Breastmilk shouldn't define me, but this is hard...
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Well here we are. The last bag of frozen breast milk. I haven’t pumped for over 2 months now, but for some reason this feels hard. Maybe because I knew she was still getting something from me, maybe because I felt like that was connecting us, like she really needed a part of me still, I don’t know, but this is hard.
Let’s re iterate, FED IS BEST. But this is my journey and experience so I have to be honest to how this feels, as a mom, as a person who probably won’t have any more babies, this is it, it’s final.
I’m thankful that my body did something good for me. I’m thankful that it allowed me to have a sense of “normalcy” after years of infertility, of drugs and hormones that assisted if not basically created my child. Something that my body did without any extra medicines, drugs or even tricks. It just did it.
I know so many struggle to breast feed, to produce milk. I know I was lucky, and so it feels strange to not have it anymore. To not see the frozen milk bags when I open the freezer, to not give her “my milk.” I feel a little empty, a little more useless now. Like, anyone can give her what she needs, what am I actually providing for her now?
And maybe this sounds silly, dramatic, whatever you want to call it, but this is how it feels. See, this was my dream for years, this was what my light looked like when I felt like I couldn’t go on. This is what I knew I was “good” at.
So yeah, I know she still needs me. I know 100% that drinking formula is perfect, I mean the twins did at one point too. I know I would tell anyone else saying this that they shouldn’t feel this, but closing this door feels hard, harder than I ever expected it to.
Where do we go from here? I know it's so obvious, formula. But there are so many, it seems like there are so many more than when I had the twins 10 years ago. I'm not sponsored by any formula, nor have I done extensive research but there are a couple we have tried with Eriela and she seems to take them happily.
Which brings me to more feelings, you guys, why is this such a mind f*&ck? Sometimes I think, I should have started formula from day one, let go of any attachments and mind games from the beginning and maybe now things would feel easier, maybe I would feel less guilt and maybe I would worry less (yeah right). Like I said before, formula is amazing, it saved me after 9 months with the twins, it saved me the first few days when Eriela needed food and wasn't getting enough from me. It's an option that I had no problem opting for. What I had a problem was with myself, with my own guilt, with my internal demons telling me that since my body can produce milk, it should, I should.
So now, I watch her enjoy the bottle of formula. I watch her drink it as if she's had it all her life. I watch her not even realize it's something different, not even give a YOU KNOW WHAT that it's not MY MILK. Is there such a think as being offended by your almost one year old? Because I think I actually am! So yeah, it's a lot. And again, maybe I'm exaggerating, maybe it's not that deep, but something is making this hard.
I've learned it's ok to sit with my feelings, it's ok to not be ok. Infertility has taught me that nothing lasts forever, that nothing is every the way you think it will be. I've learned to not let things define me, to not let moments and expectations rule my self worth. I know that, I know what I'm supposed to think, how I'm supposed to react. I know I'm supposed to be proud of how far we got, how much I was able to pump. I know I should be ecstatic that she had no issues switching to formula. But if I'm being honest, and I always am, this is not how I thought this was going to go.
I'll get used to it though, our new normal. I'll get used to going into the pantry to get her milk rather than the freezer. I'll get used to this feeling of detachment, of feeling a little less needed. I'll find new things to hold on to, I know there are a lot, I mean I lived through this with twins years ago. But this time it feels different, it feels final. And maybe the problem has nothing to do with what she's drinking, and more to do with the fact that this finality isn't truly my choice, this idea of not being able to have another baby, yeah that's not really the mentality I am ready to take on.