That One Thing
I remember the exact moment the lactation consultant told me how hard I was going to have to work to breastfeed Bennett (my 2nd babe). I remember how disappointed I was even though I thought I was prepared. I remember feeling let down and like my body had failed me. I remember being CRUSHED.
As I scrolled through social media last week, those feelings rained upon me again as I saw another blogger talking about how much breastmilk she produced in the first two weeks of motherhood (it was enough to store for at least a month).
Without even thinking I clicked the unfollowed button.
It wasn’t necessarily the most mature thing to do, but at that moment it brought me right back to that lactation consultants office. The grief, the disappointment, and the frustration.
And then yesterday as I was talking to a friend (who was due yesterday), she told me she really, really wanted to avoid formula. I thought to myself, "Yeah, so did I..." and then proceeded to tell her how challenging breastfeeding was and ALLLLLL the ways I struggled (don't worry I circled back and told her good stuff too and tips from what I've read).
I didn’t realize that I had a trigger; something that could stop me in my tracks, set me off, make me angry (or sad) depending on the moment, mood, or person. But, I guess we all have that thing, don't we? At least one thing, if not multiple things, that have “marred” us during the prenatal or postpartum period.
And that got me wondering, what I could have possibly posted in the past that might have triggered someone else? I've shared about my amazing labor and delivery experiences, my relatively easy recoveries, my experiences with prenatal and postpartum depression, and so much more that I wonder if I've triggered someone to the point where they couldn't read my shit or maybe unfollowed me because I hurt their heart.
I don’t think it’s insensitive to share- no matter how small or large the struggle seems. In fact, I refuse to stop sharing my experiences because I believe the more we share the more we can help each other. The more we know about each other's dealings in life (big or small) the more we can help one another, help see a different point of view, and perhaps help someone process what they're going through.
That's why we share.
Postpartum is not perfect for anyone.
Some of us choose to talk about it more; more often and more realistically than others. We have to realize that by sharing however, we might hit that ONE nerve. That one thing that makes someone cry, yell, unfollow, secretly swear at you, or just stop communicating.
The topic of breastfeeding gives me a lump in my throat and fills my eyes with tears but I don't talk about that because it's hard to admit. I worked really hard to get through that period (and guess I still am) but giving up nursing was one of the hardest decisions I've made as a mom and that doesn't come without some lingering emotion.
So, we have to remember that our experiences are OUR experiences and even when we share them with good intention, with the want to help others we absolutely cannot feel what the person on the receiving end of that story will feel, how they will internalize it, or what emotions will be uncovered.
As moms, we HAVE got to give each other a bit of slack; not just because we’re all dealing with the same shit BUT BECAUSE there’s probably some other shit that we know nothing about. Because mamas, we can't possibly experience it ALL and we certainly can't ever feel what they've felt. I have no clue how it feels to have pelvic organ prolapse or birth trauma but I have a whole slew of other things that I've dealt with that you may not have.
Postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, breast feeding trauma, birth trauma, lack of support, sleep deprivation, financial stress, changing roles, self-acceptance, physical changes, physiological changes, emotional stress... and a myriad of other postpartum issues can take their toll on ones emotional status.
Most of us have something.
And, we've experienced it in a way that nobody else will experience it.
Remember that mamas; before you pass judgement or make assumptions- that thing which you're judging could be that mama's ONE THING that causes a full fledged meltdown, and you have no clue what she's been through or how she's experienced it.