That cute little elephant on my right is just hours away from his first birthday. With that sweet milestone for him, comes a rather monumental one for me. In a few hours I will have successfully completed one year of breastfeeding. This was certainly no easy feat, but I’m so thrilled to have made it. Momma friends, this is a big deal to me. It’s a big deal because that cute little dinosaur on my left, his nursing journey was cut far shorter than I had ever intended. When he was around 5 months old, I went back to work (at a new job, place and position), and bought our first house all in that one crazy month. Can you say frazzled? This stressed first time momma’s milk dwindled drastically and I felt like I was barely hanging on. A sweet momma who I hardly knew loaded me up with tons of frozen milk and we tried as long as we could, but there was no denying that my very first breastfeeding journey was coming to an end. I remember feeling so crushed and ashamed over this. I can still remember that mortifying feeling the first time I ever shook up a formula bottle in public. I had succumbed to the sad and untrue notion that I was less of a mom because I had stopped breastfeeding. Maybe it’s just in my head, but I feel like so often moms are tricked into this terrible lie that we are somehow less based on things like- how we choose to birth our children, how we feed our children, how we get our children to sleep (or at least attempt to 😂), and the list goes on and on. But mommas, save yourself the heartache and don’t buy into that lie like I did. You are good and you are doing a heck of a tough job. At the end of the day, you mean the world to that tiny human and they aren’t judging you one bit. My breastfeeding experiences with those two boys have been different, sure. But you know what? I’ve been their momma the same. I have loved them the same. I have cared for them the same. Neither of them have had less of me. On top of all that, I’m pretty sure they like me. Okay, they love me. 😊
Mommas, I write this to encourage you. Whether your story was like my first or my second, or even completely different- when you close out of this post, I want you to feel encouraged. I want you to know that you are enough. I want you to know that whatever your story is, it’s not what defines you as a mother. For me, one of my daily defining moments is the look on my boys faces when I walk into my their room each morning (after a long restful sleep. Am I right? 🙌🏻). You know what else is great? Even when I’ve failed miserably at the Mom job, they still have that same joyful look every morning. I’m sure you can also think of so many "mom moments" that define you.
So, to the momma who is putting her baby to bed with a bottle right now- good job. To the momma who is nursing her baby to sleep right now- good job. To the momma who packs that pump back and forth to work with her everyday- good job. To the momma who is barely hanging on- you are capable of more than you know. I still think about that sweet momma who loaded me up with her freezer stash. I remember thinking, "Wow!!!! This is the kindest thing anyone has EVER done for me. It’s like they are literally giving me gold.". I was at such a low point at that time, that I couldn’t imagine ever being able to do that for someone. Well guess what? A few weeks ago, I got to hand off 100+ oz. to a mom in need. I’ve never been more happy to give away something I had worked so hard for. So if you’re feeling like you can’t do this right now, you can.
Always remember that you are good and you are more than enough. Don’t be tricked into believing you are less.
Fun fact- that post-it is what was on the outside of my pumping room at work. I kept it a bit of a bittersweet reminder of the days when I felt like a crazy bag lady . 😊