In Your Face!

There was a time when I would stick my hand in my mailbox and find an unexpected rush of emotions. Perhaps stress, perhaps guilt, but always a general sense of negativity. Damn you, mailbox. Damn you.

But, I’m friends with the mail again. (Really, it’s not Mr. Mailbox’s fault. He’s just doing his job, quiet and stalwart.) Aside from the rather normal frustration of bills, those “surprise” packages and large envelopes don’t get to me anymore. The only remorse I feel is the fact that I’m adding to the waste issue in America by dumping the contents in the garbage or recyclables.

I’ve gotta say, though, Enfamil and Similac really have their marketing schemes tuned perfectly to the New Mom Channel. Considering the cost of formula, I’m sure some parents are grateful and even relieved to find a $5 off coupon here or there, or even a whole box containing a free, full-sized sample of their product. I get it, I do.

But, for those of us who are making attempts at nursing (and I won’t get into the “breast is best” stuff — doing what’s best for YOU and YOUR situation/family is truly what’s best, no judgment!), those packages can be a punch to the gut. Actually, yeah. It does truly feel like someone’s punching you. Best way to describe it.

There are even reminders on the envelopes saying, “If nursing isn’t working out…” or “Breastfeeding can be hard, there’s no harm in supplementing with formula” or “You’ve reached the 4-month mark, it’s time to give yourself a break”. ARE. YOU. KIDDING?! *words that aren’t really words but I utter them in my own language to avoid extensive profanity* Yes. Words. Blerg.

They’ve got their fingers on the pulse, alright. They know that breastfeeding is a downright challenge. I’ve never ran a marathon before, but I imagine it’s similar — ups and downs, a very long trail to a very emotional end that, once accomplished, you feel victorious for. And, for those who can’t make it through, it must feel just like quitting a race — deflating, demoralizing, downright depressing. And they’re playing right into that emotion.

I’m lucky. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, but aside from some mysterious issues that are non-food-related (we hope), it has been what I like to call “an eventual success.” We no longer have to fight to get a proper latch. We no longer have *ahem* glorious, obnoxious, unexpected fountains. We no longer find him crying during meals (other than when he WANTS to eat). We no longer have an ounce of pain. It might have started miraculously, then reality sank in, but our new reality is that we’re a BFing family. I have an awesome son who now does exactly what he’s supposed to, an incredible husband who has the perfect instinct (definite Papa Bear going on), and I have finally learned, through trials and tribulations, how to feed my son. Not everyone is this lucky.

My supportive family, luck and general stubbornness have brought me to this point, and nothing else. So, thanks to those reasons, I find that I have developed an armor — an armor that Similac can *poink* bounce off and a shield that tells Enfamil to kiss my…erm, hand.

If there wasn’t such a fast expiration date, I’d try to put aside the coupons for anyone who may use them (but you find out so-and-so only uses the soy version of Similac and you only have Enfamil, or vice versa). No one at school has babies that are using formula (got another BFer in the house, though, yay!). And, in a horrible excuse for humankind, we’re simply too busy to drop them off at a home for women in need. So, the guilt of waste (and being unable to help) is still there…but my mail emotions are no longer of guilt. Triumph? Yes.

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