't eat at all. Didn't even want a bottle. And that's when I was required to chill out. I finally said to myself, this is NOT worth it. If this is the end of breast feeding for us, then this is the end of breast feeding for us. And guess what? It wasn't. After I relaxed, Jude relaxed. It was miraculous. And also incredibly embarrassing. And also a huge moment of clarity and lesson-learned. I have the ability to be ridiculously dedicated to something that seems good for my baby. But if my dedication and fanatacism are actually making things worse for him, all that discipline isn't worth anything.

My goal of breast feeding Jude until he's at least one is still there. It's just not so paramount anymore. I have to disconnect this idea of breastfeeding and mothering. My success as a mother is so intertwined with the idea of nursing him.

And now he is screaming his heart out. So I have to go nurse him.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin