Thursday, August 23, 2012


This may start out as a rant, but I promise it gets better. Ranting is like cleaning your room- you have to get all the junk out from where you've kicked it under the bed and make the room un-recognizably messy before you can organize it into piles that will eventually get put away. 

It's pretty messy under my emotional bed...  

Truth: I've been feeling a little down lately. I feel fortunate (and surprised) to say that I haven't felt down since Whit's birth-- only the last few days. As I wrote in Whit's One Month post he is a very serious child. He seems like he's still figuring out this world, and hasn't decided if he likes it or not. On top of his complacent demeanor, here's a little-shared fact of parenting: BREASTFEEDING SUCKS. (Pun intended.) The American Academy of Pediatrics and my own midwives would cringe to hear me admit that I HATE BREASTFEEDING. I'm sore, all my clothes (and most things around our house) have gotten dirty, I can't give Ben a proper hug, and Whit has a negative reaction to it because of his acid reflux. It takes a long time for him to begin, and when he does he wriggles, cries, and basically seems to be in torture. I feel like I'm causing my baby pain, and I KNOW I'm in pain, which adds up to a very, very emotional and unpleasant 30 minutes ever 3 hours. I've been waiting every week, every day, every feeding for things to get better. I try to look on the bright side. Things get easier with time, right? Well, after a month of things NOT getting better, I'm actually in tears half the times that I feed him!

In a typical role reversal, I, the mommy, am now pretty jealous of Ben, the daddy. I feel like I have Whit when he's crying and when we both hate breastfeeding, Ben gets Whit when he's sleeping, burping, or at least generally calm. I have worked so hard to create a nice atmosphere for him and tried to become a good mother (which I think I am, so no pity comments, please), but the "most intimate and bonding times" are the worst of my day. I give him all the tenderness and patience I have, but inwardly I'm in screaming down to my tippy toes.

I am just waiting for the time when he smiles on his own and can give me a hug. And didn't all the parenting websites I subscribed to say that my voice would be his favorite sound, and I would be his favorite person? Then why does he seem to hate being around me? When will he smile just because I- his mothering goddess- just walked in the room? I guess that will come later, too, but for now I get no recognition from this little person that my efforts are doing any good, which feels so terrible! I know I'm a good mom and there is no way I could love Whit any more, I just wish he could show that he loves me back. And me front :)

But then...

I heard this morning that a close friend delivered the two remaining of the triplets she was pregnant with. They were all three stillborn in the last couple of weeks. Her first child, a girl, was stillborn 5 months before I had Eleanor. My friend was a tremendous help and blessing to me during that time. She helped me feel like I was not alone and process how I was feeling. Now she has lost three more, and I can't begin to understand her pain. Learning of her loss reminds me of my own, and I can't imagine going through that experience three more times. 

I had a plot near Eleanor's picked out for Dragon the entire time I was pregnant, and even now that I have him I recognize that SIDS and other conditions could take him from me at any time. But those are just fears, and I need to recognize the difference between fears and reality. The reality is that Whit was born safely and healthy and is here with me now. Today. In my arms AT THIS MOMENT. He may be crying and arching his back in discomfort, BUT HE'S HERE AND HE'S MINE. I watch his skin turn from deep purple back to white as he transitions from screaming to sleeping and I appreciate every time I've been peed on, having to wear itchy nursing pads, doing tons of laundry, changing two poopy diapers in as many minutes, rocking him more awake than back to sleep at 5 am, and every other "joy" of parenthood. 

So just one question... how selfish am I?!


  1. Umm ya, the breasfeeding thing is NOT easy & NOT fun, near the beginning at least. I think people don't tell new moms or expecting moms that or else we wouldn't even give it a try. It gets better & time with him will get better when you feed him. I lasted for 8 months with Hailey and it was sad the day I had to stop (I wasn't producing enough for her anymore). I felt the same way about my husband and his time with our newborn. I think it's just hormones & your body is just weird trying to get back to something normal again. You're not selfish in any way, you're a great mom. Give time to adjust he's learning and you are too, I'm still learning :)

  2. The first few weeks I was breastfeeding, I seriously wanted to throw something it hurt so badly. Cory would make a sympathetic face and try to be encouraging but it just made me want to throw whatever it was at him! It is such a stressful time and there is no easy or one way to get through it! If it still hurts in a few weeks though, I would definitely make an appointment with your midwife. I went to see my lacatation consultant and called her a few times. That was really helpful. And yeah, in my experience the "hooray it's mommy!" phase comes later. Right now the world pretty much revolves around eating and sleeping. Sand I totally don't think you are selfish at all! Even when you are an awesome mom, it is still tough and there is nothing wrong with wanting a little validation I think.

  3. Not selfish at all, just human. Welcome to the club, we've made t-shirts.

    Breastfeeding is HARD. And it doesn't matter how much you know (how good it is for them, how important, blah blah blah) it's just hard. It makes me feel a little sad to read this because you sound EXACTLY how I felt after my boy was born. I was the one in the trenches, covered in milk, vomit, pee, feces, and my own blood, sweat and tears from having nursed (literally) ALL day; and Chris would sweep in the door and all of sudden it was Super Daddy who was just beloved. The Boy would be screaming us both red in the face and Chris would walk in and the Boy would instantly stop. I would just collapse and cry. After everything I sacrificed for him, he just hated me.

    And then...well...things changed. It took a good 6 months for us both to settle down and relax, but eventually he started to think I was maybe not so bad, and I stopped thinking maybe I should give him up for adoption. And now? Daddy is fun, but Mama is the one he always, always wants.

    My one regret with the Boy is that I weaned him so early. He was only 5 months old when I threw in the towel on the breastfeeding thing, and I have regretted it ever since. Yes, it was incredibly hard, but so was bottle-feeding, and food-feeding. It's just hard to feed another human being, regardless of what you're feeding them.

    My girl? Knowing what I knew after the Boy, I fought hard for the breastfeeding, and oh, my poor chest...I was so sore that first month or so that it hurt to wear a bra! But oh, Sus, can I just say that now? It's so, SO worth it. I can tell you what my sister has told me many times: try to put your feet up, ignore the laundry and dishes and everything else, put your feet up, listen to some soft music, and have something good to drink--whatever your preference is, cocoa, milk, ice water, lemonade, something sparkly--just have something good to drink and sit there and drink for 20 minutes in quiet. Then get back in there and mother.

    It really will get easier. Maybe not easier, it gets better. Pretty soon he's going to start smiling, and then cooing, and then one day, you'll go in to get him up from a nap and he'll see you and his whole face will light up and then you'll know...he really does love you. How could he not? We always love the ones who sacrifice for us.

  4. Suz, have him checked for a tongue tie if you haven't yet. Sometimes breastfeeding can be difficult and painful for babies for that reason. You can do this, and you will do it together. You will find your peace, and you know what, any decision you make with Whit's welfare in mind is OK.

    My love and courage go out to your friend. Her grief is unfathomable.

  5. Suz, have him checked for a tongue tie if you haven't yet. Sometimes breastfeeding can be difficult and painful for babies for that reason. You can do this, and you will do it together. You will find your peace, and you know what, any decision you make with Whit's welfare in mind is OK.

    My love and courage go out to your friend. Her grief is unfathomable.

  6. Ditto what Melissa said. Things will get better. Don't give up. Keep up the good work, keep reminding yourself that it's all worth it, and look forward to the reinforcement he will inevitably give you. You're doing great. Mothering a baby can be tough, but before you know he'll be begging you for a Percy train to race with Thomas.

  7. I agree with what M said. Breastfeeding is such a sacrifice at first but so worth it in the end.

  8. I wish I could just take all of your wonderful mothering posts and make them into a book to give to my friends! Mothering is HARD. Breastfeeding....painful, at the least. I had horrible pain/cracking/bleeding the first month or so...and like everyone else got better. (side note....I got this miracle cream that pretty much cured that. i'll email you.) It never fails that when you tell your spouse on the phone how horrible your child is acting while they are at work, as soon as Daddy walks in the door, the tantrums stop, the screaming subsides, and they make you out to be a liar! haha And M is exactly right. Sometimes I have to put myself in 'mommy time-out'. I just need a few minutes to relax, ignore the crying child, and regain my composure. Well, the most composure I can muster with snot and spit-up on my shirt...

  9. Susannah! I stumbled upon this from a Facebook link. It has been forever! I'm so sorry to hear about your loss last year (I had no idea!). Congratulations on your sweet little boy.. he is darling!


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