Since the first minute of Sammy's life I have enjoyed our nursing relationship. I love the way he eats so intently and his little hand grabs onto my shirt. I love the way he looks up at me with his milky smile. Sammy will have his three-month birthday this week and I cannot believe how far we've come. But while I am giddy over our special and intimate mother-son relationship, I can't help but have moments when I feel like I want to yell, "ENOUGH!"
Don't get me wrong, I love nursing and I am completely committed to it, and ideally I will nurse until Sammy self-weans but after ten months of pregnancy and three months of nursing, I would love just a couple days of having my body to myself. Is that wrong of me to say? Is that selfish of me to feel?
Over the holidays my husband had to work while I stayed with Sammy at my parents house. I could not help but feel stinging pangs of envy, as he would go out on the town with his buddies, drinking beer and seeing movies. Before becoming pregnant with Sammy I was always out on the town. My husband and I really took advantage of living in New York City. We would rarely dine at the same restaurant more than once and we'd always find some new bar or lounge to try the latest cocktail. And, I really miss that. It's hard to admit this, but I feel it is important to do so. How many mothers think these thoughts and then are filled with guilt?
As I progress in motherhood I am coming to realize that my life will never be solely mine ever again. I'm okay with that, but I would love just one evening where I don't have to worry about either feeding Sammy or my boobs feeling like they'll explode.
You can probably tell that we have not yet had the pleasure of hiring a babysitter. I've been telling my husband that I'm ready for our first date night, but I keep putting it off for one reason or another. Isn't it strange how these feelings are so contradictory? I want time to myself, but I don't want anyone else to take care of my child.
How does a new mom reconcile this? When I know Sammy is getting a bottle of expressed milk versus nursing directly from me, I feel guilty. It seems that guilt and motherhood go hand in hand. I woke up this morning to a plugged duct in my right breast. Of course, my immediate reaction was that of guilt. Is it my fault? Was I not nursing Sammy correctly? Of course, on an intellectual level I know these feelings are completely unfounded. I understand that plugged ducts happen to many nursing moms.
Being a nursing mother is an obvious way to devote yourself to your child. It can provide you with some of the warmest and sincerest moments and memories that you have ever had, but it can also make you feel frustrated, overwhelmed and lacking. In those moments of frustration it is easy to forget how important it is for your baby to drink your milk. It is easy to forget the milky smile staring up and cooing at me. But as the moment passes the feelings of warmth and love wash over me. Despite all of the difficulties and challenges of nursing, I wouldn't want to feed my son any other way.