It's 5 o'clock somewhere. Actually, it's 5 o'clock here (AM not PM, unfortunately). And I'm awake. I was so very helpful at the 3:30 feeding and gave the little man his bottle. Which meant I was left wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. I tried. I'm tired enough - I was sure it wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong. For those keeping track, that's only like the 9th time I've ever been wrong. Ever. Really!! Ok, maybe I've got a few more notches in the "I was wrong belt" then I admit.
Anyway, so the update: My sister is getting married in 6 days WOOOOT!!!! SO excited for the wedding. But I'll also be a tad busy so you might not hear much from me in until next week after I recover from the festivities.
and now for The Failure: This week was World Breastfeeding Week. AKA: Kerissa sucks as a mom week. Just this past Wednesday at the pediatrician I was told I need to "let it go" because breastfeeding is overrated. I heart my pediatrician. She never once laid the guilt trip on and fully supported me from day 1. She said that the few IQ points he would have gotten from breastfeeding is worth less than the many more he will gain from having a happy mom (which, now I am most of the time.).
This makes sense to me. But a lot of the time I feel so alone in that. I am pro breastfeeding, don't get me wrong. I'm all for "breast is best", which is probably why the guilt and sadness are still such a grey cloud for me 9 months later.
My kid has chronic ear infections, which he inherited from me - lucky boy! I know that research says that breastfeeding can reduce the incidence of ear infections. So, even though I had the same problem as a kid, and even though we know people who breastfed and their kiddo's still had horrible ear infections, every time I blame myself.
I am forced to remind myself daily, as I wash bottles, that I can't do the one thing that was an "absolute" in having a baby. I knew it could be hard, I knew I could need a lot of help being successful, I didn't know that all of the things that went wrong would make it impossible. I tried pumping in the days when I was moaning in pain in the hospital. I tried pumping after the emergency surgery and had some great lactation consultants cheering me on. But my body basically gave up. I was making UP TO 1 ounce a day with several sessions of pumping when I wasn't in total agony.
The mental toll it was taking on me wasn't worth it. The pediatrician, week 5, said to me that with everything I was trying, and with it not working to stop worrying about it and just keep up with the formula. The trauma to my body was no doubt a major player in the issue, as was that I was in too much pain to pump every other hour 24/7.
I have a happy, (mostly) healthy kid who is a charmer. Yet I worry that every slight delay (He should be walking and talking by now!) means I took something valuable away from him. I feel guilt at every ear infection, every cough, every cold. I see the glares as I pour formula into a bottle when we are out and about. I feel forced to explain myself when other moms are talking about breastfeeding and how is it going for us now that he's older? Its not going. It never really was... but thank you for the reminder :)
So last week, last night, today, I feel like a failure. Trust me folks, I'm working on it in therapy. But it is one of the few things I'm not at least starting to getting past and I'm not sure why or how. I'm working through so much and it's hard but as I said a few posts below, I know I have to go through this - there is no way around it.
I just wish I was making progress in the breastfeeding arena. I don't want to feel like a failure and blame myself for the rest of my life for every sickness or problem that Gregory has. I don't think that's really fair to either of us. But at the same time, I'm not sure I can ever forgive myself for not FORCING it to work, for giving up too soon, for not trying harder in a time when I was in emotional and physical crisis... This is one thing that I don't know will ever change for me. The emotion is raw and the guilt is insanely huge.
There is a lot of support out there for moms like me who can't breastfeed; not by choice, but by force. There is also a lot of judgement from other moms and the natural birth community which only makes things worse. Would I change it if I could? In a heartbeat. But I can't. So I'll continue to work on letting it go and not feeling like a failure.
Yet I know it's going to take a long time to fill the hole in my heart that this "failure" has left.
Until next time: Hug a bottle feeding mom. :)