I was 19 years old when our first baby was born, a teenager! (Looking back, I am very humbled that my Father in Heaven entrusted me with one of his children at such a young age). I felt ready to be a parent, because I knew that I was going to give everything I had to that child. Also, I knew that no one, besides my husband, was going to love our baby as much as me. As far as parenting knowledge goes, I would soon find out, I knew very little. I had wonderful parents who were great examples to me, and who have been amazing resources throughout my journey of motherhood.
My entire life, I had seen so many women nurse their children. In my naïve mind, I assumed it was easy. Something that would come naturally for me and my baby. After all, it is a natural thing. I didn’t think that I had to do any research about nursing before I had my baby. Or frankly, right after. (Spoiler Alert: I would eventually learn my lesson)
I had a Big baby
I was measuring big my entire pregnancy with baby #1. I didn’t go into labor on my own, so I was induced at 39 weeks. I went through 27 hours of labor, before I was taken for an emergency C-section. She ended up being 10 lbs. My husband and I were shocked, we knew she was big, but didn’t think 10 lbs big! I was exhausted after hardly sleeping, and not eating at all by the time I ended up having her. After holding our baby, and giving nursing a try, all I wanted to do was sleep. At about 3 am, a few hours after giving birth, my nurse brought my baby to me, and told me if I didn’t feed my baby formula she would…
starve to death.
I’m not even kidding, those were her exact words! She told me I wasn’t producing enough milk for my 10 lb baby. Here I am laying in my hospital bed, just had a C-section, first-time mom, in the middle of the night…. And she tells me I’m going to starve my baby to death if I don’t feed her formula! Of course I don’t want my baby to be starving, so I agree to bottle feed! I continued trying to breastfeed as I supplemented with formula. My milk even came in before leaving the hospital. I continued to try to nurse and supplement. My baby got thrush, and gave me a yeast infection. I told her pediatrician, he prescribed an antibiotic for our infections. I ended up being allergic to the medicine, and not realizing it as I was constantly losing all my bodily fluids (tmi) including my milk supply.
I wish I would have been more educated. I wish I would’ve done some research about breastfeeding.
I had some cheerleaders as I went through this trial, my husband Cory, for one. Neither of us were educated enough to know that the more you breastfeed the more milk you make. I had people telling me that I couldn’t do it, professional opinions even.
After I lost my milk. I felt so much guilt!
In my personal circle, I had never seen anybody feed their baby formula.
I felt I had failed as a mother. It didn’t help that I had people making snide comments about how they were too lazy to formula feed, or that so and so was able to go through certain health challenges and keep their milk. Instead of politely smiling and nodding my head, I wanted to say do you think I’m doing this because I want to? Do you think I enjoy trying to go through postpartum, and not being able to nurse my baby through it?
I wish I would have had someone hug me, and tell me that I didn’t fail. That I was still feeding my baby the nutrients she needed. I was still trying my best to be the best mother I could for her. Maybe I’m partially to blame, because I didn’t open up to anyone about how much it hurt me that I couldn’t nurse my baby.
Hopefully I’ve learned the lessons I needed to learn while going through this trial. The three lessons I learned:
Education! Always try to prepare for things I need to be prepared for… Research, learn, talk to people about their experiences. Decide for myself, never just trust what people are telling me, or assume that I can make decisions in the moment.
If I am giving all I can give to my children, I shouldn’t feel guilty. I can’t feel guilty, it is just the adversary trying to tear me down. Us moms, and women in general, give into the guilt so easily. We feel it for everything, all the time. This is a lesson I have to relearn ALL the time!
To be more merciful to others. I’m so grateful that I was able to (somewhat) learn this lesson early on in my motherhood. I realize we are all trying the best we know how to as mothers, and even more generally, in life.
I think this is one that we can help one another out with. Next time we see a mom doing something we don’t necessarily agree with, we should take a step back, and realize she is doing what she can. Let’s cut her some slack and maybe even offer to help in any way she might need.
This is an area I can improve in, I am usually so focused on what I have going on that I forget or I’m to scared (for some reason or another) to reach out to others as much as I should.
I wish I could go back, and tell myself to not stress, but to enjoy that time with her as a tiny baby. To not listen to naysayers. Maybe I can be that future voice to someone else who is struggling with some area they feel they lack in what they’re giving their child.
If you are trying every day, and loving them as much as you can…All will work out. I know that we are not the only ones contributing to our children’s success. We need to be more kind and forgiving of others, but especially to ourselves as humans.
“The latchstring hangs from the outside.”
What are some tips you have for struggling mothers? I would love to hear them in the comments.