Friday morning I was invited to my friend Kate’s house along with five other women who have recently had babies. I was one of the first to arrive and was fortunate enough to have my mom watch the two older girls so I could go alone with Ada. Believe me, it was a much needed break. (Wait, there is no need to convince you, I think you know what I mean!)
Kate had surprised us with a masseuse. Although I’m not a super touchy person, the whole thought behind it brought tears to my eyes. I am often baffled by Kate’s generosity and thoughtfulness. I’m not always good at being on the receiving end but I have learned to accept and I am grateful for a friend like her who shows me glimpses of Christ’s love for me.
Afterwards we were all served a yummy breakfast and everyone was hanging out feeding their babies. I sat down to feed Ada near a woman who was breastfeeding her one-week-old baby. He was so precious and I really think I fell in love with his older sister who was 14 months. Tears formed in my eyes again and I couldn’t stop them. I wasn’t even sure why I was crying. Kate walked by and asked if I was o.k. and if I wanted to talk about it, But I couldn’t verbalize–mainly because I really wasn’t sure why I was crying. After blubbering for a few minutes I had to go get some kleenex so I wouldn’t totally disgust the others in the room with my snotty nose.
Kate followed me into the bathroom and asked how I was doing. I told her I’m not really sure all that I was feeling but seeing the other mom breastfeed really hit me. It was the first time where I was watching someone else nurse and I couldn’t. I wasn’t sure if I was just letting go of the fact that I couldn’t give to her the way I wanted to, or if it was the ideal in my mind of how I thought I should be as a mom. Probably a bit of both.
Earlier that week I had talked with my lactation consultant about whether or not she felt Ada would ever really nurse. She said she’d be able to nurse but probably not enough to thrive. It would be more of an exercise in being close rather than nourishment. This was relieving to me because I kept wondering where the line was of where to give up trying to nurse her. I am pumping three times a day right now which is giving Ada plenty of milk. I also received an e-mail from our high school friend, Alison, and she said I’d know when it was time and somehow that was another confirmation. And then again on Wednesday, I was talking to June’s speech therapist about the repercussions of not nursing Ada and if this will hinder her speech development. (I kept reading that nursing your baby helps them build their muscles for speech later.) She said that if a child was going to have a speech delay because of low tone then it would happen regardless if I nursed or not. Nursing can help but won’t solve the problem. All three situations gave me the freedom and release to just focus on Ada gaining weight and stop worrying about giving her a speech delay.
As I was driving home from Kate’s I realized that what had really made me sad is that this one-week-old little boy could nurse so easily and here Ada was struggling to continue suckling after four or five sucks. She gets so worn out trying to nurse that we had to feed her a bottle–and even then we had to change the nipple to an easy-flow so she wouldn’t burn all her calories eating (If only I had that problem!). By the way, Ada is now at her birth weight!
As a baby Ada’s older sister, June, seemed like all the other babies even with her hearing loss. Her hearing loss didn’t show until recently when we realized she is behind others her age. She has to work a lot harder to hear the words and to speak them. I remember being sad for her that this would not be easy but at the same time there is this hope and gratefulness that even though she has to work harder she will appreciate her hearing and speech more than others and through this struggle she will learn to overcome. I am praying the same for all three of my girls. That whatever struggles come, because they will, that they will embrace them and move forward with the strength of who I hope is their God, Jesus Christ.
Let us pray this for our children and the children that our in our lives. That we won’t protect them from every trial but that we will walk alongside them so they can learn from this thing called life. That they will embrace what comes their way so that they may become stronger in Christ. Let our children show us what this means and that we too will embrace what comes our way.
Amen, my friend!
Who knows the struggles we’ll be looking back on when we’re 65? We can only hope, like you’ve so beautifully said, that every hardship will have made Christ more and more real to all of us.
Even the similarities and differences in our situation blow my mind: I’m crying about weaning a 27-pound one-year-old, and you’re reconciling yourself to not nursing Ada. It’s all about big picture, right? Neither of these kids are “ours” anyway, they’re His. It’s almost like we have to take it all very seriously and then at the same time go, “Oh well! It is what it is. This is our life.” Of the 1 million things I’ve learned from you, I do feel like you have such a great perspective on things like this. I mean, you’re human so you struggle, but you are always pressing forward to health and balance.
On that note, I am praising God that He answered prayer and gave you peace about your next steps with Ada and nursing. This is what I’ve prayed all along! Not that you would nurse or not nurse (who the heck am I to weigh in on that decision?!), but that you would just know. And another confirmation seems to be her weight gain! Great news.
P.S. Too bad Ada’s not getting any attention at your house.