In between overdoing it

Photo by Rod Kay

Photo by Rod Kay

Eight years ago this week I gave birth to a little blue-eyed baby girl. It was the day my life changed, It was the day my life had meaning. It was the last day I would ever sleep normal. I would never trade it for the world. I will not go on and wax poetic about the wonders of motherhood. Others can do that a lot more eloquently then me. But about the life changing part, that is not something that could be expressed in words. Its really only felt. Before her I didn’t know what sacrifice was, what true joy was, what pure goodness was. A baby is all that and so much more.

Thinking about her birthday reminded me of something else. How flippin’ scared I was. I mean deathly, truly scared. Some crazy lunatic was entrusting me with a baby? Are they nuts? I was terrified and I took any and all advise as if it was the gospel for baby rearing.

“If they cry give them a little alcohol in the bottle.” ( Luckily, I never did that) “Only bad mothers let their baby cry,”” Here give your 6 month old a piece of melon,” (She promptly choked and I was horrified.)

Needless to say the advise comes at you from all angles and places. All ages and genders. Being a scared out of my mind new mom. I believed it all

Now I know this might upset people but this is how things happened for me. I was beaten over the head by the benefits of breast feeding.

“It’s more natural.””It’s healthier.” “It’s better for the baby.” “You have to breast feed.” “Only bad moms give their babies formula.”

After having my daughter I was determined to breast feed. I took the classes and read the books I was all set. But went the time came nothing happened. I had problem after problem.

The nurses and lactation specialist shoved the baby on me and almost demanded I keep trying. After taking her home me and my husband could not understand why she would never sleep and why she was constantly crying. I was trying to breast feed like everyone told me and I was failing. I called nurses, friends, parents looking for advice they all said keep trying. Finally, at my husbands insistence, we asked another doctor who said to try a little formula, see what happens. Get a pump and try that out.

Image by Alicia Hylton

Image by Alicia Hylton

What? But wouldn’t that mean I had failed as a mother. If it came from a pump? Or worse yet a can, does that mean I’m a bad mom?  Isn’t breast feeding what my body was meant to do? Does that mean there is something wrong with me? The truth was I knew it wasn’t working. I knew the milk wasn’t coming out enough. I know it was not working.

I just felt so much pressure to breast feed. I felt like such a failure. My husband saved the day. I bought the formula, made the bottle and popped it in her tiny pink mouth. She sucked it down. Like a starving baby. Because that was what she was, a starving baby. After finishing the bottle she fell right asleep.

From that moment on I vowed to never ignore my instincts. Never to listen to the chattering of others over my own inner voice. I discover that day how important it is to trust your feelings and believe that you know what is best for your child. God (or who ever you believe in ) trusted you to care for this little being and gave you to tools to do it. If you just follow them.


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