Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I'm Changing Everything! Maybe.

FIRST, AN UPDATE ABOUT HOW I'M NOT BREASTFEEDING ANYMORE. BECAUSE I HAVEN'T GOTTEN ANGRY COMMENTS SINCE POSTING ABOUT CAKE LADY HAIR. 

The first two weeks were glorious and magical and sweet and loving and full of newborn naps and smells interspersed with a sparkly toddler's new words and new tricks and everyone smiling a lot. Oh, no one was getting anything done -- except I was catching up on some very bad TV and awesome Golden Girl reruns at 3 a.m. -- but that's what maternity leave is for, right?

Sure. And then week three came around.

"Cluster feeding" doesn't even come close to what I experienced early last week, as I clocked in around NINE hours of breastfeeding from 7 a.m. to about 9 p.m. on Monday. Not all in a row, obviously, but does that really matter? And after that, understandably, my hormones went into overdrive (or underdrive, or whatever fucked-up thing happens to your body after that kind of a day coupled with nowhere near enough sleep), and suddenly I was a wreck*.

OH, RIGHT. The flip side of the newborn situation had reared itself, and I suddenly -- emotionally and physically -- remembered the weeks and months of feeling anchored by a relentless breastfeeding schedule.  And so I decided, after a couple days of sobbing at everything (which did not happen to me with Eve), that I would not spend the remainder of my precious leave feeling like a sad, leaky cow on a leash.  I made my decision then to wean Townsend off the boob and so there it is.

Now, ha. I wasn't going to mention this to the internet because I know how internet moms feel about the importance of breastfeeding, and I didn't want the Anonymous Comment/Shame Parade to start. But then a funny thing happened! A few days after I made this decision, I started to feel sort of...secure about it. Like, that it really IS the right thing (for me) to do.

And even then I STILLwasn't going to mention it, because why?

But last night I read Bossypants and, well, it shouldn't surprise any of you that I worship at the altar of Tina Fey. But SHE! SHE managed to write about breastfeeding! In a biography that could have been filled with nothing but anecdotes from her years at SNL or 30 Rock, she found reason to put in an entire segment about her sad attempt at breastfeeding and her giving it up and all the guilt that came with it. And while I wasn't really looking for validation, I got some anyway. (Not just about breastfeeding, either.) (God, I love her.)

If learned anything between reading Bossypants and watching the Oprah send-off, it's this: put it out there. So I am. Maybe someone who is struggling with breastfeeding is reading this and just wants to know that there's someone else (uh, besides Tina Fey) who chose not to breastfeed. Not because I physically couldn't, but because it was making me miserable. Further, I also chose not to feel guilty about my decision, and that seems to be making all the difference.


NOW I TELL YOU ABOUT ALL THESE CHANGES I'M MAKING! MAYBE. 

While I've been busy staring into space during 3 a.m. feeding torpor, I've had a lot of important epiphanies. (You know, as opposed to unimportant epiphanies.) I can't tell you what most of them have been, because I find that having a newborn is a little like being drunk all the time. (Note: "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" is something people without mouthy toddlers do.) But the ones that are sticking with me seem worth paying attention to.

The one that has the most to do with this blog goes like this, I think:

Accidentally, this blog is about starting over.

I mean, right? Even though I don't have one single post on the matter of starting over, that's what this whole entire thing has been about. When I started posting in January of 2005 I was single, having come from a wretched divorce followed by a sweet-but-misguided engagement.  I was figuring out my adult self while wading in the ridiculous dating waters of San Francisco. I was still healing from my mother's death (which happened two-and-a-half years before I'd started blogging), and managing through my father's illness and death (which happened in 2006) without writing much about those things at all. I've had three very different corporate jobs since I started writing here that have impacted my life in huge ways. And then there's that matter of having met that funny guy from Craigslist who's now not only my husband but also the father of both of my children. YES, THAT HAPPENED. (I honestly wonder if sometimes I'm dreaming this whole thing, because I am just so far from where I started.)

But therein lies the thing that's been niggling** me: I think this blog IS about how I got from "there" to "here"...and there are a lot of holes. Because I didn't know I was writing the story of how I went from that life to this life.  (I mean, how could I? I wasn't even there yet.)

Thus, there's lots of stuff I've left out. Stuff like the drama -- holy God, the DAH-RAH-MAH -- around my dating Ish in the beginning, when he was still married to someone who wasn't me. (CAN WE LAUGH ABOUT THIS YET?) Or about when I was first living in San Francisco and didn't know anything or anyone and couldn't identify "garlic" at the grocery store. Or how I, champion of the flip-flop and yoga pant, spent a few months working in an elite sector of the financial services industry and wore something akin to "suits" to work every. Damn. Day.

And then? There's maybe important backstory.  I've never really told you about the special brand of crazy I grew up with -- kind of like Running With Scissors except not as sad or homosexual -- and how that all led directly to my marrying a man who didn't "like people."

And also I should probably elaborate on things like how I had a job in marketing with people who barter miniature donkeys.

So of course this all may pass once I've caught up on my sleep (sometime in 2012), but right now I'm inspired to sort of redesign my blog again. Not so much the outside -- although who knows -- but the whole feel of it. I'd like to put my archives into some semblance of order, sorted by topic (CAN YOU IMAGINE?). And while I'll keep writing about my life these days, I won't worry when I veer of the path of "my still-lactating boobs are sore" and into territory of long ago. Because it's all part of the same package.

I think I have a story to tell.


GRATUITOUS PHOTOS OF MY CHILDREN. 


Eve at Trefethen Winery on Memorial Day.

Towns making face. Newborns are kind of awesome.



*Also, there was the Oprah finale, which didn't help the sob-factory that was my face.


**Niggling at me? Which is correct? I honestly don't know.

36 comments:

  1. I too had breastfeeding issues-mostly with not liking it and being a big hormonal mess because of it. NOT breastfeeding made me a better mom.

    I think if anyone makes a decision that is right for that person, and OWNS that decision, then who is anyone else to criticize that person on that decision?

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  2. I know absolutely nothing about breastfeeding and have no desire to judge any woman for what she does with her boobs (although giant implants baffle me) but I will say Bossypants is hilarious and I love your writing so whatever direction your blog takes, count on me following along.

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  3. Sane Mothers are great. Babies who get fed are awesome.
    I can't even bring myself to watch the Oprah finale. I could be saving it for that rainy hormonal day when I want my sinuses to be an overflowing mass.
    Wherever you go, there you are!

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  4. Just thought I'd drop by and say that I'm excited for what's in store. I have been reading your blog for the past year or so, and I'm interested in whatever direction you're taking us! I wish you lots of sleep and, in its absence, lots of strong coffee.

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  5. That photo of Towns is ADORABLE! Sanity is your primary responsibility with a newborn- do what you have to do.

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  6. I wished you lived with me. In the attic, spare bedroom, or even in the living room. Maybe then I would have quit breastfeeding when I wanted to, oh, 8 months ago. Instead I have continually tortured myself, my son, and anyone else who happens to be within earshot of us at each feeding. Awesome? Maybe if I had more than 3 hours sleep each night. Which reminds me, shouldn't I be sleeping? Nope, I should be breastfeeding. Again. For the third time since everyone else in this house went to sleep. Sooooooo, about you moving in? Interested?

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  7. Dear God! I went through the whole trying to breastfeed and having nipples so sore you couldn't even glance at them before I'd break down in tear. Never mind trying to latch a baby on to them.

    Then there was that great example of a bitch midwife who made me feel like crap because my baby didn't grow fast enough and as a result I felt like I was a breast feeding retard. In an act of rebellion I started bottle feeding on the side. Baby grew and I got to sleep and the midwife praised me for being so good at breastfeeding at the following check up. (I wasn't going to tell her the truth, was I?)

    I think you have to be realistic about the whole breastfeeding issue. For some of us it just doesn't work and not because we're lazy or negligent either!

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  8. Ink Spillers comment is hilarious - good for you!

    And Kristy - I found you and started reading you because of breastfeeding advice. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. So congratulations on doing what's best for you and your family!

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  9. "a cow on a leash" OMFG! That is exactly how I felt. I lasted two weeks breastfeeding. It didn't help that my milk wasn't really coming in. It hurt like a sonafabitch. I couldn't express worth a damn. When I got to the point of RESENTING having to do it, (yes how horrible a mother was I??)I knew it was time to throw in the towel. I mean, you go through the pregnancy and the light at the end of that tunnel is that you get your body back to do with what you like right? Not when your breastfeeding! I was tired. I was cranky. I wanted a friggin margarita. So I pulled out the bottles with no guilt whatsoever. Glad you did too!

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  10. First, I'm so glad to hear you have a story to tell. I read your archives a few months ago and when I caught up is about the time you had stopped writing as much (Yeah, I know, newborns do that to ya).

    Oh, AND! Congrats on the no more breastfeeding. I was in college and working part-time when my girl was born. I just didn't have it in me to be a personal milk machine. Everyone thought I was crazy for not at least TRYING. My retort? Hi, I just had a baby five days ago and I'm already back in school. I didn't have six weeks to sit on my ass and lactate. But thanks for your concern. It worked :)

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  11. Good for you! F*@# anyone who tries to tell you how to live your life, as a mom or otherwise. One thing the Internet has taught me is that some people do not have enough to do.

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  12. i was fed 2% cow's milk from a bottle when i was wee. and (i think) i turned out all right. healthy for the most part, smart, and the tragically limp hair can be chalked up to genetics alone.

    i think many women are misunderstanding the "importance" of breastfeeding. i'm back in school to get my RN and in one of my classes a woman asked if it was still possible to bond with your child if you fed from a bottle. even though we had just gone over how the bonding comes from eye contact and mimicking facial expressions, etc. and these are the people going into health care!

    so, if you do get any of those angry response i'd chalk them up to not really seeing the big picture for all the little details.

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  13. Kristy, you write with such honesty and humor, I think mixing the current in with the memoir would be great. But maybe save some of it for the book...

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  14. K-
    You also have some crazy stories from your days before Ish..should I call them Polk St. Fair type days? I've been reading your blog a long time ;) Are you willing to share those yet?

    Kirin

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  15. I love reading that story you have to tell. Keep the stories coming!

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  16. flipping awesome. My wife was asked about the whole breastfeeding thing when a stranger noticed her with a pacifier hanging out of her bag (mind you did not have the child with her). this stranger asked if she was bf, when the answer came back "nah, pumping though" you would have thought a mortal sin was being committed right then and there in the reaction.

    Priceless retort from my wife "Listen asshole, you try sticking your boob through a tiny opening in an isolette for 2 goddamn months while your kid is in the NICU then come talk to me about the atrocities of nipple confusion"

    Everyone's situation is different my wife's only materinal contribution for a while was to pump, couldn't hold the kid couldn't care for her. Let the haters hate and do what is best for your kids because you are awesome.

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  17. I am standing up and applauding your choice, because you KNOW what is right for you and your family, and you are choosing to do it without guilt. I recently read a passage in a book that said, "Guilt destroys joy." Kudos to you for choosing joy!

    I'm excited to see what direction you're going to take! I've been reading since you and Ish went to France (and have read all your archives since), and I love your writing! No one says it like you do.

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  18. I am looking forward to reading your stories on the blog! Your writing is awesome,Kristy!

    And as for breastfeeding? I tried it. I failed at it. Miserably. My son was bottlefed from the time he was a few days old, adn I never regretted it. He turned out fine, and I got my boobs back. ;)

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  19. You're an inspiration, Kristy!

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  20. Good for you! What kids need most (in my opinion) is for their parents to be happy and sane and able to enjoy them!

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  21. I had the same issue. I suffered through it for 5 weeks of having a kid on my boob every 45 minutes and him staying there for an hour at a time before I broke down and pulled out the bottles. (Didn't know enough to know he was using me as a pacifier.) It was such a relief that I wish I had done it sooner. I'm positive that it contributed to the PPD I went through...probably not the cause, but it sure didn't do me any favors regarding the severity.

    Good for you for recognizing what both you and your baby needed :)

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  22. I wonder if the breastfeeding mafia is an internet thing or an American thing. I know some people go on about it in the UK but I didn't think it was this pronounced. Of course I have tended to avoid the Professional Mother as much as possible in case I go mad for a moment and smack her.

    I breastfed all of mine and loved it but that doesn't mean I love my kids more than a mother who bottle feeds. That is just ridiculous. Loving your kids, making sure they have all they need, including a reasonably sane and rested mother who knows she is doing the best for them rather than being drained and exhausted or riddled with guilt is what is important.

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  23. I know I was put on this earth to be a mother, but I also know I was not meant to breastfeed my kids. I hated it. They hated it. We all loved bottles and formula. They're healthy as can be and are blessed with a momma, who despite a short sojourn, did not end up residing permanently in CrazyTown because she couldn't feed them boobie juice.

    Good for you for making and owning your decision! Townsend is your baby so how you choose to feed him is your business. If you wanted to feed him liquefied chocolate pancakes, that would be your decision, and no one - except maybe Ish and Eve, who'd probably want some for themselves (in solid form, of course), should offer their two-cents about it.

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  24. I'm sure you've been told this a thousand times... but I think you need to write a book. I realllly want to hear the dramatic Ish-dating backstory!!

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  25. Yay for you. I completely agree with the commmenter who said "Sane mothers are great, babies that get fed are awesome."

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  26. Go you! I loved Tina Fey's book too. She's so awesome.

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  27. All I can say is figure out how to get some sleep, and honestly you really need some serious counseling.

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  28. I wish I had had the courage to stop breast feeding back when I felt like I had a justifiable reason. In the beginning, it hurt so bad I cried through every feeding. My nips were raw and blistered, and I wanted to give up so bad. But my guilt won, and I suffered through it. Now, the nips are totally desensitized and feeding doesn't hurt anymore. But it's just boring and constant. I hate feeling like a cow. I hate that my husband gets a full night's sleep while I'm getting my rest in 45-minute increments. Now I want to switch to formula because I'm just sick of breast feeding. But I feel like I missed my window to quit. Sounds like I have a book to read and a lot to think about. Thanks for making me feel like I'm NOT the worst mom ever.

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  29. I'm an older mom whose kids are all raised. Not sure if it was because I lived out in the boonies,or if things were more relaxed back then. I must admit I was kind of a hippie. But I cannot believe the militancy going on these days regarding BF vs Bottles. I did breastfeed all three of my kids, but it would never have OCCURRED to me to judge somebody else for - or to even want to know - how they fed their baby. It was just flat-out none of my business. And never an issue. My siblings and I were all bottle/formula fed as babies and are still healthy and happy and all in our late forties/early fifties. You are obviously a very caring, loving mom and should not waste one second worrying about what others think. Live your life and do the best you can for yourself, your husband and your children. (And please keep writing about it because you are so damn interesting!)

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  30. Death is a very hard part to deal with, sorry to hear about your mother. Hopefully she had all her finances in order as well as her will when she passed so as to not leave behind a burden with the death records.

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  31. Three cheers for starting over... drying UP (as opposed to drying OUT), a little extra sleep (before your kids are in college), drama that we CAN manage to laugh about years later, and no ill-willed, candied-ass Anonymous comments...

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  32. How's this for ironic...I was breastfeeding my daughter while reading this!! Good for you making the decision to stop. I agree with a few of the above commentors in saying I wish I'd had the courage to do the same with baby #1. They took her from me right after she was born and bottle fed her without letting me even try to BF, so right from the get go we were set to fail. It took a week and a half for my milk to come in, so there was a whole lot of crying and pain and anger going on for a while. Due to the horrible advice from the hospital lactation "specialist" I was miserably trying to make her latch for a while at each feeding, (so that my boobs would get the "make milk" memo) then feeding her a bottle of formula and feeling guilty, then still having to pump because she wasn't doing a good enough job latching. It took her 45 minutes to eat, took me about 10-15 to pump, and she wanted to eat every hour and a 1/2...even at night. I hated every second of it and I couldn't understand this "bonding with the baby" junk I'd always heard. Eventually my milk did come in, thought feeding never got easier or shorter with her, so I spent 7 months in misery till I finally weaned her. I never felt like it was anything special, I just felt like a "cow on a leash," as you so perfectly stated. I'm now on the boobfeeding train with baby #2, and while I do think my experiences with #1 have helped, it's still no fun. The first couple weeks were horrid while I was trying to adjust (My body kicked it into overdrive - I could have nursed a small army!) and trying to figure out the feeding wants/needs of this new little critter. We did eventually get it down to a science, and at 3 1/2 months we're going strong. I do still feel trapped at times, but I've already decided 6 months is my stopping point, so I just focus on the goal. I've already had a friend comment on the fact that I'm stopping "so soon." *She's* planning to breastfeed till one year and can't understand why anyone would do otherwise. Honestly, I've pretty much stopped caring about the opinions of others when it comes to myself and my children. My status as a "good mom" isn't based on what or how I feed my children. They are happy, taken care of, and most importantly, healthy! You shouldn't feel guilty for one second about being brave enough to make the decision that most woman are too scared to make! I let guilt and shame force me to stay miserable for 7 months, so kudos to you for breaking free!! Congrats, by the way, on the new little one! He's an absolute doll!

    And now, I will put away my soap box :)

    (It won't let me comment as my google id...weird)

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  33. CHOICE. Isn't that what all these important decisions are supposed to be about? Choice - if it's good enough for my vagina, it's good enough for my breasts as well.

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  34. I love how your blog - and your life, really - have morphed so much since the days of the boxed-wine incident and worst kiss ever... and that you remain as funny and touching as ever. It's been a delight to follow your story!

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  35. Bartering Miniature Donkeys!!! Yes...I think I was there for that part! YAY!

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