This is not like me. I have always had things under control. I’m not so much of a control freak, but for everything before, I always had the opportunity to handle things in such a way that I like the outcome or I expect or get to foresee the outcome. And yet now, I am frustrated. I literally find myself crying over… crying over ‘I have no idea’ actually.
It has been 1 week and three days since our little bundle of joy was born. The minute she was born, my husband and I were in cloud 9. It was such a great feeling to have a child of your own to love, to hug, to kiss and cuddle. Since I had a C-section, I was in the hospital for four days.
During those days, we had a difficult time adjusting to the baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule. My personal goal is to the be the best mommy that I can be. Even before Zeeka was born, I vowed to myself that I would exclusively breastfeed and I would stick to that. My goal led me to ask for the baby to be roomed-in right after she was born, so just few hours after my operation in the morning, Zeeka was already with me in my room late that afternoon.
Since I was not that mobile yet, I breastfed her in the hospital doing the side-lying position. Thankfully, Zeeka had a good suck. She latched right away after our second try. We, Ej and I, would get up every so often to feed her and change her diapers and have her burp. We would monitor each and every feeding and diaper change. These were days of sleepless nights.
When we got home, we continued to have sleepless nights. I then had problems since my nipples started to sore and bleed. We tried different breastfeeding positions and for some reason, Zeeka could not latch well. I felt so frustrated. I didn’t know what was suddenly wrong. I kept on thinking that it was my fault. I kept on crying and crying, since I really felt like a loser ‘mom’. Why did so many people seem to direct breastfeed so easily? They seem so calm and relaxed in the pictures that we see on the net and even in real life.
I know I did everything I could. I attended breastfeeding classes. I attended three in fact. I attended birthing classes. Why can’t I get Zeeka to latch well. Of course I know that my sore nipples were due to Zeeka’s incorrect latch. I gave up and started pumping.
When I started pumping, I got to collect around half an ounce of milk from both breasts. This made me frustrated again. It entered my mind that I didn’t have enough milk. I got to hear from friends that they collect as much as 2 ounces of milk and some even more. Again, it felt as if it were my fault. Every time I would hear Zeeka’s shrieks and cries, I would cry, too. I felt so unfulfilled. Everything felt so uncontrollable — my milk let down, the hunger cries of my baby, my sore nipples, etc. I felt so useless.
At this time, I was already thinking of mixed feeding. Although, at the back of my head, I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed and formulas were really a no-no for me. It was a good thing that I stuck to this commitment. I just kept on convincing myself that if I had to pump every hour, I would.
At this time, Ej and I decided to already call on the help of Abbie Yabot, a lactation consultant to help us fix our latch. She came to us yesterday, early morning. It was just the right time, since I was losing it. Before she arrived, I was crying over spilled milk (literally) that I pumped.
She arrived at almost 8:00 am. When she came, we immediately went straight to trying to latch Zeeka, and in just a minute or so, she successfully latched on to me. We learned a lot from Abbie during her visit. We learned a lot of things, both incorrect things that we were doing and tips on how things should be done. The session was really helpful. We are now perfecting and practicing our latch and I am more at ease with all these things going on with Zeeka and with her feeding.
They say that motherhood is one of the best things that could ever happen to a woman. When I look at Zeeka, all bundled and cuddled up, I do believe that this is true. I read this beautiful article that a friend shared with me, Beautiful Catastrophe: The Death and Rebirth of Becoming a Mother, and I couldn’t help but cry. I could relate to the writer in so many levels.
No one or nothing can really prepare you fully for motherhood. Your mother, your grandmother, a lactation expert, etc. can give you all the advice in the world, but you will still have to adjust and learn with your child. Both of you, with your husband, will have to take the journey together. This is what I learned with my experience.
And if you accept the fact that…
1. you are not perfect and are only human
2. that not all things are within your control
3. and that motherhood is a learning process…
everything will be waaaay easier.
To end this, I leave you with this quote:
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg