Tag Archives: Breastfeeding

In Mourning

19 Jun

Bean Nursing 2 years old“You have any milk you, mama?” she asked me as I rocked forward in the glider to scoop her up in my lap.  Not a request.  Not a whine.  Merely a curiosity.

That had become our routine each bedtime, and I expected her question.  What surprised me was my answer.

“Yes, sweetie.  Mommy has milk for you.  But this is the last time the milk will be there.  When babies get old enough, the mommies stop making milk.  You don’t nurse very much these days, so mommy’s body is almost done making milk.  You can have milk and we can talk about how special it is and we will snuggle, but then we will be all done, okay?”

She nodded in response and leaned in for her pre-nap nurse.  As we rocked, I pressed my nose into her curly hair, breathing in what I imagined to be the last molecules of baby smell.  I traced my fingers down her chubby calves and around her still-tiny feet and she giggled as she mumbled “mommy no tickle me,” without jeopardizing her latch.  I meditated on the weight of her head in the crook of my arm, how the curls tickled my skin and how, even at 30 months, she always found a way to curl her body around mine.

“Mommy’s really sad that the milk is going away,” I told her, “It’s been so special and I love you so much.”

She nursed for maybe 3 minutes, unlatched, and that was it.  The end of an era.

And I am not okay.

I chose my title not as click-bait, to sensationalize, or to diminish anyone’s loss, but to illustrate the depth of mine, because as I fumble in the dark for words to describe the these past 4 days, I keep finding myself awash in grief.

As we go about our day, the tears return at their pleasure.  I move damp laundry from one appliance to another and am transported back to her newborn days when only nursing in the bathroom with the dryer running would soothe her colic.  In the shower, I ponder how long my body will continue to live in denial, still leaking as the hot water hits my breast.  And as I throw her on my hip to carry her through the yard and her hand grazes my collarbone, I find myself aching so much it hurts to breathe.

I feel like I’m losing her.

As I dig vulnerably to search for the source of this pain, I realize this marks the end of her babyhood for me.  And though I expect she and I will fill the void weaning leaves in our relationship in other ways, I wonder if anything will ever really be as intimate as nursing.  For 30 months, our bodies were connected even after she left my womb.  And what began as a time to fulfill her hunger and need for warmth slowly matured into what I can only describe as a wordless conversation – a ritual that sealed our bond.

I didn’t plan on closing this chapter that afternoon.  As I have with my all my daughters’ transitions, I followed my gut, and true to form, Bean is fine.  She continues to ask if I have any milk, and tells me she is sad it is gone – but her inquisition lasts only briefly before she is bouncing in my lap and asking for me to “tell a story about princess Rapunzel and princess Cinderella having tea.”  We weaned ever-so-slowly, and I couldn’t have wished for her to have a better experience letting go.

Behind my sadness lies a feeling of wonderment and awe at what she and I accomplished.  The end was due to come in its time, and when the immediacy of this pain fades into merely bittersweet memories, I expect I will be filled with gratitude, both for our time together and the gentle way in which she grew out of it.

For now, I let the tears fall and try not to wish them away.  For they tell the story of a beautiful journey.

 

 

Milk-Soy Protein Intolerance and Living Dairy-Free

8 Jan

I had never heard of milk intolerance before becoming a mom.  Lactose intolerance, sure.  But milk protein intolerance is completely different.  Not really an allergy, MSPI (milk-soy protein intolerance) is when the body is unable to safely process the large protein molecules found in cow’s milk.  As a result, the stomach may overproduce acid and the intestines become irritated, leading to mucus and sometimes blood.  Both my babies were born with an MSPI.  And, being a first-time parent, my first baby suffered for 3 months because I just didn’t know enough to ask more questions of the pediatrician or to advocate for myself.  But as it turns out, all my knowledge and experience still left me unprepared for my second baby’s MSPI as well.

Bean was 8 weeks old when I finally called “uncle” and went to a lactation consultant for help with my screamy baby who was clearly hungry but fussed every time I attempted to nurse her.  She had gone from the 35th percentile to the 10th but the pediatrician didn’t have any ideas for me other than to try formula.  Every feed was a nightmare and getting her to eat required a combination of baby wearing and bouncing on a big exercise ball in the bathroom with the fan running.  It was exactly the kind of horrible breastfeeding experience that prevents new moms from nursing long-term. But I never suspected a milk intolerance because her symptoms weren’t as severe as her big sister’s.

My oldest would projectile vomit after feeds, her diapers were filled with mucus, and the pediatrician found signs of blood in her stool.  But with the littlest, the only symptoms were her fussiness and her trouble breastfeeding.  I spent 8 weeks convinced it must be something else before the LC suggested I visit a pediatric gastroenterologist who diagnosed her right away.  Grudgingly, I went on a dairy fast, giving up any food with soy or milk protein.

Within a week, I had a whole new baby.  She was sleeping better, screaming less, and after two weeks, had jumped back into the 30th percentile.  It was, quite frankly, a miracle.  I had seen similar results with Doodlebug, but giving up the dairy was so hard on me emotionally, that we ended up using hypoallergenic formula with her.  I remember rocking her in the big reclining rocker at my parents’ house sobbing “I’m sorry” over and over as I filled her up with formula.  Looking back, it was absolutely the best thing for both of us.  She thrived on the formula and it immediately alleviated much of the anxiety I was suffering from.  With Bean, giving up the dairy didn’t seem as daunting, perhaps because I had already had some practice.  Also?  My overwhelming PPD and OCD the first time around made breastfeeding torturous, let alone an elimination diet.  With Bean, I was mentally healthy enough to take on the added challenge.  And is is a challenge.

It’s been 2 years, and though we keep attempting to introduce dairy into her diet, every week spent with milk results in sleepless nights and a cranky toddler.  I’ve been able to reintroduce cheese into my own diet (I could hear angels singing, folks), but for the first 18 months, I was completely dairy-free.  I wouldn’t wish such a difficult diet on anyone, but it is possible, and for some mom-baby pairs, may make life much easier overall.

So let’s be honest.  Dinners weren’t so hard to modify.  After all, spaghetti and meatballs is dairy free, as is most grilled meats, fresh fruits and veggies, and many breads.  But how did I live without cheese (and ice cream, and milk, and cookies, and chocolate)?  While there are really no good soy and milk-free cheese substitutes (I really did give them a fair shot), I found that hummus often worked in place of cheese in fajitas and even sandwiches.  Whole Foods sells a cheese-free pizza with roasted veggies that is pretty yummy for those days when you Just. Want. Pizza.  And So Delicious makes coconut milk yogurt, ice cream and my favorite, coffee creamer.  I actually prefer the coconut coffee creamer now.  Coconut milk is great for baking, as is Earth Balance soy-free margarine, and to my surprise, cocoa butter isn’t actually butter and contains no dairy!  So as long as your chocolate doesn’t list casein, milk, or whey as an ingredient, you can eat it!  Lindt makes a dark chocolate that we really love here, but my favorite trick is to buy a huge 1 pound block of 65% chocolate from Whole Foods.  We chop it up and snack on it for a month!  The key for me was finding substitutes for my favorite foods so I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of the comfort foods I loved.

Here are some of my favorite MSPI and Dairy-free resources:

MSPI Mama – tons of recipes and resources, including a QUICK START recipe list for the first few weeks of MSPI eating when everything is so overwhelming.

MSPI Mama links to restaurant allergen information HERE

More facts about MSPI

The differences between allergies and intolerances from PIC (Protein Intolerant Children)

Tasty Eats at Home – my friend Alta writes about her food journey and has many recipes and resources for eating dairy and gluten-free

The best advice I can give you is to be realistic with yourself about how the MSPI diet is affecting your happiness.  If it makes you miserable, it may not be worth continuing to breastfeed your MSPI baby.  But it DOES get easier with time.  After about 6 months I stopped missing cheese, and these days, I don’t even mourn the ice cream any longer.  Truly.  It also had the added benefit that watching my diet carefully taught me to be aware of my food.  I eat a much healthier diet now, just because I learned to read ingredients and to cook more food from scratch. But each mom has to decide what’s best for her family. Hopefully you have enough support no matter how you decide to address your baby’s MSPI.

Yes, I’m Still Breastfeeding

6 Dec

Extended BreastfeedingI never expected to be breastfeeding a toddler.  But here I am, with my 23-month-old, still going strong.

After my first breastfeeding experience ended abruptly due to to a myriad of issues, I was determined to give it a shot the second time around, but I knew what mattered most was that I took good care of myself, no matter how I was feeding my baby.  We had rough start.  Bean struggled to gain weight and ultimately to nurse because of an undiagnosed milk protein allergy.  I had massive oversupply and hyperactive letdown difficulties, and I spent many nights sobbing out of frustration.  I knew my baby would be okay no matter what I decided to do, but she would be my last and I just wasn’t ready to give up.  But eventually, as many promised, it did get easier.  Breastfeeding became a solution instead of the problem, and both Bean and I grew to relish the quiet time together.

I never set a concrete goal, but deep down, I just wanted to make it farther than I did with Doodlebug – 3 months.   6 months sped by, and we introduced sweet potatoes, avocado, and bananas, and I found myself musing, “now what?”  I didn’t know what else to do, so we just kept nursing like aways, and I followed Bean’s lead.  We celebrated her first birthday, and we just kept nursing.  I remembered weaning Doodlebug from her bottle at 13 months out of fear of babying her (I know… first-time mom syndrome), and so around that same time, I started to feel a little conflicted about nursing Bean.

BFing Quote

By 13 months, she wasn’t nursing to sleep any longer.  She nursed before naps and bed, in the mornings, and a few times spread out during the day.  She wasn’t biting, wasn’t pinching or pulling at my hair, and didn’t “nurse and run.”  It was working for us, so we just kept on doing it, and one day turned into one week, one month, one season.   The conflicted feeling passed and we made it to 18 months, when she began nursing only before nap and bed and once in the morning.  Breastfeeding receded into the background of our day and I didn’t really give it much thought.

Now, her second birthday is fast approaching (pause for a moment to think about how utterly ridiculous and unfair that is) and the conflict has resurfaced. I have many good reasons to continue to breastfeed her, both anecdotal and scientific.  Nursing feels natural for us, it helps her sleep well and soothes pain and hurt feelings.  It’s alleviating some of the pain of her two-year-old molars erupting without the use of medications.  Extended breastfeeding is supported by the AAP and the WHO for the emotional and medical benefits.  My mama gut tells me it’s the right choice for us, and yet I feel like I should feel more uncomfortable with it.

Extended BreastfeedingIt’s not that I’m conflicted about continuing to nurse my toddler – in fact, I’m convinced my mama gut is right.  Instead, I’m conflicted about my lack of conflict, especially given my culture and upbringing.  I had no exposure to extended breastfeeding (or really breastfeeding at all, for that matter) before doing it myself, and it’s rarely discussed openly in this country (other than to condemn it as gross, damaging to a child, or selfish).  And to be completely honest?  Before nursing an almost-two-year-old myself, my first reaction to a breastfeeding toddler would have been misinformed judgment.

It turns out that it’s much easier for me to dismiss the opinions of strangers on the internet or hushed stares at the local playground than it is for me to silence my own social conditioning.  In recognizing this about myself, I can move past it…  Because the bottom line is that: Yes, I’m still breastfeeding.  It’s working for us.  And I refuse to put the discomfort or judgement of society before the needs of my family.

These words poured out of me for two reasons today.  Writing allows me to work through my emotions – to document my soul-searching.  But also?  I wanted to share that what I’ve learned from breastfeeding a toddler has nothing to do with breastfeeding at all:  Suspend judgement.  Informed convictions are valuable, but until you’ve experienced something, remember that you might not know everything.  You might be wrong.  I certainly was about extended nursing.

*******

p.s. Why do I post pictures here, you ask?  Because the more breastfeeding (both infant and extended) is normalized, the more moms will feel comfortable asking questions, sharing their stories, and reaching out for help.

p.p.s.  Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone – each family has to decide for themselves what is the best fit for mama and baby/toddler.  I support a mom’s right to choose how she feeds her baby.  But I’d also like to see more non-pressured support for nursing mamas.

Image

World Breastfeeding Week

4 Aug

World Breastfeeding Week

I’m only one day late, in typical fashion. I have a post brewing about extended nursing and how I never expected to still be breastfeeding. About how it contributes to my mental health and how it impacts our family. But for now, this beautiful moment from this morning.

Thank You, Target

3 May

I don’t shy away from nursing in public, for a host of reasons.  Mostly? I’m just feeding my baby.  And I’m not about to put the discomfort of a few strangers above the needs of my child.  But since Bean is 16 months old, she doesn’t often need to nurse while we’re out and about.

Today was a different story.  No matter how many times I offered a sippy and no matter how many toy aisles we walked down, she desperately wanted to nurse in Target, in the middle of our shopping trip.  She signed for milk half a dozen times, but it was when she signed “please,” that I finally paused my shopping to indulge her.

I found a quiet spot behind the children’s clothes and plopped myself down on the ground near the stroller display.  A Target employee came over to ask if I was okay, uncertain why I was sitting on the carpet.  When she noticed I was nursing, I braced to defend myself.

And then she said, “There’s a rocking chair on the endcap where you’ll be more comfortable.  Do you want to move there?” I thanked her and assured her I was fine, finished nursing Bean, and went about my shopping.

I’ve only ever had two strangers address me while breastfeeding.  I’m fortunate that they have both been kind.  And this?  This was exactly how a nursing mother wants to be (and should be) treated when nursing her child, especially by a store employee.

Target has gotten a bad rap in the last few years for their treatment of nursing mothers.  And if I had been treated poorly today, you’d better believe I’d share.  But I bet there are many positive stories, too, and I wanted to be a part of accentuating the positive.

Thank you, Target.  Your team member treated me with kindness and respect.  I really appreciated it.  I hope this is a sign of progress in your company since November of 2011.

Also?  You’re welcome for the $120 I ended up spending despite my short shopping list.  You win.  Again.

And then I shared my boobs with the internet…

25 Jan

I never imagined that I would find myself  nursing past a year, nursing uncovered in public, or advocating for breastfeeding.  And I certainly didn’t expect to write about it or post pictures of myself nursing on the internet for all to see.  And yet here I am. And I’m somewhere in this photo set from Gina’s 72 hour Facebook photo ban campaign.  And if you follow me on instagram, chances are you’ve gotten a few peeks, too.  So why am I sharing something I had always considered so private?

It’s been a hard road breastfeeding this baby toddler, but one I’m so glad to be traveling.  From dairy intolerance, to oversupply and overactive letdown, to thrush, to sleep deprivation, the struggle has been intense but the the payoff is enormous. Sleepy milk-drunk newborn smiles… snuggles given freely after a morning nurse… watching the numbers on the scale grow because of your milk… the first time my baby signed for milk… being physically connected to my baby long after she has left the womb.  And of course the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-researched and well-documented.  Breastmilk is alive – full of antibodies, cells, and proteins.  Breastfeeding has nurtured me and my baby for the last 12 months.

Let me say that though the benefits are great, breastfeeding or breast milk is not best for every baby-mother pair.  Maybe a mother tries to nurse and has to stop because of supply issues, medication incompatibility, depression, her baby’s needs, or any one of dozens of reasons.  Maybe she knows from the get-go that breastfeeding isn’t a match for her parenting style or lifestyle.  Perhaps she just doesn’t want to.  I fully support each mother’s choice to make such a personal decision for herself, and I truly understand why formula or bottle feeding moms sometimes feel defensive when faced with a statement such as “breast is best” or when a mother is nursing, uncovered, in front of her.  After all, my first attempt to breastfeed fell apart (which ended up being the best thing for both of us) after a few months and I remember not understanding why breastfeeding moms thought what they were doing was so special.  Now that I’ve been nursing for over a year?  I get it.  It can be magical.

Am I a better mother because I breastfeed my baby?  Of course not.  Just as a mother who carries her baby in her womb is not a better mother than one who adopts or uses a surrogate.  Being a mother is about more than where your child comes from or how they are fed.  But just because it doesn’t define me as a mother doesn’t make it unimportant or any less beautiful.  Carrying my babies in my body felt empowering, and similarly, breastfeeding No2 has been a life-changing experience.

And so, I choose to share.  I want to support mothers who are considering nursing or are currently trying to breastfeed their babies…I want to normalize something that carries stigma in our culture…and to celebrate checking something off my life-list.  It’s been an enormous part of my daily life for the last 13 months and I don’t think this space would be complete without its story.

 

By the way, this is what breasfeeding uncovered usually looks like for us.  Nothin' to see here, folks. ;)

By the way, this is what breasfeeding uncovered usually looks like for us. Nothin’ to see here, folks. 😉

Breastfeeding on Psychotropic Medication

24 Oct

Nearly four months ago, I wrote about meeting my goal of breastfeeding for six months.  Now, No2 is almost 10 months old and we’re still going strong.  In fact, we’ve moved past the awkward “I can’t be bothered to nurse when there are sights to see and sounds to hear and kitty ears to grab” and No2 actually wants to relax and nurse.  It’s a sure-fire cure for the 5pm cranks and is a lovely way to wake up in the morning.  She’s even mastered nursing discreetly in the ergo carrier, which has made getting No1 to ballet class and preschool field trips a bit less intimidating.  I’m truly enjoying it.

It’s not without its costs, though.  If I have even one cookie baked with any milk products, she cries all night with stomach cramps.  So I’ve been completely dairy-free for 6 months now.  She’s still nursing twice at night, I think mostly just for comfort.  While I’d love to sleep for more than 5 hours at a time, it’s actually working for us (or maybe it’s just so much better than it was that the bar is absurdly low).  And then there’s the impact on my mental illness.

Many medications are compatible with breastfeeding, but unfortunately the mood stabilizer I was on before getting pregnant with No2 is not one of them.  It was a great med for me – low side effects, extremely effective at a low/medium dose, and I really felt like myself.  It managed the anxiety and the PMDD and eliminated the roller coaster of hormone-induced emotions.  When I discovered I was pregnant, I (with my doctors) made the choice to switch to a medication that was safer and better-researched during pregnancy: an SSRI combined with an as-needed anti-anxiety medication.  I truly believe these medications have helped me to have a different postpartum experience with this baby, and contributed to my healing birth experience.  Still, I am not 100% myself.  The medication handles about 80% of the PPOCD and anxiety symptoms, and I (along with my husband) am left to cope with the remaining struggle.  It’s not ideal and it is a decision that weighs heavily on me as I continue to nurse.

The bottom line is that I’ve chosen to stay on this medication regimen to facilitate breastfeeding.  Here’s why:

1. Though I am not symptom-free, I am not experiencing the red-flag symptoms (rage, inability to sleep, intrusive thoughts) that would send me back to my doctors for re-evaluation.  I feel like myself.

2. I have no hard evidence that the mood stabilizer would be the magic bullet this time.  My situation, stresses, and life are so different now than they were before getting pregnant with No2.  At that time, I was sleeping 10 hours straight each night, working out 4 times a week, and had only one child, and was working only 3 hours a week. Given the same factors now, the SSRI may work just as well.

3. Breastfeeding contributes to my happiness and is a time of meditation and relaxation for me.  This wasn’t always true.  I fought tooth and nail to get to this point, but now that I’ve made it, I don’t want to give it up.  I also believe that breastfeeding is the best option for my daughter, who suffers from a milk-soy protein intolerance.  And while she would absolutely be fine on formula, I’m thrilled she’s getting all the health benefits of being breastfed.

4. Changing medications is a long and sometimes difficult process.  Weaning from my current SSRI and tapering up to an therapeutic dose of the mood stabilizer  would mean weeks of side effects and emotional symptoms.  I’m mostly stable these days and not exactly excited to sign up for that little adventure.

I’m not advocating that everyone limit their medications in order to breastfeed.  I did not nurse my first past a few months.  There were some medical reasons, but honestly, when I stopped nursing her, I felt a huge sense of relief.  Breastfeeding was an intense trigger for my PPA with No1 and I am still so glad I decided to formula-feed her.  It was the best decision for both of us.

While I wish everyone could enjoy the benefits of nursing, it’s a personal decision that each mom (with her doctors and family) must make for herself.  Hell, sometimes it’s not even a decision – may mothers cannot breastfeed.  Instead of adding to the “you must breastfeed to be a good mom” lies, I simply want to tell my story in the hopes that it will help new mothers understand all their options.  Because you do have options, and no matter what you choose, your physical and mental well-being need to factor in.

More information on breastfeeding, PPD, and medications can be found below.  And as always, this blog is a memoir of sorts and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.

Dr. Hale’s Keynote Address to LLL in 2002 on treating PPD in breastfeeding mothers

Katherine Stone writes about why expectations to breastfeed can weigh PPD sufferers down

Mass General’s Center for Women’s Mental Health on Breastfeeding and Medications

The Best of Both

5 Aug

She lies in my lap,

The crook of my arm too hot, too restrictive,

Her ear presses into my palm

As I take the weight of her head in my hand.

 

We rock

Back and forth to the rhythm of my breath,

As she rejects her plastic soother

And seeks the warmth of mother’s breast.

 

Where once she drowned,

Now she greedily takes in the abundance of milk.

Reaching for the familiar silver dangling from my neck,

She gets down to the business of nursing.

 

Her fingers gently tousle the small leaves

Hanging from a silver branch,

Until they catch a strand of hair

And are no longer gentle.

 

She stops drinking to look behind her,

Lest she be missing something exciting

Like a clown parade, a balloon release,

Or just her sister.

 

Confident we are alone,

She turns back,

Latches on more deeply,

And closes her eyes in contentment.

 

I breathe and rock,

And let the calm wash over me,

The practical overlaps with the intimate,

Breastfeeding becomes the best of both.

Six Months of Breastfeeding, Baby!

15 Jun

Breastfeeding No1 was a disaster.  Milk allergy, improper latch, nippleshield, clogged ducts, projectile vomiting, PPD…you name it?  We suffered through it.  For three long months.  And I have a perfectly healthy evil genius bright little girl on my hands now.

So when No2 was born, I knew that if I had to bottle feed, that she (and I) would eventually be okay.  But secretly, knowing this would be my last baby and my last chance to breastfeed, I wanted to be successful more than anything.  I dug my heels in and fought to nurse No2 week by week, day by day.  Some days, I could only go feed by feed.  Though massive overactive letdown and oversupply, milk protein imbalance, reflux, and milk protein intolerance, I nursed.

And somewhere along the way, it stopped being so hard.  We still face our challenges – my oversupply is still rampant (medication-induced) but No2 manages the letdown better now that she’s older.  I’m on a restricted diet that prevents me from eating any dairy or soy (I would kill for a slice of cheese these days), but have gotten pretty used to it.  Thankfully Oreos are dairy-free.  And because nursing has never been relaxing for No2, she doesn’t really comfort nurse.  She eats when she’s hungry and that’s it.

But I’ll take it.

Because it means no bottle prep at 3 in the morning.  I carry her food around with me everywhere (even if she’s too distracted to eat when we’re out).  It means I get to snuggle her  against my skin and give her something no one else can.  My breastmilk has grown this baby from day one and there’s something amazing about that.

Before breastfeeding, I never understood why mothers were so proud of something that could be replicated by science and a bottle.  But I get it now.  Breastfeeding is hard.  It’s challenge-ridden.  It’s not just as simple as “stick boob in mouth.”  Instead, it’s a relationship between mother and child – a conversation.  I am proud not because I think breastfeeding No2 makes me a superior mother – each family and mother has to decide what works best for them – but instead because I set out to do something challenging and have done it.  I never thought I would make it to six months breastfeeding.  Now I can’t wait to get to twelve.

I never would have gotten this far without help and inspiration from these folks.  I thank you.  My baby thanks you.  What an amazing gift your help has given to us both.

Gina at The Feminist Breeder for her timely post on oversupply which gave me hope, helped me troubleshoot, and let me know I wasn’t a freak.

@SigningCharity for cheering me on and sharing with me what a joy breastfeeding was for her.

@Story3Girl for supporting me 110% when I was making tough decisions, no matter what the outcome.

@JamesandJax for helping me find support online and celebrating the good days with me.  And for sharing her story about breastfeeding difficulties.

@jenrenpody for sharing her experience with nippleshields and getting me though a difficult week.

My good friend Melissa @sweetlyvoiced for her practical wisdom and calm reactions to my “crises”.

Nancy Holtzman (@nancyholtzman), baby guru and IBCLC for chatting with a stranger on twitter for an hour to help me with oversupply solutions.

My local bestie Jessica for beaming with pride every time she saw me nurse the baby, and for helping me stay focused on keeping my happiness in every decision I had to make.

@Hopin2BHappy for the “milking stool”. 😉

@velveteenmama for the allergy information and making mspi dieting sound doable.

And my husband for supporting me even though it has meant he has to get up more at night, expensive (and yummy) food from Whole Foods, and some very emotional moments.

I’m sure I’m forgetting someone.  So thank you.  Truly.

UPDATE:

Yup, I forgot someone important.  @smldada?  Thank you for being around at all hours of the night and for keeping me company!  All your advice helped so much!

Things I’ve Learned

23 Mar

Inspired by my friend Yuz at Not Just About Wee.

It’s funny to wake up one day and realize you are the mom. No longer the child craving adulthood, the college kid denying it, you finally have to admit that the sign your mom had hanging in her kitchen saying “By the time you are old enough to realize your mother was right, you have children who think you are wrong,” speaks the truth.  And all the things you thought you knew have changed.  Having kids changes you, changes your priorities, changes your experiences.  I’m glad to say I know more now that I’m in my thirties and a mom of two.  And I can assert with confidence that when I’m 40, all this will change again.

What I’ve Learned:

  • The phrase “sleeping like a baby” is full of crap. I’m sleeping like a baby right now and it sucks.  I’m up every two hours.
  • You love your kids with a fierceness that can be frightening and exhilarating.
  • Babies are helpless. Really helpless.
  • Marriage is a partnership – it will not always be fun but if you choose the right person, you will fight through the trenches together and come out the other side better for it.
  • You can be friends with people you’ve never met.  Good friends, who you share your deepest secrets with.
  • Vulnerability makes you stronger.
  • When you have kids, you end up throwing away a ton of food.
  • Breastfeeding is a relationship. It’s a conversation between mother and child. It can’t be forced but perseverance pays off.
  • It’s okay for moms (and dads) to need a break from their kids.  Healthy even.
  • With kids, everything is a phase.  Even the good stuff.
  • Toddlers love water. A sink full of water and Dawn is good for two hours of fun.
  • I crave control. Having kids is an exercise in chaos. It’s okay to still be learning how to cope with this conflict.
  • You have to learn how to trust your gut as a parent. And that your kids will show you what they need.
  • I am guilty of passive aggressive loud diaper changing at 2am when I’m the only person awake. This is immature.  I’m not sure I can stop it.
  • Antidepressants are not “happy pills”. They are “let you be yourself pills”.  And being yourself makes you happy.
  • It’s okay to need help. It’s even better to ask for it.
%d bloggers like this: