After a hectic start to Jolee’s life…where are we now?
Well, I did not keep up month to month posts with Jolee. So, we are pretty much going to jump from 4 months old to now…1 year old.
She’s perfect. And feisty. And funny. And I love her so much.
As I was editing the posts about her bottle feeding journey and kind of reflecting back on it all, it was just such a crazy blur. I could not believe it took three months to get her oral issues fixed. Three months is not that long, but in the moment, it felt so long. It felt so crazy. Had we not got the issues fixed at this age, they would have manifested into something else later, but the ultimate goal, at that particular time, was to get her to take a bottle so I could return to work.
Three months of therapy for seven months of bottle feeding because in March of 2020, daycares were shut down due to COVID-19.
In that moment, I was expecting around a 2 week shutdown and then everything was going to go back to normal. Clearly, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I had a completely different breastfeeding experience with Jolee than I did with any of the other kids. When she was sent home, that was the last time she took a bottle. She was with me at home, so I fed her directly from me. The good thing, I stopped pumping when she was sent home because there was not a need for me to do that anymore, so I’m thankful for that.
I breastfed Jolee until she was 13 months old. We are now completely weaned and I couldn’t be happier.
I absolutely sacrificed my mental health to breastfeed. And I realize you aren’t supposed to do that. But I did. With all three of my kids. They all had different and complex issues.
I understand that I didn’t get a gold star for breastfeeding my kids for that long. My picture isn’t going to go on a wall of mom’s that breastfed their kid until they were one.
It’s very much something internal for me. I felt like I had so many issues of my own. I never really feel like a good mom. In my mind, the one positive thing that I could do for my kids was to give them breastmilk until they were one.
And I sacrificed everything to do that. I sacrificed my body, my marriage, everything. Literally everything.
How did I sacrifice my marriage?
Scott would want to go do something and everything just seemed too hard. I’d have to drag a pump with me if Jolee wasn’t with me. What would I do with my milk? How would I keep it cold? Then I didn’t want Jolee with me because I just needed a break. It was either the pump or Jolee. It all seemed too hard, so I always said no. Thus, driving the stake further in between Scott and I.
In the past 7 years, since I was first pregnant in 2013, I’ve been pregnant 6 times for a total of 35 months…3 years…and I’ve breastfed all my kids for 1 year…another 3 years.
In the past 7 years, my body has belonged to me for 1 year in very broken up periods of time.
The point? Scott and I were totally ready to rediscover us.
Fun fact, we were both under the age of 21 in this picture. And we were at the beach alone with no alcoholic beverages. I’m honestly surprised our first kid wasn’t conceived on this trip.
After I was done breastfeeding Jolee, that was it. No more kids. No more breastfeeding or pumping. Done. Over. Scott had a vasectomy in November 2019, so that was a really solidifying factor for us.
2020 has not been kind to Scott and I. We have openly talked about divorce more this year than we ever have. We just haven’t really been on the same page on a lot of things.
We were just ready to figure out if we still loved each other like we thought we did.
We talked about planning a trip to get away with just us. And then COVID happened. It really put a damper on our plans.
I think we may schedule something eventually, but it’s not as soon as we hoped it would be.
I’m just ready to feel like a human again. I’m ready to feel like a woman. A wife again. Something other than a personal incubator and a milk machine.
And I don’t harbor any guilt for saying that. I’m still a mom. But I don’t want my identity so wrapped up in always being a mom. I am someone outside of a mom.