Pain At The Pump

My birth plan screwed me.

Yeah - I said it. 

Nothing, NOTHING has gone according to plan. We didn't plan on getting pregnant (good job, Depo!), we didn't plan on preeclampsia, we didn't plan on a c-section, incision pain, the inability to lift anything other than my baby, debilitating breast feeding pain or PPD/A.

Yet here I am. *deep breath* So...

I'm supposed to be trying to find my triggers. A big one for me is not having a plan and/or when my plans blow up. I can handle small changes. I plan for them - no really - my plans are in hour or half hour window blocks and come with baby mood contingencies. Control issues anyone?

So obviously I need to work on letting go. Solutions that seem obvious to other people are complicated and gut wrenching for me.

We are starting Buddy on one formula bottle a day while I ease back to pumping once every 8 hours. If he takes this formula well we'll slowly ease him off of the breast milk and onto formula. I have almost a month's worth frozen so once it looks like it's working I'll taper off pumping. We're doing this because I am a horrible mother who couldn't breastfeed and then was too lazy and selfish to keep up a pumping schedule I need to be able to sleep more at night and work more during the day.  Lack of mental activity and physical pain are also triggers for me. Constantly full and aching breasts and pumping for an hour every three hours wasn't working for me.

Everyone could see it but me.

No one could understand why it rips me apart to do this. On a fundamental level I cannot feed my child. My body was made to do this and I can't handle it. You can rationalize it all you want. You can say that it is different for everyone and that of course I am taking care of him and blah, blah, blah but it is a failure. It just is. I'm making my peace with that. I'm grieving not being able to start our relationship the way I envisioned.

I am letting go of the plan.

Most of the time I was pregnant I spent half dreaming of what motherhood would be like. I was trying to conjure up the fatigue and the softness of tiny fingers; the mountain of diapers and the joy of the very first real smile.  I was trying to imagine the unimaginable.

Since about a week before he was born until now I haven't really stopped to sort through all of my emotions and to let go of some of the toxicity surrounding them.

I am not weak or a horrible mother for getting preeclampsia. My body was not rejecting my baby or trying to hurt him in any way. I am not weak or bad or shameful for being secretly glad that I didn't have to go through a vaginal labor. This does not mean that I couldn't have done it.  I am not selfish or lazy or terrible for not being able to stand the pain of breastfeeding. It doesn't mean that I don't love him the way other mothers love their babies.  It is ok for me to stop pumping. I am allowed to take care of myself. I am required to take care of myself. I need to get as much sleep as possible. I need to be able to work. 

I need to let it all go.

While I realize that all of those are true statements and that as a rational woman I should embrace the truth of them as a part of my healing process the real truth is that I don't believe one word of it.

Not. One. Word.

However - I am giving him one formula bottle a day and I am cutting back on the pumping. I am trying to get more sleep and to structure my days more so that I stress less. We're hiring a sitter to come in two mornings a week so that I can get work done and have a break (SHOWERS! YAY!).

My new mantra? Fake it till you make it.

Graeme Seabrook