Monday, October 20, 2008

Hmmm....

Over the weekend on our date night, I was debating whether or not I should have a second beer. I was free from nursing for at least another few hours and thought I'd just try to relax and feel like my old self a bit while I could. Beer was never my drink of choice, but it was there and it was easy. While I was debating with myself, a woman that I've known for a while came over to the fridge. While the conversation that followed didn't surprise me, it made me shake my head a bit regardless. I explained my dilemma and she basically said, "Ugh, breastfeeding...I never even bothered with that. [Drinking] was the first thing I did after I had my baby. I wanted my body back!"

While I understand what she was talking about, and have even felt like that periodically, the whole thing couldn't help but bug me. Maybe it was just the tone of her voice, how flippant she seemed about it all. On the surface, it just struck me within the same vein as my beef with all of the other anti-breastfeeders out there. I know it's not for everyone, but I've long felt like every woman owes it to their baby to give it a shot. It's good for the baby, and despite some early frustrations, it can also be good for the mother. It's a new thing for every new mother and every baby, so it's going to take some getting used to. While I get that it's not the most comfortable thing sometimes (be it due to physical difficulties like engorgement or mental blocks about the ickiness of breastfeeding (for lack of a better term)), I still think it's worth a shot. You never know if you'll end up liking it, even if it's merely only tolerable for the sake of convenience or financial savings. So while I get that some women have legitimate concerns about breastfeeding, I still feel like it's worth trying. After nine months of discomfort, what's a little more if it means your baby will get a little extra nutritional boost?

The more I thought about the statement, though, the more it struck me as sad. I mean, isn't having a baby all about giving of yourself for this new little life? Pregnancy isn't easy, and I've even said before that I'm in no rush to do it again because I'd like to have my body be my own again for a while. It's a scary thing to always worry about what you're putting into your body because of what it might do to your unborn child. Nursing does continue that trend, though there are small differences here and there (like being able to work a drink or two into the mix without much risk to the baby). But I've decided that the drawbacks aren't strong enough to make me want to give it up anytime soon.

But what really struck me about this whole thing is that once you have a child, your body is NEVER really 100% your own again. From a stubborn little potbelly to the perpetual drool on your shoulder, from thinking about your baby 24/7 to having your heart practically hardwired to your child, your life is never just your own again. Between some random thinking the other day and the concert the other night, I was a little sad to realize that no vacation or shorter activity apart from Jacob (or any future children) will be quite as purely enjoyable as it was before kids, because part of me will always be somewhere else, thinking about him, wondering what he's doing, feeling a tad guilty for not being there with him, etc. I know that stuff is necessary for my sanity, but still. Worrying about that little fetus on our trip to Florida last December seems to pale in comparison to the emotions I'll feel on our next husband-wife vacation, whenever that finally happens.

Being a parent isn't for the selfish. If alcohol was such a tough thing to give up for this person, it makes me wonder what other sacrifices she's begrudgingly made (or not). I don't want any non-breastfeeders out there to take offense at this post, but I guess as a whole I just felt like she was so dismissive of the concept, despite the good it could have done for her child, and it just seemed like it might be a smaller symptom of a larger issue. It just bugged me. Anyway...enough about that.

Side note after a long bedtime fight last night: I've decided that the moment your baby finally closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep is much like the moment the sun goes below the horizon. Your baby's eyes close ever so slowly, and in an instant you can tell when they're really asleep, whether it's because they go limp, their mouth hangs open, or you can just feel a peace about them. Like the bright sun disappears below the horizon, your baby drifts off to sleep. The day's excitement is over and there's a serene beauty that follows...whether it's the fantastic post-sunset color palette (lovely last night as well) or the sweetness of a sleeping baby. Jacob fought us for a good half hour or more (which he did most of the day when it came to sleep) and after sitting quietly for a while I got up to put him down. He stirred a bit and whined a little when I put him in his crib, but as he turned on his side like he usually does when he fusses, he just...stopped. His face relaxed and he quieted down, fast asleep. Ahhh....peace. Now if only he would have stayed asleep until 6am and stayed in one spot...ugh.

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