Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 03. Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For

Well, this up my alley since guilt is my primary emotion. It's also my secondary emotion. Add motherhood to that tendency and the list of things I have to forgive myself for is constantly adding up.

The first big parenting mistake I made still haunts me.
When I became pregnant with my oldest child, at age 28, I was determined to do everything right. I was older than average for a first-time mom, and I had had some time to observe those around me. I had traveled the world, earned two college degrees, and accomplished a fair amount of professional success. I was ready to be a mom.

Of course, I planned to breastfeed my child for a year at least. I didn’t have any bottles or formula on hand because I had no intention of needing them. When my baby was born (twelve days after the due date), a lactation consultant came into my room and taught me how to properly nurse my baby. The next day, we went home. And he cried all night.

He wouldn’t nurse. He wouldn’t sleep. And he just didn’t look right. His fontanel was sunken. He just screamed and screamed. And I was completely exhausted and terrified. It didn’t occur to me that he would be starving yet. My brain was running on empty.

The next day, around noon, a nurse called to check on us. I told her the baby wasn’t eating or sleeping and she told me to bring him to the emergency room. It was good that she called. I had been waiting for my mom to come (she was planning to come over that evening) and it might’ve been too late if I had waited.

My baby, who was born at 8 pounds, 14 ounces, weighed just 7 pounds, 8 ounces at three days old. The inside of his mouth was dry. And my milk wasn’t in. It broke my heart to see him latch right onto a bottle and drink thirstily. He was contentedly asleep in minutes.

My milk came in a few days later, but my baby was by then accustomed to the bottle. For the next few months, I pumped breast milk around the clock and to feed to my baby. When he was four months old, he finally began to nurse and continued to do so until after his first birthday. Breastfeeding that baby was the best accomplishment of my life.

But, when I think of the first few days of his life, I cringe. He is a bright kid, who struggles with a condition called Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. The cause of Asperger’s is not known. Whether it is biological or environmental, or a mixture of the two, is not fully known. I tend to think it’s mostly biology, since my son has relatives with the condition.

But I do wonder about the rough start he had.


  1. Sometimes harder than forgiving others

  2. Not that I ever tried, but from what I understand, most babies take time for breastfeeding to take hold. Yes, humans survived thousands of years without formula, but infant mortality was pretty high, too. Sometimes, the things we hold against ourselves just were't our fault. Voice of experience.

  3. Embracing the guiltless life we have in Jesus Christ is an everyday practice. Don't let a "what if" thought take away your peace and freedom, Suzi.


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