Monday, January 21, 2008

PTBD sufferers, unite

So as I think I've mentioned here before, I buy super pricey organic formula for Bat Girl. Just a personal preference, though I sure will be glad when we can start transitioning to cow's milk in a few weeks. Anyway, since we go through the stuff like crazy, I order it by the case online (btw, if anyone ever needs a discount code, let me know!). Today the UPS man brought what I hope may be our very last shipment of formula--box torn, so the contents were clearly visible. I answered the door with Bat Girl in my arms, so he very kindly hauled the heavy box into our foyer for me.

(I should preface this by saying that we are quite fond of our UPS man--we know him by name and are very friendly with him.)

"Now, if you were breastfeeding, I wouldn't have to carry these heavy boxes of formula all the time," he joked to me.

Huh? But OK, fine, I replied in the same tone: "Believe me, I'd much rather be breastfeeding and not spending the money on this stuff."

"Eh, you moms today, you try for a few days and then give up and go to formula."

WTF?!? Not quite believing that I am defending my inability to breastfeed to my UPS delivery man, I say, "Well, I tried really hard."

"Oh, sure, I went through that with all three of my kids, we got the pump and everything, but then you know what? After a couple of days, formula." He says this very knowingly, like, yeah, my wife pussed out like you, too.

Still not quite believing I am having this conversation, I say, "Well, I tried to breastfeed her for four months, but we had to give up, it was too hard."

"For you or for her?" he asks.

"For both of us," I say, which is the only way I can sum up four months of low supply, bad latch, breast refusal, and pumping problems without just printing out my whole damn blog and handing it to him.

Then he looks me up and down and says, "Yeah, I figured." OH NO HE DIDN'T! Did my UPS man just LOOK AT MY BOOBS and basically call me flatchested and unable to sustain human life?!???

For the record, this is the FIRST person ever to say anything the slightest bit critical about my not breastfeeding. The UPS man. Damn.

*****

Before I got pregnant with Bat Girl, my husband and I always assumed we would have at least two children, assuming we could get pregnant (though we were open to adoption as well). Then came the, shall we say, less-than-ideal pregnancy, followed by postpartum misery, breastfeeding hell, a year of sleepless nights, a depleted bank account, a sex life shot to hell (ah yes, I promised to post about that too--all in good time, my dears), etc. etc. etc....

Anyone who spends five minutes reading my blog or talking to me in person knows that my daughter is the light of my life and a source of unbelievable joy. I do not regret anything I went through to have her. But having a baby has been hard, that's just the truth. Neither my husband nor I are ready to dive back in to the newborn phase again, nor do we feel, now that we're parents, that someone is missing from our family. (That was the advice a friend of mine was given when debating whether or not to have another: Do you feel like there's still someone missing from your family? In her case, the answer was yes.) That's assuming we could even afford it, which at this point--yes, technically we could afford another child, people have two kids on less money than I make all the time, but it would mean squeezing every remaining drop of luxury out of our lives, like vacations and books and cable TV and other things I am not willing to give up. (Not to mention the fact that to minimize the chances of conceiving multiples, in the future we would go straight to IVF with single embryo transfer, so factor in the cost of that, too.)

All of those things are valid reasons not to have another child, as is the fear of landing on bedrest again, only this time with a toddler to care for. But the truth is, the biggest reason I don't want to have another is that secretly, I am terrified of facing breastfeeding again. As I've mentioned before, I think I have a case of post-traumatic breastfeeding disorder (tm Eva. The thought of having to go through all of that--the low supply (because let's face it, even though anecdotally people get a better supply with each pregnancy, if I was only able to get to 11 ounces a day with serious pharmaceutical intervention, I'm unlikely to ever have a full supply), the struggling with latch, the tanking self esteem, and oh god, the pumping, the endless pumping--it makes my stomach clench up.

Now, a smart person would do as Pru does and say, to hell with the whole thing, why torture yourself like that again? Why I cannot be rational like this, I don't know. I suppose I am just stubborn enough to want to have another go at hurling myself headfirst into a brick wall. But I am rational enough to assiduously refill my birth control pill prescription every month. Because I cannot do that again. I. can. not.

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15 Comments:

OpenID rememberella said...

What a rude fucking prick. How DARE he pass judgement on you after you did so much to provide Batgirl with breastmilk. Ugh, I am so angry for you, really, EL. What an arsehole.

PTBD indeed. I just love that expression; so true.

The question of "Is someone missing?" is an interesting one. I'm not sure how to answer that for us. I don't think so, actually. Oddly enough, trying again at BFing is one of the reasons I DO consider having another, though indeed, why would I put myself through that. What a masochist. And what a messed up reason to consider a second child, too, I might add.

11:19 PM  
Blogger BrooklynGirl said...

OH NO HE DIDN'T! I mean really!

I have to say that I thought I conquered the whole BF paranoia with my son, but no...it's been hard with my daughter. I've supplemented with formula from Day 1 and have declared, "That's it--I'm weaning" more times than I can count.

I wish it was easier...for all of us.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

I'd love to read your complaint to UPS...

I like to think of myself as pro-breastfeeding, but when my baby lost over a pound at the age of 4 months, I pretty much gave up right away. It killed me at the time (especially the thought that I'd been starving her) but, in retrospect, I'm sure it was the best thing I could have done for myself.

I totally agree with your friend about thinking whether there's someone missing. I felt that way from the time my twins were about 3 months old - and it wouldn't go away until I finally had another when they were almost 9.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Eva said...

Oh. My. God. I wonder what his cut-off is for having tried hard enough? Six months of misery? Eight? Wow.

Though I do have to say that it's nice to hear of a man that has a positive opinion about breastfeeding. I'll say that for him.

Yes, I don't think I can be comfortable with the idea of another baby if I can't be equally comfortable with the idea of not working so excruciatingly hard at breastfeeding if it doesn't (HAHAHA) go smoothly next time. Whenever I do think about having another child, mostly the whole breastfeeding thing looms so large and so unpleasantly in my mind that it doesn't sound like a fun expedition at all. But I do have to say that it looms much less large in my mind now than it did even a few months ago.

There is so much more to parenting. In the beginning, with the first, when mostly what you do for a child is feed it milk, breastfeeding seems like a much bigger deal than it does. But, and you know this, as time passes, other things take precedence. Hopefully if I DO end up with another (of course my fertility is dubious) I will remember that and not beat myself up over what will surely be a short and brutal try at breastfeeding.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Meira said...

Ok, I'm ready to murder the UPS guy. I'm glad to know that he probably wouldn't have said it to someone he wasn't friendly with . . . but still, he shouldn't be saying that to ANYONE.

I'm sad to hear that you have PTBD. You deserved the best breastfeeding experience ever, and I'm sorry you didn't have it. Sigh.

You kicked ass for Bat Girl, that's all that counts: that you can look her in the eye and know that you tried your damnedest for her.

9:37 AM  
Blogger MoMo said...

WTF??? How rude!! You handled that conversation so much better than I would have.

I totally get what you are saying about wanting or not wanting a second baby. As your friend said, is something missing?-everyone will have a different answer to this-and what ever the answer is-it is the right answer for each family.

BTW, I am not sure if I will go thru what I went thru with BF with the second-if we are lucky enough. I just don't know how to do it with a toddler-I know you get it!

10:45 AM  
Blogger Miss W said...

I must have been at a baseball game with your UPS man! The Mr. and the lowercase were already in the car as I was leaving the stadium carrying a sippy cup of milk. And some old man asked how old my child was (19 months at the time) and then gave me hell that I wasn't breastfeeding going so far as to tell me that I quit because my son had gotten teeth! Bet you anything he'd have given me hell if I was breastfeeding my son right in front of him, too.

And for me, too the breastfeeding issue looms heavily in my considerations of another child. Only for me it's about how I have to conquer it...like I need to do it again to prove that I can. This PTBD is a real fuck-all, isn't it?

12:20 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Wow! I can't believe the UPS man was so bold as to say that! Of course, I shouldn't be surprised: I've had many strangers make judgments on me for pumping because we had so many issues. People are rude!

1:44 PM  
Blogger The Dunn Family said...

That's so inexcusable that he said that. I'm just disgusted.

I don't really have a point of view on the breastfeeding issue. Once I knew we were having twins, I decided I wasn't going to do it. But I'll be damned if anyone is every going to make me feel bad for how I choose to feed my children. That's what irks me so much about the UPS prick.

I read so many posts all the time about how people are devasted by their inability to breastfeed. I don't have any advice, all I can say is, you are so obviously an amazing mom. Cut yourself some slack. You deserve it. You did MORE than just try your best. And your daughter is growing and thriving.

7:46 PM  
Blogger May said...

I think I would have punched the UPS guy in the nose.

One of my biggest worries about having a second child was a repeat of the misery that was getting the nursing to go well with my PCOS and my memories of my daughter's chomping latch. Add in the logistics of nursing an infant without making your toddler jealous as hell, and you have a good image of my thoughts there for months and months.

But towards the end of the pregnancy, I somehow let it go. I would try, either it would work or it wouldn't, and I would not beat myself up about it. Period. I just found that clarity somehow. I don't know where it came from.

Of course, if you have yourself a nice amniotic fluid embolism, you'll spend a week and a half hopped up on pain meds with no kidney function, pumping away in the hospital and you'll never make a drop of milk for the second baby. Absolutely guilt free bottle feeding, courtesy of May.

What? Going a tad bit too far? You think?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

I am frankly amazed and disgusted by your UPS man. Like you, I tried very hard with my first son to make breastfeeding work for both of us. It never did. The guilt was incredible for me.

My second son redeemed me in this regard, but I will never forget all of the crap I got for not being able to properly breastfeed.

I'm super sorry that you feel this way AND that some asshat would make comments about it (because it's HIS business).

Sheesh.

The nerve of some people.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Isabel said...

What an asshole. His wife probably pays him back for being one, though.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Tigermom said...

I just found you City Girl Tales. So sorry to hear about your difficult post partum and nursing period. I too have been there, done that. You were lucky to find Dr. Gabbay. I know her and she is a wonderful person.

I just wanted to let you know though, that I now have three kids and my nursing experiences with numbers 2 and 3 were totally different that my heck with #1. I think I only tried nursing #s 2 and 3 out of stubborn curiosity.

Whatever you decide, remember to enjoy the kid(s), otherwise, what's the point?

11:28 PM  
Anonymous statia said...

First off, holy mother of fucking GOD. He so DIDN'T GO THERE. I would have tied his nuts around his penis and asked him how it felt. I invite any man to carry a child to term. Then they can bitch as loud as they want. Until then, no man has the right to say as he did. I don't care how friendly you are with the guy, that's just really rude and unprofessional.


Honestly, I'm personally on the fence again about having another. Part of me misses the infant days. Not ready to revisit them this quickly, but I do miss certain aspects of it. And of course the other part of me is really loving my first foray into toddlerhood, and that he can entertain himself. I go back and forth between feeling like something is missing to feeling complete and wondering exactly how high I am to contemplate another when I feel like I'm royally screwing up the one I have. And IVF is just not an option for discussion in this house. Neither of us can go through it again. I love hanging out with the Mini all day, but once I got my nights back to myself, I didn't want to trade it in for anything.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

OMG.. I can NOT believe that the UPS man said something to you about breastfeeding? Where does he get off??

Anyhow, I think having a second child is a very personal choice and if you're not ready or never ready that is your choice. However, I hope you some day become ok with the fact that Bat Girl is healthy and happy and it's ok that it's because she was on formula and not breast milk.

4:35 PM  

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