Monday, February 11

Guilt trips

So it's been a while since my last post.
I've been feeling guilty about not posting, but then not wanting to even start a post because i feel guilty about being so late to post, and then that vicious cycle goes around and around until, once again, I am at work and want to do something that APPEARS to be work, while taking a bit of a break from actually working.

A lot has happened in the last, what... two weeks? I'll try to run down it all, but I am sure I will forget something.

The big thing, which is what initially started the whole not-posting cycle of guilt has to do with breast feeding. I have struggled with breast feeding since Hannah was first born. I have never really enjoyed breastfeeding.


I feel terrible just coming out and saying that. I dislike breastfeeding my child. It is, at its best, a neutral experience for me.

On we are now going into week 2 since introducing formula. For a week my milk supply was dwindling, at the same time as Hannah seemed to be piggy-ing more than usual. I couldn't keep up and my freezer supply was dwindling at an alarming pace. I kept thinking, "my milk supply will pick up to keep up with demand! Hannah will get out of this phase and start eating a normal amount again!" but it just wasn't happening.

I would DREAD breast feeding her - every time I breast fed her would be less milk that I could pump to send her to daycare with! Running out was just a matter of time!

When I first dug out the container of powdered formula that had been sitting in my cabinet for quite some time... I felt terrible. I felt like I was the most worthless piece of shit ever that I couldn't even manage to feed my own baby.

I also felt relieved. Finally! Soon I could stop breastfeeding all together! Finally I would be done with this torture that I am supposed to love!

You see, from every direction, since day one, every nurse and doctor and well meaning friend and relative has always told me how great it is that I am breast feeding. How wonderful and enjoyable breastfeeding is! How important to the bond between mother and child!

And here I have been secretly hating every second of it.

What sort of mother dislikes breastfeeding?

This one.

I have been going to a counselor (I'll get back to this later) who when I told her that I had started using formula, that I disliked breast feeding, and that I was preparing to give up breastfeeding, she seemed really upset that I had never enjoyed the true pleasure of that bond with Hannah. She suggested going back to the breastfeeding center (where I had already gone before) and asking them for help to create this sacred bond.

I'm not going to.

I came to this realization on Sunday evening when I was putting Hannah down for sleep:

Hannah can get her nutrients from formula. I am no longer going to consider breast milk as her "primary" food. I am going to pump as much as is comfortable and I feel like, and I will breast feed her when I think it will be a not-negative situation. And I'm not going to feel bad about it anymore.

Up to this point, I have been killing myself and putting myself through a lot of pain and stress because of the multiple health and nutrition benefits that come with giving a baby breastmilk. But you know what? I'm sick of worrying and fretting and feeling guilty all the time. Hannah was ONLY breastmilk-fed for 3.5 months. And I'm not cutting out breastmilk entirely. I'm just giving myself permission to not focus on it. I am going to put myself in a position to enjoy breastfeeding.

I think the breastfeeding I did on Sunday was some of the most enjoyable I've ever done. And when I pumped in the morning (and have since being at work) I'm not sitting there counting ounces and freaking out because the number is lower than I'd like. Instead it's like, "Oh that's good. I'm giving her some breastmilk. And my boobs don't feel so cramped." And that's it. I seriously would spend the entire time pumping getting really upset about how much I was or not pumping.

So. This is actually a really big deal for me. I think the fact that I've finally worked this out in my head is why I am finally feeling "ready" to post something.

Ok, another thing that I realized is that at this same time I am losing my breastmilk, I am having my first period since January 2012. Can you believe it? I made it more than a year without a period. Damn. I do not miss them. This BLOOOOWWWWS.

On the topic of my new reproductive-availability... I am going to get an IUD. I'm going to get the copper one- not the one with hormones because shoot. I have enough issues with my emotions I do not need to throw more coal on that fire. I will update on this issue later if I feel it warrants an update.

Also, I have been switched from Zoloft to Paxil on the anti-depressant market. Before I started taking anti-depressants, I was anxious like 80% of the time. I had a panic attack about once every other day. It was bad news. Since taking Zoloft, I no longer felt anxious the way I did before, but I felt a LOT more depressed. There were times when I just felt paralyzed or limp. Like I couldn't get up or move. It was really hard to get things done. I have now been on Paxil for about a week. Its a bit early to say whether this is the one for me, but I have not felt the deep depression I was feeling at times when I was on Zoloft, nor have I had a panic attack. Things are looking good.

I am also seeing a counselor (as I alluded to earlier). She is a nice lady-doctor who specializes (among a few other things) in counselling women suffering from post-partum depression.

In the first 50 minute session I ran out of time before I was able to even LIST all the things going on in my life that caused me anxiety. I came away from this session with a better understanding that yes, my feelings of being overwhelmed by all the things going on in my life are COMPLETELY LEGITIMATE.

Sometimes I get down on myself when I am feeling anxious or depressed thinking, "What's wrong with you? There are single mothers who work minimum wage jobs who can keep it together better than you can!" And that is certainly true. But it doesn't mean that my feeling overwhelmed is a failure on my part or that I am failure. It's just something I need to work on managing.

Last week, We talked primarily about breast feeding and Hannah and bonding with her. My counselor did say some things that I thought were a little frustrating (emphasizing that bonding while feeding is SO SO SO important  when clearly it is something I struggle with), but she also is really good about asking me questions that really help me think about WHY I feel the way that I do... and that is good, because as introspective as I am, I don't always think about myself and my feelings in a productive or positive way.

There is still stuff going on in my life that I haven't talked to her about at all yet that I want to talk about, so we decided to make the appointments 2x a week. So now I will see her on wed and Friday  I feel really good about this. I also feel good about the fact that when i sat down to tell my manager that I WAS going to be late on Wednesday and Friday  period. He was OK with it. He essentially was like, I've seen you struggling and I'm really happy that you are working on things and taking care of yourself.

On Saturday Hannah slept over at grandma's for the first time. Jake takes a night away from Hannah once a week to take care of my dad, and I took one night off on MLK day to take care of my dad. This was the first time Hannah has taken a night off! Jake and I went out to all you can eat sushi, saw the Hobbit (finally! It was great!) and then we went home and watched TV until we went to bed early. And then I slept. I did wake up a few times in the night, around the times when Hannah tends to wake up... but not having to get out of bed was pretty nice. I just rolled over and went back to sleep. Then I got up and did chores until my mom brought her back over. It was... very refreshing. I missed the heck out of her, but I also got a lot of sleep, and was able to de-stress. I feel a little guilty about how much I actually enjoyed it. It's not something I would want to do every weekend... but it was a nice little break.

I feel like there was other stuff I wanted to talk about. Now I can't remember. Whelp. I can fill you in tomorrow then.

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