Driving and Puking

Elliot hates the car. I am not sure how to put this, really. Everything I write here sounds like an exaggeration. But it’s that bad. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Here’s the situation. He tolerates the seat just fine and has sat in it, NOT moving, for a bit without so much as a fuss. But as soon as the car starts to go, he screams. And it’s not a normal scream. It’s a terrible, nonstop cry. It’s the kind of cry with no sound at times. It’s a deep sob filled with hysterics. He cries so hard he vomits. It’s freaking horrible. I can’t say it enough, horrible.

Thankfully, we live in a city where driving isn’t necessary. So he’s only ever taken four roadtrips. Both trips were to my parent’s house in South Jersey. And both times he screamed and vomited the entire time he was awake. (He slept for an hour each way, so that’s good.)

We’re not sure why he’s doing this. Toby thinks it’s motion sickness and I’m starting to believe him. I don’t think it’s just that he wants to be held. (He loves being held!) You see, he does this thing with his bottom lip when he’s in pain. I’ve only ever seen it four times. Once when he was a newborn and they drew blood from his heel; once when he had his first (and only, so far) vaccine; once when I took off the tip of his thumb while cutting his nails (He looks like Edward Scissorhands because I am NEVER doing that again); and once in the car while puking and screaming.

He doesn’t get sick on the subway. He is perfectly ok with the subway. Toby jokes that he’s a true New Yorker: hates driving, prefers public transportation.

He doesn’t have to drive much which is good. But we’re supposed to go to Rhode Island in July and there’s NO WAY I’m driving with him in that state for four hours. NO WAY. So we’re faced with taking the train to Providence and renting a car from there. (The house we’ve rented is about 45 minutes from Providence.) But that means lugging with us two car seats and goods for a family of 4. The other option is to have Toby take him on the train and Emory and I drive and pick them both up in Providence. That way we can bring a bunch of toys with us and the car seats aren’t an issue. Honestly? I don’t know what to do. And I’m not sure why I just shared all that meaningless information with the Internet!

Has anyone had this happen before? Did your little people outgrow it? Someone said it might be acid reflux, but then wouldn’t he feel that way in the seat without driving? The whole experience is freaking awful and it breaks my heart to see him that way. If he’s sick or in pain or whatever, I don’t want to force him to do it. And I haven’t even begun to explain how it makes Emory feel.

Any information on this would be helpful. I’m at a loss here.

The Night Terrors Continue

I’m writing today in search of a little company and maybe some answers. Em has been having night terrors again, at least that’s what we think they are. They take place at the same time every night, between the hours of 11 and midnight and start 3 hours after he falls asleep. It usually takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to calm him down (ie. wake him up fully). And he doesn’t really remember them in the morning.

They come and go in intervals. Meaning, we go months without one and then BAM! They’re on and take place for weeks. This one has been going on for about a week and a half. He usually always stirs about 3 hours after going to bed at night, but the night terrors are very different from that.

This particular interval seems to have coincided with him coming down with a cold. The cold wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, he was still able to go to school. I reckon that’s irrelevant but I did want to bring it up.

There have been a few personality changes over the last couple of months as well. Em is now very much into his “babies”. He has three small stuffed animals (a cardinal, a baby duck and a baby bear) that he refers to as his babies. They need to be with him at night at all times. Sometimes he wakes up screaming about them. He brings the bear to school with him for naps and if we forget the bear, we simply must go back. He’s very attached to his babies. He likes to carry them in his winter coat hood or up his shirt and scoot to school. He introduces them to people on the street, at stores. It’s cute.

I know what you’re thinking! Pending new arrival = stuffed animal/baby attachment. But I’m not so sure this wouldn’t have taken place had I gotten pregnant or not. People probably say this a lot, but Em is a very sensitive child. He loves animals. He pets them (usually dogs) even though we’ve told him repeatedly he should ask first. It’s like he can’t help himself. He needs to touch furry things. (Like mother, like son!) He loves babies, and has for a long while. You should see him with his best friend’s baby sister. It’s heartwarming to say the least. It could have to do with my being pregnant, but I’m thinking, given his personality, it would have happened this way no matter what.

Anyway, why? Why is this happening? Is it a crash? Is this related to sugar? He has very little of it, but I’m not ruling anything out. (For example, last night I gave him half a homemade cookie an hour or so before bed.) He doesn’t drink juice anymore at all. Is this related to growing? He’s in school 3 days a week and loves it, but maybe it’s due to school?

Do your children have night terrors? Do they wake up this way? Agitated and impossible to sooth? Do they eventually go away? When?

Any or all information welcome. We’re getting desperate as we approach the arrival of number two when every minute of sleep will become a commodity.

Help?

No Strollers Allowed!

I wrote the post below instead of doing what I should have done which was to call the establishment directly and ask them about the sign. Instead, I did what I can’t stand and got passive-aggressive about it on the Internet. (I am currently punching myself in the face for this, btw.)

I’ve decided to leave it as-is. But wanted everyone to know that I was the one in the wrong here. And I apologize for how I handled the situation. Furthermore, I would like to thank Amy 2 for actually doing what I should have done in the first place.

Yay, sweet stranger!

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I usually stay away from topics like this one because I’m too much of a pussy anymore to deal with online backlash, but I can’t help it this time.

My lollipop adventure has me frequenting a baking supply store in Manhattan. This store has everything I need and at relatively decent prices. Plus, they sell in bulk. They’re also fairly convenient for me to get to—a mere 8 blocks from the 6th Avenue stop on the L.

A few weeks ago, Toby Joe, Emory and I headed into the city together. It was a Saturday morning. When we arrived, I saw the following sign:

I was annoyed, but fine—whatever. Toby Joe was there, so they waited outside while I rushed around for what I needed.

Fast forward to this week. I had rush order that had to get out. I wanted to get there quickly and immediately. I was preparing to take Emory into the city on the subway with me (I only have the nanny for a few hours each week) and remembered the sign. Since parking in that area during the week is impossible, I had three choices: I could leave the stroller behind and make him walk the 8 blocks from the subway which, as many of you know who’ve spent time with a 2-year-old, would take us forever; I could bring leave the stroller outside and hope that it doesn’t get stolen; or I could just not go and wait until I had someone to watch him.

I opted to wait. The order would have to wait. This is a “First World” problem. I know that.

But this is what I kept thinking: Why? Why are strollers banned from the store. Would a wheelchair be banned from the store? How about a walker? Why just strollers. And so I started to get upset about it—probably a little too upset because, considering in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that big of a deal.

Someone suggested I ask the store owner if I could fold the stroller up and leave it just inside the store somewhere. And I could try that. I’m not sure they’d agree but I could try.

A few people suggested I leave the stroller outside and use a bike lock. Which, yes, is a great idea, but that adds one more relatively heavy item that I must carry around with me. Navigating the subway with a stroller and a toddler is hard enough, adding a paperclip into the mix can sometimes tip the scales.

See, that’s the thing: it’s when you start to add it all up—all the hoops you have to jump through when you have kids, that seemingly irrelevant situations like this one turn into the straw that breaks the sherpa’s back.

I understand why bars want to ban strollers. I’ve written about this before. There was a bar here in Brooklyn that put up a sign and were met with quite a backlash from those in the community with children. Granted, on the flip side of that fight (and boy was it heated for a while), there were a great number of people singing the bar’s praises because a lot of people believe that babies or toddlers should not be in bars. And I get that. I may not agree all the time, but I get it. But baking supply stores? There really aren’t many of them.

Here’s the bigger deal, however. I don’t believe this is about strollers. I believe this is about children. And if my cynical assumption is true, that’s discrimination discriminatory in nature.

I know myself. I won’t say a word to this establishment and hopefully once I figure out what I need every month, I’ll start ordering everything online. But I’m still annoyed. I’m annoyed that additional and unnecessary hurdles like this one are out there waiting us when I think we have enough to deal with.

Give Me A Bappy!! I Want A Bappy!

Today is Tuesdays With Murray, which means I’m supposed be writing about Murray. And I have a story to share. But Internet? It’s been a really rough four days and my brain is out of batteries.

You see, Toby and I decided (out of nowhere) that we were going to take away the bappy. Y’all are like, What the hell is a “bappy?” That’s what my son calls his pacifier. He loves his bappy especially when it’s time for night-night or he needs to calm down.

Well, we decided it was time. Just like that. We figured we’d see how it goes for a day. And then when the world didn’t end, we kept going. This is day four and it’s been OK. I won’t try and make things sound too terrible. He has slept relatively well. Things are OK at night. We’ve gotten several desperate pleas for a pacifier, but we usually distract him until he forgets. And those pleas (not to jinx it) are becoming fewer and fewer in number.

But, what’s a nap?

There hasn’t been much napping and when he does nap, it’s a fall asleep where you’re sitting type of thing and it usually takes place the hours right before the bedtime safety zone. The other night he fell asleep eating at 5 PM. I knew that was going to mean later we’d face a great deal of trouble getting him to sleep, but at that point? I so needed a few minutes to myself that I just let him sleep for a while.

The part that’s been REALLY difficult are the tantrums. They don’t happen all the time—most of the time he’s wonderfully funny and sweet and I mean that. But when the tantrums do happen? There’s absolutely NO calming him down. I swear there are dozens of Brooklyn residents that think we beat our child. But that’s a story for another day. I’m not sure if it’s that we took the pacifier away, or if we’re just knee-deep in the terrible twos, but lately the tantrums have been brutal.

So, my days have been tiring and rough lately. And I need a break. I haven’t said that in a long time, but I do. I need a break. And now that winter is upon us and he isn’t in school at all (I will explain whole not moving situation soon) and we don’t have the ability to hit the playground, the days are killing us both. I need to get lost in a movie or something, with a pacifier.

Quite frankly, I have no idea how the anti-TV parents do it. Because the only (and I mean ONLY) downtime I get is when he watches Sesame Street or Night At the Museum for the 100th time. (Incidentally, whomever gave that movie an abysmal 2.5 stars was not a child nor did they speak to children. Stupid, adult movie reviewers.)

Some of you are probably wondering how I’m writing this post—like, what’s he doing right now. He’s building a choo-choo track in his room and begging for me to join him. So, I gotta go lay down some railroad, my friends. But I’ll try my damnedest to have a halfway literate Murray post up later today.

Because this one? Not so much.

The Wrong Feet

I just spent two whole hours on the playground with my son only to realize that his shoes were on the wrong feet the entire time. I can’t even begin to tell you how distinctly terrible this makes me feel. Why didn’t he say something? Why didn’t I notice? Why didn’t he fuss about it? I feel like such an ass. I can deal with the thoughtless stuff I put myself through—like the time I wore a diaper wipe wrapper on my chest, or more recently when I wore two different earrings to a play date, WITH MY HAIR UP, and no one told me—but this is too much.

Make me feel better, Internet. You’re my only hope.

NaBloPoMo: Toddler Politics

Emory is going through a strange phase. At least I hope it’s a phase. He’s never been a really outgoing kid, but he’s always been unabashedly joyful. (Remember this post?) But recently, he’s become a great deal more introverted and shy. He’s also easily spooked and/or scared away from a situation. And I think that some of the other kids pick up on this.

Now, I’m going to try really hard to complete this post as unbiasedly as possible. I would hate for it to come off as my suggesting that my son is perfect (he’s not) and sweet and all the other kids are beating up on him. That’s not the case at all. I know firsthand that life throws at us strange relationships and confrontations; it’s natural for folks to not always get along. So I’m going to try and finish this post as neutral as a mother possibly can; I’ll present the facts and hope that someone out there has some answers.

Lately, Emory has been reacting to other more outgoing and vivacious kids’ by cowering. It happens while playing with kids he knows and doesn’t know. For example, he’ll be on top of the slide waiting to come down and another kid will come over and say MINE! (Perfectly normal, even Emory does it!) and instead of waiting or stepping aside, he’ll cower—sometimes he runs away. And more recently he’s begun to burst into tears. If he’s near me, he hides behind my legs. It’s really quite hard on my heart, but I want to teach him to face his fears and embrace confrontation in a healthy manner.

Lately, we’ve been telling him after the fact that when kids are mean to him it’s OK to say, “Please be nice to me.” He’s starting to understand more, so we want him to confront the situation instead of running to me or running away period. And bursting into tears solves nothing. Plus, it breaks my heart.

Just last night when Toby Joe asked him how his day went and he answered by telling him that a kid was mean to him.

A few weeks ago, all three of us were on the playground and one of his friends pushed him away and said, “Emory no! GO away!” And he ran away sobbing, like the kind where no sound comes out and no air gets in. As he walked toward Toby Joe and me he said, “I’m so sad, I’m crying.” It was heartbreaking. I wanted to scoop him up and protect him forever, but life doesn’t allow for that a great deal of the time, so we’re trying to introduce him to a happy medium. Does that make sense?

Naturally, I can’t help but blame myself for taking him out of school. But that can’t be it, can it? He sees and plays with other children, it’s just not always the same group of kids. Plus, he’s just two. I didn’t go to school until I was five. Certainly this can’t be that, right? It’s not like he’s not socialized.

I do hope that this phase goes away. My once joyful kid now reacts to others with wariness. And I don’t know how to help him without changing the world and I’m too busy to take that on. ;]

Has anyone else had a kid go through this? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Maybe he’s just going to be a more apprehensive kid. I’m ok with that. But I’m not ok with this manifesting itself in other ways and he thinking twice before doing something creative and carefree.

Post Miscarriage: 8 Weeks Later.

It’s been 8 weeks since the D&C and miscarriage. I’ve received some email asking how things are going and I’m just now getting around to answering that question.

Physically

I’m (finally) no longer pregnant. It took a while as many of you suggested it might. And it was frustrating, more frustrating than I can possibly say, but eventually things worked themselves out. What I find most interesting about the whole ordeal is that I got back on track physically right around the same time I felt solid mentally—like really solid. There were days I hated biology with every ounce of my being (sort of like when people hate the weather when it interferes with their sporting events or vacations), but perhaps it did me a favor.

Now that time has passed and I feel better, I realized once again that body and mind are not two separate entities. Why I tend to separate the two, I have no idea. All I know is that instead of hating biology so very much, I should have seen it as a necessary mourning period. Granted, I didn’t want to hear that back then. I don’t want to hear that now. You try telling that to a woman after a miscarriage, a woman who’s had her future ripped out from under her and wants nothing more than to get that future back again. She’s going to tell you to kindly shut the hell up. And if she’s too much of a wimp to say that to your face, she’ll be thinking it.

But retrospect is funny.

Mentally

I feel like a different person. There were days back then when I seriously questioned whether or not I was going to survive. No joke! It reads a bit melodramatic now, but I really felt that way. Granted, I did suffer postpartum depression again, and to put it bluntly: that sucked. But a month or so after the miscarriage, things started to get a little brighter; six weeks later, brighter still. I’m now 8 weeks out and I feel OK again, happy even.

I suggested right after the miscarriage, that I wasn’t the same person I used to be. And that’s still true. The difference is, I wasn’t particularly pleased with that fact back then. I worried I might not like the new person I was becoming, that she might be too cynical and bitter, resentful and anxious. But I’m not. I came out OK, hopeful even. In fact, this miscarriage put into perspective a great deal that I probably would have continued to ignore had it not happened. Don’t get me wrong, I’d do anything to not have a miscarriage be a part of my history, but since it is, I’m trying to see it in a positive light. (I did the same thing with 9/11 after the initial terror wore off.)

The cliché is true: sometimes really bad things give way to great things. I’m still waiting for the great this time around, but I have no doubt it’s coming my way.

On Motherhood.

Having a miscarriage made me realize just how much I love being a mother, and that my new title in life is Mother. I’ve been a little reluctant to embrace that fact. (Why do some working women feel that motherhood is somehow less important than making money in the corporate world?) Truth is, being a mother is a full time job, and an important one at that. I’ve said as much before, outloud with conviction. But it was only after having the miscarriage did I begin to see it for myself. Mothers are responsible for molding the next generation, a generation that will likely be saving us from the mess we created.

That’s important stuff! We’re important people!

(And don’t you forget it.)

On Womanhood.

I think the second biggest realization that came from this is that I love, love, love (times one hundred thousand) being a woman.

I received a great deal of email after my miscarriage. So many of your stories brought tears to my eyes. The pain many women have endured, the heartache they’ve been through, it’s baffling how any of us are still whole and haven’t lost our minds completely.

For weeks I read stories about great loss. But no matter how different each story, there was one common thread among them all: hope and strength. Every last email sent to me held at least one of those two themes. And that saved me from my loneliness.

Looking Ahead.

Who knows what the future will bring Toby Joe, Emory and me. But I do know this: I’m making it my duty from here on out to pay your kindness forward.

To my fellow women: Don’t ever stop reaching out to one another. I truly believe that by doing so we can save lives. We’re beautiful people, us women.

(And don’t you forget it.)

One Of The Hazards Of The Job

Emory hasn’t ever been a very good sleeper. He’s great with napping, but nighttime is a different story. He hasn’t ever slept through the entire night. And I think we’ve tried everything. For whatever the reason may be, Toby Joe and I weren’t blessed with a sleeper. After two years we’ve just gotten used to the fact that we’ll probably never sleep through the night ever again.

But last night was really bad. We had just returned from Jersey, so perhaps he was confused. I don’t know. Whatever the reason may be, Em did not fall asleep until about 10 PM. And it was fitful. He woke up again at midnight and stayed up until almost three. Granted, he did doze off a few times, but only for 15 minutes here and there. And so I slept on the couch and tended to him whenever I could. Unfortunately we live in a New York City apartment (i.e. small), so even though I did the legwork last night, Toby Joe was unable to sleep through it.

All this to say, that the entire family is running on about four hours of sleep today. And it ain’t pretty, people. All the coffee in the world couldn’t bring a smile to my husband’s face as he left for work this morning. I’m barely moving, barely functioning and I’m slightly annoyed and partly jealous over the fact that somehow my two-year-old, the same two-year-old that kept us up all night, is running around with all sorts of energy today. Where does he get that from?

Oh, the humanity.

I’m also working right now. This morning I delivered a great deal of work to a client. The last couple of days have been very busy for me. Couple that with Emory’s inability to sleep through the night, and you’ve got yourself a big ol’ mess of a mom.

But I still kept up my end of the bargain and made our daily jaunt to the playground this morning.

Sometimes Emory poops while at the playground. I don’t know why this is. All I know is that an hour into our fun, he looked at me and said, “Mama. Poop.” like he was answering a question. He said it in such a way that made me feel silly for not knowing it.

“Mama. Poop.”

And then he pooped. And I was prepared for it. I changed him right there in the park.

We played for a bit longer. We did some swinging. We walked along the track and hit the wooded area he used to run around in when he was a wee baby. We stopped by the dog run. We walked through McCarren Park, and past the tree that looks just like a vagina. (Yes, I’ll get you pictures). We visited the grocery store, talked to a neighbor. We did it all. I did it all. I did it all looking like this:

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It could have been worse I suppose. Instead of wearing the re-sealable sticker that comes with the baby wipes, I could have actually had shit on my shirt.

But, people? If you see someone walking around like this, don’t be afraid to tell them that they’re wearing trash.

Necklace Giveaway and Flowers For Mom.

I’ve been approached by people over the years asking me to write about products. I’ve also been asked to attend sponsored events here in New York and write about them. I always turn them down. Not because I have anything against the products involved or anyone soliciting such help. I turn them down because I’m usually offered little in the way of compensation and the moment I became a mother spare time became a precious commodity. 

I’m not trying to sound pretentious or above it all; it’s just that “me time” is valuable and often non existent, so when I do find some, giving it away is hard to justify unless compensation is involved. 

That is up until recently when March Of Dimes contacted me.

I’m a March Of Dimes Mom. I take pride in this because I think they’re a wonderful organization. They do a great deal of good in the world. Who could argue with that?

I am not getting paid to write for or about them. I do it because I want to. That’s not to say they don’t send me the occasional treat.

Take this lovely necklace Red Envelope sent me in honor of Mother’s Day. If you can see beyond my devil of a hairstyle, you’ll notice the sweet little silver necklace hanging around my neck. And guess what? You can have one too! (Details below.)

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Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “What is she going on about?” Yeah, I know. I tend to over think stuff. Annoying. But I couldn’t put this one up without some sort of explanation. I don’t want people to think I’m begging them for money while a third party gives me theirs. That’s just not the case.

So, this is just a suggestion. And it goes something like this:

Pro Flowers is donating 10 dollars from every order they receive to the March Of Dimes. So, if you are planning on buying flowers this week, I might suggest doing so from them.  I love me some flowers and I’m certain I’m not alone on this one, right ladies?

Also! The necklace! MOD is giving one away! They’re giving away a necklcae just like the one wrapped around my neck. All you have to do is leave a comment telling them why you like the necklace or what it means to you. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, a woman, a son or daughter, certainly you know someone that might enjoy receiving this as a gift. So, go leave a comment!

Now, if anyone out there knows anything about hair exorcism…

Breast-Feeding: It's OK If You Can't Do It.

Friend and commenter, Missy, linked to an article yesterday that stirred up a number of emotions for me.

And in any case, if a breast-feeding mother is miserable, or stressed out, or alienated by nursing, as many women are, if her marriage is under stress and breast-feeding is making things worse, surely that can have a greater effect on a kid’s future success than a few IQ points.

I didn’t have the best time when it came to breast-feeding. Obstacles began piling up for me the moment Emory was born. For starters, my milk never came in. I didn’t experience the engorgement all the nurses and LCs suggested I would. In fact, my breasts got slightly smaller after he was born.

My postpartum experience was not the best. I was depressed. Words can’t do justice in trying to describe that depression. Chemistry took over. Every time it occurred to me that the birth of my first child was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, I felt even worse because I was experiencing quite the opposite. How could I be a good mom when I felt so unhappy? What was wrong with me? The questions mounted unanswered, and while my head felt like it was going to explode, my boobs did not.

There is an alarming amount of pressure put on new mothers when it comes to breast-feeding. It’s so prevalent, that there are actually Web sites where women congregate in order to slam celebrities who did not breast-fed and praise those who have. There are wars waged against and on Facebook. And some of the pro-breast feeding literature out there borders on militant. A late night google search hoping to discover a little leniency can make one feel like even more of a failure. 

In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?

It goes without saying that many women today feel very passionate about breast-feeding. I have seen fights break out over whether or not it’s OK to do in public. Nursing mothers here in New York have been known to make a statement by taking over an entire subway car. I have seen fights break out about whether or not it’s OK to lend your boob out to feed another person’s baby. I’ve seen people go as far to attack a person’s character because they chose not to breast-feed. 

Some women experience intense anger when another woman doesn’t breast-feed. And I would find this hilarious if their reactions weren’t so damaging. 

Haven’t we heard enough already? Can’t we be proud of our choices without making others feel worse for making another? And why brag? Boasting is ugly. 

Furthermore, if feminism is about making choices, and a woman chooses (for whatever the reason may be) not to breast-feed, she should not receive so much as a nasty look from any fellow Sistren boasting the word feminism. And yet, that often happens. Which begs another question: is it the men we need to talk to about equality? 

I welcome discussion and debate when it comes to breast-feeding, but this post probably isn’t for those likely to have breast-feeding listed as their religion. This is for anyone who went through (or is going through) what I went through two years ago. This is for all the new mothers out there overwhelmed by their new roles. This is for the new mother wondering why she can’t accomplish something as seemingly natural as breast-feeding. 

Here’s how the first few days I spent with my new son went:

The morning he’s born: I try unsuccessfully to get a latch. I summon the help from two nurses and one lactation consultant. He vomits every time I try. I think it’s me, something I’m doing. Am I gagging him? 

“Is the vomit green?” They ask. “No. It’s not green.” “He’s fine then. Keep trying.”

Day one: A lactation consultant comes in to see me. I’m crying. I tell her I can’t get him to eat. I tell her he keeps vomiting. We try again and fail. She asks me how much milk he’s gotten. I tell her none. She inspects my nipples. Says I may have problems but we’ll succeed! We try formula. He vomits that up immediately. I continue to cry.

Later that day: Emory and I try again. I am told I am not vigilant enough, that I’m not trying hard enough. I am told that I need to be more forceful. I need to force my breast into his mouth. He throws up all over me, the color is green. I call a doctor.

Five minutes later: Emory is taken away from me and admitted into the NICU for reasons unrelated to breast-feeding (or lack thereof). I begin pumping around the clock in hopes of getting something, anything to come out of my breasts. This does not happen. 

Three days PP: Emory and I are sent home seeing zero success at breast-feeding. 

I should have just given up. Had I felt better back then, I probably would have. After all, Emory was doing well on formula. But I thought that I had to breast-feed. We just never did get the latch worked out so I exclusively pumped for 5 months. I supplemented with formula the entire time because my milk and the engorged breasts everyone warned me about, well, that never took place. At five months, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and put on a drug that wasn’t safe for babies. I stopped pumping (or HUTH, for those of us EPers).

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During that time, I received countless email letting me know how difficult it was for women when it came to breast-feeding, which helped a great deal. But in the wee hours of the night, when I felt my most insecure, I turned to the Internet, in search of anyone to tell me everything was going to be OK if I gave up pumping and just formula fed my son. (You’d be surprised how little there is out there for people in my situation. On nights when I looked for reassurance, I found I felt worse.) It took me a long time to realize that the only person I needed approval from was the person doing all the searching.

Truth be told, Internet, I still have a lot of pent up anger when it comes to how I was treated by some breast-feeding mamas out there. Usually, I try and focus on all the positive stuff, because I mean it when I say that when I was going through that rough patch, many of your emails got me through it. But that doesn’t mean the judgmental stuff doesn’t stick with me as well. 

The biggest problem as I see it, is that so many women are afraid to state outright: Hey, I didn’t breast-feed! In fact, I have met some mothers that whisper such things under their breath at the playground—like it’s some kind of fatal flaw, and I suppose that for some it is. I’ve also seen a few mothers breath a sigh of relief upon discovering that another mother in the room didn’t breast-feed her baby. 

What is everyone so afraid of? Judgement? Receiving a failing grade in motherhood? Getting demoted or fired by your boss? There are no grades or graduation ceremonies to speak of. And your boss really just wants to eat, poop, sleep and giggle. So what are we all so afraid of?

Sometimes, all someone wants to hear (or read) is that they’re not alone.

And so. Consider this a small drop of water in a bucket full of oil: It’s OK, new mama, if you are unable to breast-feed your baby. Formula is a wonderful option. You are not a failure. You’re a new mom! Rejoice in that. You are not alone. 

If you’re interested in reading the article, please click here. It sheds light on all the medical claims having to do with formula vs. breastmilk. It’s very enlightening. And it’s written by a breast-feeding mother of three.