Y’all (I think I’ve decided to start all my posts with “y’all,” like how every Friends episode is called “The One Where [something happens]”. It’ll be my THING. I’ve always wanted a thing), J and I took one BAJILLION photos during our trip to North Carolina last week, and some of them actually turned out somewhat decent, and I swear I will show you them, but first there is this little nugget, this little thing that I’ve been turning around and around in my brain for the past few weeks, and I just don’t know where else to put it.
I know I said I was going to stop talking about my boobs, but this is my blog, and I can change my mind, so here we go, one more round about my damn boobs. It’s been three weeks since I quit breastfeeding exclusively, and for the VAST MAJORITY of the time, I am thrilled with this decision. Feeding Olivia is now just one more task on the list, not something that requires dread and tears and suffering on both our parts. She thinks formula tastes awesome, and would drink five times her stomach capacity if I let her. I pump a bunch of times a day, and while it’s not my favorite thing to do, it’s over in ten minutes, I see the results of my… (I was going to say “efforts” but I mostly sit around and catch up one Twitter while pumping, so there’s precious little effort involved, so I’ll say…) production, and I manage to feed her breast milk every other bottle. She’s getting way more food than she was at the breast exclusively, and I am glad to have to wash bottles a million times a day if it means no one screams at meal times.
But… oh, CHRIST, there’s always a but, isn’t there? But there’s a part of me that misses the breastfeeding. And here’s the part that’s even nuttier- it’s not that I miss the actual act of breastfeeding as Olivia and I engaged in it, it’s that I miss the IDEA I had formed in my head before Olivia was even BORN about what breastfeeding would be. I feel like such a tool for having bought into the movie-idealized version of what breastfeeding could be, but I did. I thought it would be SO AWESOME, and even in the face of it not being awesome, not even remotely, in reality, I’m still able to get all worked up about it. About something that never happened for me in real life.
Look, I know my experience with breastfeeding was ‘normal’. Enough of you have commented either here or on Twitter to tell me that your breastfeeding experiences were the same, or somewhat similar, that I don’t feel that I’ve failed as a woman, or a mother (on that count, at least), or that my breastfeeding experience was out of the ordinary. But I also know that it CAN BE the way it’s depicted in the movies- that it can be an enjoyable bonding experience for everyone involved, and that it can be so nice people are willing to do it for YEARS (and ROCK ON with your bad selves, those of you breastfeeding toddlers and beyond). And… I can’t have that.
I really believe we made the right choice, and I’m reminded of it every time Olivia wakes up at 3am, and I put her to the boob (this continues to be the only time she breastfeeds calmly- in the middle of the night, half asleep). It’s still uncomfortable. It’s still hard to know if she’s getting enough. It’s still getting up at 3am, and it still makes my back hurt.
But there’s still the wishing. NONE of motherhood has been what I expected it to, starting with how she came into the world, so I am not sure why I am so hung up on having missed THIS PARTICULAR part of it, but I am. I think I might be more upset about breastfeeding not working out than I am about having to have had a c-section, which is TOTALLY NUTS.
So I wish. I feed her a bottle and watch her eyes roll back in pleasure and I wish.
How am I supposed to let go of something I never had?