Thursday, September 23, 2010

Guilt

So, is guilt something that we "allow" to happen? How do you curve it?

I feel guilt about so many things. And I don't exactly know how to stop. We all know how much guilt there is surrounding trying to be a mama to babies that aren't with us anymore. Then there is guilt about being "good enough" ( a good enough wife, daughter, etc.).

As I make my way through this journey of being a parent to a living child, I've felt a lot of guilt about things (which I'm pretty sure is natural). You always second guess yourself-am I doing this enough? Is she getting enough of this? Am I reading her signals correctly? Is she happy? I"m only guessing that this gets harder as you go along because providing for an infant comes down to somewhat predictable things (food, change diaper, cuddle, etc. etc.)

But oh-I said it. Food.

I think I've mentioned before that I was not able to breastfeed.

And when I say "not able" I actually mean it-as in I HAD NO BREASTMILK. Not a drop. Not even like-oh, I had a low supply and had to supplement formula.

But I was still told, "You need to try harder!"

Um. Hello? Is this thing on? Did you hear me? I don't have ANY breastmilk.

So people suggested a breastmilk bank. Which I googled right away, of course, and there is one in my state-3 hours away. Not gonna work.

So, anyway-my daughter was starving. Literally. She had lost something like 12% of her birthweight 4 days later.

She had some trouble finding a formula that didn't upset her belly-and I called the ped's office and talked to a nurse. Her suggestion? "If you are having so many issues with the formula, maybe you should think about relactating."

Well, maybe I could if I had lactated in the FIRST PLACE! I was so mad at that lady...grrrrr....

So she is getting formula. Now, I lucked out this time because she is currently using Good.Start formula, and so it's not part of the recall. But it's been a part of recalls before! And so have eggs, and lettuce, and beef, and children's tylenol, and cribs and...

You get my point.

So why, might I ask-are people making formula into something judgmental? All last night I just kept getting ticked off-I kept reading things like,
"Well, breastmilk has never been recalled."
and
"Go breastfeeders!"

Um, really? Go breastfeeders? Right now?

When they recalled eggs, did someone post, "Good thing I grow my own chickens in my backyard! Go farmers!"

I mean, maybe some of us thought it :) But-it's not helpful. Especially when we are so worried.

I just don't get how we can berate and make other mommys feel so bad-even if it is for a "joke"-to make them feel judged. And yes, if you are able to breastfeed-you should be proud! It's hard work!!! It's not something that is easy for most people. And you should be proud if you own your own chickens, too! But I mean-my body has failed me in so many ways and if I let myself think about it, it makes me feel so horrible. That tiny little voice in the back of your head saying, "You shouldn't even have a baby, your baby can't even do it" could win if I didn't keep reminding it to shut.up.

It's hard to be a mom. To living babies and to lost ones. But most of us are doing the very best that we can!!!!!!

Ok, I just needed to get that off my chest!!!!!!!! :)

10 comments:

Lisette said...

I don't understand why people are so judgemental about breastfeeding. It's hard work and it doesn't work for everybody and that is completely fine. With my first born I was only able to breastfeed for a few months but all along I was using formula. People kept telling that I shouldn't be doing that. I am glad I never listened. My son is almost 3 and is a healthy little boy even though he had a rough start.

I know you feel guilty but really you shouldn't. You need to do what is best for your baby. Just ignore them and know in your heart that you are a great mommy. ((HUGS))

stumbull said...

Amen, amen, amen! I get so tired of people telling me I didn't try hard enough or that I am a bad mom for "giving up". I was slowly starving my child how in the hell is that better for her than eating formula? And I can't believe that the nurse said that to you! You are doing a great job and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am sorry you are having guilt. We all do when it comes to our children. Women should not be judged if they do or don't breastfeed, it's not for everyone.
I'm sorry that you couldn't breastfeed but that is not going to change the health of your daughter. I didn't want to breastfeed, it wasn't for me. Then my doctor convinced me because of my asthma that my children would have a better chance of not getting it. So I did breastfeed but they both pulled away at 3 months. Your a wonderful mother and please don't let anyone tell you different.

Jill said...

I wish I could say that guilt will go away. I guess I don't know if it will always be with us or not. Sorry you were not able to breastfeed. It sounds like formula is working for you and that is great. Lots of love to you!

AKD said...

I read several of the same things today - idiots don't realize that almost all food has some bugs in it, they are just under FDA standards.

Lori said...

I've seen several of those posts too...I always just ry to remember that again, it's so easy to feel/believe/say something...and then when reality comes into play and one walks in different shoes and realizes they may have been judgmental...perspective changes. And I try really hard to extend grace to people who just don't have perspective because I'm thankful they didn't have to suffer to get it.

But I understand what you are saying--and I think that it seems to hurt even more when it comes from other moms because it casts this sense of inadequacy and it's not like you already are not carrying enough guilt (over things you can't even control!) as it is.

We don't have any control over milk production and I hope and pray that you know that no one, no one, no one who matters thinks of you as any less a wonderful mother because you tried to breast-feed and physically couldn't. Even if you CHOSE to formula feed, there is NO doubt that you love that little girl with every inch of who you are and if you felt formula was better (as they did when *I* was a baby and every mother under the sun formula fed), then you'd be making the right choice for you and for her. Period.

I'm sorry you were hurt. I think you are a wonderful mother and you make every choice you make with so much thought and consideration.

Just remember...those who judge have simply never been there. And if we're really honest, we hope they never have to be. It just sucks that in not wanting *them* to know what it feels like, it's only because you know and have had to....

Lots of love!

Bree said...

I can't stand people who are hard core like that. Women who are also crazy about doing "natural" child birth bug me, too. I feel like this baby thing is just one big science project. I'm always trying new things to see what works. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm guessing that's how a lot of women feel. Glad we can do this together. xo

Rebuilding Myself said...

Unfortunately, I think that because mothers tend to always feel guilty for something ... they also tend to latch strongly to those things they think they have done right ... and make everyone else feel horrible if they didn't make the same decision.

That said, I always try to remember that the most important thing is that I have a healthy, happy child - I will make wrong decisions, I may not always do the best thing (although I will always try based on information and my abilities) BUT at the end of the day, he will still be just fine :)

You are doing a wonderful job - you love your little girl to death and you can see she is flourishing by your pictures. Honestly, let the guilt wash away ... you are doing wonderful.

Hope's Mama said...

I breastfeed and I love it. And I'm one of the lucky ones in that after the initial 8-12 weeks where there was MUCH blood, sweat and tears, it has been so easy for me. I love it, Angus loves it and I wouldn't have it any other way. That said, I only care about how I feed MY baby, not how anyone else chooses to feed their own. I just don't get these women who make the women like you, who have legitimate problems, feel so terrible. And throw in babyloss - as if we didn't already feel bad enough.
I have been unlucky. I lost a baby. But I got lucky in that I had a live one and can breastfeed him. But it might be a different story next time around, if I'm that lucky again.
I'm really sorry to hear you feeling this way and wish those women would just worry about the mouths they have to feed and not anyone else's.
xo

Hope's Mama said...

Just making sure you've seen this post (and the others that came before it).
xo
http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/09/much-ado-about-breasts/