Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easy and Difficult

Another blog posed these questions: What has been easier about being a mom? What has been more difficult about being a mom?

I think that I could write a book on my opinions!

First, I was a better mom before I was a mom. What I mean is, I had so many opinions, ideas, and suggestions (and rude thoughts!) about other moms before I ever had a baby. I knew exactly what I would/wouldn't do while I was pregnant, during labor, when we brought our baby home. I knew how I would feed him and clothe him. I knew how I would rear and discipline him. I knew exactly how he would act (perfectly!) before I was ever pregnant.

Honestly, I did the same thing every year before school started as well. I do this about my plans for the weekend. I do it about what outfit I'm going to wear to an event. I am an over-planner and an idealist. I need to be a little more realistic.

As it turns out, things don't go perfectly. I felt crummy and hardly ate anything during the first half of my pregnancy and I was starving and ate anything that was within reach during the second half. When we got our baby home he wasn't (and still isn't) a good sleeper. (He IS, however, a good eater and a good traveler, so it certainly makes up for it!)

I think the biggest "Huh??" I have experienced has been in feeding him. I have breastfed from Day One (and he's a champion nurser) but I do not like it. (Listen up for a lesson in "the things they don't tell you...") I read all the books, talked to the breastfeeding specialists, and talked to experienced friends before he was here. I felt overwhelmed and under prepared but when it came time to nurse right after delivery it just happened. Hallelujah! I thought that I might die from the pain the first two weeks. After that was over I waited for that "ah-ha" moment to happen. The release of endorphins? The bonding with my baby? The miracle that is breastfeeding? I just wanted to be in the other room, visiting with the friends or family who had stopped by.

Please don't misunderstand me. I would not go back and change those five months of breastfeeding for anything. The research is there. It is proven that breastfed babies (and their mommies!) are healthier babies. Breastfed babies suffer less gas, diarrhea, and constipation. They have stronger immune systems. Overall, they have higher IQs. They have fewer allergies and less risk of asthma. There are fewer incidences of diabetes and cancer. There is less risk of childhood obesity and SIDS. For the mom, it reduces bleeding after childbirth. It promotes weight loss. Moms have a lower risk of ovarian and breast cancers. It is economical, convenient, a time saver, cleaner and safer. It's even the "greener" way to feed your baby!


What if you don't really like it? What if it doesn't make you feel like you read that it should? That's where I am. Does it promote bonding? Sure. But so would holding a bottle and snuggling with him. More than anything, it makes me feel separate and burdensome. Something like every three hours or so, I have to bid farewell to those who might be with me or I have to stop what we're doing to drive home or I have to prepare ahead of time and pump so that we have a bottle.

You know what would make it easier? Supplementing with formula every once in a while. But guess who hates formula? That's right. He thinks I'm trying to poison him so he gags and coughs and cries and carries on.

Even if I turned into Michelle Duggar and had eighteen more children, I'd do my best to breastfeed exclusively for their first four months, too. I just feel like I should. (I do not feel like God is calling me to follow in Mrs. Duggar's footsteps, however!)

But I think it's okay that I don't get "that" feeling from it like so many other women do. I'd do it anyway.

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