Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am not a failure

Sometimes life doesn't go according to plan. I've mentioned on this blog before how I like plans. I like to know what's coming, I like to have lists made of things I need to get done. I like schedules. I crave structure. Anyway, back to the point:

I had a plan. A birth plan, in fact. I was going to go into labor without medical assistance. I was going to woman up and muscle through my contractions. I was going to deliver a healthy baby without the aid of medications. I was going (gasp) natural.

Well, none of that happened. I was induced. I received cytotec and pitocin to get my labor going. I muscled through my contractions for about 2 hours before I was begging for an epidural. My plan was shot from almost the word "go".

But I am not a failure. I still have a healthy, happy baby.

And then there were the other plans: I was going to bond instantly with my child. I was going to feel a love like nothing I'd ever felt before. I was going to breastfeed him for a whole year. I wasn't going to cry when he kept me up in the night.

Well, let me tell you all a little secret that no one ever shares: sometimes you don't bond instantly. Sometimes you feel like you're holding, caring for, feeding, and changing someone else's baby. You feel like you're waiting for his real mom to come pick him up. But she never comes. So you muddle through, feeling like you're not doing anything right. You don't necessarily love them right away. You worry about their welfare, you think about them constantly, and you kind of like them a little... but sometimes bonding takes time.

And breastfeeding. Oh man, breastfeeding. It's hard. And it hurts. And sometimes your baby is a hibernater and won't tell you that he's not getting enough food. So you stop. Cold turkey... and guess what: your baby thrives on formula. And every time you feed him a bottle and look into his big baby eyes you fall in love with him a little bit more.

And one day you realize that if anybody ever tried to take him away from you they wouldn't live to see another day. Because you love that little guy with everything you have. And you can't imagine your life without him.

So, if any of that makes me a failure I guess I can live with that. Because I have a healthy, happy baby that I love more than anything else in the world.



Meg said...

I feel like all the things you just described makes YOU the hero!!! Because life never goes how we plan, and so many people out there refuse to accept their circumstances whatever they may be. In the end, the other "fluff" doesn't matter at all. You grew and created a beautiful baby that is healthy and well taken care of. The rest is just a means to make it work out somehow... and you did it! Congratulations hero mom! I breast fed till Tru was 10 months, but we had just as much bonding over a bottle after that than we did before. And then his dad could bond with him too and he loved it. Life will constantly be you and him trying to find some common ground to grow your roots into, it's about compromise even from the very start. Sorry for the novel. I think you are amazing Selkie...

Amanda Bj. said...

Keep up the good work. From what little I saw of you that day, you looked like a pro. Just remember that every day is a new day. So, we take one day at a time. Then when they smile, it makes hours of screaming go away as if it never happened. Just wait and see, things get better.

Hilary said...

This was so sweet! He couldn't have asked for a better Mama!

Melanie said...

Annie, all I can say is this. DITTO!

With my first I was in the exact same boat (except the going natural part, I always knew I wanted that epidural). I really, and I mean REALLY, struggled bonding and loving and everything else. I struggled for a long time. My oldest was formula fed after two days of me trying to nurse and my next was bottle fed from day one.

I totally felt like a failure for succumbing to formula, but it's all I could do. I don't feel like a failure anymore. Not even a little. Each child is different and as such deserves a different plan. It isn't even a Plan B, it's Plan Other-A.

Good luck with everything, he's adorable.

Reid, Megan, Jackson and Aiva said...

You are SO right!! I went "natural" with Jackson, and let me tell you, you didn't miss out on anything! I was induced and had an epidural with Aiva and it was heaven.

Breast feeding is SO hard and 99% of women struggle with it (trust the well baby nurse). I had one woman tell me once that formula was "the devils milk." Well my children must be part Satan because they loved it and I was MUCH happier not having to shove my boob in their face all the time.

You're doing great! Hang in there!

Cary said...

First, congrats Selkie!!! He is beautiful! And I love what you wrote! I found my smile growing bigger the further I perfectly you describe the first baby experience!! Good for you for being easy in yourself, being flexible will help you so much! And stay strong! The first few months after I had Hannah was a rollercoaster. So be patient and structure, experience, and more love than you can imagine will come:)

Lisa Barnett said...

I love the way you expressed this first couple weeks of parenthood. You are fabulous and I love you!!

Ally said...

Oh Annicka Sue. You gave me chills! I am so happy you and sharky are thriving! Love you!

Vivian said...

Talina had told me about this post, and I have to say that I love it. It took me 6 weeks to really bond with Xander. Lily was faster, but I think that's because I knew what was coming. It still took time. Your baby is adorable and you are awesome.


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