It’s kind of a love/hate relationship with me and breastfeeding. I mean, I love some things. You really can’t duplicate the feeling of a half-sleeping baby all cozied up with you in the wee hours of the morning or the naturalness of it all or the perfectness of the one-on-one time with your sweetheart…or the convenience! I truly hate having to wash bottles and heat/cool milk and wash bottles. And I hate washing bottles.
I think that my issues with breastfeeding come from frustrations with a lot of things. I mean, I never really nursed Maggie because she wouldn’t latch and I was a basket case and wasn’t willing to tough it out, so I just pumped for six months. (Six!) Lily, on the other hand, is great at nursing! However, she’s very easily distracted and is constantly stopping and starting to look around at every flash of light and little noise she hears. Annoying, but I can deal with it. My real issues with breastfeeding are centered around the breast pump.
When my colleagues get a break at work they spend it catching up on You Tube videos or reading or dashing off to the trendy/hipster/eco-friendly/hipster-friendly coffee shop down the street, which I have never been to, so that description was all just speculation and jealousy that I don’t get to go.
When I get a break at work I usually spend it locked in the storytime closet with a machine sucking the life out of my boobs. I attempt to use Facebook or look through Instagram and when I’ve succumbed to the fact that there’s just no reception in the storytime closet, I spend my time looking at worn copies of “Click, Clack, Moo” and “The Very Grouchy Ladybug.” Sometimes my mind wanders and I can swear that my breast pump is talking to me. The rhythmic noises truly sound like a cartoon machine saying, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay” or, if the pump is feeling unsympathetic that day, “Get over it! Get over it! Get over it!” I like to tell myself that I’m not the only person who feels like my breast pump is talking to me and then I remember I’m talking to myself and… well, some day I’m just going to have to accept the fact that I’m a loon, plain and simple.
After I’m done pumping I have to sneak my milk back through the office and into the staff freezer because I never remember a lunchbox in which to transport it and then I pray that I do remember to bring the milk back home with me at the end of my shift. The whole process is tedious to say the least.
It really is just a part of the job description when you’re a working mom. I’m truly not looking for sympathy here. Sometimes I just want to whine. The truth is that I love my job and I love nursing. Combining the two is a challenge and I think it’s no accident that this has been on my mind a lot lately and that I came upon this quote today:
“Without love, everything is painful, everything is tiring, everything is burdensome. The Cross, taken up hesitantly, is crushing; taken smilingly, by free will, and with love, it will carry you much more than you carry it.” -St. Therese of Lixieux
Isn’t that beautiful? It’s definitely what I’m striving for as a mother, a wife, an employee, a woman, a Christian. Though I sometimes think I’d rather be spending thirty bucks on a cup fair trade coffee, I am reminded that being shackled to the breast pump should be a gift, a precious labor of love I give to my child. Because, the truth is, she won’t need me to pump for her forever. I won’t always be needed in this specific and particular and beautiful way. There is pain in the offering, it’s true, but with renewed focus I find that this tiny cross truly is carrying me.
A few links to expound upon the same idea:
“Mary and Martha Moment” at Kitchen Stewardship
“Sleep During the Newborn Stage” at Carrots for Michaelmas (This is the post that got me started on Haley’s wonderful blog. Poke around, I promise you’ll find the writing lovely and the content excellent!)
And, because I found it so touching, please check out this post on why families should take “just because” photos. Seriously, I can’t say enough how beautiful and talented my friends are! (What up, Jade and Steph!)