Ahhh mom guilt. A much used phrase that everyone has likely heard, parent or not.
Truth is I hadn’t experienced too much of it, at least when it wasn’t generalized. Of course ” Am I doing enough?” or “am I doing this right?” had crossed my mind a few times, but until these past few weeks I hadn’t experienced the full brute force of the devil on your shoulder that is “mom guilt.”
As some of you know from prior posts, Oliver has always just hated nursing. He could latch find, just hated doing it. I saw many lactation consultants and tried all the tricks in the book, and for that reason we exclusively pumped and bottle fed until around month 3 when I wasn’t making enough to satiate him, also around the time where he wouldn’t latch on even for a few minutes a day anymore. My supply slowly started decreasing more and more, no matter how much money I spent on different sized flanges, supplements, drinks, and ingredients that “boost milk”. Not to mention the time spent power pumping! (ouch).
For a long time Oliver wouldn’t accept powder formula, only pre-made, so I was at a loss. Pre-made is very expensive and I just couldn’t justify it. Out of nowhere I tried him on it again, just to try, and he took it! Loved it, in fact. So after 6 months of pumping every 2-3 hours every day through the day and night I considered quitting. It was making me stressed and miserable seeing my supply decrease despite all my efforts, so I decided to wean off. But then the thoughts came rolling in….. ” I should just keep going, its the best thing for him” “I am not trying hard enough” “I’m being weak” “His immunity will suffer” “Maybe there is an herb I haven’t tried” along with a heaping serving of guilt on the side.I am in no way a “breast is best” person, “fed is best” always so I had no idea why all of this was getting to me so badly. Social media doesn’t help. As much as breast milk really is incredible, and the pages I follow are meant to support, that support turned into triggers for me. It was really just a full on spiral of fuckery.
I am aware enough to realize when my bad thoughts are getting the best of me, so I pulled back and decided I was proud of myself for trying so hard for so long. I have incredible friends and even strangers who are donating breast milk to me so he can still get a little bit of it every day. I am extremely lucky that I had any supply at all for him, and that for the first 3 months of his life he sustained on my breast milk alone.
Now every time I hear the statement “mom guilt”, I have a new perspective. We are all just trying to do the best we absolutely can for our kiddos. As long as it isn’t harming them or anyone else, you do you boo. Reach out for support. Your people are proud of you, even if your toxic brain can’t hear them when they say it the first time. And if you need someone to say it again, I am proud of you, you are doing fantastic, don’t question your gut feelings.
I’ll be back next Wednesday,