Today Emily wrote about suffering from anxiety after having her last baby. I thought that maybe it was time to talk about one of my biggest struggles, not just in parenthood, but in life. It seems so taboo to speak about our (perceived) shortcomings and struggles, especially when it comes to our children and being a mother. When I was pregnant, the images I had about being a mother were all happy, smiling and perfect but it didn't work out quite like that.
I tried and I tried and I tried to breastfeed my baby, I tried so hard and felt like a total failure as my milk never came in. I tried every herb you've ever heard of, pumping more, feeding more, and prescription medications, you name it, I tried it out. I saw multiple lactation consultants, but still I felt like I was failing my baby and that she would grow up to be the opposite of all the great things they say about breastfed babies. I think this is really what led to postpartum depression, and I didn't even realize that it was affecting me. I was at the doctor for a checkup and as she was finishing up she said "And, how are you doing?" I couldn't even answer without crying. I cried every time I fed my baby, be it bottle or breast. I felt like I loved her so much but I was just totally failing her from day one. I started taking a mild antidepressant and really only needed it about a month, I think it just helped to get me "over the hump."
I finally let go of all the romantic notions in my head and started living for the days as they came. And things got better, baby slept better, dad got to feed her and bond with her, other people got to help out with that process… and you know what? Everyone was happier and better off. I'm still sensitive when people say things like "all babies should be breastfed" and a little part of me gets jealous when I hear people talk about how easy it was for them. When people are struggling, I try to tell them that I couldn't do it, I tried and I couldn't, but I certainly didn't fail at anything. If I ever have another baby, I'll probably give it another shot, but I'm not going to wage all my happiness on it. I will try my hardest to not put so much stock in all the opinionated comments and remember that I am doing what is best for me and for my family, whatever that may (or may not) be.