Mom guilt 

Something I’ve learned in the last 6 days is that infertility can affect breastfeeding. Little did I know infertility would still play a role in how I raise my little one! 

Walt was 7lbs 14 oz at birth and 7lbs 7oz when we were discharged from the hospital on Monday. I took him for his first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday and he weighed in at 6lbs 15oz. This was more than 10% of his body weight which was just too much. 

The pediatrician immediately gave us formula to supplement what he wasn’t getting from me. The pediatrician also made me an appointment with their lactation consultant and arranged for me to rent a hospital grade breast pump. 

My session with the lactation consultant was great! She explained that women who have experienced infertility may have hormonal imbalances that cause a delay in breastmilk coming in, which was the case with me. I also have a low supply and inverted nipples which overall makes breastfeeding difficult. My little man just can’t get what he needs. 

So to solve the problem I’m pumping and giving him expressed breastmilk in a bottle. I’m able to give him enough from me I only supplement 4-6oz of formula a day. I like being able to visually confirm how much he’s eating but it’s far from an easy process. I’m tied to a breast pump every two hours which is difficult with my husband already back out of town for work. When I took Walt to the pediatrician yesterday he weighed 7lbs 15oz, which is fantastic! 

I’ve noticed I’m feeling very similar to how I felt trying to conceive. No matter how hard I try or how much I want to breastfeed, my body just isn’t cooperating. I feel betrayed by my body. I feel less than as a woman. I feel guilty as a mom who isn’t able to give her baby what he needs. 

I know I’m the only person judging myself and I’m entirely too hard on myself. As long as Walt is healthy and happy I’m doing my job. There is so much societal pressure to breastfeed but like getting pregnant, there are a lot of struggles not always talked about. 

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Always the 1 in 8

Recently I attended a breastfeeding class’s sponsored by the hospital where I’ll deliver. I planned on attending alone because my husband is often out of town and honestly how much can he help with breastfeeding? 

As I walked to the elevator, a pregnant couple happily chatted behind me. She joked about her husband being the only man in the class tonight. I politely smiled and sat alone. 

We were a few minutes early so the instructor made small talk with the couple. They were so happy to share about their perfectly timed birth (being teachers and taking the end of the school year and summer off). And how easy it was and on their first try! 

I tried not to roll my eyes. But I instantly felt those same feelings from the days where it felt like everyone was pregnant while I was all jacked up on clomid and letrozole. I told myself I was just being cranky and to forget about it. 

After class I called my husband to catch up at the end of the day. He mentioned talking to one of his college buddies (and new dad) who made the comment, “so one and done for you guys, huh?” 

My husband doesn’t read into things like I do, but this comment got under his skin. He responded that this baby was a miracle for us and having more children isn’t really up to us (more so a higher power). This quickly shut the conversation down. 

What I don’t understand is how quickly family and friends forget everything we did to get to this point. This baby was three years in the making. We experienced loss during the process. There were a lot of downs before this one glorious high! 

I am grateful for every. single. day. of this pregnancy. Even the moments where I’m hugging the toilet or hobbling across my classroom from sciatic pain. None of it compares to the emotional pain of infertility. Even if my loved ones are quick to forget our experience, for me it’s still so fresh. 

Does infertility forever change you? Will I always feel calloused and jaded?