If She Only Knew…

Tonight while browsing through some different blogs, I came across a post, written almost exactly three years ago, which had a profound impact on me as I began to read through it.

It was written by a young mom of “two under two” and was called “Breast vs. Bottle”.

Okay…wait, wait, wait.   Before you roll your eyes and say, “Oh brother, here we go again with the whole “Booby Wars” debacle!”, let me tell you why this particular post got to me.

The first thing that struck me about this post was that the young woman writing it was obviously over-stressed, sleep-deprived, scared, and sad.  (I dare you to show me a young mother out there who can’t relate to that!)  Like all of us, she was struggling.  Like most robust, healthy, four month old males, her baby was hungry a lot of the time. The gist of the post was that she desperately wanted to exclusively nurse her son, after having “failed” to do so with her firstborn, but was having supply problems.    She nursed, he cried for hours.  She felt like a failure.  She supplemented, he slept like a log.  She felt like a failure.  She obsessively kept track of how many ounces of formula he required, and she despaired as that number grew higher and higher.

As I read, I could feel my eyes well up with tears of sympathy and sorrow until they eventually spilled over and rolled down my cheeks.  “If you only knew!”,  I whispered.  I wanted to hug her.  I wanted to talk to her, and tell her what a great job she was doing.  I wanted to help her understand that no mother, anywhere, was more perfect for her son than she was.  That she was a gift from God to that boy and that having a body which for unknown, and uncontrollable reasons, was not producing enough breast milk to satisfy a ravenous four month old, did not turn that truth into a lie.  I wanted to tell her to spend her time rocking, snuggling, giggling, singing, smiling, SLEEPING, and enjoying.  For I have learned that crying only blurs our sight, blinding us to the joy that is always there if only we would have eyes clear enough to see it.

I wanted to tell her that in exactly three years her sweet baby boy will the picture of perfect health.

I wanted to tell her that he will be one of the smartest children his age that she has ever met.

I wanted to tell her that when he smiles, which will be all the time, that people will be struck by the pure joy in his eyes.

That strangers will stop her in the supermarket to tell her how beautiful he is.

That he will do a mean Tasmanian Devil impersonation.

That he will love peanut butter sandwiches and cucumber slices for breakfast.

That he will struggle to hold heavy doors open for ladies, just like his daddy taught him.

That he will cover his ears and run away whenever she starts to sing.

That he will tell her approximately 250 times a day that he loves her “to the moon and back!”

And above all I wanted to tell her that when she tucks him into bed every night and asks him what he would like to say to Jesus, that he will sweetly and innocently thank God for his “precious Mommy.”

And that three years from now, she won’t be wasting time counting ounces because she will be far too busy counting blessings.

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10 thoughts on “If She Only Knew…

  1. Tears. I remember those days with my now 3 year old boy. i wish I could have treasured those days more rather than spending them filled with tears and worries.

    • My hope in writing this is that some young mommy or mommy-to-be out there will stumble upon it and realize that her worth as a mother has nothing to do with what she is able to feed her baby. It took me years to figure that out. One of the most powerful gifts we women can give to one another is the wisdom of lessons learned!! 🙂

  2. Ah, I remember being there too. And I too, wish I knew now what I didn’t know then. That it was the time we spent together and not the source of his nourishment that would make all the difference.

  3. Gulp, beautifully written Amanda! You made me laugh, you made me cry. You have a gift girlfriend…or writing yes, and also the gift of compassion. Thanks for sharing these with me!

  4. I went through that exact problem with my kids – but it was a latching problem rather than a supply for them (Thank the FDA for Domperidone!!) I wish now that I could look back and say to myself that these things are not going to be the things that we hold dear or the things that will form who our child will be. It’s hard to keep your eye on the ball when you are knee deep in dirty diapers, caked in spit up, and completely sleep deprived. I wish Amanda that I had read this when RJ was that age, instead of sitting in an armchair crying my face off because the Public Health Nurse kept smashing RJ’s face into my boob. It would have given me some hope and some heart that perhaps I had not failed my child in that moment. I am so glad that you wrote this, and I hope that there are many new mothers that will be able to breathe a sigh of relief and give themselves a break.

    • That is my hope as well, Jenny! Thank you for sharing your story here as well! All mommies need the relief of hearing “it’s not just me” from time to time!

  5. I remember laying in bed, after a bad bout of strep throut, naked from the waist up, with my now four year old who was about 5 months old at my breast, drinking Guiness, bawling my eyes out as she desperately sucked and sucked and I had nothing left to give. I had read every article on the internet about production, called every person I knew, spoke with her pediatrician and my doc too, to no avail. My mom told me about the beer….it was supposed to “help” both of us. That was the night I bought my first ever can of “Good Start” Formula. Thanks for sharing Amanda. I hope when #3 arrives in a few weeks I will take this advice to heart

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