Breastfeeding

Mom Guilt

Mom Guilt 150 150 rebekahrosler

It’s inevitable. If you’re a mom. You have it. It can be about the smallest things. Or the largest. The food you feed them. Or don’t. The amount of TV you let them watch. Your job keeping you from them. Or your job raising them. Playing with them enough – or looking down at your phone too much. Giving them individual attention. Letting them have an imagination or giving them too many toys.

No matter what it is. It’s not good enough.

It can be so overwhelming that it takes a significant portion of your brain space. And as soon as you give yourself a pass – something else comes up. And you go down the rabbit hole. Accepting blame. Transferring blame. Where did it stem from? Your childhood? Your mom? Her mom. And down you go. Spiraling out of control.

Most recently mine has been about illness. I truly cannot fathom how it’s possible. But my children have been sick since the last week of June. With a slight reprieve in August for a summer break. My first was sick frequently, her first year of daycare. But, daycare frequently – like – snotty noses. A little Hand Foot Mouth here and there. But this year. With the twins. It’s been nothing short of unbelievable. I feel defeated – and it takes a lot for me to get there. We have been at the doctor – at least once – every single week since September 18, sans a single week in October. Today is December 29th.

That is not normal.

We used our entire FSA within four months.

Is it my fault? Is it because I’m not a germaphobe. I half ass the whole “washing hands” thing? Is it because I don’t feed them well enough? Didn’t give enough Breast Milk? Ate dairy while breastfeeding? Don’t bathe them frequently? Use bubbles when I do? Is it because I’m too relaxed about everything? Should I not be? Is it because when they were born I got an infection during labor and I “let” the doctors” give them both antibiotics on day one “in case” they maybe got the infection. It is because they couldn’t delay cord clamping because there were two of them? Is it because I didn’t do enough research to know my rights and demand what I should have – mere moments after pushing two humans out of my vagina?

It’s obviously all my fault. So what is there to do?

I don’t actually have an answer. And I don’t really think it’s my fault. I more am desperately sad for my kids who weekly hit a temperature of 103.

I’ve been looking forward to this winter break for months. And of course, instead, there has been sickness, medication, temperatures, pain, sadness every single day. We’ve barely left the house – outside of doctor visits. I just wanted everyone to enjoy. And of course. I have guilt and disappointment that we didn’t.

And now to top it off the fucking dog is sick.

I know Mom Guilt is real.

And unavoidable.

And also an unnecessary stressor.

We deal with enough, hopeful in 2019 energies can be better spent. I have a business to build.

A business focused on helping moms avoid mom guilt.

There Is No One Luckier Than You

There Is No One Luckier Than You 150 150 rebekahrosler

I felt like I was drowning.

At one point last night—possibly for the first time ever—I took a deep breath and thought:

I am drowning.

I just took something *else* on, without thinking it through, because I thought it could help my family. As soon as I did, I felt a weight on my chest. A heavy, heavy weight.

My to-do list already spans 7 1/2 columns, and every day, I just move the long list from one day to the next in my calendar, though it feels like hundreds of items get crossed off daily. There are just are not enough moments in a day to do it all (though somehow, someway we are expected to.)

There are second notice bills that I haven’t paid, last month’s daycare tuition I’ve not fully been able to take care of, and piles and piles of laundry stacked up from two weeks ago.

The intention is there.

The time and money are not.

I woke up today feeling less overwhelmed but acutely aware of all the things that still needed to happen. And I don’t know about your brain, but when mine is left to its own devices… For. Get. It.

After wrangling three fussy kids to drop-off, my appointment with my doula client would start the day before the day even began. I still had posts to edit and monitor in ten different Facebook groups, and many messages to return. I needed to print something timely, but inevitably I was out of ink. And when I did print it, it came out crooked. I had boxes to slap shipping labels on. Groceries to order. An Air BnB to finalize.  At some point I’d need to do research on new ADHD meds to see which ones my new shitty insurance will cover. I need to go back on meds so I can focus and stay organized… shit, I almost forgot… my appointment with the therapist is tomorrow (ironic but true.)

But first I have to stop breastfeeding, so I can go on said meds. But how do you finally, truly, forever, actually stop? At least there’s reliable ole cow’s milk, right?

Nope. Not anymore. Apparently our next generation of girls will have their periods at age 7, because hormones, or homogenized, or pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized—or this article, or that study says—or who the fuck knows.

GAHHHHHH

And I have books to read, and meetings to be on, trainings to finish, and schedule, and calls to make, and calls to return, and things to pick up, and documents to send, and things to drop off. Clothes to buy, and to sell, and to donate, and appointments to make, and cancel, and to remember—and oh shit I forgot the kids’ cheese.

Again.

And none of this even touches on my new business that I’m trying to build from the ground up, with (currently) no investors, and no income. A partnership meeting for this business will be my actual first meeting of the work day, after all of the above.

But oh my god.

Just breathe.

I’m sure we’ve all felt like this (so fucking scattered) at one point or another.

And damn, it’s scary. When you’re a family of five, living in New York City, sending three kids to daycare, living on one salary—a not-for-profit salary, at that— and feeding not only said family of five humans, but also a cat with stage three kidney disease who definitely eats better than the rest of us, and a dog.

A crazy, crazy dog.

These last few days happened to be very productive and fruitful, which felt good, but again, the list is just so, so long. I decided a top priority for today would be preparing dinner for my kids before they returned home, since this literally never ever happens. I had grand plans; until I opened the refrigerator. Clearly the grocery shopping hadn’t happened. They ended up with chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, and spinach bites—all from the freezer.

But alas, I’m calling it a win.

Now it’s go time: end of day round-up/pick-up.

I get downstairs with the dog, and it’s raining. And this dog. does. not. like. rain. But obviously I was already late. So off we go.

I didn’t have an umbrella.

Or a stroller, for that matter.

Due to an earlier “incident” at daycare—involving our doublewide stroller, leading to some f-bombs, and two back-to-back blow-up fights with the admin staff—I had determined: Today there would be no stroller.

Bad choice.

Only I would lose in this scenario.

I get to school, and I am very, very wet. I presume the rain will stop, or at least let up, before I leave with everyone, so at least the kids won’t get soaked.

Yeah, right.

By now, of course, it’s pouring.  I have one baby strapped on my back, the other baby on the front, and the toddler was thrown in a rickety, 3X-hand-me-down, broken tricycle with a push handle that doesn’t turn. I grab my soaking wet and VERY unhappy dog, and we head home.

No stroller.

No snacks.

No umbrella.

Both babies are crying, and hungry, and so tired because said admin staff stopped me to talk about “the stroller incident.”

And it was late.

As I crossed the street, I passed a security guard.

Our eyes met.

He was smiling at me with kind eyes. And I smiled back. As I was about to walk by, he said:

“Is there anyone luckier than you?”

And I stopped.

In the rain, with three wailing children, and my crazed mind, and a laundry list of things to do, and my goddamn dog who was obviously trying to eat a street-chicken bone.

“Three beautiful children. Is there anyone luckier?” he said again.

I replied, after a deep, deep breath.

“No, no there isn’t. Thank you for the reminder.”

I could go on to talk about the fight my husband and I got into immediately following this moment, or the fact that, instead of writing this right now, I should be working on the project I took on late last night. Or tackling any number of the 47,283 tasks remaining on the to-do list. Or hey, maybe go to sleep?

But that isn’t the moral here.

The moral of the story is: Appreciate what you have. Live your life. Chase your dream. Stay as focused as you can. But be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break. Realize it truly will always work out… somehow.

There will be ups.

There will be downs.

You will get soaked.

And see the light.

There will be moments of clarity.

And of drowning.

But somewhere along the way, you will be reminded – there is no one luckier than you.

 

Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding Week 150 150 rebekahrosler

The journey of breastfeeding is not one to be taken lightly, or for granted. Yes it is natural but no, it is not easy. Many of us struggle. Many of us stop. The truth is – a happy mom is the number one priority in a child’s life.

I struggled immensely with my first. There were tears, there was pain, there was exhaustion and lots of hours attached to machines. Ultimately I pushed through. 18 months with my first. Twins came two months later. And now almost 11 months in this round I’m still at it – though the journey is soon to meet its ultimate fate.

But this was not done exclusively. There were bottles and there is formula. Lots and lots of formula for the twins. I learned early on fed truly is best.

I feel lucky and honored that I was able to provide for my children but I’m also glad that I was able to resist the societal pressure of breast is best.

Happy breast-feeding week to those who choose to do it and to those who chose not to do it. Those who choose to feed their babies in whatever ways shapes or forms keep their entire family happy, healthy and sane – keep going mama!

To those struggling because of the stigma attached to not breast feeding/formula – please know we stand in solidarity.

We are all good moms.

And Then We Came To The End

And Then We Came To The End 150 150 rebekahrosler

I never thought it would happen.

In fact, I was certain it would not. After all – I was the one who didn’t want kids. What’s the appeal? I thought. You can’t travel. You’re limited. Tired. Tied down. The diapers. The mess.

You can’t live freely.

I just couldn’t see it. Not for me at least.

Then I met the love of my life – and learned that a love so strong brings with it other desires. Other needs. And with it – the realization that those other fears were less important. When a life is lived well before meeting your partner – the feeling of missing out on what the world has to offer, is a little less clawing. Creating another life. A life we make. Together. Ours. Felt like it was already a story written.

That’s what the world would have to offer, for us. Our baby.

So we had the one. Nathan would have been content. Was content. Just days after she was born, though, I realized I experienced a tectonic shift.

I too was content. I was in love. But I was far from done. Almost one year to the day later, we were pregnant with twins.

This, by far, for sure, unequivocally, would be it. There was no other possible reality. For what was originally intended to be a family of two was already a party of five. Certainly, this was the end.

The twins came. And yes. We were done. Love was bursting through every seam. As were the diapers. And the spit up. And the laundry. And the sleepless nights. And the colic. Yes. We were done. We took all the precautions to ensure this reality. We are closed for business, as it were.

And now. A day until marking 9 months with the twins and nearly two and a half years with our first, I’m questioning everything. I want more. I think I want more. Could I possibly, truly want more?

I’ve been quietly suppressing this feeling. Not accepting it. Not acknowledging it. You see, I am the only one who feels this way in my marriage. But it’s beginning to bubble over. And it’s time to honestly face what these feelings mean.

As I sat with a dear friend (and fellow twin mom) yesterday it seems I am not alone. We both have three young children. The most recent set being the twins. We shared how different the experience is with two, than with one. There are no special cuddles in bed, just you and your baby. There’s autopilot – overdrive – to just keep everyone alive. The pregnancy is like nothing a human should endure. All in all. The twin experience is just… different.

I keep going back and forth – deciding if I should say it was less special. Because that would rub people the wrong way. And that’s never my intention. But If I’m being honest, for me, it was a little less special. More robotic. The breastfeeding sessions didn’t feel like bonding. The witching hour was doubly hard. There’s just no one-on-one mommy-baby, get-to-know-each-other-moments. It’s almost like what could have been, wasn’t.

So I’m stuck in this place. My truth. We are done. Because we have to be. For many reasons. But I don’t think I can accept it. Not yet. Not now. Though I have no other choice. And maybe I don’t really want another baby. Maybe I’m simply mourning the loss of what could have been. Or maybe now that the the twins are no longer newborns, barely even infants – I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we will have no more baby firsts.

Babies. Twins. Are life changing. You just never realize what having one, or three, will do to your entire existence. I almost can’t remember the “me” from before. In a good way, I believe.

I have never accepted something in my life I wasn’t fully satisfied with. I will fight to the death for what I want or believe in. If there is something I need. I will always figure out a way. I have never failed at this.

I think this is the first fight I must succumb to. Understand that this is it. Drop my head, accept defeat and walk right up to the finish line.

I cannot cross it, though. I am not finished.

Daddy, Penis, Harper, Vagina, Mommy…

Daddy, Penis, Harper, Vagina, Mommy… 150 150 rebekahrosler

I know as a mom of 3 and a 38 year old woman, it’s pretty much expected that – no – I do not have my 18 (or 21, or 30…or even 35) year old body.

I also know we are supposed to be comfortable with that. “Your body is incredible” “you carried these babies, it’s really a miracle”.

Blah blah.

I mean. Yeah. I get it. It’s for sure true. But, I looked pretty good at 18 (and 21 and still 30). And this thing that flops over my pants (pants that I basically need a clamp to pull/zip up) is just not my favorite. Nor are the Grandma arms. And what the hell with my feet? I need an entire new shoe wardrobe.

Sure, our society sets unrealistic expectations of what women should look like. Period.

I get that – but I’m also only human and still suck my stomach in any time I walk by a mirror. And pick up my chin so the second (and third chins) flatten, just a tad.

I wish I could say I’m at peace with my new (“beautiful”) shape. But I won’t.

Ain’t true.

Let me be clear. I am eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Doritos as a snack. Whatever handful of, whatever’s available for lunch. Hopefully some version of a chocolate bar for a treat. (It is Cadbury Cream Egg season afterall.) And definitely some ice cream throughout the day. So. I certainly cannot cry “poor me”. But, I can still be annoyed that – no, shockingly, breastfeeding DOES NOT melt the pounds away. And this is likely my new normal.

All this is just to say, I obviously don’t care THAT much or I would do something – anything – to change my behavior.

A salad from time to time, or a veggie for a change.

But. Nah. Bagels and Cheese are just too damn good.

I guess it all became more apparent with a recent realization from my ever loving – pretty verbal – 2 year old.

We are not of the mindset of teaching our kids that genitalia have cutesy or hush-hush names.

They are penises and vaginas.

Apparently Nathan had been keeping this one from me for a while. But then it all came out.

Kids say the darnedest things, eh?

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The End

The End 150 150 rebekahrosler

Today is the last day I will ever be on maternity leave.

It’s the last day I will wake up to my sole role in life being: Mom.

The last time my entire day will be about simply taking care of my babies – and nothing else.

Sure, there will be weekends, and sick days, and vacations. But maternity leave is just different. And today is the last day of it for my forever. Five months and 14 days of captured memories and moments.

Often times people say the end is bittersweet. But right now, I’m finding this ending is just bitter. My babies are 5m old. And I’m simply not ready to go.

My leave with Harper was 3 short months, I certainly wasn’t ready then. But I knew there would be more. More babies, more newborn moments, more bonding, more breastfeeding, more leave – so the end wasn’t really the end.

The air is different today.

This end signifies other ends. They’re getting older and will be starting solids soon. This means a decrease in my supply. Which means my breastfeeding days will be numbered. I have just spent the better part of the last two years attached to a mouth, or a machine, to provide sustenance, nutrients and bonding for my three babies.

Of course I’d love to have my body back – if that’s even possible – but this end, I will take very hard. I’m not there quite yet.

Their newborn clothes have been packed away and given to friends. We will never be needing them again.

38, these days, doesn’t seem old. But to have something be forever done, absolutely- feels a bit overwhelming. Nathan and I just signed and notarized a life changing document.

We will be donating our last remaining embryo, to science, officially.

So when I say over, I mean, over.

Seeing the ads and pictures of newborns flooding my screen gives me pause, makes my heart skip a beat, and I tear up. That will never be my reality, my life, again.

I sit here on this last day considering my journey. How I got here. Who was along for the ride. The metamorphosis, the transformation – the incredible shift that took place in my life over the last three years.

The doors are gently shutting behind me today and when I wake up tomorrow a new chapter, nay, a new book, begins. I’d like to say I’m prepared. I’m ready. It’s for the best. But, then, I wouldn’t be honest.

Today will be full of deep breaths, baby cuddles, and many, many tears.

I have no clever parting words. I’m simply not ready for it all to end.

100% Sure. Probably.

100% Sure. Probably. 150 150 rebekahrosler

As I sit on my couch, one baby in my arms nursing, the other sleeping sweetly and silently in the carriage from our morning stroll, I quietly contemplate my current status. Mom.

How did I get here? When did my path change? Was this always what was planned for my future? Is there such thing as “destiny?”

I will never know. And truthfully it doesn’t matter much. What matters is in 20 Days, my status changes and I return to Professional Mom.

Is that who I am? I know I’m not the mom who can come up with educational activities all day to help develop and occupy my kids. And if I read It’s Potty Time for Fucking Elmo one more time, I’ll lose my shit.

So yeah. Professional is the only other role available. Right?

Our journey began soon after marriage, and many years into my career. We banked 5 embryos. Transferred 2 and 9 months later our beautiful daughter was born. One year later, without much life planning, budget reviewing or forward thinking, we transferred 2 more untested embryos – because we weren’t quite done yet. 8 months later our incredible twins (still can’t quite believe that one) were here.

Now, during my last days of my final maternity leave I have a lot to think about. What does our life look like now? How will we juggle it? What are our priorities? How do Nathan and I put each other first, still, sometimes, ever?

Nathan’s an artist, passionate, creative. Who am I? What am I?

I’ve been sitting on an important document. One that I absolutely will sign. Must sign. Need to sign.

We have one embryo left.

Our family is complete. We know this embryo needs to go to science – to help the fertility world learn more. I’ve had this document since September…We are 100% sure our family is done and this right (for us). Probably.

My days on this couch are numbered. And this ride has been an unexpectedly miraculous and marvelous one.

I guess the question is. What’s next?

To learn more about my services, let’s talk. I offer a 15-minute, no-obligation phone consultation to determine how I can help you navigate your motherhood journey.