Being a mom is by far the most difficult job I have ever had. You’ve probably heard this from other people before and they are absolutely telling the truth. Being responsible for a living, breathing being is hugely stressful. Add on unrealistic expectations, a long learning curve and many unexpected challenges and you can struggle immensely from one day to the next.
I always wanted to be a mother. I can’t really explain why. I never really liked kids. Even as a young person, I preferred spending time with people older than me. The perfect example of this was at my grade 8 graduation. I shocked many of my friends by showing up with not one, but two “dates”. Both of them were over the age of 20. They were (and still are) like brothers to me. I was always more comfortable with people more mature than me. It gave me something to work towards. Playing with kids younger than me always felt forced. It just didn’t come naturally to me. But yet I always knew I’d be a mom someday.
I had “baby blues” after Alexandra-Joy was born, but they were much worse after Beatrice was born. Full-blown postpartum depression kicked the life right out of me. Throughout all the difficult times, there was always one thing I felt I could do “right” as a mom and that was breastfeed.
I’ve heard of so many women having breastfeeding issues and other than the odd bout of mastitis, breastfeeding came really naturally to me. AJ had latched on properly within her first 24 hours… Beatrice within her first 24 minutes. I was blessed. And while some women find the exhaustion and hormonal ups and downs during feeding a deterrent, I loved it. It didn’t matter if some days I felt completely lost and clueless, I knew I could provide nourishment for my baby.
Specifically during stressful times, breastfeeding calmed me more than any spa could. Sitting down, in the quiet, holding a warm bundle of baby close, having her sweet little eyes look up at me, her chubby hand tugging gently on my shirt… those were the simple, easy to manage moments that made my crazy life as a new (and 2nd time) mom bearable.
While many people try to shove the breastfeeding ideal down he throats of new moms, I was having the opposite problem. Because I was dealing with depression, many people suggested I stop breastfeeding. Maybe the re-balancing of my hormones would help me heal quicker. And you know, maybe they are right. But I’m really not keen on saying goodbye to those quiet moments that bring me such relaxation, love and joy.