You don’t know me, but I know you.
You are vulnerable, lonely, and distressed. You had an idea in your head of how life with your new baby would be and it is not at all how you pictured. More than likely, neither was your birth.
You sheepishly stand in the checkout line with your cans of formula, not wanting to make eye contact with the mom across from you for fear of being judged. You feel every one’s stares, hear their thoughts. Yes, most of it is irrational thinking, but the rest?
“Breast is best,” right Mama? That’s what we all hear. Breast is best, until it doesn’t work. Then it turns to “well, baby’s gotta eat,” and you are suddenly thrust into a world full of bottles, cleaning brushes, and cans of formula, all of which you know nothing about because you skipped that chapter in all of those books you read. Why? Because THIS is not what you had planned.
You’ve tried all of the tips to increase your supply, you’ve pumped for countless hours to only get back small amounts of milk each time, and tried to get your baby to latch until you both are sobbing. Nothing has worked.
Everyone around you doesn’t really care. It’s trivial and inconsequential to them. No one knows how hard you’ve tried. No one really knows how badly you want this or about the biggest feeling of failure you may have ever felt before.
But I know, Mama. I know what it’s like to exclusively nurse 3 kids for over a year with an over abundance of milk, and then have literally nothing come out with that fourth baby. No reasons. No explanations. Like me, this may even be your last baby and not being able to breastfeed her makes the last part sting just a little bit more.
Sweet Mama, I share your frustration and fear of not bonding. This is one more thing out of your control. But that little one God has entrusted to you still loves you. You are still the most important person in the whole wide world to your baby.
Yes, that baby needs to be fed, but Mama at the end of the day you need peace. You need to forgive yourself because you did the best you possibly could. And look past the hormones and emotions to see the end result. Your baby, likely, will have no idea whether they were breastfed or formula fed until they are contemplating it for their own children.
You know what they will know, Dear Mama?
They will know that their Mama loves them unconditionally and sacrificed much for their well-being. They will have seen that for all of their life. They will know the relationship they have with you that has nothing to do with how they were fed for the first year of their life. The first of many, many years to come.
So, Mama, with all the love in my heart I say to you, give it to God. Let go and continue doing the very best you can for that baby.