Guess I haven’t really introduced myself at all yet. If you’ve read any of my other posts, I guess you’ve gathered that I’m married and the mother of two little boys. I did the college thing, got my degree, worked a mediocre job for a few years, got married, had my first kiddo, and became what I thought I’d never be – a stay at home mom! I mean what do they do all day? But that’s a discussion for a different kind of mom-blog (the answer is a lot btw). When my oldest was about 9 months old, we moved 1500 miles from family.
Our second boy was born at home in the summer of 2013. I was (and still want to be) very into natural living and gentle parenting – natural birth, baby wearing, nursing, bed sharing… The works. I was starting to think about what I wanted to do when I “grew up” and the kids got a bit older. I was thinking lactation consultant, yoga instructor, doula… Who knows, just something a “hippie” would really love. I occasionally lost my temper, like most moms do, but in general, I was sweet to my boys and really proud of my parenting style.
Anyways, that was then. I got sick during the summer of 2014, when I was 28. I was still nursing my youngest at the time and he was almost one. The majority of people – doctors, family, friends, etc., tried to tell me I was sick because I was worn out and the breast feeding was draining my body of nutrients that I needed. “It was time to stop anyways.” I had really failed at breast feeding with my first child and this successful experience and bond I had developed with my second was something so precious and healing. It took away the guilt I felt about weaning after only a few months of mostly pumping with my first. I was not ready to stop and neither was my son. The thought of forcing him to wean broke my heart. I also knew this was probably my last child and I wasn’t ready to face that I’d never nurse another baby again.
I know how fortunate I am to have two healthy children and feeling despair over ending nursing at 12 months may seem really trivial and ridiculous, but that’s not how it felt for me. After 3 months of being sick with no answers, I finally gave in, I started to wean him. It was so hard. I will never forget the night my husband put him to sleep and I just sat in the rocker I used to nurse him in and sobbed. Over 4 months have passed since our last nursing session and my heart still hurts the same – and I don’t feel any healthier for it. It’s not just because of the nursing though. I feel like once I got sick, the person I used to be completely disappeared. I really hate this replacement mom, wife, daughter, friend… I hate my short temper and how I treat my loved ones. I yell and spank and say things to my kids I never thought I’d say. Things I used to see other moms do in stores and judge them for. I’m sorry for that. I feel lonely, needy, misunderstood, and most of the time completely lost. I am so angry. And numb, all at the same time.
I see this story written over and over with the majority of people who have a chronic illness. I don’t mean my story verbatim… But the emotional roller coaster and loss of self. I don’t look sick on the outside, for the most part, and I think I am expected to act like I did before (that may be more of an expectation I place on myself than anything). There are no visual reminders that I’m not okay. I want to like myself again and forgive myself for the person I’ve been lately. I want to be the loving person I know I can be, but that seems easier said than done right now. I’ll feel like I take two steps forward in getting there and then take a GIANT leap back.
So to my family and friends that I’ve been treating poorly at times, I am sorry. I am filled with fear, sadness, and at times, what seems like an insurmountable level of guilt. I try to stifle it, be “normal”, and all that ever does is blow up in my face. I am not normal anymore. I don’t think about or worry about what I used to or what “normals” do – it’s just an endless line up of appointments, tests, waiting. For any other chronic illness sufferers out there… How do you do it? Lots of advice welcome here.
Soo, we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled program ASAP… I’ll try to keep the sap to a minimum and the sarcasm turned up. But that’s where I’m at lately.