23 August 2013


Tadpole Jones is sleeping, which is allowing me to write. Mostly because I am actually putting off starting diaper laundry, but I'm beginning to subscribe to the 'sleep when you're dead' philosophy.

I'm beginning to remember some of the angst of babies. The not-sleeping because they breathe too quietly. The worry about whether they are eating enough. Is he growing? Is he happy? Babies think in pictures - are they good pictures or bad pictures? Why is he screaming?

All of these questions come with 482 million answers, and none of them are "Alexander Skarsgard will be popping by to rock you to sleep".

Not sleeping well, my darling? Let me soothe you with my beauty, and yes, I will change poopy diapers and feed him at 3am, and also, I love to do diaper laundry.

Parents drink a lot of Kool-Aid. I don't mean real Kool-Aid, although I'm sure we drink our fair share of the real stuff too. I'm talking about buying into all the hype. We drink the Kool-Aid and we share the Kool-Aid and we inadvertently make people feel terrible if they don't drink the Kool-Aid.

I'm really finding this difficult since I chose to stop breastfeeding. Because if there is a favourite flavour of Kool-Aid in North America, it's the "Breast is best" Kool-Aid. And I have drunk so deeply from that well. So deeply, that if Breast-is-best were Grape flavoured, my skin would be purple. What I'm saying here, in my sleep-deprived state, is that I have HUGE guilt about not breastfeeding without anyone adding to it. And yet people think it's okay to comment.

"Oh, a bottle? Are you pumping?"

"Are you Formula Feeding?"

Look, it is what it is. I would love to be nursing the wee man. I'm sure his tummy would be happier. But here's the thing. I'm sick. I may not get my surgery before my maternity leave is over, and allow me to remind you I'm in Canada, so I get 52 weeks. I get the Breast-is-Best thing. I'm a nurse. I think nurses may drink more deeply from that Kool-Aid than anyone else does. We do not teach mothers how to feed formula because Breast-is-Best. We do not give info on how to tell if the formula you have chosen is appropriate because Breast-is-Best. We don't teach how much to feed at which ages because Breast-is-Best. Basically, if you choose formula, you're on your own.

I've felt very lonely over the last few weeks. Because I do feel like a failure. I feel like I am not doing right by my son. But I am working to overcome that because you know what? I am not a failure. I am sick. My son needed more than my body could provide and thank <insert deity of your own choice here> that we live somewhere that I can buy formula and access clean water to make sure he gets what he needs.

And fuck those people who want me to feel bad about it.

I make no bones about the fact that I want to live a greener lifestyle, that I am a bit of the hippy. But I was also gifted with a pretty awesome brain. And my really awesome brain says that there are some hills you need to die on, and some battles are just not worth making that last stand. I recycle in a town with no municipal recycling, I have a compost that makes great fertilizer, I am a committed cloth diapering mama, we shop local, we eat local, we have a veggie garden (uh, this year's garden is not great) and we shop second-hand a lot (I just did the Girlchild's school clothing shopping for $40 at second hand stores, and got beautiful clothes from trendy places like H&M, Old Navy and The Gap). All those things? All of those things make up for the fact that I am buying and feeding formula.

So where the Kool-Aid is concerned, I guess I need to switch my flavour of choice.

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