“You are an amazing mother. Trust your gut and know that nobody loves or knows your baby like you do.”Renee from Dear Livvy Kate
Motherhood is no easy task. It can be down right terrifying at times. That moment you leave the hospital with your baby on your arms, you’re left thinking, “is any body going to stop me from kidnapping this baby?!”
Motherhood is not the moment doctor’s place a baby in your arms. It’s when you as a mother decide you know what’s best for your child and accept the call to be the best Mama you can. No matter the set backs.
I’m so encouraged by Renee’s story. She is the owner of Dear Livvy Kate. A small boutique shop of hand-crafted hair bows for little girls. Renee has truly proven that motherhood is not a sprint but a marathon.
Here is her story:
The first eight months of my son’s life were a complete roller coaster and somewhat of a blur. I remember when we went to his two week checkup, he hadn’t gained anywhere near enough weight.
I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. His weight gain was so poor that our pediatrician asked me to switch to exclusively pumping (the crowd went WILD over that) so we could monitor his intake.
I kept that up for 8 months before we tried supplementing, at that point we saw an improvement. The more formula he got, the better he did. We fought reflux, torticolis, and missed milestones the whole way. It was devastating. I still blamed myself not knowing what we would face later.
I’m extremely petite at 5’1” tall, so initially most people pointed out, “he’s just little like his mommy”. I got a lot of, “You just need to put that baby to your breast as much as possible and your body will know what he needs”. And, “Just keep at it Momma! You can do this!” It just secretly broke me down even more.
Of course I took to the Internet.. mom’s groups, breastfeeding resources.. I thought maybe if I could find a way to supplement my diet or freeze an unhealthy amount of excess milk, I could fix the problem.
This is where it gets unhealthy.. and this is what a lot of us go through and people aren’t saying it out loud enough.
That behavior quickly turned dark on me. It turned into, “What did I do wrong during my pregnancy?”, “Is he not getting enough cuddles?”, “I’m failing him”, and “What if I’m not good enough to be a mommy?”
Honestly, I was frozen in panic. I sought constant weight checks and reassurance that I was doing everything I could. I had an unhealthy attachment to the idea that I wasn’t as good of a mom if breastfeeding wasn’t the best for us.
My turning point was when I realized I needed let go of that because all I wanted was for him to be happy and healthy. THEN, I could be confident that my love for him IS good enough. I could actually listen when my husband reassured me that I wasn’t a bad mom for hanging up the pump.
I was so much more confident and happy when my daughter was born because I was able to make peace with that trust in myself. She had her own completely different challenges.. but they were so much easier to tackle because I believed that I had it in me to find the best way for her.
My son was recently diagnosed with something called EOE (eosinophillic esophagitis), which basically means he’s covered in allergy cells. We’re still figuring out the triggers.
As for the response from my friends and family, it’s not so much that they’ve had a lot to say about his condition, as much as they’ve seen me grow into my own as a mom. They know I’m going to keep pushing until he’s better.
I’ve gone through health insurance policy language, tracked down the best doctors I can get, contacted attorneys.. I’ve chosen to take up the mindset that people will help me if I help myself, and that surprises even our doctors!
If you are a mom facing a similar situation and feeling like a failure I’d like you to know that you are an amazing mother! Trust your gut and know that nobody loves or knows your baby like you do.
Stay level and kind, but never settle for dead ends. Know that there’s no rulebook, owners manual, or mom group that has all of the answers sometimes. We’re all just trying to do the best we can for our children, and that looks very different for everyone.
Respect that in yourself and others. Motherhood will test what you’re made of. It will leave you feeling defeated, like a stranger in your own body sometimes. But.. once you trust in those things, you’ll be amazed at the woman that motherhood has made of you.