Saturday, January 20, 2007

friendly motherhood competition?

i have a few posts on the brain these days but with two sick babies i have not had much time to post. i too have been going through a wierd spell these days not feeling much like myself. but my ever increasing thoughts on this motherhood thing make for a new post.. why is it that we all are measured by what we do for our kids... what sleep method you use, how long you breastfeed.. and so many others. i am sick of trying to compete to sound like the "better" mom.. sick of the guilt i feel when i don't "measure" up. being a mom is hard.. trying to figure out what they need, when they need it and love them even if you can't figure it out.. yes my babies are 8 months old and they don't sleep through the night, yes my babies have had a bottle with god forbid formula when they were little, yes somedays i have to let them cry because i can't handle it anymore and have to walk away for a bit, and yes somedays i am not the model mom and my hair isn't done and i am still wearing sweats when my husband comes home...
we are hit with books to read, the latest trends and the arguments about how we should be raising our kids.. which way is better... and that brings me to this sad story that i will gladly take advice on.. i have been feeling a bit down these last few weeks.. it was hard adjusting to life after our vacation and the boys did not take it well and they came home sick and just kept getting sicker.. noah sounds like an 80 year old smoker its horrible.. then there is the teething and the thrush.. so needless to say there isn't much sleep at our house and i feel run down and somedays beaten down. yesterday i had a physical with my wonderful amazing doctor who i love to pieces (she really is fabulous). we chatted about how i was and of course i broke into tears sharing how i was feeling..she asked me if i felt my emotional being was affected for long spells or just depends on the day and usually it just depends on the day.. we discussed treatment and decided medicine wasnt what i needed but probably rest and more energy and just a lift in my spirit... she is so sweet and she looked at me and said "i am not telling you this as a mom but as a doctor, i think you should stop breastfeeding." gulp that was heartbreaking.. we talked about what that would do for me and how my emotions are so unbalanced because of the hormones and how nursing two for the last 8 months is beginning to take its toll. we also discussed how chances are the boys would probably learn to sleep at night better because who doesn't want to wake up to a warm boob. she explained she thought in two weeks my body would feel 100% different... this suggestion was hard for so many reasons... (these are thoughts in my own head. NOT JUDGEMENTS of any other choices)

1. a good mother breastfeeds
2. i love breastfeeding.. its my time with the boys and they want ME for it
3. guilt.. yep i would feel tremendous guilt if i quit
4. if i quit i am giving up.. i worked my ass off to get the hang of breastfeeding.
5. won't they get deathly sick because they are not getting the holy breastmilk and oh that brings me to the other reason i am evil.. we have not had them vaccinated....
6. would they still love me.. wouldn't that make them mad at me?

so as i think and grieve this decision (its not made yet) i will leave you with a couple things.. i found a new twin mom who writes so well... she wrote a post a few weeks back that made me laugh so hard.. it describes perfectly the competition we all feel read about it here. i must say that my doctor really affirmed this in me and i am super proud of myself.. i have nursed twins for 8 months and the beginning was nothing more than a disaster and for that and so many other reasons i am a good mom!

13 comments:

Mark , Rosalie & family said...

vcI hear you.
We all judge others when people don't follow the book. I have had many struggles with breast feeding and have sometimes had to supplement as young as a couple of weeks. I felt guilty about the cliche "Every mother can breastfeed." I felt horribly guilty when I couldn't even after I had tried everything. And I felt like a failure. We need to be secure and tuned in to what God wants us to do as mother's. It doesn't stop here at breastfeeding as I'm sure you have already noticed. This goes on in life, we "need" God's strength. We cannot do this on our own, and we cannot do this according to what other's say is 'normal'. We need to measure ourselves according to God's measuring stick, not man's. It's hard to do that though because all the comments and judgments are in our face, and we forget to be still and know that God is God. You need to draw close to Him and hear Him. I know this is hard when you have little ones, and it may just be a minute here or there, but it is important. Being a mom is hard! There is no two ways about it. And that is why if we try to do it on our own, we will feel overwhelmed and like a failure. When our oldest four were 5 and under people (mostly gramas) would tell me, "Enjoy your kids, they grow up so fast" My inward response was, I can't wait till they can feed themselves, change themselves, put themselves to bed ect.... But now having teenagers and little ones I have a different perspective, before you know it they do grow up fast. Every stage is an adventure. Your kids will not judge you on how long you breastfed them. I always try to ask myself this question when I am faced with a mother/child challenge. Is this going to matter for eternity? Is it going to matter for eternity how long I breastfed, or is it going to matter how my attitude is towards my baby and the rest of my family. For me anyway, this helps, because so many times I can get so out of focused, and focus only on the temporal and the now moment when I need to be focused on the big picture. But that is hard when the now is so in your face! I agree with the doctor, "Hey, you've done it for 8 months, that's great". And you can do this!

Christy said...

I came across your blog from someone else's and I just wanted to say Hi! I am not a crazy lurker I assure you! I love your blog and I love your honesty! This was one of my favorite posts. There is so much pressure out there for our kids to reach certain milestone's by a certain age and it's ridiculous! I just experienced this with my two year old son. We just finished potty training him and he did amazingly well considering I did not think he was ready. But everyone around me seemed to think he was and the pressure to train him "before he was 3" was unreal. People would look at me weird and make comments when they realized my son was still in diapers. So I gave in and potty trained him even though I didn't feel quite ready. It went well but I still get annoyed thinking about all the comments I heard from so long. "He's still in diapers?" "Do you want two in diapers?" etc...It is hard enough to see our babies grow up. We need to slow down and let them be babies and toddlers!

You are doing a great job! I can honestly say it was hard enough to nurse one baby through the night not to mention 2. I have alot of respect for mom's of twins!!!

If you would like to check out my blog my address is:

http://christysblogofun.blogspot.com

Christy said...

By the way your sons are adorable!!

Reesh said...

You are a great mom!! As long as you love your boys and are doing what you believe to be the best for them and for you, then no one can say you are a bad mother. There has been some whispering around me lately with the fact that I'm pregnant and still nursing and am not quiet about the fact that I would love to be able to nurse both babies if it works out that way. A lot of people think that once a baby is old enough to ask for the boobie then they should stop. I think it's ridiculous cause hasn't she been asking for the boobie since she was born? Knowing that some people may be judging me will be hard I'm sure, but I plan to do exactly what I want because I know it's for the best.

You'll come to a decision that works for you and you'll be ahppy with it I'm sure. I didn't think I was ready to take Lily out of our bed and I definately thought I was a bad mother for doing so. But now that I'm on the other side, I wouldn't change a thing.

Jessi said...

thanks heather for your post...it's so much of what i'm feeling lately, and you have twins! so you probably feel what i'm feeling x2. love ou soo much, right now is when i would love to go to starbucks with you and have a nice chat...i've been thinking of you all week actually , missing you and wanting to talk
love ya

Stacey said...

I definately hear you on this. I felt so much pressure to breastfeed til a year, but by nine or ten months, I would get so upset over it that I would cry and I felt like screaming. It sounds like you, on the other hand, enjoy breastfeeding. Just don't let others dictate your life. You know how much your boys are loved, and they will survive much better if mommy has the energy to smile and laugh, instead of being so tired. Thanks for your honesty.

jamie said...

if it makes you feel any better (and it probably wont), I wasn't breast fed, and I don't have deadly diseases and I don't hate my mom, so maybe it isn't so bad...? I know I have no 'right' to say since I don't have babies.. but I was a baby once :)

Trena Wanless said...

Hey! I understand! Completely! It's so hard being a mom aye. I feel guilty cause I don't want to stay home all day with Noah (and future kids), and it seems like most moms in YWAM do. I want Steve and I to share the duties, each work half days...that's so not common in YWAM, a man to stay home half days and the wife work with the ministry!! What I mean is, as moms we all have our things that we feel guilty about, or feel like others are judging us, or like we're constantly being compared to others about. And hey, Noah is almost a year old and despite my countless efforts and sometimes apparent victories, he still doesn't sleep through the night. He started doing pretty good, but now he'll often wake up 6 times in one night! Oh Lord, where did I go wrong...but that's just it, I didn't 'go wrong'...babies are different, moms are different. But isn't that what's supposed to make like interesting? (but why couldn't I have a baby who sleeps...oh well, I got one who's A1 in the looks department if I do say so myself. lol). You are a great mom and the fact that you worry about this stuff proves it. Mom's who don't care about their kids, don't even think about neglecting them, but you are obviously in love with and care for you children so much!!! I just weaned Noah, when he was just 11 months old...but to be honest if we hadn't of gone to America I would have weaned him when he was about 8 or 9. I just wanted to be able to feed him on the plane. I think that if your doctor recommends that you stop breastfeeding for your own health and wellbeing that you should stop. You know what will make you a great mom in this case? Taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your children. However, if you decide to keep breastfeeding...well that's great too...you've made a decision to sacrifice something of yourself for them. Ooohhh...contradicting advice..well, I've come to believe that being a mom is full of contradictions!!! So, whatever you choose, is perfectly okay!! Be freed! As another mom who has herself been guilty of judging and being judged...I say on behalf of all the other moms 'be released to do as your heart leads!!!!!' You know your situation and your children better than anyone else!! Better than any authors of some book (probably written by a man anyways!!) What makes a good mom? Love, Love, Love. Everything else will flow out of that. And girl...I can tell, just by the small bits of your blog that I read, you love your kids. Don't be confined to a box, don't let others dictate what you will do (not even my own advice, throw it out the window if you like:), just keep loving the Lord and your precious babies and you'll all be okay. Anyway, there's my 2 cents...all that to say I understand and I'm standing with you as a mom who's sick of all the comparisons and judgements (both that I have been guilty of making and that I've felt on the receiving end of).

Chris & Crystal Loewen said...

Heather, no advice but I just wanted to say that I think you're a great mommy. I know, I haven't been around for the last few months of the boys' lives but I know how much you love them and they know too. And I agree, who wouldn't want a warm boob at nighttime every once and awhile?

Monica said...

Hey Heather,

You're a great mom. i've seen how you love the boys both at your home and ours when you were here.

Parenting is the hardest 'job' in the world, so with it comes it's joys and it's frustrations, and difficulties, and you are overcoming them.

Ask God what his toughts are towards you every day. You'll be blessed.

Just want you to know that I love you and am proud of you.

Love, Mom

soph's mum said...

yeah, so what is with this comparison thing? I feel like a freak b/c i still DO nurse sophia, mostly at bedtimes, sometimes not at all, sometimes 3 times a day! how ironic...

people judge if you do, they judge if you don't and i'd love to say I don't care, but i usually do, and then have to work so hard not to. I knew i was working thrugh my stuff when i saw a picture of a woman nursing both her kids at once last week and i cried!

It did make a huge difference in my energy when we night weaned a few months ago, so even if you don't want to stop all together (i love nursing too) even just weaning at night was HUGE for my energy...if that helps you too, hooray...

first of all, you are so cool...and of course you will be the best mum by doing whatever raises your level of sanity and peace the most. the biggest thing is that this is not a contest. this is your boys lives,and whatever choice you make is not a win or a loss, or getting a gold star or failing...just the best you can do, which is incredible. now will you do me a favour and email that last thing back to me? sigh...
love you SO much!
Jo

Ps how great that you have a doctor you love!

Emily Deu said...

Hey Heather, I love you.

lagiulia said...

You are a great mom and most importantly a great human being. I know it is hard to see or hold on to that, but it's true.

I don't know much about how breastfeeding affects hormonal balance. I do know that I've felt depressed and up and down and am not on any drugs for it but need to take care of my mental health more than I do. Maybe it's the breastfeeding, and maybe it's just taking care of two by myself all day. It is so demanding. Even in the "easier periods," it's so demanding. Sometimes I don't realize just how demanding it is, but it takes its toll. No matter what you decide, realize that you ARE doing your best.
Mothering twin babies is a messy pursuit. I was thinking the other day about how some of the first time parents of singletons I know do things in a "just so" manner and know what parenting philosophies they want to attempt and are able to stick to them. Then they have a second baby, and they feel bad because he or she doesn't get the royal treatment that the first did- because it's impossible! That is the experience we have had from the get-go, and I really do believe that it adds pressure and stress to everything we do. Maybe you would have liked to breastfeed for a much longer time, but you did not know you would end up with twins. Having twins changes what you Best becomes. And maybe it's not someone else's best, but the fact that it is YOUR best is what matters. If your best is giving up b-feeding so you can be calmer and more present for yourself and your family, then that's okay.

Through all of my Picchi's health scares, the fact that I could breastfeed him was the one thing I could really hold on to and control. So I still am comforted by that. Everyone has a different story. It is not a contest, it is a bunch of different stories that cannot possibly be judged against one another. Know that you inspire me all the time and comfort me to know I'm not alone in my struggles and joys. Whatever you do, it will be okay.