Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Human Experience

Nobody is perfect. And that's the way it's meant to be. Each of us go through something that makes us realize this is a "human experience." When one of those experiences is tied to how you define yourself, what you consider your role in life to be, it can be particularly trying. I want to share one of those experiences I have had with you.

As I have stated before, I have always wanted to be a mother. One of the things I was really looking forward to was nursing. I was excited to be my baby's source of comfort, her only nourishment, and feel incredibly connected to her even after birth.

Cheyenne, circa May 2011
When Cheyenne was born, she had low blood sugar. Any medical complication with a newborn is scary, and she actually spent a few days in the NICU where they fed her sugar water and formula to try and correct the situation. By the time we got home my milk supply was still too low and could have possibly led to a relapse in her low blood sugar condition. I remember coming home from the lactation specialist bawling my eyes out, all of my hopes and dreams of being a nursing mother having gone out the window.

With Delaney I was determined to get it right. After delivery things were pretty textbook, and we actually left the hospital 24 hours after she was born. I nursed her constantly. I pumped. I took supplements. This was something I really really wanted. My calling in life is a mother, a nurturer. This is part of who I am.

Delaney circa July 2012
But sadly, after another trip to a lactation specialist, I found out that despite all of my efforts, I was still not able to produce enough milk. I decided not to give up. I continued to nurse and bottle feed. At 5 months, I'm not "done" yet, but it is readily apparent I am not her main source of nourishment.

With Cheyenne, when we went straight to bottle feeding, I remember being so concerned about the social aspects of it. People will judge me, think I chose this. I won't fit in in the mother's lounge. I won't be "in" with all the mastitis and soreness stories. I won't really be a "mother." Anyone could comfort my baby, not just me. I felt so incredibly alone.

When the problems started happening with Delaney, I poured my heart out to the Lord. "Please! Heavenly Father! Don't let this happen to me! I just want everything to work out. I want to feed my baby! I want to do the middle-of-the-night feedings. I want to. I really do. I will do anything! Just take this away" But the answer I received was not the one I wanted to hear.

He told me, this is a human experience. And you are not meant to be perfect. 

I've come to terms with this answer. I wouldn't say I've embraced the fact that I'm "broken." I don't think that's expected of us. But I have accepted the fact that we are mortal, each of us has something that is less than ideal. It's a way to remind us.

It's to remind us of where we are headed, what we are striving for. When we are resurrected, we will have PERFECT bodies, that perform perfectly. And already inside of us, we have perfect spirits, because we have a perfect Father. And that's who Heavenly Father loves. He loves me despite what may be outwardly defective. We are not defined by our faults. My Heavenly Father knows who I really am. 

I want to be that person, His daughter, who follows His teachings and lives her life so I can return to live with Him again.


  1. I love your honest and well written blog posts! I've felt the same when things don't go as planned for me. What a great reminder that Heavenly Father sees the big picture and is always wanting to teach us something :)

  2. Thank you so much for this post -- it was seriously an answer to my prayers! I have a 4-week old baby boy and I have extremely low milk supply. I have been using an SNS but the truth of the matter is that I can't even give him 1/4 of what he needs. While I am grateful to be able to do a small bit of breastfeeding I had been feeling pretty down on myself and depressed that I was not able to do it the "normal" way (not to mention frustrated with the high price of formula... boo). Reading this helped me feel not so alone and gave me better perspective. Thank you so much. :)

  3. Oh Ashley dear. So not alone! I was only able to nurse barely 3 months with my first. I have some severe problems on my right side and I dried up pretty fast with her. With my second I lasted 2 weeks because I was in so much pain because of that right side and my daughter just wasn't getting enough. I pumped like a mad woman for two more weeks before finally deciding it just wasn't meant to be. And she was so much happier when I just gave her what she needed, even if it wasn't from me. As long as you love your girls and do what's best for them, you are what they need. You are their mommy and they love you. No matter how you feed them. :) And I've noticed, that there is still no better comfort for my girls when they're really upset than their Mama. Even without nursing, I can still comfort them in ways that only Mama can. It's one of my great joys to know that even with bottle feeding, there are still so many things that only Mama can do. :) Or at least, that Mama's the best at. :) I was worried, but that special bond has still always been there, just in other ways.

  4. Ashley, I cried when I read this. Your post was so honest and real and you came out with such a positive out look in the end. The first week week with Maxson home, I too was struggling with my milk supply and bawled every time I fed him a bottle those first few times. I wasn't really producing any milk in til day 6 and I felt like a failure. I was going through those same emotions. This was the one thing I really wanted to do for him by myself: provide food. And here I was feeding him a bottle. But in the end it really was what he needed most that week. It didn't matter who it came from, he just was needing food. My lactation specialist was like a psychiatrist to me telling stories where this and this happened against her odds and now on baby 2 or 3 she suddenly was producing milk or other stories that encouraged me. Milk or no milk, you are still such a wonderful mother to those girls!

  5. I remember reading this blog post less than a month after I had my first son and was so discouraged because I couldn't breastfeed. My second son is now 5 weeks old, and the experience has been similar, although with this boy I am trying nursing and then a bottle instead of using the SNS all the time like I did with my first one. Anyway, I came and looked this story up because I remember feeling so comforted coming across it the first time. It's still so hard to not be able to breastfeed! But your words put it into perspective. Thanks for putting them out there. :)