Thursday, March 26, 2009

Natural Mama

I have always had the desire to be a "Natural Mama". I am not exactly sure how most people would define that but i do what my definition is. I wanted to be the mom who exclusively breastfeeds, uses cloth diapers, makes her own baby food, carries her baby in a sling, and provides all the love a nutrition her baby needs.

When i had Phabian i just knew the motherhood would be just like it was in the movies. I would have my baby and then he would instantly latch on to the breast. I would feel this instant bond and we would love each other so deeply that nothing could come between us. I was naive to the fact that nothing about being a mother is easy. Everything is hard and takes time. It doesn't always go exactly as we want it to. Nor is it ever "perfect".

The day i had Phabian i remember the nurses asking me if i wanted to breastfeed. I excitedly told them yes and they handed him over (after he had already been taken away to be cleaned and weighted) and i happily placed him up to the breast. He didn't seem interested but i was persistent. Finally he opened his mouth and i pushed the nipple in. It hurt and then i was told he wasn't latched on right.

Over the next 2 days we tried over and over again. I was becoming angry with the fact that i couldn't get this right. That something about me wasn't right with me and that i couldn't figure this whole "natural" thing out. Finally they brought me a pump and i managed to pump enough for him to drink. I felt better that at least he was getting something. I later found out that the nurse in the Nursery had given him a bottle which made me so angry i could have spit nails.

Once we got home i continued to try and work on our latch and also pumped to make sure he was getting milk. We did this for 6 weeks. In that period Phabian maybe latched on correctly 1 time. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was about 3 in the morning and my husband was working a night shift. I was so tired and i just wanted Phabian to go back to sleep. I laid him beside me in my bed and tried (in my half asleep state) to get the boob in his mouth. He latched on perfectly and nursed for 20 minutes before falling into a milk induced coma. The next morning i awoke excited to try again. Alas it seemed it was a fluke that could not be duplicated.

That was about week 3 and i could feel that something wasn't right with me. I wasn't feeling right. At times i didn't want to even hold Phabian much less try and feed him. I felt like a cow when i would go into a cold dark room to attach the pump to my breast. More than anything i felt like a failure. Why couldn't i get my baby to latch on? Why couldn't i produce the nutrition he needed? Everyone knows you can't build a bond bottle feeding! These are all things i thought day after day.

I remember the day that it all hit rock bottom. I was holding Phabian in my arms while begging my husband not to go to work. I was in tears screaming for him not to go, not to leave me alone again. As he walked out the door i collapsed on the floor and cried with Phabian in my arms. I cried for a long time. I didn't understand why i as crying or what was going on. I didn't understand why i was having these feelings. It couldn't be PPD (Post Partum Depression) because ever cause of that i had heard about involved the mother wanting to harm her baby and i didn't want to hurt him. When i finally got up off the floor, i fed him a bottle of breast milk, changed his diaper, and we both laid down for a nap.

It wasn't until later when i stopped pumping, when i stopped pressuring myself to be perfect, when i realized that sometimes things just don't go the way we want them to, i realized that i was suffering PPD. I understood that i needed to ask for help. And so i did. I told my best friend and my husband. I needed a break. I needed a night of rest. I needed to stop pumping and stop pressuring myself. I needed to be happy.

It was a long journey and a hard one. I learned a lot of lessons and realized that nothing, not even motherhood. is ever going to be perfect. I am an ok mama. I love my kids. I provide them nutrition. I give them shelter. I give them love. It may not be from my breast, it may not be from other more "natural" ways, but what does natural mean anyways.

There is nothing more natural and organic than a mothers love!


Momma said...

one of the hardest things to learn as a mom is that we are not perfect and we need help. I think you become a better momma when you realize those two things. My life got so much better when I realized I couldn't do it all by myself and I put a great support system into place. You are a great momma!

Laura McIntyre said...

I am a big breastfeeding supporter, im one of these people who hates formula and does not get it at all. I don't understand how people can choose to use that over breastmilk.

BUT I also know that like everything in life things don't always go to plan , you tried which is just amazing . You gave it your best shot and in the end done the best thing for your child , it would of been wrong to keep going and making both you and your boy miserable.

Thats all you can do is try , if it does not work out you have not failed but succeeded in doing the best for your family .

Do you think you would use a ring sling? I have one of these (the red one ) and have never used it - just was not a fan of it and preferred a wrap and now a mei tai . I would be happy to send it to you if you think you would get some use out of it . Better than it sitting about in here