Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Promise To Myself

Last week I was reading yet another Huffington Post article that made its way to my Facebook feed.  The twins were eating their afternoon snack and keeping each other company while I sat on the floor with my back against the wall, worn out from a long day with two toddlers.

And in the middle of reading an innocent post on breastfeeding, I started crying.  Not the watery eyes cry, which has become a trademark of mine, but a sobbing mess on the floor.  Jude and Sloane stopped eating their blueberries and looked at me with wide eyes.  They'd never seen their mom cry like this.  It was in that moment I realized...

I stopped too soon.

I wasn't ready to stop nursing when I did.  I knew it then but I pushed the thought away. 

When you're pregnant, the breastfeeding questions begin.  When you're pregnant with twins, the questions change from "Will you" to "How will you."  I never minded the questions and instead used them to fuel my desire to breastfeed.  I was blessed, so blessed, to nurse my babies for 15 months.  We had the common issues in the beginning but what I once considered excruciating work became second nature. 

What I find so strange about nursing is you receive encouragement and praise from everyone...until your babies turn one.  Suddenly, what was so incredible becomes weird.  It's gross.  It's unnecessary and now I've made you uncomfortable.  I saw every raised eyebrow.  I recognized every side-glance.  I felt every pause.  And little by little, it broke me.  The girl who didn't have an issue nursing in public suddenly started hiding again.

I constantly made excuses as to why I was still nursing.  (Why did I feel an excuse was necessary?)  I told people I would stop by a certain date and when that date passed and I continued to nurse, I felt guilty.  And in typical fashion, I poked fun at myself for still breastfeeding.  I made a joke out of the sweetest gift I have ever been given.

Let me make something clear: I am not blaming anyone but myself.  I am the one who messed up.  I know Jude and Sloane are perfectly fine drinking whole milk out of sippy cups, but I failed as a mom because I let others' thoughts override my own.  Because their shame became my shame.  And I want to make it clear to myself (and to my kids if they ever read their mom's blog) that I will never let that happen again.


ashley said...

Thank you so much for writing this post. Kas is almost 13 months and ppl have asked me when I'm going to wean including my mil all the time. I don't feel like he's ready yet and I'm not ready to push him. Why does society make you feel bad if you don't bf yet guilty if you go "to long" your a good mom I can say that even tho we've never met I can tell the way you write and the way Jude and sloane smile in their pictures:) Don't feel guilty you gave them an amazing start to a healthy life! Thanks again tho I needed this post tonight!

Kerry said...

I know I don't really know you but I feel like I do from your writing. You're incredibly brave and strong for posting this. I am also extremely impressed by what you were able to give Jude and Sloane for as long as you did. I have to admit part of the reason I chose formula was not just because of ease but because I was trying to avoid embarrassment in public. My hat is off to you for giving them the best start to life you could!!
I also believe in every experience we learn something and it sounds like you certainly learned something about not only yourself but also how you want to parent Jude and Sloane. There's always a silver lining in every situation - use it to your advantage! I believe in looking on the positive side and really believe that while it may be a regret of your's, it will only help you in the future :)
As I said I have nothing but respect for you - you've done more than me!!!

Unknown said...

This brought tears to my eyes! The sweetest, most sincere post! You are such an amazing momma to Jude & Sloane!!

Leslie said...

Great post, friend. I've had the same thought about weaning Rhett. Our culture definitely has some messed up norms set up regarding nursing (i.e. guilt moms who can't/don't do it, judge moms who do it "too long" or in public, etc.), and posts like this just help that dialogue and empower other moms who come behind you.

Christina Wright said...

Great post, Meredith. I am coming up on one-year of BFing with my twins, with no plans to stop at one year. This help remind me to toughen my skin a little bit and not feel obligated to justify my opinions.

I think we make the best decisions with the information and feeling we have at the time. We all have regrets. Forgiving yourself is the hardest part, but the most important.

The reason we feel bad is cause we're trying to damn hard.

Chin up.

emma @ said...

I am so sorry you are hurting about this mama. I know those looks, the questions, the comments that "most women are ready to be done". I keep on, I think in some way I do because I never want another mother to feel ashamed or embarrassed about nursing.
I am sorry that you stopped nursing before you were ready, that time with them will always be with you. I started to write letters to Clarabelle about our nursing, that might be a good way for you to share with them how special that time was (might be a good way for you to release some sadness and keep the memories alive too). Big hug from me~

Melissa Brannan said...

I'm so impressed with you! You do such an amazing job of pinpointing your deep feelings and then writing them so eloquently. It give such meaning and purpose and then touches others too! I have emotional moments and write them off as "hormones", but you have the gift of knowing and searching deep within yourself and changing things for the better in the future! Thanks for sharing..... I'm truly touched! :)

Lyndsey said...

This! This is exactly how I felt when I weaned my oldest daughter (who is now 3) at 16 months! To a tee. I regretted it and still do, and am already worried about it with my now 10 month old twins... which is what brought me to your blog. I was searching for how to wean them at one! Partly because I do realize I need my sleep and body back to myself. But also because I am tired of the questions from everyone. However, your post just reminded me how sad I was when I weaned my first daughter, and how blessed I also am to be able to nurse my twins still. Thank you for writing this. It's beautiful and you are an amazing mother!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for venting this subject, I really needed this pep since I am in the middle of it myself: still breastfeeding my 16-month-old twins, I have gone from hero mom to weirdo mom in social settings. I so not want to stop yet! They are so small and eager still and no days we share now will ever return. Hugs and many thanks. Stay real and sweet!


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