Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Guilt, It's What's for Dinner

apparently it's world breastfeeding week. i find it a little amusing that there exists such a thing. i also find it a little ironic that, on world breastfeeding week, i found myself feeding my child outside, half dressed, sitting on the cement, in the back of a building, next to a dumpster, in the rain.

maybe our world does need a "breastfeeding week."

because as i sat there, uncomfortable and embarrassed, i wondered, "why do i feel the need to sequester myself with my hungry baby, while my husband gets to remain in the restaurant enjoying his beer... alone?"

something that really surprised me about motherhood was the guilt. heavy, nagging, irrational guilt. i felt it immediately with noah. we're not doing enough to help him. we didn't do enough to save him. what did i do while i was pregnant that made his lungs form incorrectly? i should visit noah's place more often. why am i not raising thousands of dollars for ACD research in noah's name? i shouldn't take any photos of noah down.

and on and on it goes. and it didn't stop with noah.

how is miles sleeping? is he sleeping through the night yet? (the underlying judgment in these questions, i feel is - because if he's not, you must be doing something wrong. do you have a nightly routine? that'll help. are you feeding your baby enough during the day? that'll solve it.)

weather forecast says 100 degrees. we leave the house. it pours down rain. i don't have anything to warm my child.

losing my patience with a screaming baby, because i have no idea what he wants.

not doing what i should. or doing what i shouldn't. guilt is anything that makes me feel like i'm not a good mom. i hate that it does, but it's true. we live in a world where there is so much pressure to do everything perfect... or maybe i just want to be perfect. being a good mom is so, so important to me, because that napping, tiny human is my world. why wouldn't i want to do motherhood well?

but i wouldn't be completely honest if i didn't mention the guilt i feel about not loving every second of motherhood. this emotion has been incredibly difficult for me because i have wanted to be a mom literally my entire life! and not just wanted to be a mom, like "wouldn't that be fun", but dreamed and ached to be a mother because it is the core of who i am.

and being a mama to miles is amazing and i really do love it (because i'm madly in love with him), but there are times i am so exhausted and frustrated that i want to throw him out the window. (i really just wrote that. and it's so awful - guilt - but it's true.)

i had a veteran mom say to me once, "you probably don't feel like this, because of what you went through with noah, but, for me, getting up multiple times through the night was HARD."

um?? and for me it's easy? i must just hum and giggle as i leap out of bed for the millionth time each night, tending to the mystery need of my newborn human.

yes, i lost a baby and for so long would have given anything to hear my son cry or to lose hours upon hours of sleep because of him. i still would. but that doesn't make me automatically and permanently grateful-for-every-little-moment-of-spit-up-and-scream-crying that will ever happen in my life. being a mom is hella hard, for anyone, no matter what. i'm not immune. i'm not a robot.

(would a robot cry when her husband goes to mow the lawn because she's jealous he gets some "alone time"? i don't think so.)

one of the biggest lessons i learned in the grief journey (and am still learning, obviously) is that in order to stay sane, i have to do whatever it is i need to do to survive. (besides bomb our neighbor's house or anything else destructive.) because whatever i feel is okay.

i may not love being a mom every second of every day, but it doesn't mean i don't love being a mom.
i may not feel grateful to spend each day with my little monster, but i'm unbelievably grateful he's here.

there is always grace.

so next time miles is hangry and i hear that voice in the back of my mind that says, "go hide in the shadows while you feed him so you don't make people uncomfortable" or any other time i feel ashamed of myself, i will say to that voice...

shut the hell up. i'm a mama. i'm surviving. i'm loving this little person and his daddy fiercely, with my whole self. and that takes courage and strength that is out of this world.

i'm a brilliant human making sacrifices for love left and right.

though at times i feel empty, with no energy or milk to give, i get up out of that bed again. because whatever i am, i'm enough.

1 comment:

  1. Everything you feel is okay and normal and right for YOU. I had twins via IVF and was made to feel a time or two why should you complain or say how tired you are with twins, you deliberately got pregnant. Yes, I made a choice to get pregnant via IVF but it doesn't make it any less bone weary (even 5 1/2 years in) and it doesn't mean that as a parent we don't want to sit and cry with them. We are still human and we still get exhausted and still feel worn out run down.

    I call my life the most amazingly exhausting time ever.

    Wishing you peace, guilt, joy, love, sleep. and whatever emotion, feeling you need or have. They are all appropriate cause they are yours.

    Congratulations and by the way, whip your breast out if you want and feed Miles, if the public don't want to see it, they can turn their head. The fact that you can and do nurse is wonderful. I had to pump for a year and never faced that but got strange looks when I was draped with a blanket in the car, pumping away.