Thursday, March 1, 2012
An End & A Beginning
Yesterday was the last time I’ll ever nurse Jack. It may be the last time I ever breastfeed, period.
When I look back at my posts about breastfeeding this time last year, my heart aches a bit. As I read over my words, I remember how I was wracked with guilt. Wanting to exclusively breastfeed Liam and not being able to, nearly drove me to a nervous breakdown. I felt like such a failure—once again, it was something my body couldn’t do.
When Jack was born, I decided to breastfeed and formula feed from the beginning—I wanted to take the pressure off of myself that he had to be exclusively breastfed. I figured that if he had formula from day one, I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. It was one of the best things I’ve done.
Without the pressure, I’ve really enjoyed breastfeeding Jack. Since the beginning, I’ve nursed when I wanted to & given a bottle when it was more convenient. I didn’t feel like I was the only one who could feed him, I never had to rush home from an outing in time for a feeding and I never resented having to nurse him. (If I didn’t feel like it, I just didn’t.) And that was good.
Things in the Blakely household have been going well—the boys are amazing. Liam is learning new words, making up funny dances & is such a ham. He’s a sweet and smart little man. (Now, if we could just get rid of these nasty ear infections…!) Jack is smiling, cooing & giggling and he’s thisclose to rolling over for the first time. He’s an easy and content little guy.
Raising two young boys is hard sometimes. We have our days—when Liam’s sick, or Jack’s reflux is acting up; when Liam wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, and Jack hardly slept at all; when we have a million places to go & things to do and the kids (& I) are covered in food and can’t get out of the house… Those days are hard.
But there are other days— days when the kids are both happy & smiling & I’m filled with pride that these two are my sons every time I look at them; days when everyone got 9+ hours of sleep and naps are taken right on schedule; days when the babes look like they stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids Catalog & I don’t look so bad myself…
…well, lately, those days have seemed hard, too.
Things over the past month or so have just felt difficult—much more difficult than they need to feel. Situations that are a normal part of mothering were leaving me feeling panicked. I’ve had lots of days where the kids crying in the car sent my heart pounding, left my palms sweaty & required my inner-monologue to run on repeat that “Everyone’s ok. Kids cry. Everyone’s fine. YOU’RE FINE.” Traveling the 35 minutes from my parents’ house to my own (Jack hates the car seat & cries A LOT despite his sleep sheep, Wubbanub & DVD player!) left me feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin…or at least out my car window.
At my six week checkup I let my OB know how I was feeling (the symptoms have gotten worse since then), but told him that I wasn’t ready to quit breastfeeding yet. He told me to call any time I felt ready. I really struggled with making that call, but a few weeks ago, I did it & I got the prescriptions filled last week.
But I’ve had a really hard time quitting. I slowed down a lot. I was down to nursing him once a day (first thing in the morning) and I cherished those quiet moments connecting with him. When I thought about the fact that this may be our last baby & I may never share that connection again, I got REALLY sad when I thought about stopping. I felt like I was being selfish by quitting breastfeeding so that I could get back on these meds.
I said this to my ob. His response? "The best thing you can do for your baby is not breastfeeding. The best thing you can do for him is to take good care of his mother." (I love that man.) I had heard this a million times, but for some reason, this time it stuck with me when he said it.
It’s time. Time to make myself feel better—to take away some of these feelings. To have more energy, more enthusiasm, more ME in me. It’s time to slow my pulse, dry my hands, and take a few deep breaths.
I’m suffering from depression & anxiety. I need to take care of myself so that I can be the best mother possible to these boys. I want to chase them around the playground, roll around on the floor with them & get them (and me!) outside. I want to enjoy snuggling and loving on them without constantly worrying about when the next crying jag might start. I just want to love them with everything that I have and everything that I am.
So yesterday morning, when Jack stirred, I pulled him into the bed with us and watched him as he nursed himself back to sleep. I watched his soft throat swallow, his eyes flutter, his little hand on my breast… and I soaked it all in, knowing that it would be the last time.
And when he was done, I mourned it for the loss of what it was, but celebrated what it will be… a new beginning for me.
I started my meds today. It’s been three long years since I have been on this combo (Wellbutrin & Ativan)—one that makes me feel at my absolute best... and, I look forward to being the best version of myself again, soon.
For me & for my boys.