I read a lot of blogs. As of late, at least among the "mommy blogs" there is one heated debate and one heated debate only- breastfeeding. It's the subject that never dies, is never taken lightly (and perhaps it shouldn't be), and since I've started my blog I've never really touched on the topic. But here for the first and last time on Lullabies, I'm going to go ahead and "go there".
My name is Amanda and I breastfed for 6 weeks.
Some people gave me a pat on the back for the good ol' college try. Some insisted that I "could go longer you know." And I yes I did and do know. Some got up on a high horse and shook their heads down uponeth the scourge of the Earth. Some gave me support. More did the former.
Let me go on record as stating- I think breastfeeding is in fact the best thing you can do for your baby after they're born. It's scientifically been proven as the absolute best nourishment, it can help bonding, and there are multiple benefits for mother as well. But not all experiences are created equal.
My birth process was one great big ball of "oh, you want this? Well the exact OPPOSITE is going to happen." I wanted a vaginal birth and fought and pushed until I threw up, until I was so exhausted I needed an oxygen mask and six people to assist me. When Jack's heart rate started dropping and when his head was nowhere near close enough despite three hours of the most strenuous pushing, they called the shot and prepped me for a c-section as I cried in fear of the unknown, of the loss of the idea that I had about birth and how mine would go. My epidural (oooohhh, she used pain relief for a watermelon coming out of her vag for the first time ever! What a weak woman!) was barely hanging in there, the general anesthesia wasn't enough and if you'd like to know what the pinch of the scalpel feels like towards the end of the incision or what a persons hands feel like entering your body through your stomach feel like, just let me know. When I let the doctors know, they put me under completely.
I woke up probably an hour or so later. War torn territory, stitches and arms so sore I could barely hold my own baby. My body had never been in so much pain. To feel like you're dying and be presented with life, all swaddled in pastel stripped blankets, watery eyed and new...well, that's a different post entirely.
After I greeted Jack for the first time, I was presented with the next challenge- breastfeeding.
I thought it would be easy. I knew it was the most natural thing in the world so "why the hell is this not working?! Give it to me straight lady, are my tits broken?!" But they weren't, not entirely anyway. It was just harder than everybody had waxed poetic about. And it continued to be hard all the way through.
I cringed at every feeding time, which was always. My milk took a tad bit longer than I had thought. Once my boobs looked like Pamela Anderson's on roids I knew it was there, and then I thought it would get easier. I thought wrong. My boobs hurt so bad at every feeding, like my nipples were cracking open and he was sucking my blood like a vampire. And he was insatiable, since I made next to nothing milk wise. 4 oz. every 4-5 hours makes for a hungry baby, a tired mom, pain, frustration and sadness. I talked to consultants, I talked to my pediatrician and by the 6 week mark, after very little progress, after my breast pump threatened carpal tunnel and I threatened the pump and my body and Greg and whatever powers that be that were playing this cruel joke on me, I finally buckled and we took the drive to Target to buy our first can of formula, my eyes holding back tears from feeling like a failure.
And so it went. Jack ate when he needed to and to satisfaction. He grew and developed on point, and he only got sick with the croup once when it was going around the fall/winter of '08. I should have been happy with that. Happy that he's such a healthy boy and beaming with life every day. But I'll never forget the feelings I felt those first weeks of his life and I resent that if I had just not been inundated with judgement from other women, I would have enjoyed a time that he outgrew so fast. And I'll never let women get to me like that again.
I don't give a rats ass about what choices you decide to make as a parent. I've got decisions I need to make and a toddler I have to raise which is quite enough in and of itself. And if you're a woman that gets off on judging people for their choices because you think you're just so perfect, than I'm going to go ahead and say something I should have said three years ago- FUCK YOU. I don't suffer fools lightly anymore.
I believe in educating yourself about breastfeeding and in trying it and I believe in supporting one another if that doesn't work out. There are soooooo many other variables in life to consider other than breastfeeding. Yes it is an important thing but it isn't THE important thing. I believe it takes all kinds and that the world isn't black and white. I'm amazed I haven't completely given up on the idea of sisterhood, hell even just humanity, considering the things I've read, seen, experienced from other people, specifically women. But I won't give up. Let's be friends, sisters, women, mothers, wives and human beings. And let's support one another in the choices we all make in those roles. Perhaps I'm naive, but I feel that that shouldn't be so hard.
What do you think?