Today’s guest post is from Kate over at Diapers & Skinny Jeans. Kate is a beautiful mama to two and a freelance photographer. So, ya know, same same but different. She’s here today to talk about breastfeeding. Many thanks, Kate, for sharing.
If I could have just told myself, had a sit-down conversation and taken my own hand, I’d have said, “Listen up.” Gentle, yet stern. I would tell myself all the things I’d learned through this breastfeeding experience. I’d talk about the pressures, the struggles, how from the moment I started that it was ok to be a little embarrassed. That it would be hard going back to work full time and trying to pump, and that I should go easy and rest often. I’d remind myself to drop the “you-know-everything” act, and let the lactation consultants do their job. To ask for help when you needed it. To be okay with feelings of failure, doubt, sadness; they happen to everyone. To remind myself that I was doing the most important job, the very best job, of being a mother.
After beginning the breastfeeding journey with the birth of my second child, Alba, it put a lot of things into perspective for me. There’s a certain confidence that comes with experience. There were many things that I had to make peace with first, like weaning my first daughter before I was ready. I never expected it to resonate so deeply inside of me, all of my past memories both good and bad, but they did. I remembered how absolutely clueless I was the first time around, though I had tried my damnedest to read every instructional how-to ever made. It’s funny how that works. You can never really prepare yourself for it. I plan on breastfeeding my new daughter up until she chooses it’s time to quit. Definitely over a year, maybe even two. Do I know I can get there for sure? Absolutely not. But I’m okay with that now. The experience itself goes by so quickly, and really, all I’m trying to do is enjoy every second that I have. It’s so hard to quiet the chatter of what society thinks, what the stranger sitting next to you thinks, your mom, your in-laws, that ever opinionated friend you have – I know. I’ve been there. And for what it’s worth, the most important advice you can ever get is to not take any of it and go with your own gut instincts. You just gave birth to your child, the most powerful thing that I’m sure you’ve ever experienced. You are a mother. You are learning, and your child is growing and thriving and completely your own. You are perfect. This whole breastfeeding thing is more intuitive than we give it credit for, and babies are the most masterful of teachers.I look at the two of them and everything they’ve taught me and how they continue to be the greatest blessings I’ve ever known. My eldest and her fierce independence, my baby and her cautious, careful gaze. My opposites, yet perfectly complimentary to one another. Ying and yang. So much in motherhood has become all about balance.
If I want to breastfeed in public, I do. If I need to call in sick because I miss spending time with my kids, I will. If your body starts to make less milk before you’re ready to quit, it’s okay. If you chose not to breastfeed, or were unable to, you’re supported. This is the hardest, most rewarding job on the planet, and no matter how you do it, we are all just feeding our children with love.
Thank you so much to Ashley for having me over on The Stork & The Beanstalk. I’m tickled to be among who I consider to be one of the most inspiring mothers and writers I’ve ever met. This lady right here? I swear. She tells it like it is and I love that about her.