Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

Trixie is back again and if I have anything to say about it, she will be here every Thursday...hence the name of today's post.  If you missed her first post last Thursday, I highly recommend checking it out.  

I preface this post with a request:  If you have gone through a similar situation, please leave a comment and tell us about it.  I think it would help to know that other moms out there know what she is going through.  

Thank you. 
Mommy C

I hate pumping. I hate it with my entire being. I hate the way that it makes me look like a cow in full production. Never has breastfeeding been so ugly as pumping makes it look. I hate the utilitarian coldness of the cups, and the cupholder holes in my pumping bra. I hate how pumping reminds me that I am a working mommy who has “callously dumped her children in daycare.” The pump judges me for that decision. I’m pretty sure that if you listen closely to the pump’s machinery, you too can hear it sneer with each suck: “fuck a-you, fuck a-you, fuck a-you.” The taunting is a nice companion to a mommy’s never-ending self-criticism. We never do enough, do we? We don’t nurse enough, we don’t entertain enough, we don’t comfort enough, we don’t help enough. Or, maybe we do too much. I’m amazed at how much I second guess myself about decisions for the kids. One thing I like about working is that at work, I know what I’m doing. I don’t second guess. I don’t torture myself after making a decision about whether it was the right one. People actually come to me for advice.

But back to pumping. I also hate the amount of work it entails. Breastfeeding is so elegant, so easy (I laugh, of course. Breastfeeding is not easy for many, and takes a while for most to master. But reality messes with my point). Pumping involves containers, and space in the fridge, and getting it back and forth from the office to home to the daycare. I have to concentrate to get the milk to come down. I have to clean the parts several times daily. Bottom line: I have to think about it. When I nurse LambChop, I just throw her on the boob, and all is right with the world. It is beautiful, it is calming, it is just us. It is her holding my hand, and smiling up at me like a little imp. It is happiness. Compare that with pumping: a note (and a lock, lucky me) on my door telling the world my business, the contraptions, the setting up, the uncomfortable pulling, and the “fuck a-you, fuck a-you.” So, I hate pumping.

That is, until yesterday. Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor. I have a medical something that has been gracious enough to go away and not bother me while I was making and having Monkey, and nursing him for a year, and while I was making and having LambChop. But it’s back, at least mildly, and that means that I have to take medicine that LambChop can’t take. Forever. I always knew that I would have to take this medicine eventually, I just hoped that it would wait until Lamby was a year old and in the process of weaning anyway. I’d be happy to take it then, I told myself, and if He happened to be listening, God. But that’s not my path, apparently. LambChop is about 7 months old now; my guess is that she’ll have to be fully weaned so that I can start the meds by the time she is 8 months old. That’s a full 4 months before I wanted to stop.

Now, I can hear you, and everyone, and my husband, and me, frankly, tell me: But, you nursed for the first 7 months, that’s the important part. That’s the crucial time. But she’s eating solids now, she’s older. She’ll be fine. Well, of course she’ll be fine. She’s my daughter, and we, my friends, are tough cookies. But that really doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’ve just let her down completely. My body has betrayed me, but that’s nothing compared to how it has betrayed her. She likes the nursing, she likes my milk. I comfort her with it, I nurture her with it, and it is all that she knows. When she goes to daycare, my milk follows her, and reminds her of me when I’m not there. This realization has changed the way I think about pumping - the pumping is not me being less of a mother, but me being more - me making sure that my baby girl has my love inside of her wherever she roams. Now, when I pump, I hear something different in the machine’s sucking. I hear: “it’s the love, it’s the love, it’s the love.” It’s love pouring into those containers; but now, I can’t give her that love. I have to give her formula (and this is so not meant to be a judgment on those who choose to give formula. I have been a mommy too long to question these sorts of decisions by other mommies; besides, we’re tough enough on ourselves without others piling on). But, compared to formula, the pump feels downright cozy.

I’m left with lots of self-doubt and questions to make myself crazy. Will she ever forgive me for weaning her early? Forget pumping - how will I handle it when she wants to nurse right before bedtime, and I have to tell her no? When she opens her mouth and leans toward my breast, needing her Mommy in the way she needs only Mommy? How can I explain needing to put my body first when the mommy code is that we go last? How do I send my love with her to daycare so that she knows I think about her every minute that I am gone? I have no idea. But I do know this: I miss pumping already.



Rebekah @ Mom-In-A-Million said...

Oh! This is so sad. But love is also being there forever and ever and to get to that? You need to take your medicine. Someday LambChop will understand that this was one sacrifice you asked her to make so that she could have you for the long haul. And she'll appreciate it so much when you stand on a chair at her college graduation and hold up a sign with something really embarrassing written on it. And maybe a picture of her as a baby covered in spaghetti sauce. Because that kind of love? Lasts a lifetime.

Tricia said...

I had to stop nursing my son at around 7 months. He really didn't make too big a fuss. I took the change MUCH worse than he did. And since your girl already uses bottles at daycare, it's not something completely foreign to her. I feel your pain. I still hate myself for having to stop. But I've moved on, and I try to remember that if I had continued, I would've been a miserable, sick, in agony mama; and that's not the kind of milk I want my baby to have.

VanderbiltWife said...

It's so sad. :( I weaned at 11 months and I was totally not ready to quit, but I was working full-time and had a heck of a time with the pumping. I really do hurt for you and hope it works out for the best. Here's my post about struggling to work and pump:

Mama Pea said...

I'm sorry it's sad, but you really are awesome for doing it for 7 months.

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