I have started and stopped this a thousand times, a million if you count the times I have written it in my head. I have tried to talk myself out of sharing because I thought-what does this have to do with my business. But the reality is that my business is an extension of me and I want to be my authentic self which means sharing my personal stuff along with my work.
The enemy wants mothers to feel isolated. If you are alone that means you are left to your thoughts and to become trapped under the weight of comparison, especially when you first become a mom. There is so much pressure, worry and fear.
I had Brooks on April 9, 2016 and as a new mama I had decided that I was going to breastfeed. In my mind I was convinced it was the best thing and the most natural thing which had to mean that I could do it right? I took a class, did research, bought the cute milk snob cover and a boppy and I thought I was all set.
I didn’t know that when we I had to move to Missouri two weeks after Brooks was born that the stress, I didn’t know I was feeling, from not having anyone around would kill my supply. I didn’t know the reason why Brooks was crying was because he was hungry. He was burning more energy nursing that he was getting from me. Bring on all the guilt and shame that honestly still haunts me today. I have tears in my eyes, and a pit in my stomach as I type this. When I look back on photos of those early weeks all I can feel is guilt.
I will never forget taking him to a pediatrician in May for a checkup to find that he wasn’t gaining weight. I had no idea and I was shattered. They let me nurse him to see if they could see a shift in the ounces after he ate. I nursed him and prayed so hard for a change on the scale that didn’t happen. I left the room when they brought in a bottle of formula and I fell in a heap on the floor in the office hallway and balled my eyes out.
Why is there so much judgment around how you feed your baby? As a society, now a days, you are pretty much in the wrong with any choice. If you breast feed there are opinions on how and when, cover or no cover and when you should stop. If you formula feed people say you should breast feed instead. Then, just when you think you are out of the clear (or partly) by starting food there is a whole other realm of what and when is the right time to introduce foods. Purees or baby led weaning; homemade or from a jar. We have taken an already stressful job, being a mom, and added so many more levels to it.
For the next 2 months I poured every ounce of myself into fixing my supply. I started seeing a lactation specialist and buying anything and everything I heard would help
-lactation cookies, store bought and homemade
-all the flax seed (I put in on everything)
You name it and I tried it. I was hooked up to a pump all day it seemed in an effort to fix myself. I kept thinking how can you not even do the one thing you were designed to do for your baby-feed them?
Have you heard of SNS? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either and I swear I thought I had googled everything. It is supplemental nursing system and it reminded me of a soap on a rope but for formula. I would wear this bottle around my neck and tape a tiny tube down my breast so that Brooks could nurse and get formula at the same time. What he didn’t finish had to be transferred to a bottle to feed him from afterwards. To be honest, I think it only fueled my depression more. The time to prep for feedings and clean up was so intense that there was no time in between. I was mentally and physically exhausted and trying not to drown under the weight of guilt I was carrying. My gauge of time or the day of the week was based on when we had appointments with the lactation specialist to weight Brooks.
I was able to breastfeed Brooks until he was 18 months but we had to supplement for him the entire first year.
When Brie was born my heart wanted so terribly to be able to breastfeed without supplementing but I had ‘convinced’ myself that if we had to supplement it would be ok. Truth be told if that had been needed I would have mourned the loss. I whole heartedly agree that fed is best, a million times over, but I wanted to make it work.
This Wednesday Brie turned one (que the mama tears!). It was an emotional day for so many reasons but one specially being that we made it a full year breastfeeding. I am so thankful for all the snuggles and the special times we have shared this past year. But even more so I’m thankful for the testimony that God has given me. It is not a testimony specifically about breastfeeding but more about realizing who I am in Christ for my children. I was chosen and I enough for them despite my short comings and mistakes. No matter what the world says about my choices I am enough. Breastfeed or bottle fed I am enough.
If you formula feed, pump, exclusively breastfeed or a combo you are rocking at it mama. Don’t place your self worth on how your baby is fed. Fed and loved is best. You are amazing and more importantly you are ENOUGH! God chose you to be the mother of your children. Don’t let the enemy steal that gift and weigh you down with lies, fear and shame. You are enough and exactly what your babies need.
My journey as a new mom did not go at all as I planned. I saw myself as a failure on so many levels and to be quite frank there I days that I still struggle. But I do know that there is power in sharing, it can break your free from the lies and struggles that have held you captive.
If you are a new mama or soon to be please block out the voices of society, don’t succumb to the worries and expectations that the world wants to place on you. Breath in the sweet smell of your new baby, rub the fuzzy shoulders and revel in the fact that you are holding your perfect gift from God.
Photo courtesy of the amazing Jessica-Shutter and Bloom Photography