Recently, I went back through some old posts on this blog and came across one that was posted on June 29th, 2011 called Baby Coma...and the birth of Mama Barknknit. This was one of those posts that didn't end up as I intended, but I am proud of it either way because of what I had been going through the first 6 months of Carmen's life. Growing up imagining what I would be like as a mother is so completely different than actually being a mom. You can think that I'll be like this and do this, but until you actually have a baby, you really can't be certain how you will feel during the moments that come or what you will do to protect that little cub of yours. Mama Barknknit has come a long way in a year since that post, but essentially I still feel like a Mama Bear loving and protecting her precious cub.
Before I had Carmen, I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed but I didn't do a lot of research on breastfeeding, itself. In a way, I'm glad I didn't; and in another, I wish I had. I had a ton of questions those early weeks and I'm so thankful for my sisters and friends who were there to answer all of them and provide me with the support that I needed. I'm not sure I could have done it without them.
It took me a little bit to get my head around the fact that she was tied to me in more ways than one. Not only was I her main source of food, but I loved this baby more than anything and I just wanted to soak her up. I realized that I had to always think of her and put her needs first. I knew this before I had her, but actually living it is different. If I wanted to go somewhere or do something, I had to think of how Carmen would fit into this plan. I am ever thankful I didn't have to remember a bottle, as my boobs were always with us! Her needs were and are bigger than my wants, even if that meant missing out on some of the fun. We were never much for going out to begin with, but after having Carmen I realized that just going home was often the best thing for her. I have left parties early, stayed inside while she napped so I could hear her, and I remember often in those early days simply holding her during naps because she slept best that way. I could have been doing things I wanted to do, but her sleep was more important. Also staring into the face of a sleeping baby in your arms is a wonderful thing.
I will admit, in someways I envy those who choose to formula feed their babies. They get the opportunity to step away and get uninterrupted sleep. They can let their baby truly be cared for by someone else, if need be. You can't do that as a breastfeeding mother. You are their source of food. You are their source of comfort. And in many ways, they are there to comfort you. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.
this post. I no longer see my body so much aesthetically, but more for what it can do mechanically. But finally getting to eat milk, eggs, and peanuts (or in my case cookies, cakes, candy bars, and milkshakes that I had so truly missed) was definitely a welcome notion. Secondly, I knew that she no longer needed me in a way I loved to be needed. I loved to know that I was the only one who could nurse her and that we both enjoyed that time together, but I was happy to put my pump away and not have to go into the closet twice a day at work and make sure I stored my milk properly. (That was a real pain in the tush!) Go back to what I said about pumping; it's uncomfortable, unnatural, and icky!
When we stopped nursing and our relationship began to change, I was pleased because her need for me didn't stop, but just changed a little. I'm still her preferred comfort and she always lets me know how much she wants and needs me. At 18 months old, she is a very active, very independent, very loving, and a very friendly little toddler and I just feel so blessed that God has entrusted Special K and I with her quirky little soul. There hasn't been a day in over 18 months that I have not kissed her, held her in my arms, and told her how much I love her. I can't wait for the day she starts to say I love you back.
She amazes me every day and I'm just so glad to be her Mama!
As a parent of a human (or a furbaby), are there things you do or ways you think differently now that you didn't plan or think you would before?
This blog post has been edited by Special K.