“Is this enough?”, I looked sadly at the ounce of liquid gold I labored over in the past (30) minutes. I said to myself, “I can’t be a failure at this, she needs me. ‘Breast is Best’” and so I carried on. Juggling a 10hr workday, motherhood (first time mom here!), being a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend — I carried on.
“I’ll prescribe you with just 25mg of Zoloft. You need this. You need to take care of you; it is ok”. I stepped out of the doctor’s office and stared blankly at the piece of paper I was handed. “No”, I said to myself, “I don’t want to taint my milk. My mind is stronger than my emotions. I can do this, she needs me to overcome this.” and so, I carried on.
Over a year and I still carried on. Partly panicking, partly grieving. “I refuse to give up; at least (2) years. C’mon she needs this!”.
In the confines of my company’s mother’s room, I cried but I carried on — every two hours like clockwork, “you can’t risk stopping and lowering your supply even more!”. I carried on even when the raw skin of my breasts began to crack and bleed, “Nothing that a Band-Aid can’t fix”. Mastitis? I am unfazed. I carried on and squeezed my breasts even if just the tiniest drop came out of it.
And then it happened. The anger, the grief, the guilt; a myriad of emotions overwhelming me. Flashes of my “friends”, brochures, websites, complete strangers posting or saying, “…formula is poison, would you feed your baby poison?”, “maybe you’re not trying hard enough or taking enough supplements…”, “did you check with a lactation consultant?”, “you need one of those breast massages“, “remember, cow’s milk are for calves and breast milk is for babies”. The question of “Is this enough?” became “Am I enough?”.
At that very moment, it dawned on me, “Yes, I am enough and I am a mother”. Breastmilk does not define me as a mother. I have given my all — very literally, blood, sweat and tears and willingly do so again and again but not because of how
I feed my daughter. For the first time, in a long while, I felt like a mother.
I am Audrey’s mother and I am enough.
“I am Enough” is part of Bump Club and Beyond’s “Like A Mother” series. These submissions detail the first time amazing moms around the world felt like mothers. Stay tuned for more “Like A Mother” blog posts in the coming weeks.