Photo Credit: Gettty Images
That's what it felt like, then—suffocating under the crushing weight of self-doubt and insecurity. Until finally, my husband said it. "I want my wife back," he told me late one night. "I want the woman who smiles when I come home from work; the one who laughs and likes being home and is happy. That's who I miss." That's when it clicked with me, too: Breastfeeding wasn't going to make me a good mother. Being a good mother, and a good wife, was about more than what I fed my baby. It was about being present and capable for my family. I was not able to be either of those things when I was worried about breastfeeding the entire time.
That very day, I started the weaning process. The relief was immediate. But the guilt lingered for a good long while.
That baby is going to be three years old in a couple of months, and now whenever people ask me about my nursing experience, I try to be honest. I say it didn't work out for us and I wait for the next question, because I know there are a lot of women who hide behind their guilt, who don't want fingers pointed at them for not nursing their children for whatever reason. And if they open up to me, I simply tell them that it was a struggle, but now, nearly three years later, it never crosses my mind. I don't look at my son and see what he ate for the first year of his life. I see what he refuses to eat now, actually, which is any vegetable that doesn't look like a French fry or any meat that isn't in nugget form. And I know that I made the right choice for my family then, and again when I had my second child a couple of years later. I don't regret it, because I know I would have regretted it more if I let something like nursing come between me and my ability to be happy and mentally healthy. For a while I was always told that nursing was a special bond between mother and child, but it took quitting in order for me to be the devoted, loving mother I knew I could be.