Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's an ANALOGY.

Running the marathon is one of my absolute proudest accomplishments.  I still kind of can't believe I even did it.  I never, ever thought I could do something like that, I thought it was something other, more athletic, dedicated people could do.  I wasn't tough enough, I lacked the concentration, I started running too late in life...but then I did it!  I actually did it!  And it was so amazing. 

I felt incredibly proud.  That pride didn't mean I looked down on other people who did not run marathons, that I thought less of people who didn't ever want to run a marathon, that there was anything wrong with not running marathons or that I thought anyone could run a marathon if only they tried hard enough.  I was proud for me and it wasn't about anyone else.

(....some of you see where this is going, right?)

Katie will be six months old tomorrow.  I have been back at work full-time for half of her life.  And yet? I have managed to provide her with every drop of breastmilk she has required.  (I can't say I've fed her exclusively since we already introduced solids, but I have been able to produce all the milk she needs.  We've had a nearly-flawless breastfeeding course so far, she had a great latch right from her first moments in the world, and with the exception of a brief (albeit incredibly stressful) strike and some diva-like behavior requiring that I be standing whilst nursing, it's been uneventful.  My body is also more than happy to produce milk, so even though she wasn't much of an eater for those first few weeks, we're keeping up just fine.   

And you know, I'm really glad for all that.  I'm very lucky in that sense, for all of those things.  I know what it's like to have a baby who can't seem to latch (and really, I was even lucky then, since the lactation consultant got Grace right on, she just needed someone who knew what they were doing to show her how, rather than the broke-ass "breastfeeding counselors" we had in the hospital).  I do NOT know what it's like to have supply issues, but as a working mom, I know what it's like to go several days on end watching the bottles fall ounces and ounces short of what the baby will need, leading to frantic water-chugging and calorie consumption.  So yes, I'm lucky...but I also kind of resent the word lucky here, because it's a helluva lot of work.  Pumping sucks ass.  I have repetitive motion stress in both hands and wrists from it.  I have to schedule my work day down to the nanosecond to be sure I can pump often enough to maintain a supply (not an easy task in a job where planning is nonexistent, as neurosurgical emergencies don't typically follow a schedule).  I feel limited in the amount of time I can spend away from Katie, because I don't want her to need too many bottles- in the first few months, that means essentially being attached 24/7, since new babies really like to eat frequently.  It means dealing with a public that still thinks of breastfeeding as somehow sexual/offensive/disgusting.  (like the woman at Target who sneered at me with disgust while I nursed Katie UNDER A COVER.  I glared right back bat her and defiantly raised my eyebrows.  Bitch kept walking.)

So, yes.  I'm lucky.  But I'm also working hard at it.  And I'm really, really proud of this accomplishment.


Sarah said...

OH, how I want to change the way the world looks at nursing! You are a rock star, both for the marathon, and for the fantastic nursing. Way to go, girl (and girls, for that matter...). Keep up the good work.

Jessica said...

I like the analogy :)

We'll change how the US views nursing one beautiful baby at a time.

Also? I feel the same way about homebirth. I'm lucky, it was work, I wouldn't do it any other way - but I certainly don't think those who birth in hospitals or without meds are less than. We're all just different, doing what works best for us and our babies.

rebekah said...

It is a huge accomplishment. I honestly have no idea how working moms manage to do it,especially in a hospital setting. When I considered going back to work when H was about 7 months old, I couldn't even figure out how it would be possible (I was previously working in CTICU) You should be proud!

Rae said...

You should be proud. I'm a SAHM and I'm pretty sure Gerald is going to get some formula soon. Pride and self righteousness do not have to go hand in hand. :-)

Torrey said...

a huge accomplishment. definitely something (both the marathon and breast feeding) to be proud about. :)

Donna said...

Great job, Kathy. The marathon is beyond amazing. 5 1/2 years later and I still don't even have a regular exercise routine established, let alone TRAINING for a MARATHON! And I definitely pat myself on the back for exclusively BF all three for 6 months, and then continuing on for 14 months, 17 months and who knows with Aidan. Because it is damn hard to do, especially pumping at work which suuuuks. I still love that FB badge you had that was something like "I make milk, what's your superpower?" booyah!