The End Of An Era
An era is defined as being a significant period of time, and that’s exactly what the last 31 months have been for me. They’ve been some of the most turbulent, emotional, traumatic and significant months of my life. I’ve sobbed until I thought my heart might split in two, I’ve been mentally fragile and at times unstable, I’ve been physically traumatised and forever altered as a person.
I very much expected my life to change with the arrival of a baby. I anticipated some level of sleep deprivation, a small amount of physical pain and a shift in my outlook on life. What I got was so much more.
It never crossed my mind that I would spend more than two and a half years attached to a breast pump. I’d naively assumed that determination and positivity would be enough to successfully breast feed. I thought that formula was the plan B if it didn’t work out, and that I’d be ok with that. In reality, I couldn’t feed my new baby daughter, and in my desperation to avoid artificial milk and provide her with my own, I stumbled upon exclusively pumping.
The weeks, months and years that followed were swept up in the routine of pumping, feeding, cleaning. The counting of ounces and experimenting to increase supply. I was caught up in a blur of sadness, grief, stubbornness, ill mental health and, eventually, blogging. The breast pump became a fifth limb, breastfeeding websites became my temporary bible, strangers on the Internet became my family.
I’ll always hold sadness that the experience wasn’t the one that I’d hoped for. Perhaps a reason for the struggling will one day become clear. Am I sad that Moo no longer drinks my breast milk? Yes. I would have liked to have provided it for her for as long as she wanted milk before bed. Am I upset that I’m no longer pumping? Hell no. As wonderful as my Medela Freestyle was, I was sick of the sight of it. Connecting it all, washing it all, taking it away with me, the repetitive noise. Ugh.
I’ve suffered a loss. I’ve been broken at times, unsure of what to do or how to function. I’ve cried more tears than I thought it was physically possible to produce. But, I’ve gained too. I’ve got more determination than I ever knew I had. I’ve much more empathy for and understanding of mothers who can’t or don’t breast feed. I’ve acquired some scientific knowledge. I’ve completed a peer supporters course. I’ve met some wonderful, uplifting women. All of these things are gifts given to me from my suffering. Gifts that I’m immensely grateful for.
I shall take these gifts and use them well, as I move into this new, pump free era.
Posted on February 25, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged Breast milk, breastfeeding, era, exclusively pumping, expressing, medela, mental health, motherhood, parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.