You Are Enough, Mama

The last night I nursed my daughter to sleep, my mind was flooded with so many memories. As a new mother, I’ll admit that I let unrealistic expectations of how perfect and easy everything should and would be drive a lot of my early decisions. I just wanted to do it all right. And the more I tried, the more I felt as though I was failing. Why isn’t just loving your child enough? Why as mothers do we put so much pressure on ourselves to do what we think others will find to be acceptable and right?

One of the things that I stressed endlessly over was breastfeeding. It was supposed to be natural and easy! I was supposed to love it, not find it the most stressfully overwhelming, awkward situation I had to relive 8-10 times a day. Am I crazy when I say that learning to breastfeed is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a mom? Although there were many times early on when I thought, Ok, this is it. I can’t do this breastfeeding thing anymore! My little girl and I managed to finally find our rhythm around six months. In fact, by six months, I had in fact absolutely fallen in love with nursing and the special bond it created. I loved our cuddles, laying with her in the morning, I loved how she played with my necklace as she nursed. I loved our night time routine, just the two of us.

There were so many things I was going to miss. There's no doubt she was ready, but was I? Was I ruining our relationship somehow? Would she change her mind? Would we still have that special bond? Was I making a mistake? Had I done enough? There were so many times as a new mom where I felt like I hadn't tried hard enough, or done enough for my little girl. On the days we stayed in instead of going to the park or story time or a playdate, I always felt this piercing twinge of guilt, as if I'd failed her somehow. Looking back on it all now, I wish I could go back and tell myself how great I was doing. How momming day in, day out is tough! To Keira, it never really mattered what we did as long as she was with me. If you've ever felt this way, {hugs mama}.

Mother-child relationships are such an amazing thing. Just as we nourished them for nine (ok ten) months in the womb, we continue to nourish them when they join us earth side. No matter how we do it, feeding our babies is one of the first ways we bond with them. The eye contact, the tender touch, and soft coos are all ways we initially communicate with these sweet little beings. Just as our children grow and evolve into full blown, walking, talking humans, our relationships grow and evolve with them. My baby girl is growing up so fast. Will it always feel like just as I’ve gotten the hang of one thing, something new will pop up that I’ll have to get used to?

Our last night of nursing was sentimental. I’ll admit, I wept after I laid her down to sleep. My heart broke just a tiny bit. With my head buried deep in my husbands chest, I longed for that tiny little baby that needed me every waking moment of every single day.

The next morning, I doubted whether I had made the right decision and suddenly, that tiny evil voice of doubt crept up behind me. Had I failed again? As soon as I opened the door to her room, looked down to see that gorgeous, round, happy face beaming up at me, I knew we’d be alright. I’d be alright. And just like that, our next chapter had begun.

No matter how long or how short of a time you nurse, or even if you don’t do it at all, it is enough. Rest assured that your baby loves you, no matter what. Life is ever-changing, but there is one thing will remain the same...You are their mother, their keeper of secrets, their first love, and their safe place. You are all they need. You are enough, mama. Don't forget it.

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