Do I think too much about birth and breastfeeding?
Oh, what a loaded question, and a difficult one to answer.
It hit me yesterday, as I was washing a bowl full of pump parts, that I spend more waking hours some days thinking about breastfeeding than practically any other subject. Even when I’m actively engaged in other tasks, it’s never far from the forefront.
I can’t get too far away from it since breastfeeding is supply-and-demand driven, and I have to think about what I eat, how I take care of myself, and draining the milk around the clock.
I also enjoy seeing what my body can do for my baby. It’s cool.
I’m also obsessed with birth and birth stories lately. Yes, I worked to educated myself before having Little Dude, but my experience fighting for a VBAC-turned-CBAC changed me.
Having had two very different birth experiences to bring my two beautiful boys into this world, it strikes me how so much of our identity as mothers is shaped by our pregnancy and birth experience.
Does dwelling on/pondering/owning/[insert other more appropriate verb here] my experiences distract from or enhance my identity as a mother? That’s the part I haven’t figured out yet.
I feel like the answer is incredibly complicated.
Each labor/birth experience was a defining turning point in my life. I was placed in situations that tested me, forcing me to face fears and endure physical boundaries. I learned what the female body is capable of, and what happens when others support or challenge those capabilities.
I can’t forget that. I can’t push that aside easily.
I’ve thought about it. Should I unsubscribe from the Facebook groups, and set aside the Podcasts, and just be mom? Should I focus on the day to day experiences of my boys, and go about my own day, and distance myself from my births and put them on a shelf with all the other “well that happened” moments of my life?
I’m not sure I want to.
I think part of who I am and how much I love my babies is wrapped up into those moments. When I think to myself, “Maybe I should just set this aside now and be a mom,” my brain slams on the breaks.
No, no I can’t just move forward and be a mom and ignore the very primal experiences that made me a mom. They’re miracle moments I share with each of my boys. They’re what brought them here. They’re what drive me to nurture and understand and continue to challenge myself.
Each of those moments changed my life. That kind of thing doesn’t just get put on a shelf.
Image by J. Leigh Photography