In the midst of all the mom- guilt, self- doubt, feelings of inadequacy, worry, and sleep deprivation, I wanted to share a redeeming moment that happened in the middle our son’s third month. A breastfeeding story.
I had errands to run in North Tacoma and so I packed up the boy, grabbed our diaper bag, and was out the door. During the first stop, Lucas started to show signs that he would need to feed soon- so before that turned into an emergency situation, I hurried out of the store back to the car. While we could have fed in the car, it was hot outside and I was sick of wasting gas in an effort to keep us cool while I nursed. I flipped through the archive of breastfeeding- friendly places in my brain and landed on a small park just a few blocks away.
Upon arrival, we found a welcoming bench under a large oak tree. Shade. The park was lively, but not over crowded. A mom pushed her son on the swing. Another had her blanket spread, head in a book, occasionally looking up at her small children playing. Nearby a father juggled a newborn and his older boys. It was playful that day, but still quiet.
I plopped down our bag and surveyed the park. What a lucky spot. I shuffled my shirt around to let Lucas on. He latched hungrily and suckled enthusiastically. I don’t know if it is the nurturer in me- always wanting to feed people- but I absolutely love when he eats like this. So focused, happy, and content. His jaw moving to take in the milk. Eyes closed.
I cradled my son. My baby. My boy. The biggest smile crept across my face. I had waited my whole life to be a mom. I fantasized about a family and what it would be like. I knew it would be sweet, I just never imagined it could be this sweet.
Breastfeeding was such a struggle for us. He had the lip and tongue tie, major latching issues. I was hugely engorged for three weeks, tender to the touch, extremely uncomfortable. And then my nipples were cracked, blistered, and sore for seven weeks. I felt lost and like a failure.
That must have been why this little milestone felt like such a triumph. It was impossible for me to blow past it and take it for granted. To anyone who saw us on this park bench, they would have thought it was a completely unremarkable sight. Absolutely ordinary. To me, I saw sweet victory after a very trying battle. To me, this was no small win. This moment felt so big. We are doing it.