The True Cry

I thought I was prepared for Emma’s vaccination today. Similar to how my husband had tears watching me in labor pain, I couldn’t hold back my tears watching Emma’s little face turn tomato red as she let out a scream of pain during the injection. I had let Emma grip on to my finger for reassurance before the injection started. Poor baby, she held on so tight.The nurse hurriedly put Emma’s pants back on and passed her to me to be held close. It was a good thing she woke up and we fed her some milk before entering the doctor’s office. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if she was both hungry and tired. When a woman becomes a mother, her whole heart goes to her child.

Moreover, I am unable to offer her my breasts due to a dishearteningly conscious decision I made to stop breastfeeding. I constantly feel guilty of my decision, even though in some ways I know I had to do it. I am already feeling like a second class mother, unable to feed my baby the best milk. I felt like I didn’t try hard enough to exclusively breastfeed, even though I had a rough start at the beginning. Perhaps, it was the fact I am a softie too. I couldn’t stand her cries and frustration of hunger, and so we fed her formula milk as a supplement. Therefore, I believe it is the reason for my low milk supply. My mother-in-law gave me gentle encouragement to just give it up if I am feeling tired. She shared the same view at the time … how could we stand seeing our own child get so hungry all the time and lose weight? Now that I look back at it, I believe what I needed was the encouragement to keep going at it and not give up. It will be a struggle for a couple days and then it wil be fine. I needed someone to help me stand strong against topping up with formula because I was weak whenever I hear her cry for more milk, and the decision was put solely on me to supplement with formula or not. Yet deep inside me I wanted to breastfeed even though I was tired. In the first place, I wasn’t able to let go of supplementing and I needed someone who understood the dynamics of breastfeeding to encourage me to NOT supplement and just keep direct feeding from the breasts until it is established. I have feelings of regret for not trying harder. I am not blaming the people who were around me the whole time during my recovery from labor. If anything, I blame myself more. They have been very caring to me. Although, I believe I needed more emotional support on the subject of breastfeeding. Perhaps, I should have looked into getting a lactation consultant for education and support. Naturally, I’ve read a great deal about how to breastfeed and what not but when it came to the real deal, and I was not motivated and depressed from the exhaustion of labor …it was difficult to think straight. A lactation consultant would have been very helpful in encouragement and hands-on practice.

Whenever I look at other mothers, who seem so relaxed with a happily breastfed baby; who don’t need to carry around bags of bottles and milk containers; who can carry their baby in a sling and feed the on-the-go … I feel envious. I feel sub-par. Yes, my husband told me not to feel that way. It doesn’t mean I am not a good mother. But how does one not feel that way when their baby is screaming to feed from their breasts and we can’t give it to them?

I miss her feeding at my breasts. Her soft coos of content is angelic music to my ears. Her little hands resting on the top of my breasts, spread out and relaxed. I don’t get that anymore with her feeding from the bottle in my arms. Of course, now I can share the feeding responsibility with others such as my husband and my mom. Moving forward, I still feel sad when I think of my decision to stop breastfeeding, but I am trying to remind myself that I will do better next time with my next child. And I hope my baby Emma doesn’t hate me for doing this to her. I hope she will understand that even though I can’t offer her comfort and security by feeding at the breasts, I will still hold her when she needs me.

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