mind dump: guilt, motherhood, pumping, and gold stars

December 20, 2012

i’m in a bit of a mood tonight.  i shouldn’t be:  i arrived home to a sparkling home [that i didn’t clean] and a slow cooker wafting nice smells into the kitchen.

sooo convenient! 

i already completed a solid run [6 miles] in the AM.  annabel was super-tired and ready for an early bedtime, which was a little sad, but hey — more me-time!  plus, i had plenty of time with miss a this morning when she got up at 4:30 am — for good.

so, theoretically i should be happy and relaxed.  yet for some reason, i’m just feeling a little uneasy.  and oddly guilty and down on myself, although i can’t even figure out why.  career satisfaction at my current juncture may have something to do with it — i think i’m just ready to move on from fellowship and especially lab research.  [especially especially that.]  i am not feeling as fulfilled at work as i would like, and it makes me sad to be spending time away from annabel but not feeling totally engaged in what i’m doing.  during clinic and in the hospital, this is never the case, but i’m in the lab most day until february.

and fine — i’ll admit it — i’m also feeling angst surrounding my previous decision to stop pumping in january.  the very idea sounds SO nice in many ways, but i can’t help but feel like it may not be the right decision for me.  as it stands now, annabel gets ~ 3-6 oz formula daily, and the rest is b-milk.  in general, i still really like breastfeeding and it works well for us, EXCEPT for the nagging worry i often get that i don’t have quiiiiite as much as she would like.   and that’s sort of silly, since she can always get a random bottle on the weekends.  and clearly, she’s not failing to thrive.  you’ve seen her!

pumping has become less stressful now that i have her on some formula supplementation.  so now i don’t dread it as much!  but it’s still very inconvenient and as much as i hate to admit it, i feel like the time i spend attached to the pump-in-style at work DOES take away from my ability to get the most out of my job.  hooking myself up before bedtime every night does not help me get enough sleep, and i miss being able to just go to bed when i’m tired.

annabel will be 9 months on 1/5/13, and i thought the new year would be a good time to transition to bottles at day care and nursing in the AM and PM [for as long as i can get that to work!].  but then today, her day care teacher mentioned that some nasty viruses are going around the day care room — it sounds like both RSV and flu A.  ugh!  and of course, she remarked that perhaps the reason annabel has been so healthy is because of breastfeeding.

and obviously i am now feeling completely conflicted about everything.

pros to stopping the pump:

i could go to bed without that last torturous hook-up!
 i wouldn’t have to plan the weekends [ie, when i run/go to work when on call/etc] around breastfeeding sessions
 i could have more time at work to do reading and to get stuff done in lab [though i hate benchwork with a fiery passion, i really DO need to get it done.]
 i wouldn’t have to be anxious about ‘not having enough’ at certain times on weekends
 if she was still getting up for an early feeding, i wouldn’t always have to be the one to do it
 no more prepping all of the pump parts/lugging the PISA around
 i could theoretically still get to nurse her at least 2x/day [anyone have experience with this?]
 it might be nice to have a somewhat ‘normal’ hormonal balance back.  [although i fear that my ‘normal’ — especially while running — will continue to be abnormal.  but at least i’ll know.]
 most of the physiologic benefits of breastfeeding apply to the 1st 6 months, and annabel has already gotten many oz of breast milk over the past 8.5.
 i would have a little bit more time and probably be more rested.

cons to stopping:

✘ i don’t HAVE to stop.  i have enough time at work to continue what i’ve been doing.  and therefore, i would feel extra guilty because it would be MY choice and not entirely out of necessity

✘ she might get sick with the flu/RSV/etc, and even though i’d never know if she would have gotten sick anyway . . . i would feel guilty.

✘ no more conveniently going [mostly] bottle-free on weekends.  although i would argue that actually bottles are pretty convenient, really.  and obviously i’m already knee deep in bottles/pump parts/etc for the week, anyway.

✘ i will have to admit ‘defeat’, and therefore feel kind of like a quitter.  and guilty.  and not worthy of the super-fantabulous-motherhood-gold stars that come with 12 full months of pumping [though i’ve already been downgraded to silver — at best — for burning through my meager freezer stash and having to supplement.]

✘ my supply might completely go away and i would miss it if i couldn’t nurse her at all.

hmmm.  the theme is that there are many reasons to stop and one HUGE reason not to . . .and it starts with a g.

still not sure what i am going to do, but it helped to get this out.  would love to hear from those of you who have been there.