Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Finding peace

Having two kids is a humbling experience. You think you knew what motherhood is all about and then you are given this new little squishy being who throws a big curve-ball.

I can definitely say that my kids at this point in time are night and day. I knew this when I was pregnant  and I joked that this one was going to be a calm baby who loves sleep. So far, my predictions are spot on. Brady was super active while I was pregnant and never stopped moving since he was pulled out! Bennett was a calm inside and he's the most chill baby thus far. We'll see if this all rings true as he gets older.

If I have learned anything through parenting two kids is that individuality is a beautiful thing. I was worried when I was pregnant because I couldn't imagine another child different than Brady.  I know it sounds silly but parenting Brady is all I knew! (Geez, I mean, I was obviously a hormonal pregnant woman because all my fears were just silly.) More than anything, I have learned what is right for Brady is not necessarily right for Bennett. I know there will be years of that and I'm glad I've learned it so early on.

Brady is my big boy. He's sweet, he's very spirited and very much set in his own ways. He's not the best at sleeping but he's got a personality that makes up for anything he throws at us!

With him, feeding was a constant struggle.  It started in the hospital where he would scream when I tried to feed him. We had moments where he would latch on and the next he would just scream. He never slept either. I remember one day where he was up literally for more than 12 hours straight! I laugh at that now because I had no idea how rough those first 8 weeks of motherhood were until Bennett came but now I know that a newborn does actually sleep and sleeps a lot!

When Brady was about two weeks old, I started seeing reflux symptoms and things just continued to go downhill. We supplemented with formula after I struggled to nurse him. He would gulp down the formula, spit up what seemed like the whole bottle and then scream his head off. Things got better once we got him on reflux meds and as he grew out of the newness of life but I never really came to terms with not being able to nurse him. It got easier as he got older but there was still this tiny piece of me that was sad, a piece of me that felt like I let him down. Embarrassing enough, there was also a bitter side to me that has dissipated over time.

I would see other moms who had great experiences giving birth and were up and running around while I was still getting gauze shoved into my stomach and who seemed to feed their baby's with little effort. I would hear others say how they loved breastfeeding and it was so special to them. I hated it. I wondered what the heck was wrong with me as I did not like feeding my child! Every single moment of it. I obviously needed a lot of healing and a lot of coming to terms with how things went. I needed to be okay it all and  I thought I was.

 I thought I had let it all go.

Early on with Brady, there were times that I felt like a failure as a new mom. There were times that tears were shed and frustrations were abundantly found. I couldn't understand why my child was so miserable and took it personal. Everything I read said, "Breast is best,'' and it was like a dagger to my heart. I wasn't giving my child the best. I couldn't give my child the best.

It wasn't till Bennett was born, I felt those inadequacies more than ever BUT it wasn't until Bennett was born that I found complete peace with everything.

Bennett's birth was amazing. He was put on my chest after birth and I was able to feed him right away. He latched on right away and it seems like he never latched off since then. Feeding him has always been so easy. Not to say we haven't had our rough moments because we have and I know we'll have plenty more down the road especially as I return to work. I've had mastitis and now attempt to pinpoint food sensitivities.

I now get it. I get what those moms meant when they say they valued their time breastfeeding. Nursing Bennett is amazing. I'm amazed that my body can solely feed and enable my child to grow and thrive. He's not growing as big and fast as Brady did but he's growing well! Nursing Bennett has allowed me to finally find peace. It's healing me as it is providing him with nourishment and comfort.

Here is the thing I've learned and maybe in the world of mommy wars, other's could too.  Every child is unique and what is best for one is not necessarily best for another.

Brady has had more formula in his life than he has breast milk and that's okay!

That is what was best for him.

He grew and he grew well. He is very bright and is extremely healthy. The kid has only been sick a few times and I can count them on my hands!

Now, Bennett is almost 8 weeks old and have not had a lick of formula. That is what is best for him
I am terrified going back to work is going to cause us some trouble but I've been there before and I know whatever outcome, Bennett will be okay. 

and so will his mommy. 


Carrie said...

I *get* this post more than you will ever know. Will was my little preemie, too weak to nurse and it just about broke my heart. Bitter is definitely a word I'd use to describe my feelings on the topic. Now I have Amelia and, while she was a c-section birth, the experience was totally different. I was able to spend my hospital stay bonding with her instead of my breast pump. Breastfeeding her has been sooooooo easy and effortless (though, as you know, incredibly time consuming). Having the experience with her has, in a way, helped me move on from the sadness.

Sara said...

Great post! I hope I can find peace someday too! I have so many things I'm still not at peace with about Kelan's birth/breastfeeding...hopefully someday!

LC said...

So funny, I was actually just thinking about breastfeeding today. I also wasn't able to breastfeed and although I was completely fine with it, I always WANTED to be able to do it. I wanted to feel that "bond" that women talk about. But then I was thinking about how smart and wonderful Ethan is and of course he has had colds, but so have my friends' kids that were 100% breastfed. I'm so glad that you have found peace with everything. Of course, breast is best, but that doesn't make other means of feeding as bad. (I wish other people really understood that...)