not afraid

by humanmama on July 30, 2012

I think the problem the first time was simply this: when we had our first, Helena, we were so afraid. Afraid of messing up. Afraid of breaking down. Afraid of SIDS. Afraid of shots. Afraid of supplementing with formula. Afraid of not supplementing with formula. Afraid of Failure to Thrive. And, for my part, really afraid to ask for help.

With numero dos, I felt better. We knew more. Planned C-section. Carpenter took more time off work (like, as in, weeks and not days). I tried to take more pain medication. I tried to do less. I tried to sleep when I could. But still, the fear lurked in the corners of my days, and while I could escape the pressing urgency of it, I couldn’t deny it still lived here. I mean, we were in charge of another life, for Heaven’s sake. And that is a large and heady thing, not to be taken lightly.

But this time. This time is different. I have been warned countless times that “three is different! It will blow your mind!” I assumed three would be harder, more juggling, and it is. But there is something there that I wasn’t prepared for. Something here with us. Or, to put it better, not here with us. And it’s the fear, or lack of, that is striking. Whereas before I would nod my head, “Yes, yes,” at the doctors’ suggestions, this time I look at Carpenter and we both shake our heads, give a little sheepish grin, and say, “Nah, no, no thank you.”

“We’re concerned about jaundice. He looks okay now and his levels are low but he is large…I’d rather get a blood level every day…”
“Nah. Nope. No thanks. We’re not worried.” (Note: Fear missing.)

“Although you say he’s a great latch and is feeding every 2 hours, he’s not gaining weight like we’d like to see, we’ll have you come back tomorrow…”
“Nah. Not good. End of the week, perhaps? We’re not too worried.”

“He’s a big baby, so we’ll take his insulin level every 2 hours for the first 12 to make sure he’s keeping his blood sugar level…”
“No, thank you. We don’t think so. We’re not too worried. They’re all big babies.”

Perhaps you think this is foolhardy, brash. Perhaps you like to err on the side of caution. And that was us, too! Before. When the fear was real and palpable. But we have already raised two children to age three and six, and all of this was used on them as well. And so now we feel well within out rights to say No, no thanks, no more needle-sticks. No more blood draws. No unnecessary treatment, thanks, that won’t be needed. We know what we’re doing, sort-of, as well as you can. And we’ll be fine.

So much so that the next time I get handed a piece of literature lauding BREAST IS BEST!!! while a doctor looks me in the eye to tell me why I should supplement with formula if I’m breastfeeding because of reason x, y, or z, I can say, politely and with no sense of irony, “Nah. No thanks. We’re not too worried. We’re not afraid–they come out okay, it seems, if we just do what we think is right.”

And, how often does that happen?! I, for one, am going to live it up.

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Holly July 31, 2012 at 7:02 am

You tell ’em mama!

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