It seems a bit surreal that my second child will be born in about 70 days, 10 short weeks. The days of the pregnancy have at times crept by and at other times flown by. As it would be, it seems the sickness and the hugeness are the stages that stick out the most.
As the end draws near and I begin to refer to myself as a “short timer”. This is the time when serious decisions have to be made. Who’s going to be in the delivery room? How do I want to handle the days after birth? What will I do to help my first child continue to feel just as loved and cared for? And, perhaps the one I have wrestled with the most, Will I breastfeed?
For all of my friends that I can think of, it seemed to not even be a question for them. Whether it be for just a few months or into the 1st and 2nd years of their child’s life, they went for it. For this reason, my decision not to this time is causing me a bit of guilt. Not enough to make me change my mind, but it’s there nonetheless. There is a part of me that wishes I could do that for my child. There’s a part that would like to reprogram my mind and pray for all my deficiencies in this area to be none. But then there’s this other part–
With my first son, simply attempting breast feeding was pure hell for me. It hurt, I couldn’t produce enough milk and I was forced to become completely tied to the function of my boobs. The days became a blur of attempts at feeding my son (which ended in frustration for us both) with periods of using the ever-humiliating breast pump in between feedings to try and ramp up production. (Personally, I think those things are mighty dehumanizing. No longer was I a young and attractive woman. Nope, I was a dairy cow. See image of woman on the phone below. The person on the phone apparently does not notice the freakin’ loud suction sounds coming from her end.) When that didn’t work, I went completely to bottle feeding for my son. I would pump all throughout the day and night to come up with one bottle of the liquid gold for him to drink. It was exhausting. Particularly the nights. Not only did I have to get up to feed him, I had to stay up to pump my stubborn boobs each time, too. There was a lot of tears. And did I mention that it hurt? Every. single. time. it hurt. And that’s just one place that I don’t care to feel pain. Reassurances of “it’ll get easier” and “you just have to keep trying” fell on deaf ears. I thought and hoped that it would get easier, but that didn’t happen for me. I called lactation consultants and took their advice and suggestions, but it never got easier and it never got better. One day, after two months of this life-encompassing routine, I made the decision to stop. Friends gave me grief over giving up, which equaled more tears. But, I did and things became much easier for myself and my son.
And then there’s my level of modesty. There simply is no way that I will/would breast feed in public or with visitors in my house. I know there’s the whole “boobs are for babies” push, but to me, they are for sex and baring them to anyone without a matching wedding band is a little too intimate for me. This causes the whole endeavor to be very isolating for me. I know there are “cute little covers” that you can purchase, but to me it’s not really much improvement. Who doesn’t know what’s going on under there?!?! I’m not judging you if you can. I just can’t get past my own modesty.
Of course, I can’t accurately predict the ease or difficultly that I might have this time around. I can only make my decision on what I know. What I know is that the first time was a major fail. What I know is that it is important for me to know how much I am feeding my child. It is important for me to put him on a feeding and sleeping schedule as soon as that is possible. It is important for me to not be a crazy person. It is important that I not be tied to the function, or lack thereof, of my boobs. In my mind, having a baby, recovering from having a baby and adjusting to caring for this new little life are enough to deal with. Despite the guilt, I’m simply making the choice to not put myself through that again.
End of story. Step 1 to carrying out my decision: selling the damn breast pump.