I have been very privileged to be included in an online group of an amazing collection of LGBT family bloggers, many of whom I have been following for what seems like ages, and some of which are new to me. A few weeks ago, the group started a blog carnival where everyone writes on a topic and links to each other, and this is my first time participating. This week’s topic is disappointment.
When we decided to have a baby back in the summer of 2009, I was fully expecting a long, drawn out process. I had read the sad stories of other two mom bloggers who had tried for months or years to conceive. I knew that was a part of it. I expected it. I was ok with it. In our own way to prepare for it, we tried to get as many of our proverbial ducks in a row as possible. I did a warm chinese diet where I literally only ate cherries, chicken, peppers onions and garlic for WEEKS. I stopped consuming any alcohol in September in prep for a December insemination. I got acupuncture constantly, including the day before and the morning after inseminations. Lauren heated up the car and heating pad after our insemination and I laid with my legs elevated as we drove to my family’s house on Christmas eve. And I braced myself for the disappointment of what I rationally thought would come.
But it didn’t.
Yes, I am fully aware that some TTC bloggers out there just threw up or cringed or cursed me, and that’s ok. We were the freakishly strange couple that got pregnant on the first try. There was no spotting or cramping in January of 2010. No sad tears over discarded pregnancy tests. We got pregnant much sooner than we ever thought and we were thrown into mommyhood.
So what does all of this have to do with disappointment?
While the gestation, birth and first year of Lillian has been amazing, I think some of my disappointment comes in my preparation for motherhood. As the product of a divorced family and years and years of therapy to deal with issues surrounding the divorce, I thought I was relatively “healed.” And I think for the most part I am. But just like anyone else in the world, I come with some baggage. Mine just is wrapped nicely in the paper of “am I good enough.”
When Lillian was born and I had trouble breastfeeding, I was disappointed that we needed to supplement for the first 5 days. I was a mother and I was doing most natural thing a mother can do… but I couldn’t do it well enough. She was hungry and jaundice, and although I fought with the nurse, I caved and we gave her some formula.
When I went back to work when she was 4 months old after exclusively breastfeeding her for 4 months, and had to then supplement again, I was disappointed that I couldn’t pump well enough. I did a lot of research to find the best formula out there for her because I wanted to be the best mother and give her the best, even if I was disappointed in my inability to make enough food for her. So the, it is no shock that when I weaned her at 10 months, I cried to and from work almost every day for a week knowing that I was giving up this sacred bond between us.
These are just a few examples of the disappointments that I have been battling with and beating myself up over since becoming a parent. Lauren constantly tells me that I am too hard on myself and that I need to live in the present, and damn it I have gotten a lot better with it lately. I spend a lot of time watching and observing now, rather than jumping right in during play time so that Lillian can learn on her own. I am working on understanding that letting her do it doesn’t mean that I have failed to help or show her, but that she is becoming her own person. But it is hard.
When the topic came up about disappointment, I was really stumped. What have I been disappointed about in this whole trying to conceive, pregnancy, baby process. And I don’t really think I have been disappointed too much… but it is the fear of BEING a disappointment that I think sometimes creeps in.
But based on this little face, I think so far, I am doing a good job.