I did it. I won. I made it four months breastfeeding before transitioning my baby to formula. While this may not seem like a victory, had you known about my inverted nipple tissue… you might celebrate with me.
I often felt embarrassed, guilty, and defeated these past four months when discussing breastfeeding with others (especially from the older generation). From the outside looking in, some may think, “oh she didn’t breastfeed her baby, she chose formula.” But the truth is, not everything is as simple as it may seem. No one saw the blood on my nursing pads each time I went to feed my baby, no one saw my sleep deprived zombie state from pumping multiple times during the night hoping that my wounds would heal. No one saw the amount of time/money spent with lactation consultants. No one saw how many cream/treatments I used after each nursing session.
On a side note, who knew that becoming a mom would mean you would discuss nipples, creams, poops, and rashes like never before.
No one saw the tears stream down my face as I grimaced in pain. Was each day a victory? Yes! If I could just make it one more day, that was enough.
In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, I read a life-changing quote by Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I am not a failure because I stopped breastfeeding. I succeeded because I stood in that arena–old make-up, dried spit-up, two-day-old clothes, blood, sweat, and tears. I tried my hardest. I put my whole soul into it.
Too often as mothers, we look at outcomes as the only measure of success when, in reality, success comes from being completely vulnerable and stepping into that arena no matter how daunting your tasks may seem.
Some mothers have late talkers, late walkers, kids with speech problems or behavioral issues, and some have kids who get mixed up with drugs. Just seeing a snapshot of their life may look like failure to some, but in reality, it is the grueling, soul-stretching, day-to-day tenacity that defines the real successes of a mama. Keep daring greatly and keep stepping into that arena!
Cori Lazarte is a mother of a 4-month old, learning to live without sleep with her husband of 4 years. After battling infertility (an ectopic pregnancy, surgery, and failed IVF transfer)…their family finally got their rainbow baby! She and her cute little nugget can be found at @coriannlaz on Instagram!
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