29 November 2011

the baby that couldn't nurse and what happened to her mom ~

I've been thinking about this post for awhile.

Should I write it?  Should I not?
It's not like I'm really "over it," so what do I say?

Ultimately it's a very big part of my life right now and my will always be part of my story with Everly.  Yeah, the blog is public and all, but it's also my mini-diary, so I need to tell it.  For my sake.

...cue the tears.  Again.

Everly doesn't nurse.  There.  I said it.  I, who have nursed all seven of my other children, and nursed two of them well into toddler-hood now have a formula fed baby.  Judge me.  I'd say I don't care, but I do.  A lot.  A whole lot.

I've spent hours at night alternating between shaking my fist at God and then curling up into a ball of tears crying, "Papa, why? Why won't you fix this?"  I never knew it would be this hard.  This emotional.  Sometimes I have felt almost bi-polar or something.  I have swung between being able to trust the Lord in it and being peaceful (albeit still very sad) to being very emotional.  I think I cried through worship at church for a good 10 weeks straight.  At least.  Even now it takes me about 30 seconds to be in tears if I really let myself go.  I can mostly talk about it pretty matter-of-fact but it doesn't take much for me to let myself "go there" and have to fight back the tears.  Mostly I am okay now.  But it's pretty much because I'm just kind of numb.

Glen has been nice, he's been understanding.  But he doesn't get it.  He's a guy.  I guess I can't blame him.

I feel like I have failed my daughter.  
When I listen to the lies of the enemy I hear things like:

"She doesn't need you."
"She doesn't even want you."
"If she gets sick it's all your fault."
"If she isn't as smart as the other kids it's all your fault."
"You shouldn't have been so prideful about nursing your other kids."
"If you had only, if you had only, if you had only..."

Sure, I can tell myself they are lies.  And they are.  They are not.true.  I know that in my heart of hearts.  But it's still super hard to ignore them.  When you go to nurse your daughter and all she does is get really mad and scream it's really hard to not listen to those malicious whispers.  When you read all those studies about how good nursing is and how evil formula is it's really hard to not wonder if maybe, just maybe she wouldn't have that stuffy nose.  It sucks.  Bad.

Part of my problem lies in guilt.  Should I have tried harder?  Should I have tried longer?  Should I not have tried to wean her from using the shield? (She would nurse from a shield the first few weeks.)  Maybe she really is tongue tied and if I'd just taken her to the doctor it never would have been a problem.  Should I have kept the pump I rented longer?  Should I have been willing to sacrifice several hours of every day to pump?

My other difficulty is that I'm not settled in how to view the situation.  Should I view it as satan trying to steal something from me?  Should I have prayed "against it" more?  Or do I believe that for some reason I may never know she didn't need to nurse.  That for some reason it was better for her to have formula.  Glen has celiac, all of our kids have gluten sensitivity.  But I eat gluten.  Maybe it would have caused a huge problem for her and it's the Lord being merciful and protecting her.  (Cue the guilt in that situation.)  Maybe with our family dynamics right now (busy with a very wide range of ages and things going on) the Lord knew she would be just fine with formula and in this season I needed to be able to leave her at home for some reason.  Maybe she is being protected from something.  I.don't.know.  And right now He isn't telling me (um, I might have a few issues with that too....) 

So, how I'm dealing:  Ultimately I'm just trusting God.  It's all I can do.  I can't figure out why (I have my theories; ultimately I think she has a significant tongue tie so even though she can nurse and did for a few weeks it's very hard for her and she learned to prefer a bottle) and it doesn't seem that I can change it.  I still have milk.  I still try occasionally.  I'm hoping maybe one day as she gets older she'll just decide it isn't so bad.  

And mostly I'm believing that if Jesus could turn water into wine, and the Giver of Good Gifts won't give his children a stone when they ask for bread, that he absolutely can turn that formula into the perfect food for her.  He can make it good.  And He is good.  This I know to be true.  So it's okay.  I'm going to be okay.  She's going to be okay.  And it's okay for me to be sad.  I will probably always be sad.  But there is not a day that goes by that I wish I could just go back and start over.  

So if you see me giving my baby a bottle, or the next time you see a mom giving her baby a bottle; don't judge and don't make assumptions.  Just give her a big smile and pray she doesn't turn into a puddle of tears.  

...and for anyone interested in the details, I'm going to detail it all out right here so if for some reason I ever need to remember the progression of things that led down this path I'll have it all written down.


Kristin Oakerson said...

I can totally relate to all that you are feeling. When I had my 3rd child,he was born with a rare genetic disorder that prevented him from being able to nurse. He was tube fed,and later fed through a tummy tube. I insisted on pumping milk for him for 7 months,round the clock. At that time I found out I was pregnant with my 4th. With all the stress on my body,my milk totally dried up. I had no choice but to give my precious,special needs baby formula, aka "the devil milk". I had nursed my 2 previous babies and loved every minute of it. I cried at the thought of giving formula to my baby. I was a little surprised at how much it upset me. But I think God knew exactly what He was doing. Silly little things can become such a source of pride for me. My son is thriving now,formula and all! God is good and He is in control of EVERYTHING! You'll both be fine!

The Bishop Family said...

I happened upon your blog while searching google for "grace in mothering". I am sharing on this wonderful topic this Saturday at a Women's Retreat - God's Grace is Sufficient for me as a Young Mommy. I have 3 children and they are all so different from one another. It was in the differences that I started to see my deep desperation for God's continual guidance, wisdom and grace.
What God is teaching you through this experience will minister to other Mom's who find themselves right where you are at.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ."
May God be your comfort through this difficult release of a desire - a desire to nurse your precious Everly.
May God use you to minister to, and comfort, other Mommies that find themselves unable to nurse their precious baby.

Blessings to you sister.

"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November