This woman's journey begins with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) for 9 months. It was so terrible that she spent a good portion of that time regretting wanting a baby.
This blog entry comes from an anonymous individual in Canada that discusses the challenge about handling exclusively breastfeeding.
Her journey begins being first pregnant. She had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) for 9 months (i.e. a pregnancy complication that is often characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and/or dehydration, etc.). In her words, it was absolutely terrible and she spent a good portion of that time regretting wanting a baby. During the actual birth, there was one failed induction and one successful one that took approximately 36 hours of labour; it was extremely tiring but complement forgotten once the baby came. She started breastfeeding and breastfed for 16 months. During this time she had amazing support from her husband and family but not so much from friends. She felt as though no one else had babies around her and no one understood why she couldn't just pump and leave bottles (PS she didn't want to use bottles). She mentioned it would have been really nice to have friends that realized the time and sacrifice it takes to exclusively breastfeed and that your lifestyle really does automatically change.
Choosing to exclusively breastfeeding was her biggest challenge. It can make for a very long first year when you are not using bottles. Even after the introduction of food after 6 months, she couldn't do anything for an extended period of time until the baby was around a year old. Even then, she felt angry that she missed out on a lot of things and that her husband's life didn't appear to have changed as much as hers had.
How to Overcome this Challenge
Talking! Talking to your husband about how isolated and left out you feel is really important. Mention how you no longer get to do things that are "you" - he may just be able to stay home more, take on bigger roles when he isn't working and watch the little one so you can have alone time.
A little Piece of Advice
Just remember...the days are long but the years are shot.
It can really help to seek out other moms online who parent the same way regardless if you sleep train or not, bed share or not, breastfeed or not.
TR Take Aways
In my take aways, I am not going to go into any debate about feeding (i.e. breastfeeding vs. bottle vs. formula) I will simply address this mother's challenge.
I believe this is a very important challenge. The other day, I was thinking of this as I was getting ready for work...I remember how the hours felt so long, how I felt so alone, how I was angry at my partner, how I JUST wanted to go to chapters with a tea and read a book...DAMNIT! When you're in that moment, in that pain, in that feeling of being lonely...nothing seems to be able to make it better and then you stare at that precious face and the mom guilt comes in - how could I feel this way when you're so helpless and just want to be loved and eat and sleep.
What I realized after the storm passed, (like 6 months after I stopped breastfeeding) is that it is just a "year" (or time you determine to choose to exclusively breastfeed). In the grand scheme of things, it is not a large amount of time. Granted, again, in the moment it is terrible, it is a shock, it is something that is REALLY energy and emotionally draining. However, if you can find the strength in yourself in the moment to do a little self talk, here's what it would look like to me:
- Slow. Down. Take a breath. If you are breastfeeding right now, observe your baby, touch your baby, try and enjoy the moment or simply close your eyes and breathe through it. You are not late, you are not missing anything, you are exactly where you are supposed to be and all is well.
- Be aware. Watch yourself. Sometimes it is worth having that little debate in your head: is what I am doing degrading my mental health? Do the pros of doing it outweigh the cons? Just be aware..it's important to have these conversations with someone else as well and be open about how you're feeling in case what you're doing is posing a challenge to your health.
- Get the energy out. Sometimes it is JUST energy. Kiss your baby, grab a pillow, go in a bedroom and just YELL, wiggle, dance - do what you got to do. Sometimes, it is simply energy and when you can get that out physically first, you can then allow yourself a clear mind to deal with the emotional side that will creep in.
- Put YOUR mask on! Seriously...ladies...full blown honesty? I HAVE let my daughter fuss a couple minutes (yes yes this probably means I missed her early cues) so I could fill my cold water bottle, make a snack and put Netflix on. Seriously....I don't do much these days that doesn't make me feel good so prepare yourself, give yourself a little extra time so you can enjoy the moment as best as possible.
- Get your mindset on. I was always told...you may feel lonely - but you are not along. Having friends that are giving you beef about doing something that you want to do that makes you feel good? Maybe it's time for a social detox? Seriously....do what you want, be where you want to be, physically hangout with people that make you feel GOOD and SUPPORT you. Know that not feeling alone can also be solved by listening to the right people....get some podcasts going, some good youtube videos, etc. When I was travelling from one country to another, sometimes my top 5 people in my life were audios ;) and PS one of those people can also be yourself.
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