Friday, March 9, 2007

There's Always Someone Cooler Than You

So, while visiting Keziah's blog, I saw her Visual DNA and was intrigued. Naturally, I had to get my own. Here it is:

I'm surprised at how accurate the analysis is. It's just a fun little thing to do. Of course, it really bugs me that none of the apostrophes show up in the text. What's that all about? Is someone apostrophobic?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ghost World

I haven't blogged much about this because it's such a personal issue (as if breastfeeding isn't?). That said, I kind of feel like I need to mention this, even though I feel much better today.

Beginning at about four weeks post partum, I started having some serious emotional issues. Emotional as in I couldn't stop crying and felt crazed. I felt as if my world were caving in. The baby was fine. He was great. A sweet and gentle little soul who was, and still is, really, easy breezy. We had no trouble with sibling issues, although Brendan did suffer a stomach virus the second or third week of Beckett's life.

Eventually, when I had my melt down and ended up so sick a few weeks ago, my doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety medicine. It seems to be working or did. However the last several days I've been very emotional again. Yesterday, I felt as if my body were an empty shell and I (my soul or being) was floating outside of it, watching all that was going on, but not really feeling anything at times. When I did feel as if I were present, all I could do was cry. I was also very anxious and stressed out. Brendan wanted to climb on me while I was working on my computer and I had to tell him to get off of me because having anyone touch me made me feel like crawling out of my skin.

I know that when a baby is weaning your hormones can get out of whack again. I wonder if Beckett's little nursing strike initiated that process.

Speaking of which, we saw his pediatrician yesterday. She is one of the leading breastfeeding advocates in our area (won't give out formula samples or coupons, etc.) and she thinks it's time for me to give it up. She told me that she thinks I need to stop for my own sanity, that the hormonal changes caused by breastfeeding are not good for me and that I just need to make the decision to wean and get through the difficult emotional phase that accompanies it.

I don't know how I feel about that. Maybe that's why I feel so empty.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Rufus Is a Tit Man

Beckett, however...not so much.

It's hard for me to believe that this is happening already, but sadly, my baby boy seems ready to wean. He'll be three months old in two days. It's too soon. I'm simply not ready. But he is, pulling away, struggling, getting angry and frustrated each time I put him to the breast. For the last three days, every time I've tried to nurse him he has given it a lame, half-hearted effort, nursing but a few minutes before patently rejecting me and the nourishment my body offers up.

Before having a baby, I never realized what a complex, challenging, and emotional act breastfeeding could be. I had never known anyone who breastfed their babies or if I did, I never paid much attention. When I got pregnant, I read copious volumes on breastfeeding. I received instruction from our doula who even brought a doll for me to practice with. I thought nothing could be more natural than a mama nurturing her tiny babe with her own mother's milk. And, of course, I believed that breastfeeding was the right and only way...everything I read said so. Everything I read said what a terrible mother I'd be if I gave my child formula.

Of course, it probably goes without saying that I had trouble breastfeeding Brendan. He couldn't latch on, I wasn't producing milk. He became jaundiced and the pediatrician had him on formula before we even left the hospital. We struggled for 12 weeks of me feeling like total shit because I was a failure as a mother. At least that's how I felt because my body wouldn't do the one thing I thought should come so naturally. And the La Leche League told me so. Not in those exact words, of course. Actually, what the LLL representative told me when I called for advice was You're poisoning your baby by giving him formula. The alternative? Not give him anything other than the tiny bit of milk I was producing and eventually my milk would come in.

Finally, on the day he was baptised, the day he turned 12 weeks old, Brendan flat out refused to take the breast again. I was a little sad as it was a bit of a surprise. I was committed to continuing to try. But, after the long struggle, it was also a bit of a relief. I still felt like an abject failure at mothering, but at least it was over.

This time the breastfeeding has gone smoothly and been a joy despite the fact that I have had to supplement. This time the problem wasn't that my body didn't cooperate, but rather that we just had a very hungry boy whose metabolism required more nourishment than I could provide. We made it for two full weeks before adding formula to our routine. Beckett has nursed well and seemed content up until this week. Now, here we are, right at 12 weeks, and the little man suddenly seems to look at me the way I look at Brussels sprouts.

I feel like I gave it my best try this time and unlike with Brendan, I am planning to try nursing him one last time, a chance to say goodbye to a ritual, a gift, that has meant everything to me. I no longer feel like a failure as a mother and I am grateful to God and my baby for giving me that.

Still, knowing he's my last, it would have been nice if he could be my baby just a little longer.