letting go.

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i haven’t written thatcher’s birth story yet (it’s coming, i promise!) but i’ll let you know things didn’t exactly go to “plan”. like most of parenthood, already.

i felt radiant during pregnancy, so healthy. when i pictured motherhood, i had in mind the same thing. i would be a beautiful, glowing mother. i would be able to go out to eat with my mom and gracefully breastfeed my child. i saw maternity leave as a time to bond with my baby, and also maybe get some things around the house done that we hadn’t had a chance to do. you know, organize our financial paperwork, create a home office in one of our “junk rooms”, take beautiful photos of my newborn, paint our hutch, decorate, create a book of our wedding photos, etc.

this last month hasn’t been like that.

i have stains on my clothes. not from thatcher, but from me dropping food (mostly ice cream….). i never realized how long and exhausting a process fixing my hair is. as for organization? i’m lucky if i get the dishes put in the dishwasher some days. and as for beautiful, healthy, radiating? i have a major cold sore outbreak and huge circles under my eyes.

breastfeeding didn’t go to my plan. problems with latch, thatcher making hamburger out of my nipples (tmi, i know), feeding all day/night long, me crying through each feeding out of pain and frustration. after a meeting with a lactation consultant, we decided to let my infected, severely traumatized nipples heal. so i’ve been pumping instead.

i felt like a failure. like because i couldn’t nurse my child and have had to supplement with formula i failed him. i would never and have never judged anyone else who didn’t nurse and used formula, so why was i so hard on myself? he’s healthy, he’s growing, he’s absolutely perfect. and i’m healing.

i had heard about mothers guilt while pregnant. oh wow, did it hit me like a truck. worrying that i’ll not be able to give him what he needs. feeling guilty about starting work again soon. worrying that i’ll fail him, that i won’t do my best.

i’m letting go of this guilt. it’s a constant prayer of mine. i might not be able to give him everything, and will certainly mess up. but i have so much love to give him. i have a wonderful marriage with his father, who is crazy about him as well. i have my faith to share with him. i have my time to give him. and those are really the most important things, right?

the house may be messy. i might look terrible. but my days are spent cuddling my amazing son. and giving him so much love.

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18 responses to “letting go.

  1. sheena. you are doing an amazing job as a mother. you really are. mama guilt is hard, and unfortunately it never FULLY goes away, but yes let go of what you can. and know that you really are amazing….no one can be perfect, but thankfully we have God to fill in the gaps where we as humans fail. Thatcher is super lucky to have such a loving mama. and it gets better, it does. tons of love!

  2. don’t worry! the first month is the worst, and the second and the third … πŸ™‚ as long as you see a happy baby in you arms , yo are doing great. You’ll learn to multitask, and more important, you’ll learn to turn a blind eye on: dishes, laundry basket, etc…etc …etc
    Best advise i can give you is: enjoy your maternity leave, you and your baby are first and the most important. Everything will fall into place at some point. Enjoy that beautiful tiny baby

  3. Those first few weeks and even months are so hard – no one really tells you that. We struggled for 2.5 months to nurse our first, she was born 4 weeks early but we got there…with LOTS of pain along the way. Now with our second, who is 3 months old, I still had pain, stains all over my clothing, I’m lucky if I get a shower ever few days (gross I know), the dishes pile up, our poor dog get’s no love from me and our 2.5 year old has been a challenge.
    Just know that you are not alone and all of what you are experiencing is normal. It’s SO easy to be hard on yourself…I’ve been there too with both children. BUT, it does get easier, better and someday you won’t have stains on your clothing but something else that challenges you. Hang in there.

  4. I remember those feelings from 34 years ago being a first time mom. (It’s the only time you’ll get to feel that way.) I think all our offspring turned out just fine and I know Thatcher will too! He looks like he’s doing just fine! And someday, you’ll look back and smile about it.

  5. Sheena, thanks so much for your honesty! I feel the same way as you! Lucy is almost 5wks old, and breastfeeding has been hard for us too. It’s amazing how something so “natural” can go wrong in so many ways! Do you have anyone helping you during the day? I ended up sending an all call to any friends I had that were free during the day, and the support was incredible (I had to put aside my pride as I watched them do my dishes and cook me food though!)

    We are still in the thick of new parenting, but everyone tells me it gets better! So, I guess we just need to hang on!

    • praying for you, mandy! i’m thankful my mom was able to come help a few days. it is getting so much better! lucy is beautiful, and such a blessed little gal πŸ™‚

  6. Sheena, I had a lot of the same experiences when I had Sabin. I wanted to nurse but six weeks in I was so frustrated and I literally dreaded every time he was hungry because of how painful it was. Eventually, after one big meltdown, I decided to move strictly to pumping and that worked really well for me. I would anticipate his hunger and I would pump and feed him with a bottle. I, too, felt guilty for a bit but then I realized I was happier, Sabin was happier and it reduced the stress tremendously! Things hardly ever go according to plan (Sabin’s birth was an emergency C-section, too) but you really have to do what works for you.
    Congratulations on that little one, and you’re already one heck of a mom!

    • my stress is reduced so much by pumping, we now have a happy baby and happy mama! thank you so much for sharing, it’s so good knowing i’m not alone! sabin is adorable, what a blessed little man having you for a mom!

  7. I completely relate. Motherhood wasn’t all I thought it would be– it was more– more that was hard and more that was good, too πŸ™‚ You are not alone! Lots of us Mommies have big bags under our eyes… but really sweet babies! πŸ™‚

  8. Sheena; You don’t know me, but I am a high-school friend of your mom and mom-in-law. I’ve been enjoying your pregnancy blog and your recent writings about your lovely Thatcher. I’m an nurse with many years experience helping people breastfeed for years before having my own kids — my husband is also a nurse with a great deal of experience with new parents and babies. We were blown away by the energy our new baby took. There were days when my goal was just to get a shower. Yes, breastmilk is wonderful, but what is most important is that he is held in loving arms while he is fed. The goal is to feed the baby, and to let him know that he is loved and cherished. You are doing a wonderful job with that. Now post some new pictures of him. Especially his toes (I love baby feet, smell them while you can, before they get big and smell bad). And BTW — he is a major Geisler

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