I couldn’t breastfeed. It’s okay. :: One mom’s journey

//I couldn’t breastfeed. It’s okay. :: One mom’s journey

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this week, we posted this share that made us giggle. And while it pokes fun at a mystery woman named Cynthia and her love of kale smoothies {Cynthia, can we come over? Kale = crushing it.}, the “how dare you” comments came pouring in from followers passionate on one side or another. The fact is: We love all moms. Every single one. One of our key pillars at theCityMoms is to support each mom’s ‘perfect way of parenting’ because we recognize every mom is unique. Like Liz – today’s blog contributor. Breastfeeding did not work in her ‘perfect way of parenting’ and guess what? She’s okay with that.

Breastfeed journey - theCityMoms

And as I sat there, fighting back tears in the middle of a crowded room, all I could keep telling myself was that you would never know you made me cry ….

July 3, 2015 at 7:01 pm will forever be my favorite moment of all time. My son, Graham, was born and changed my life forever. I can remember everything about the first couple of hours – how he smelled, how everyone kept telling me how perfect his head was (no I did not know this was a goal ha!), and that someone was on their way to help me breastfeed. The first time I had tried to let Graham eat, he would not latch. Turns out, the bib boobs I have had most of my life, were not “doing their job.” I would spend the next month trying to get a child to latch on to no avail. I tried every trick, tip, and internet searched idea I could find. So, I resigned myself to be an exclusive pumper. I would commit to sitting down and feeling like a dairy cow for too many hours a day, because I knew my milk was what was best for my baby. The funny thing is – life doesn’t always cooperate with what you plan. After a month of pumping, and falling deeper into PPD, my husband had to finally intervene. I was not producing enough milk to feed our son, despite the cookies, the tea, the yoga, again – anything I could think of or find on the internet to increase my supply.

The day we switched to formula, I wept in our kitchen.

I made his first bottle with the Similac sample our pediatrician gave us and I wept. I wept for the loss of the dream I had of bonding with my son the ways so many of my friends had with their children. I was even lucky, my pediatrician is an older gentleman who assured me, Graham being fed is the only goal – no matter how that happens. This advice was true, and kind, but did not seem to make any difference in my sadness. You see, my son was born in the heat of the Breast Is Best movement. Logging on to social media – which if you ask any exclusive pumper or mom on maternity leave that’s what we do a LOT – was like an affirmation of the fact that I was failing as a new mother on a very basic level. Please don’t be confused, I’m aware this was not the point of the movement, however, to a mom struggling – that’s all I felt.

On Labor Day weekend of 2015, I took my new baby to TN to meet our extended family. So many cousins, aunts, uncles, and the new great grandparents. Everyone could not get enough of him, and I could not have felt prouder to see the people I love most, love my son almost as much as I did.


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I started to relax a little on the couch, and without thinking, I opened Facebook. There it was – practically yelling in my face, BREAST IS BEST! A friend had posted a long commentary about how women who do not breastfeed were robbing their children of what they needed, that these women were selfish, and those statistics I had seen one too many times about “the actual percentage of women who cannot breastfeed” being so low. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut and left me to cry on the floor. While this friend will never know the effect her post had on me, it is forever burned into my memory. So many questions raced through my head, when people saw Graham with a bottle, did they think I was just selfish? Did they think I was just choosing not to feed him the “normal” way? Even worse, when they find out I work outside the home, did they believe I thought my career was more important than my child?

Fast forward to today – my son is a happy, and very active 3 year old boy. He loves trains, dinosaurs, playing soccer, and eating ALL the carbs. I know now that my decision to move to formula {and finding the right formula could be a whole other post ha!} was best for my son and my family. My family needed me and I wasn’t being a good mom when I was in the deep hole of attempting to breastfeed or pump.

I chose to be the best mom I could for Graham, the best wife I could be for my husband, and the best woman I could be for myself. While I would have given anything to be able to breastfeed my son, I would not change the decision I made to stop trying. He needed a mommy who smiled, laughed, and played with him more than he needed my breastmilk.

So, while I will never consider myself the kind of person who has “words of wisdom”, I will do my best.

No matter what your struggle, just remember being a mom is hard enough without you putting the pressures or ideals of the world on yourself. You must be able to be a full woman before you can be a full mom. How? Drink the wine or eat the kale. Give you baby that bottle or breastfeed in public. Just remember to be you. And as always, try and do it with a sense of humor, because the world will always have people who judge – just not this mom.

/////////

Liz Duvall - theCityMoms
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Liz Duvall is an Indianapolis native who loves outdoor concerts, craft beer, and food trucks.
Liz grew up in the Glendale neighborhood but currently resides near Ben Davis with her 4 kids, husband, and dog Harley. And yes, her smile is just as bright in person as pictured.
2018-09-21T14:40:36+00:00September 21st, 2018|
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