Welcome to the ninth Carnival of Breastfeeding, the theme of which is Learning to Let Go.
As usual, there are many great posts from both our regular participants as well as those from our guests! These are listed below and will be updated throughout the day!
Here's my post:
Can't, Shan't, Won't... but Must!
Learning to Let Go? I'm not sure I have yet!
Yes, I've had three adorable children and you'd think I'd be better at it by now - but I'm not. It's not me! In fact, so rarely do I let anyone else take care of of my children it causes much mirth amongst all their doting grandparents, aunts and uncles!
I used to be an independent sort of girl but upon the birth of my first baby that all changed. In fact, I can vividly recall how after her birth I literally cried at the thought of returning to work realising that I would no longer be solely responsible for feeding her!
How on earth could I allow anyone else to take over my role and how on earth would she cope with drinking from a bottle? And although I did return to teaching, it was only on condition that my parents or my husband's parents look after her and that I only work part-time!
This arrangement worked quite well for a time and I admit I did adapt and shock horror even enjoyed having some time away from home and in the company of other adults; but it all changed when my second daughter arrived three years later and I realised at that point I simply couldn't do things that way anymore! I just felt I had missed out on too much precious time with my eldest daughter.
And now, two years after my son's birth I still haven't returned to outside employment, instead preferring to work at home for myself and in close and comforting proximity to my little clan!
Would I do things differently in hindsight? No! Why did I take the path I chose? Simple... One day, during my second pregnancy I listened to other mothers who were also teachers in the school where I taught saying they wished they had taken career breaks when their kids were small and that it was something they wished they could change. They lamented how quickly their children had grown up, how time had slipped quickly by almost unnoticed and how they would do it oh-so-differently given the chance again.
At that point I clearly understood that I would never again be able to miss out on those precious first years of my children's childhood.
The teaching job I loved and had studied so hard for could wait. I'm quite sure there will always be a need for teachers in the future!! And if I so choose, then that's possibly what I'll do again when I'll return to working outside my home.
Of course my husband and I missed the extra income, but we simply adapted our lifestyle to manage. We've never really been much into foreign or even not-so-foreign holidays and we stopped going out so often but if it meant I could stay at home then that was what was important.
Now don't get me wrong... I'm not saying this arrangement would suit everyone, nor am I saying mothers who work shouldn't. All I'm saying is it wasn't for me. Letting go was and still is something I'm not quite ready for yet.
Of course I've had to learn to let go some of the time! For example, my eldest daughter goes to school and I can't be by her side (although I'm always there to meet her at the school gates). She occasionally goes on school trips and I can't be by her side. She likes to go and stay the night witth her grandparents and I can't be by her side! My second daughter is just about to start nursery in the next couple of weeks and my son is just stopping breastfeeding.
I happily acknowledge that my children need to learn independence and I can't possibly always be there. After all, I need to learn how to become independent again too!
Learning to Let Go? It's a bit like finding the courage to step onto that spinning fairground ride and then holding on ever so tightly as it begins to move. Then as it nears its end and it's time to get off you're not sure you want to yet! You might just have another go instead...
Learning to Let Go? I'm trying!
Thanks to this month's contributors for the following posts (remember to check back often as posts will be listed as they arrive!)
- Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog discusses leaving her son with her husband as she returned to work and how the Mommy Wars are a conspiracy to keep moms from demanding better maternity leave.
- Andi at Mama Knows Breast needs a Pause button.
- Angela at Breastfeeding 123 suggests some wonderfully useful alternatives to babysitters for breastfeeding families.
- Colleen at My Baby and More writes a touching poem about giving her son his first bottle and about trusting your instincts as a mother.
- Rebekah at Momma's Angel shares how it's important not to rush things when learning to let go.
- Jessica from Hepatitis-Epi shares how she went from dreading leaving her baby with someone else to enjoying the use of the lactation room at her workplace to becoming a breastmilk donor!
- Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess tells the truth, the whole truth about the difficulties of being away from a baby who only wants to be held by her mom.
- Laura at The Joyful Mom posts about toddler-led weaning and the joy of looking forward to breastfeeding again when her new baby is born.