Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Cheerful Color Toh-Ma-Toe: The Guilty Feeling

What I didn't expect about motherhood...

No, it's not the lack of sleep or those sort of things. I knew about that. What I didn't prepare myself for is the psychological effect of being a mother. Some women have been wanting to be a mom since they were very young. Some women - like me - have this "If it happens, it happens" attitude about being a mother. But I didn't expect this...

The guilty feeling.

I felt guilty when I didn't start lactating right away after my c-section. I felt guilty when I started lactating and I felt I didn't produce lots enough milk for my baby. I imagined milk will just flow from my breasts right after giving birth and I could fill one or two or three baby bottles with just one pumping. (Now you know how clueless I was, am, about all the motherhood thing) 
I felt guilty when was annoyed that my baby was crying and all I wanted to do was sleeping or surfing the internet.
I felt guilty that I didn't master the whole taking care of a newborn baby skills in 24 hours. 
I felt guilty that I had to ask my Mom to help me with the baby. I felt guilty that my Mom had to leave my Dad alone at their house at my hometown since I need her with me here in Jakarta. Me and the baby need her with us. 
I felt guilty that I couldn't give as much attention to my husband as when before the baby arrived. I felt guilty that I didn't look as presentable as I did before the baby, since I was so occupied with nursing, taking care of the baby, eating, and eating and eating because I'm ravenous after each nursing time.
I felt guilty (and helpless) when the baby cried and I couldn't figure out why he was crying.

I'm so thankful that my friends - mothers also - have been giving me encouragement messages via facebook, and telling me that it happened to them also, and for me to "hang in there, we've been there, too, and you'll do just fine".

Support from one's spouse at times like these is precious. I was nursing Baby Michael one night and the baby cried because for some reason on that particular evening I couldn't produce enough milk. I had to give him some additional formula for that particular night, until the milk started to flow again the next day. I felt so bad and so guilty and helpless. It's like, I love the baby so much, yet I couldn't give him enough milk?! Suddenly my husband said to me: "Look, honey, Baby Michael is looking at you with his huge eyes, lovingly. He said 'I love you, Mommy. Thank you for waking up all night to feed me. It's OK, Mommy, I don't mind eating baby formula once in a while. Uncle Bob drank formula, too, and he turned out just fine.' " That's what that dear husband of mine said to me. I felt like crying and hugging him.

I'm not against formula. My nephew and niece were raised on formula and they turned up to be strong, , healthy, smart teenagers. My brother also was fed on formula since he was one month old, and he's the healthiest and smartest among us three siblings, and he's still super close to Mom. My husband and I even welcomed the idea of giving our baby a mix of breastfeeding and formula bottle should the situation doesn't allow exclusive breastfeeding.

So, yeah, I know the guilty feeling is illogical, but I couldn't help it.

So here I am sharing this with you all, so if any of you ever have this kind of experience, know this: you're not alone! ^__^

And you know what helps? Each time I'm nursing, I say a little prayer and give everything in God's care. Sounds cliche, but it gives me a certain peaceful feeling. 

I am not always in control of my own life or of my family's life. But The Lord is. Always.

"Do not worry about tomorrow. 

Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." 

(Matthew 6:34)

I was 31 weeks pregnant in these picture. 

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