Could I do it all over again? Would I?
I do hope to have a second child someday. No, there are no current plans or even prospects, but I would love for Lily to have a sibling, I'd love to give birth again, and, honestly, I really would love to have the chance to have a normal, or at least a less abnormal, nursing experience.
When I got to act as a wet nurse a few times for a friend's baby, it choked me up the first time she latched on and chowed down happily - this was something I never got to experience with a newborn or even a young infant. By the time Lily and I made it, she was a roly-poly, active, distractable 5 month old on the verge of crawling - a very different creature than the little borrowed bundle I was guest-nourishing. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled beyond belief that Lily was breastfeeding at all. It was just . . . different.
When we were in the midst of Lily's struggle, I found myself succumbing to moments of desperate jealousy of other moms with newborns or young babies who were able to nurse. My fantasies of motherhood had involved a lot of babywearing, strolling about with the baby nursing and sleeping in my ring sling at the grocery store, in cafes, on long walks. I envisioned making my way through my reading list while I nursed with my feet up in my glider with an ottoman. Tethered to the pump, I looked at those other moms through heartbroken, envious eyes.
Needless to say, I didn't get halcyon days of early motherhood. Please don't mistake this for bitterness - what I DID get was the learning experience of a lifetime, for which I have found my way to be grateful (the Anne of 2.5 years ago is telling me to piss off, but never mind that). It has led to what I feel is a true calling for me, a real vocation. It has given me insight and painful empathy for the mothers I will be serving, having experienced many of their woes firsthand. And it was a real triumph for both of us to be able to overcome everything that we did. I genuinely am not bitter.
But the question remains: could I do it again?
I would pray to be blessed with normalcy, but there is NO guarantee. I know much more now, to put it lightly. I would be prepared for any and all of the factors that affected us last time - tongue tie being the biggest, but the other components as well. What's the likelihood of facing some, most, or even ALL of these again with a second baby? Impossible to predict. Another tongue tie is certainly a strong possibility, as heredity is involved, but if we got it addressed immediately, our chances would be much better. Wouldn't they?
No guarantees. What if lightning strikes twice? Can I walk through the fire again? So many life factors come into play. Lily was a first baby. It would be so hard to repeat the process all over again with another child to care for, though as she gets older, she may be independent enough that having to take many of these measures could be more feasible than if she were still a young toddler. What would my financial situation be? What if I needed to return to work earlier than I did with Lily? How would that affect us? All of it daunting - yet not totally deterring.
I would imagine that it's something like a mom preparing for a VBAC after an unwanted cesarean, or looking at another birth after any difficult birth experience, period. Although I was blessed with a really wonderful birth, some aspects of our nursing experience were on the traumatic side, though it was a slow-motion trauma that occurred over months and months. What do VBAC-seekers do? They prepare with information, they seek out good care providers and other support, they evaluate their prior experience and look at factors that affected the outcome, considering whether these are likely to recur. And they work on the emotional healing as well - many times the preparation for the the next birth is a part of the healing process in itself. I'll dub myself as a mom seeking BBAC, then, perhaps: Breastfeeding Baby After Challenges (or Craziness).
So this time around, I'm armed with information, with resources, with experience, with support. I doubt I could be more prepared. Will this be enough? Only one way to find out.
Let's take it from the top.
Please stop by the other Breastfeeding Carnival participants' posts and leave some comment love:
- Ambular Logic: Breastfeeding the Second Time Around
- Blacktating: Second Time's The Charm
- Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Seven reasons why breastfeeding is usually easier the second time around
- Reporter2Mother: Lessons Learned
- Good Enough Mum: The Second Time Around
- Three Girl Pile Up: Totally Different and Completely the Same
- Treasured Belle: Tandem Nursing
- Christine's Contemplations: Nursing Styles Between Siblings
- TouchstoneZ: Once More With Feeling