Feeding the Baby

Just when I think I am over thinking about stuff like breastfeeding, and everything that happened in that regards, I find myself feeling a sharp pang of sadness over that experience lost.

The baby is coming up on 17 months now, so wild and free and terrifyingly opinionated, but this sadness still hits me.

 

So I have been ecstatic to find a couple of resources, or spaces really, for other new moms who are maybe not having the most idyllic of experiences.

First is my new favorite podcast The Longest Shortest Time. Hilary does a blog too, and it is probably only interesting to people who have had babies. The premise itself is genius: this first two years of any baby’s life feels like the longest, shortest time. The blog and podcast are a testimony to the struggles (and triumphs!) of making it through. I can’t recommend this highly enough, especially to new moms.

Secondly is a new Tumblr site simply called Feeding the Baby. It is a judgement free little site that posts different stories of how people fed their babies. While most of us (at least here in Portland) have grand visions of being an awesome super natural breast-feeding hero woman, that doesn’t always happen. The stories are wonderful, especially for those of us who find ourselves not living out the “perfect” experience.

My story just got published there today. It was a tiny little 5 minute exactly-how-I-was-feeling rememberence, and it was startling that the first thing that would pop into my head was the weird guilt I felt about how since poor mom’s couldn’t give their baby formula, how could I? Grief is so weird. Plus, I think my brain didn’t work properly for the first 8 months of babydom. I couldn’t hold a single coherent thought in my head.

Feeding the Baby was born after a single author wrote a blog called “Breastfeeding isn’t free”. In it, the author describes the enormous amounts of time (6-8 hours, conservatively) and energy and sometimes pain and frustration that go into breastfeeding. I thought it had a lot of interesting points, but more importantly it led to the creation of a space where people finally felt like they could be honest about living in the real world, a world where it sometimes doesn’t all work out.

One of the biggest questions to come out of my sudden re-immersion of this discussion is this: why don’t people tell us how hard it can be? Why does all the breastfeeding literature make it seem so easy, natural, and (dare I say) like it is God’s will?

My own body tried to kill me and my baby. So that kinda skews my whole opinion on “the body knows what’s best”.

I think only good can come from us being more honest about this discussion. What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “Feeding the Baby

  1. Cate Clother says:

    hey girl, I never pretended that breastfeeding was natural, easy, or even wonderful. nursing my boys was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! every mom has a different path to walk, with different struggles and even different joys.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. We are always told that breast is best, but very rarely are we told how difficult breastfeeding can be. I personally believe more honest, frank discussion is required for many other aspects of parenting. How much easier would life be if we realised that other parents were going through the same struggles as us?

  3. Sarah K says:

    My thoughts:

    1) You ARE an awesome super natural hero woman, and it’s independent of your boobs.
    2) Thanks for sharing your story. I love your frankness.
    3) We should get together, lament our various regrets of the first 17 months of our kids’ lives, and then move on with laughter over some cupcakes and a drink. Yes? Yes.

  4. loverstreet says:

    danielle, i have a lovely friend from undergrad who recently concluded that her body could not care for her son as he needed and is trying to make sense of it. i sent her to this blog post and am so glad i have an incredible woman i can refer people to when they feel like they have “failed”. your honesty and genuineness are going to be so helpful for her. thank you for putting it out there and giving other moms a chance to be free from the breastfeeding zealotry.

  5. Holly says:

    This is Lindsey’s lovely friend from undergrad. đŸ™‚ I LOVED your post here, and coincidentally, another one of my favorite bloggers posted about the link between depression and breastfeeding today at mightygirl.com. It is so encouraging to see women remember that we are better off cheering for each other than not.

    • Thanks so much for commenting, and sharing. I just read your blog–and man, I remember that feeling. Like a weight being taken off my chest, but with the temptation to put another one (societal expectations) on. When you are a little further away, it will seem amazing how much you agonized over it. And let me tell you, the egalitarian aspects of formula are pretty awesome. Keep writing!

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