When preparing for the birth of my first child, I didn't doubt that I wanted to breastfeed for a second. I also fought tooth and nail in the hospital to make it so. But after a long pregnancy filled with stressful tests, sick family members, and a relocation away from all of my friends, I'm thinking I want a break. I'm not so thrilled about breastfeeding this time around.
I totally intend to do it, but over the past few weeks I have been realizing that I am just not that into it this time. Maybe that will all change when I see my beautiful baby. Maybe the hormones will come pouring in and I will be totally gung-ho about the whole thing again. But right now, I am so exhausted that the thought of being the only person responsible for feeding this little person for the next few months is pretty unbearable.
Memories of waking up every hour and a half to breastfeed my son keep flooding into my mind. I didn't start pumping until I was about three months along, so up until that time the responsibility for feeding was all on me. Maybe I could pump sooner this time around, but honestly the pumping itself was so freaking hard. I wasn't one of those women who produces a ton of milk. I had to pump for about a half hour on each breast to get about six ounces of milk. And having my son on one boob would stimulate milk production, so it would be my son on one boob and the pump attached to the other. Not fun. Not fun at all.
Buying and preparing formula is a pain in the ass too, but at least others can help you with it. Your partner can get up and take care of a couple of feedings in the night. You can leave the baby with someone else for a few hours, confident that she will be fed. I want to be able to do that.
This is going to sound selfish - but I also really want a margarita. I can't tell you how stressful the last few months of this pregnancy have been. I want to put my feet up and feel the warm glow of alcohol wash over my body. Judge me all you want - but I do.
I'm ending this pregnancy in such a burnt-out state. The thought of having a newborn sounds so exhausting. I know that is terrible. There are many people struggling to have babies as I write this and I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to give my son a sister. I am thrilled that she is coming. I can't wait to meet her. But it doesn't change the fact that I am tired.
Maybe this is a little end-of-pregnancy depression? I don't really know.
Having experienced an emergency c-section last time around, maybe I'm really just stressing out about the birth and this is a byproduct of that. Honestly, I haven't really either allowed myself or naturally found myself really bonding with this baby yet. For one, I have a toddler to constantly care for. The early stress of stupid genetic testing may have also put me in an apprehensive state. Past pregnancy losses may have damaged me to the point that I don't allow myself to fully bond until I see my baby. Who knows? I'm not a doctor. I'm just a pregnant lady feeling less than enthusiastic about everything that is coming my way. And that makes me feel like a horrible person.
I'm not at all implying that women who make the choice to formula feed are horrible. It's just that my about-face on the issue toward the end of this pregnancy is worrying me a little. Why am I not as adamant and excited about it as I was the first time around? Is this normal?
With my first pregnancy, I was on a constant quest for information. I was preparing myself for some kind of idea of maternal perfection that I was sure existed. I wanted to make all of the "right" decisions. I was certain I would be having a natural labor. I took all of the right hypnobirthing classes. I was driven to breastfeed and got all of the accessories before the baby was even here and I was certain I could do it.
This time around, I've already learned the lesson that things don't always go as planned. Through my own personal blog, writing for this site, and just being around other mothers, I've come to realize that every mother doesn't make the same decisions and they are all still parenting their children in completely capable ways.
Having a toddler to focus on throughout this pregnancy has made me realize that even though I haven't spent hours excitedly staring at the cute onesies, baby bottles and assorted kiddie accessories for my soon-to-arrive little girl, she's still coming. I will still love her and parent her the best way I know how - and that may or may not involve breastfeeding.
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