dear Marley.


The last few weeks have been really difficult for us. A journey we fought so hard for is now coming to an end. When you were born, you didn't breath for six minutes. Those were the longest six minutes of my life. But in that time you showed me something. That fighting spirit of yours. I think you got that from me - I don't like giving up either, I never shy away from a fight. That's the only way I've been able to make peace with that terrifying memory, knowing that in those moments you showed us who you were. A courageous little boy.

After those six minutes, our fight still wasn't over. You had tests to pass over the coming days, all which relied on the pending success of successfully breastfeeding. We both worked so hard in that little hospital room of ours. When the night sky was above us and the corridors were peaceful, you and I spent every waking minute trying to get this thing going. We both cried from exhaustion - it truly was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. To take on that responsibility to be your nourishment, I didn't want to fail you. On day three, they realised you had tongue tie - we finally had an explanation for all the pain and difficulty. I remember the first time you latched on just after having it snipped, I cried tears of relief that the pain had gone away. After that, things got much better for us. Those first few months were not easy, but we always pushed through, because we are a team. A mama and her baby boy.

Today I'm writing this because our journey is coming to it's end. Since your top teeth started coming through 3 weeks ago we realised your top lip had the same problem, it was also attached. I fought hard to beat this too. I breastfed through the pain, hoping it might go away. I scrunched my toes into the ground and breathed deeply. I could see it was hard work for you too. I talked to nurses, to doctors, to dentists, to lactation consultants. The solutions were unclear, and nobody was sure if they would even work. I got to a point were I couldn't bear the pain, and I was scared I might cause undoable damage. So I tried expressing, knowing you always hated the bottle. Some miracle must have crossed us that day because you took the bottle like it was second nature. I tried day-long to get enough milk for you, but my own body was denying us of this. I couldn't even get enough for half a feed. You grew tired and impatient, not one to know the feeling of hunger.

So in a moment of anxiety, I walked to the supermarket fighting back tears and bought you a tin of formula. In that moment I felt like I had failed. Honestly baby I tried so hard to this thing work for us. You know I would do anything for you. But we were exhausted and quickly running out of options. My supply was dropping by the day, and soon there would be nothing left. But again, you drank the formula like it was my own milk, and I was so relieved. You were so amazing through this whole process. You just took it in your stride and never fussed over the big changes you had to go through.

It's a bittersweet feeling to be relieved of the pain, but at the same time I am struggling to come to peace with accepting this is the end of the road. Breastfeeding was a major part of finding my identity as a mother. I didn't mind sacrificing freedom or sleep because I would do anything for you. I loved those moments at 4am when we would lay side by side. You were always warm and snuggly, feeding away while I stroked your head and listened to the calmness of your breaths. Those were moments which were just ours, nobody else's. I knew one day this journey would end, I just hadn't expected it to come so soon.

But often the deepest moments of heartache reveal true beauty. I realised over the melancholy of the last few days the one thing which will never be taken away from us is that I am your mother and you are my child. Nothing could ever change that. Please know I tried my best, and we did so well to make it this far. I love you my little heartbreaker.

16 comments:

Amber said...

Such a sweet and touching letter. love knows no bounds ...

Amber

FrugalFoodieMama said...

Oh honey... tears are welling up in my eyes as I read this. You did well, mama. <3

I too know that my breastfeeding journey with my baby girl may be coming to an end sooner rather than later... It is heartbreaking.

Hang in there. You never once failed him. Never forget that.

la petite lulu said...

You have done a wonderful job mama - give yourself a BIG pat on the back ok. BF is hard work even without the extra challenges you've faced, you've truly done amazingly. It's so hard the journey comes to an end, it does get easier with time though xo

SH said...

This is so beautiful! Your honesty and writing are incredible.

Sheree
thehartungs.blogspot.ca

Kirithinks said...

So sweet. thank you for sharing your heartbreak, and your strength. It's beautiful.

Terri Lynn Grothe said...

beautifully written<3 you never failed him once, you showed him how to fight to win
http://ramblingmomma03.blogspot.ca/2013/01/get-to-know-me.html

Raising Reagan said...

I love this letter. I had a major battle with breastfeeding Reagan. I had to supplement her with formula right away and after six weeks she was all formula.
I felt like I had failed but after a while you learn to embrace the simplest fact that you are still a proud mother.

xoxo
Lanaya

Jessica Marie said...

What a beautiful letter to your baby boy! Momma you have not failed! You fought for what others don't even attempt! You gave it your all and that is all that matters!

xoxo, Jessica at Boys Oh Boys

kacie @ mama case said...

what fighters the 2 of you are. thank you for sharing.

www.mamacase.com

Irfan Butt said...

lovely..
http://fashionwithfitness.blogspot.com/

Meg Hodson said...

Your newest follower from the GFC hop. Following via GFC.

Cheers!

http://www.happykidsinc.blogspot.com

Monica said...

The end of a breastfeeding relationship is incredibly emotional. Your love for your daughter just oozes off the pages. Congratulations on the amazing start that you have given her and hope that you find peace in this transition. Clearly...there is no failing here - she is lucky to have you as a mama. xx - Monica

phiphis blog said...

you are such a good person, S. marley doesn't need you to breastfeed him to be a good strong boy. he's got the most fantastic mother who loves him unconditionally.

xox P

Jillian Nicole said...

This is a lovely and touching post. I really understand your challenges and had to face them myself. It is a relief though when they take the bottle.
Jillian

Maryam Fortuna said...

You already know it, but you have accomplished so much. The instant you nourished him the first time was a success in my mind. I went through the same exact feelings (you just articulated them far better) with my first baby. And you want to know what? He's just as (if not more) cuddly and loving as my fully breastfed babies. He also has a wonderfully strong immune system. I am positive it will be the same with your Marley. So chin up and enjoy the moment with you little man.
XOXO,
Maryam

Rachel Kamerer said...

This is so beautiful. It made me tear up. I was not able to nurse because I just couldn't get enough. My son was great at latching but I couldn't get enough for him. He spent two weeks in the NICU and I pumped 8 times a day every day but when we got home that wasn't possible. I started nursing him but after 30 min. he would still take a 4 oz. bottle. I never felt "full" or had the feeling of my milk coming in. I should have tried more things to get more of a milk supply but due to being tired it was just easier to get him the bottle. I feel like I failed him all the time but it helps knowing there are other mama's who couldn't nurse for other reasons and it helps. I still get jealous of my friends who are able to and often avoid reading nursing posts because it still makes me emotional and he is 15 mos. old now. I loved this heartfelt letter. I feel like I should write one to my son. I loved watching him nurse and wish we could still.