One could reasonably assume that the dreary atmosphere of the hospital (let’s face it, hospitals have a certain depressing blah that home usually does not have) contributed greatly to my problems, and that being at home would lessen them. It did not. My problems got worse. Breast feeding did not work out for Eldest and I. I had no confidence in myself, and no support save Hubby. Yes, I knew all about the hospital lactation department, but with no one to drive me there, and a closer hospital costing $150 a session help from the hospitals was not doable. I then called La Leche League (LLL), but the leaders in my area were either nonexistent (they never returned calls or answered their phone, ever) or were condescending (two notes: 1. this is NOT a reflection on the entire LLL organization, but the women to which I had contact with; 2. this spurred me to find help outside of these two venues and though I was unable the breast feed Eldest I was able to breast feed Secondus).
When breast feeding failed for me I got more depressed. I took it as a sign I was a horrible mother. I was in so deep I could not hear Hubby saying that I did what was best for us at this moment in time. All I heard was fail fail fail. After a few weeks I was given the clear to drive and jog again. I was so happy. I would go out in the warm autumn sun with my precious Eldest for little walks. I felt emotionally stronger. I was so happy things seemed to be turning around that I did not realize how fragile my state of mind actually was. Then I went to the store one day and my delicate world fell apart. All I was doing was feeding Eldest a bottle, but the cruel words of the breast feeding mothers across from me cut so deeply I could hardly contain my tears. I know it is not right to base my worth on what others think, but for some reason I was putting my worth as a mother on what other women who did not know me thought. Because of this I became a shut in.
(I would like to note here that while the majority of mothers have the self confidence and beautiful strength to understand that advice from other mothers, no matter how self righteous it might sound, is just that- advice. Some of us out there, like me, take this advice, no matter how well meaning, as a condemnation of our parenting skills. Admit it, you have been on a blog or thread, and some woman professes that her way is the only right way to mother because she has produced brilliant little angels that way. I can guarantee you two things: 1. her little angels have their devil moments because people only portray the best versions of themselves online, and 2. she is not mothering your kids. Advice is great and sometimes a life saver; but in the end you have to what is best for your family and your child, and have the confidence to know you are doing the best you can.)
I rarely went outside, the curtains were always drawn before Hubby arrived home from work, the walls felt like they were closing in on me, and I made up the oddest rules- like after the baby went down for the night there must be absolute quiet. I do not mean a general quiet in the house. I mean we watched t.v. with closed captioning on, and Hubby cringed if he dropped something lest I visit my wrath upon him. We had what my Hubby termed “The Lab” where bottles were set up, organized and standing ready (i.e. clean and with the proper amount of powder in them). Anything that came into contact with Eldest’s mouth what washed in hot water with soap, boiled and then rinsed in boiling water- by hand.
Do not think that I am talking about the first few weeks. Hubby ensured this for the first 10 months of Eldest’s life. Rules were set in place to prevent what I saw in my head from coming true (down to specific distances we had to walk through doors to prevent hitting Eldest’s head). I was depressed, demanding and always agitated. We bickered more than we ever had before. Honestly, I am surprised Hubby is still married to me.
This went on for 8 months (yes, I know I said 10 months but give me a bit). Then, at 8 months, something happened to me and I changed ever so slighly…