I am no longer breastfeeding the Pixie.
I had to stare at that sentence for a moment. It’s only been the last few days that I can think that sentence, say it out loud, hear it, without the tears welling up in my eyes.
Six and a half months of struggle. Six and a half months of stress and fighting, every three to four hours around the clock. Brief windows of hope. Brief moments of thinking it was going to be ok. Countless appointments and consultations. Endless advice. Many, many, many tears of upset, anger and frustration. Questions as to whether my baby would love me, and how we would bond if we didn’t get this right, get it sorted. Wondering why. Putting on a brave face, smiling and nodding when people asked how I was, how we all were. Fine, great, good, thanks for asking. Telling the truth to some, lying to most simply because I couldn’t be bothered.
All culminating in me falling in a rather large and undignified heap a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t even make it through my four week plan. Such a lengthy time of stress surrounding breastfeeding and such a drastic crash in my ability to function made me ask the question:
What is more important? Breast milk and this continual stress? Or my sanity and a bottle?
After much agonising I have chosen the latter.
When I finally accepted what I truly knew in my heart to be the right decision, the black curtains slowly began to lift. I won’t lie, I am having a lot of help through this period from my family, my naturopath and the wonderful brown tinted bottles of herbs she keeps supplying me, and my yoga practice. I know in the grand scheme of the world we live in, this is hardly a disaster. Yet for me, it is my own little personal tragedy.
I have an ever-expanding sense of compassion and sorrow for all the women in the world who, for whatever reason, have been unable to breastfeed their babies at all, or for as long as they may have hoped. I am ashamed that before this experience I held some degree of judgement towards these women, without any understanding of their personal situation.
The first time I cradled the Pixie to feed her a warm bottle of goat’s milk formula without attempting to breastfeed or express first, she looked deep into my pooled eyes and reached up to stroke my cheek. She drank her bottle and fell asleep in my arms.
Now, I am consciously, physically and whole-heartedly moving onto our new path together. This will be a time of new beginnings, new rhythms, new routines. It is also a time for me to heal and cleanse myself and be kinder.
Change is afoot.