Breastfeeding is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Hands down. It requires more discipline and sacrifice than the most restrictive diet or exercise regimen I’ve ever tried.
Let me be straight with you, I haven’t actually ever been successful with any diet or exercise regimens. And, I haven’t really tried. My husband and I did Whole 30; we made it 21 days before falling off the wagon. I give up foods or bad habits at Lent each year… I always end up rationalizing opportunities to cheat. I can’t even complete an Instagram yoga challenge, and yoga is just about my favorite thing in the whole world!
So, my track record for success with self-discipline, sacrifice, grit, persistence, determination—whatever moniker you place on this personality trait or social-emotional skill—hovers right around zero. I don’t have the stick-to-it-iveness that I admire in people who do things like “set goals.” Never have, never will. With lots of introspection, counseling, and self-help mumbo jumbo, I have worked to quit fighting my nature, and instead, cultivate professional and personal opportunities that capitalize on my spontaneity and impulsivity.
Fast-forward to right this moment: my baby is two months and one day old, it is 5:22 a.m., and we are rocking in the dark, both covered in splotches of damp spit-up residue.
[Let me pause here and tell you how much I adore my baby. I love her so much I sometimes cry while gazing into her eyes. Here is a picture of her. She is perfect.]
Back to breastfeeding. It is not my idea of fun. This is not the time when I look lovingly at my child and sing praises for how blessed I am to be able to nourish my baby from my breast during these sacred, quiet moments. This is not the time I dig deep and focus on self-actualization.
This is the time when I curse myself for ever having a baby and messing up the good thing I had going, when I curse my baby for not being asleep, when I start fantasizing about the day she is five years old and I can no longer recall what 3 a.m. looks like or 2.4 hours of sleep feels like.
I hear the people say, “Soak it all in. You’re going to miss this!” or write in new mom Facebook forums, “I am overwhelmed with the joy of growing a person with my milk from my body!” or post on Instagram with the caption, “Time, slow down!”
And to all of them, I say, you are crazy. (See this.) Breastfeeding is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to be free of it.