On Feeding and Trusting Intuition
Because after exclusively nursing my first two sons, the thought of switching to formula for my last baby sounded like a cop-out. I don’t have an ego but I prided myself on what I felt was finishing the greatest marathons of all - nursing, and doing it three times at that. Except that is not the marathon, feeding is. Although demanding on our bodies (which are designed to do so), the endurance we need comes from ease and peace for mom and dad. Before you take off on a flight with your little one(s), the flight attendants remind you to put your oxygen mask on first, so that you are able to help your child. Why do we forget this when it comes to everything and anything else? Where are those “flight attendants” confidently directing us to save ourselves first so we can be good for those we influence and care for most? I can tell you where they are, and where they are not. The thoughts that prepare you to soar at great heights are your intuitive inklings - they come from you and no one else. They are yours and will always live within you. The anxiety and fear that combat such intuitions, those you do not own. That is the turbulence testing you to see if you did in fact tend to yourself before the rest. For we can support nothing if we barely bare our needs.
I learned quickly that stressing about something I could no longer do or produce physically, or handle mentally, actually took away from the nourishment Rowan really needed. My exhaustion from pregnancy and divorce admits a pandemic already had that covered. So maybe it is not even “fed is best”, but “rest is best”. Thought will always be the most powerful feed. Luckily, my closest friend (also a single mom of three) and a realist when it came to decision making, asked me one day “what are you so afraid of?” When I shared my anxiousness and worry about “having” to switch to formula. She immediately listed off the pros, because focusing on the cons is often out of our control (yet what we do the best), and the energy I had already spent thinking about those, was overdue too. So, this is my favorite part - the part where we ask questions. The part of nurturing that is maybe not so instinctual - it does not always have to be perfect or panic. It is not always “all” or “overboard”.
Those long tireless nights, whether you are holding your breast or a bottle at 3 am with one eye open, are short-lived. Make sure you are to remember them to be triumphant rather than tearful, but also remember sometimes those go hand in hand.
Dearest mothers, I hope you learn to trust your sense to fly. You are the pilot on the plane and you will always know how to get everyone home safely.