I haven't posted for some time because things have been a tad, oh what's the word, fuzzy? around here. Life in the past few weeks has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, and writing about it just seemed like the last thing on my mind. Two weeks ago, I gave up the ghost and quit breastfeeding. Colette was still having trouble with her digestive track, and I was growing ever more frustrated with no dairy and just the process of breastfeeding with two children under 2. We switched to soy formula, and almost immediately, we saw major improvements with Colette. She's sleeping better, her bowels have no more blood in them, and she's generally happier. I, on the other hand, have regained a tad bit of sanity (not that there was much to begin with). Forrest is now able to help feed Colette, and I'm able to take some time to myself a few days a week. Even though these things are wonderful, I must admit that it was very difficult to give up breastfeeding. When I switched Shepherd to formula at 7 months, I was ready. I needed my body back to myself. I was completely spent by the end of the day, and tired of removing myself from the room if he grew hungry to feed him. This time, however, I felt I was just getting the rhythm of breastfeeding down, and we were bonding. It was the 30 minutes after feeding that killed me, with her crying and then the dirty diapers that scared me. In the end, it was best for both of us to make the switch.
Along with that, there has been the ever increasing awareness that I haven't been able to focus as I should. Simple tasks take much longer than necessary to accomplish, and an ever growing anxiety takes over while doing such routine chores. Acknowledging this has been hard, and has spurred me to work hard on simplifying our lives and seeking help when help is needed. I have a hard time asking for help, as sometimes it feels as though I'm showing weakness. I could be alone in this, but more often than not, I find that our experiences as mothers are more alike than not. Don't get me wrong, I'm very well aware that asking for help is not weakness, and in fact shows courage and strength, but knowing that and living that out are two very different things. Often we as mothers compete with one another, and with that competition comes pretension. We fail to share with one another our weaknesses, and we miss out on the opportunity to understand that we are not alone in whatever we are going through. Our common experiences should compel us to unite, to band together, and help encourage one another through something. Blogging has helped me with that, but there are mothers out there who have no such outlet, nor do they have the close friendships with whom they feel safe to share. I am constantly reminding myself that I'm not alone in my struggles with motherhood, that it is normal to have to walk away for a minute to regain your composure, and that it is healthy to admit that sometimes, this identity as "mother" can be overwhelming and at times, feel more dutiful than joyful. There are days I daydream about working a desk job (if you knew me, you'd know that there's nothing more I hate than working a desk job) where I can get away from the kids. And I must own those moments as my own, and refuse to deny them what they are. Because more often than not, accompanying those moments are moments of clarity. Brief glimpses of why it was that we chose this path, why we chose to wreck our bodies with pregnancy and birth, why we chose to stay at home, or work outside the home, why we made this decision to become mothers in the first place. Those moments of clarity, though often short and unexpected, are like treasures to me. I live for those moments. When Shepherd snuggles into my neck before naptime and kisses me goodnight, or when Colette wakes me in the morning with a wide smile, it's more than enough to remind me that this, this, is why I chose this. If it were not hard, these moments of clarity would be lost to me, and I'm thankful for the hard times, if only because they teach me the importance of the moment.