Just Write, #2

Linking up with Just Write

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The babies wake up happy, as usual. We nurse and smile and talk to Daddy and the dogs. Diapers are changed, laundry is started, the Today show keeps me company in the background. I’m hungry and cross my fingers, hoping they’ll stay happy long enough for me to scramble an egg.

They don’t, and I have to turn off the stove halfway through the process. Peanut Butter is extra hungry and Jelly isn’t far behind. I don’t want to start the day with formula. I won’t start the day with formula. We’ll nurse every 30 minutes if we need to. I’ll put off giving them formula until at least noon. I am determined.

But so are they. I give in and decide that 2 ounces will be enough to take off the edge and we will resume our nursing non-schedule. Jelly is happy enough and plays with his toes. Peanut Butter is not. He is still hungry, so I pick him up and nuzzle him into my breast. He screams and arches his back, over and over. I prop him on my shoulder and pat his back, trying to whisper calming and encouraging things to him. I try again, he screams louder. I am struggling to hold in my growing anger.

Maybe he’s not hungry. Maybe he needs to be distracted by a toy. This doesn’t work and he continues to scream. We try the breast again and the rejection is tearing at my heart. I sob and shout out and pound on the arm of the couch. There is milk there! Why won’t you take it! Why are you rejecting me?

This is the only thing I can give you that is truly unique. Anyone can bathe you. Anyone can hold you. Anyone and smile at you and play with you. Anyone can give you a bottle with that wretched liquid in it. Your rejection feels so personal and it fills me with an irrational rage. I’m angry with my body, and myself and even you. I’m angry at myself for being angry with you. You’re an infant, telling me what you need in the only way you know how.

But every drop you take from that bottle is a drop you don’t take from me. Every drop is a reminder of my failure to provide for you. If I can’t take care of you in this most basic way, how will I be able to be a good mother to you in the rest of your life? These thoughts are ridiculous, I know. But they are so big and so real and sometimes, often even, I want to just give up. I want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and leave the rearing of you both to someone who can do a better job.

I resign myself to giving you a 4 ounce bottle. Drink what you want of it. I’m obviously unable to give you what you need and want. Six ounces is more than half of my daily goal of keeping the supplementation at or below 10 ounces. I know that the more formula you drink, the less I will produce and I am filled with dread and sadness at the prospect of you weaning early, but I can’t leave you hungry.

All is quiet now. Your brother is having his morning nap and you, satiated, roll across the floor and giggle at the dog. I cry and wonder what sort of monster I am to project my own feelings of inadequacy on a helpless child.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

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Posted on November 7, 2011, in A piece of my soul, Bonding, Breastfeeding, depression, Just Write. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Mike (@hobbesoh)

    Tough stuff. Makes my heart ache and stomach tighten, remembering how tough the feeding equation is.

    We started Baby Led Weaning at 6 months (http://babyledweaning.com) – and now our girls (9 months) are on a three meal schedule with 3 regular breastfeeds during the day – no formula. The schedule took a while to get into place, but you may be able to break out of the “formula/breast” trade off with BLW.

    Of course, every set of twins are different (and advice is copious on the Internet), but you may want to look into it. BLW is the sh*t, at least it was for us.

    • Baby led weaning is definitely my plan. I’d hoped that I could keep the amount of formula steady and then have it gradually decrease while keeping up my milk supply during the switch over to solids. I don’t know whether that will pan out but I can’t quit trying!

  2. Oh Jenny…
    I had to stop BFing at 2 weeks postpartum. It killed me. I felt like the most useless person in the world. Like I had no purpose to my son. It was the illness talking….
    Your purpose is to love them. And you’re doing that. Your purpose is to help them thrive and grow…and if that sometimes means formula, that’s ok. What matters is the love.
    I know it must feel awful to be rejected. Bit you can give them love. They love you.
    Xoxo

    • I try to keep that in mind. I really do. Most of the time I do feel that but those moments of rejection are so intense. I want this nursing relationship to continue into toddler-hood like it did with my first two boys. It was so special and I will be heartbroken if we don’t get there.

  3. Oh bless you. You are such a good Mom. You give them more than you know that no one else can give to them.

    xoxo
    Steph

    • I hope so Steph. Sometimes I feel like I’m not much good to them, but those are the blues talking I guess. I keep trudging forward. And not every day is so sad and filled with angst. Promise.

  4. Every drop is important. Every moment is sacred. Breastfeeding is not the end all to be all. My son was only on the breast for a few weeks. He is amazing. We are closer than close. He is now fifteen and he still likes me, so I’ve done something right. Hang in there!

  5. Oh I’m so sorry that you are going through this. You can’t beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can and he is nourished and loved.

    • I try to remember that I am doing my best. I hope I am doing my best. There is always a question in my mind of whether I could do something more. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  6. I can only imagine how you are feeling. I know my words can’t change what you’re feeling but you love your babies with everything in you, you love them so much that you put their needs, wants and well-being before your own. One of greatest gifts you can give your children is you and your love. Nobody can love them the way you do. No one.

  7. So powerful. My early days of nursing were like this, intense, emotional. “Just keep swimming” (Dori from Finding Nemo) helped to keep me sane sometimes because ultimately bottle or breast doesn’t matter because no one can give them what you have, a mother’s love.

  8. I know these feelings well. Breastfeeding comes with so many emotions – some good, some terrible. There are other things that you can give them that are truly unique. No love compares to a mother’s love and that you give them in boatloads. Hang in there!

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