Pictures don’t always tell the whole story.
I could post picture after picture of me smiling with my babies or toddlers and you might be tempted to believe that I must have birthed easy children or am some sort of super mom to be always smiling.
The truth is – I have struggled since my first born son came out of the womb! And I have been a reading maniac, trying to figure this thing called motherhood out! I was quite shocked when my first born screamed and cried for the first few months on end.
Let me take you back to a dark moment in my life, when I first became “a mom”…
I held my 6 week old baby in the rocking chair. He was restless and crying so I cuddled him and began to nurse. He drank for a moment and then cried. What was wrong – why was he doing this? He latched on again for a couple minutes and then stopped to cry…we did this for 45 minutes and now I was sweating, unsure of myself and uneasy with how nursing was going. We stopped and I just rocked him. He was peaceful as I rocked him to sleep.
I went to my computer and googled “baby crying during nursing”.
I called my sisters – we discussed it – but I still didn’t find my answers.
I opened books – no answers…never in my life have I not been able to will something I want – a goal – into happening…He awoke, we again nuzzled into our chair and I brought him to my breast. Again he cried and fussed. No one told me this would be so hard?
Soon it was Easter Sunday – I was so proud to bring my new baby out into public for the world to see – but I had a dark secret…our nursing sessions were stressful. I went up to my old bedroom in my parent’s house where I tried to nurse him but he refused to eat. Tears welled up in my eyes – what is wrong with me – what is wrong with him – what do I do?
I sat with the lactation consultant at the hospital.
She weighed him and then I nursed him for 45 minutes and then she weighed him again…I waited to hear how much milk he took in… he took in 1 ounce. “1 oz…1 OUNCE in 45 minutes!!! What have I done? What is wrong with me? My baby boy is starving!”
We immediately gave him formula – and I went home cyring – Crying over my first failure as a mother.
Just sharing this truth is hard for me…it’s hard to admit I did not do what is so natural for so many of you. I want to give my children the best of me – studies show nursing is the best – and though I pumped for months and my son was a very healthy baby – I still feel guilt…and shame…over this failure.
~*I am teary even as I type this paragraph because it is still something that troubles me. I hate the question – “did you nurse?” and then my answer “I tried…I really did try…I don’t know what went wrong?…I failed…”
And so you may ask…well what happened when your second baby came along???
I tried…for 5 weeks, I exclusively nursed her…then my husband went on a business trip and I was alone for a week with the 2 children. And in my fear…the dark fear that maybe she wasn’t getting enough…and in my isolation with no one to reassure me…I gave up and gave her a bottle…I pumped and supplemented because I needed to see how much she was getting to have peace. So the truth…I gave up…*tear…and I still have trouble forgiving myself for giving up so quickly…I failed.
Have you ever laid in bed awake at night and wondered – Why me? I don’t understand these circumstances God? Have you ever felt like a failure – like the rest of the world has it figured out and you are the only one who just can’t seem to pull it together? Your will and determination just simply aren’t enough? Your 2 year old won’t let you buckle them in the car, your 3 year old bites, your 4 year old hits, your 10 year old struggles with reading, your teenager is defiant, or your grown child is making poor decisions and you sit there helpless.
So what do we do?
“Cast all your anxious thoughts on him because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)
I remember laying in my bed one night when my children were toddlers and I had had a terrible day managing them. I laid there crying over my motherhood failures and saying over and over until I fell asleep – “he cares for you, he cares for you, he cares for you, he cares for you, he cares for you, he cares for you, he cares for you.” When Satan tempts you to believe otherwise – speak this truth until you find peace. Peace washed over my soul and on a tear drenched pillow I found rest.
If you are asking God “Why me?” Stop asking and remember his truth – “He cares for you“- REST in this truth today.
Walk with the King!
Side note – I am not saying that not nursing your babies is failing them…but rather because I was so self-assured that I would nurse my babies till they were one yr old – I was shocked and disappointed at my failure to not reach “my goal”…God humbled me through this experience – I needed to be humbled…and he is still humbling me daily. lol!