- GINGERBREAD INK
"Dear me"- The first G-ink Village Blog Post
Welcome to the G-ink Village’s blog. A blog that invites all parents to share their story with the world, to shed some light on their joys, struggles, delights and emotions in the parenthood journey.
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We would love to hear from you.
To kick off the blog, I am sharing a letter I wrote to myself, from a future older and (hopefully!) wiser me. I wrote this at 3 weeks postpartum, when I was struggling with low milk supply. Occasionally I’ll write myself a letter like this when I’m struggling with something- to reassure myself and to give me some hope- attempting to move through the feelings, whilst validating them in all of their rawness.
I’m sharing this letter and starting this blog, so others going through the same or a similar thing, know that they’re not alone in their struggles. Nobody really talks to each other about just how hard becoming a parent is, and often people like to quickly move on from the tough parts of conversation- uncomfortable with the feelings that arise within them. We’ll say things like “It’s ok, you’ll push through”, or “It’s gonna work out”- just to get out of those awkward icky feelings. So here’s my letter that does its best at the time to sit in and acknowledge the hard feelings and all the insecurities creeping in.
Big love and hugs to all the new mama’s and dada’s out there, doing it tough. I see you, and know that you are not alone.
I know it's hard right now. Really hard. You're doing amazing to have come this far already. 3 weeks and your world is turned completely upside down. Baby E is beautiful and perfect, though bloody hungry for what seems like all the time with no break in between. The volumes she hungrily sucks up from the bottle makes you jealous and angry and sad that you can't give that to her straight from your breast. It doesn't feel fair.
I know that your husband is trying and you know that, and you know he's finding it frustrating when her hands get in the way of drinking from the bottle. I know you get angry and envious of him because that is his biggest frustration. It doesn't feel fair.
You worry about baby E and her weight gain and even her poos, praying to whoever is out there that she's gonna be ok and that she's putting on the right amount of weight. You worry that even though she's getting some breast milk during the day it still isn't good enough.
You hate that some LCs and nurses have doubted that you'll ever have a full milk supply- almost like they're saying that you'll never be good enough to feed your baby. A part of you wants to feel confident and say “stuff them I'll get there”, but another part- a little scared voice that says “what if they’re right?”.
How is it that you can cry enough tears to feed a baby but not enough milk? You know stress is the enemy here and that more stress will only mean less milk but you can't help but stress. And whilst you wish you didn’t have to feel this way, a tiny part of you is grateful because it shows your husband how much you still need him to be close, to still remain a team before and after a baby. You need him to be the strongest he's ever been, at a time when he's probably also struggling the most.
This is the hardest thing you've ever done. Pumping for hours every day and night. Your body aches still and you're recovering from giving birth to a human that you've grown, even sitting down hurts still from the stitches and bruising. Recovery takes time even after the physical wounds and pain have gone. Remember time is also moving. You're not going to be in this phase forever. It will pass. You're going to get there- and by “there” I mean a place where you're ok with feeding baby E- breastfeeding or not. You might still be mourning the loss of how you imagined her feeding would be, but you’ll have your beautiful baby girl, you’ll have your supportive husband- it's gonna be ok, even if it’s not ok right now.
Try and let him tell you it's going to be ok, try and let him comfort you in a way that he knows how. I know it probably is not going to be in the way that you want comfort. I know you want him to just scoop you up and hold you so close and keep holding you even when your body is limp and he feels rejected, but remember that he's trying. Remember that he can't know what's in your mind all the time, he can't give you what you need all the time. It's ok for things to get missed sometimes. He loves you and he's trying. Remember that.
I'm giving you the biggest hug now- just as big as I was giving you a hug when you were just a child and your needs got missed sometimes and you were hurting. I'm here. I'm looking over you. You'll get to where I am one day and it's ok in the end. You can do it. I know you can. There's always time to cry and say that it's hard, because you know what- it really is THAT hard. You're allowed to feel that way.
I'm so proud of you.
Love older Lisa xxx