I tried not to have too many expectations about what would happen when baby came home. The one thing I knew was that every child is different, and every parent’s experience is different. In fact, I was expecting the worst, and so far, apart from the first difficult weeks, things have not lived up to my dire expectations.
But when it came to pumping, it turns out I had very unrealistic expectations.
The decision to have a child is not a simple one for everyone. And as you may already know, I could come up with many more reasons not to have children, than to have them. And one of the big ones, for me, was simply the unfairness of being the woman. Because in the story of procreation, a man can be the most supportive being on the planet, but he still can’t do what a woman can.
I want to give a shout out to all those ladies out there who breastfed their children, including myself since I’m currently in the midst of it. I also want to give a shout out to all those who tried, only to find, that for whatever reason, it did not work out. And while I’m here, I also want to give a shout out to anyone who decided to bottle feed their babe, because after all, fed is best, and in many ways it feels like that would be the smart route.
I thought breastfeeding was an all or nothing thing. I knew it wasn’t easy, and did not work for everyone, and I held myself to no expectations. If it works, I said, I’ll do it, and if not, whatever. I thought there would be a black and white reason why it would work, or not, but what I’ve dug up is a whole lot of shades of grey.
They say you forget the pain of childbirth. Ha! Who are they kidding? Sure, time passes, and like everything that passes, it feels less traumatic. But I’m not going to forget the pain of childbirth any more than I forget the chronic back pain I had to navigate through to get to that point.
But I can reflect back on the experience and choose to put away the worst parts. That I don’t think I can do this feeling, knowing it was all on me. And the expressions on the doctor and nurses faces toward the end when I could well see they were concerned but didn’t want to show how much. I can remember how from all this experience, I got something out of it (apart from a healthy child) – I learnt a new German word.
My brother, his wife and their 9-month-old recently visited me in Austria, and kudos to them for undertaking such an adventure with a young baby! After spending a week at home (which, let’s be honest, is more than enough for my small town), we all headed off on a road trip through Slovenia and Italy.
Travelling with a baby presents its own challenges, so now add to that the fact that we also had a cripple on board (that’s me and my bulging discs), which made life even more interesting.