Today’s Monday Mama is my cute friend Sam. She is 26 and currently living in Lehi, Utah. She just had a little baby girl named Rachel who is now almost 3 months old. Aren’t they so cute?
Here’s her story:
When Ken and I were first married I thought that after 1 year we would start trying to have a baby. When our 1 year mark hit, I was not ready, and would have been very surprised if a baby came our way. We both went to BYU and were settling into our careers. Ken is an entrepreneur and I was teaching 2nd grade. I loved my job, and I wanted to spend some time focusing on my career and on our home with just the two of us.
When we entered our 2nd year of marriage, I was already a couple weeks pregnant, and absolutely thrilled. I had been teaching for 4 years, and was having the best year. My students and I were in sync, I had a great relationship with all the parents, and I got along well with the people I worked with. Ken and I decided that after the school year ended I could put a pause on teaching to stay home with our girl. (She came only two weeks after school got out!) I was pretty excited to enter a new chapter of my life, but as the school year came to a close, I was nervous. I remember thinking over and over again that I didn’t want to leave. I had become so comfortable and loved so many people at my school. It was a confusing time because I wanted to become a Mother and take time to be at home with my girl, but I felt so conflicted leaving something I had spent hours working for.
On the last day of school I tried to hold it together, but the last hour I lost it and sobbed. My students probably thought I was crazy, but it was hard leaving. Everyone I ran into in the hall, I just hugged and cried. I couldn’t believe that this day was actually here and my life was getting ready to dramatically change. As I got in my car to drive away everything felt surreal. I sobbed the entire way home. At one point I remember patting my belly and saying, “Well girl, it’s just you and me now.” Right when I said that she gave me a couple kicks. It reassured me that this is what I feel is right for our family at this time, and made me feel so close to my girl. It was such a special moment, and she has been my bud ever since.
Leaving was hard, but I’ve been able to go back and visit. As I walked back into my school it felt like I was coming home. Right now it’s just a place a bunch of my friends work, but it may be my school again, or it might not be. It’s ok. I’m happy with my decision now. I loved teaching students in a formal setting and being able to help them grow and progress. As an outlet, I started a blog about education activities you can do with your child. It’s been slow going, but it’s a way for me to share all of the things I did as I worked with my students. You can read some of my ideas at themommytutor.com
There have been a couple of things that have been difficult for me as I’ve transitioned into motherhood. The first, and the thing that is the most difficult, is my weight. I exercised 5 days a week while pregnant, and still gained a ton of weight. You can’t really help how your body does pregnancy. I have really struggled the last couple months feeling ok with my appearance. Sometimes I look around and it seems like everyone else around me looks so good, but I know I’m not alone. My body has changed after having a baby, but I’ll continue to work hard and my weight will change.
After Rachel came, I felt like things went really well. (Except that no one told me walking would be really difficult after child birth). We left the hospital and I was full of promise. She was latching well, she slept well, and she was pretty dang cute. I had a lot of family around to help, and I was ready!
The first night home was tough. Much tougher than I expected. At the hospital Rachel would latch and breastfeed just fine. It’s hard when you leave because your milk isn’t quite in all the way, so it seems like things will work, but you never really know. The first night she would get up every hour to eat. My husband and I were so confused. I tried hard to feed her, but she kept falling asleep. At about 4 am, we thought we should try some formula because maybe she wasn’t getting enough to eat. We had a couple samples the hospital had given us before we left. After giving her 2 ounces, she slept for a couple hours. We realized that she was waking up so much because she wasn’t getting enough to eat.
We started supplementing and I continued to breastfeed the best I could. After a couple of days I knew was milk was in, and so I thought she would be ok with just what I could produce. I bought a pump as well so I could get an idea of what my body was making. I would feed her and then try pumping. I remember the first time I used the pump. I pumped for almost an hour and got about an ounce. I started thinking that maybe my milk supply was low. Now, I would breastfeed as much as I could, but would give her a bottle right after. She always drank 2 ounces of formula after breastfeeding. My pediatrician recommended that I start taking Fenugreek, so I did. I started to smell like maple and figured it was working. One morning, about two weeks after I had Rachel, I woke up and my milk was completely gone. It was the weirdest thing. I was no longer leaking, and I look visibly different. Since then she has been completely on formula.
I wanted to share a little bit about why my baby is on formula for a couple reasons. First, I couldn’t help what my body did. I tried, but it didn’t work. I felt an extreme amount of guilt for not being able to provide my baby with the food she needed. I felt guilty that we were going to have to spend a lot of extra money on formula. I felt guilty every time someone would ask how she was nursing. I’ve had so many people ask why she’s on a bottle. It’s embarrassing and makes me feel like I need to explain myself. Don’t feel that way. It’s doesn’t matter. My girl is growing healthy and putting on weight just like she’s supposed to.
Second, I felt guilty because I felt a small amount of relief when I couldn’t breastfeed. It was hard. Really hard. I did my best, but felt so inadequate. When my milk supply was gone, I felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to keep trying. And then I felt guilty for the relief. Don’t let yourself feel guilty. Things are what they are.
Now, having her strictly bottle fed has been really convenient for us. We travel a fair amount, and it has made traveling easier. For us, it works. I wish she would have been able to get some more breast milk, but it didn’t happen.
Just remember that you need to do what you feel comfortable doing for your family. I’m happy with how things are. I’m happy that the weight is coming off, even if it’s slow-going. I’m happy to be home now, even though leaving my job was difficult. I’m happy that my girl eats well and my husband can help feed her. I’m happy to be a Mom, and I’ve accepted the things that have happened a little differently that I expected, and that’s the best thing we can do for ourselves.