My husband and I feel that we have a very special and unique love. When we met almost exactly three years ago we immediately fell in love, a fairy tale love, a love that only comes along once in a millennia. We genuinely love and respect each other and we never get sick of expressing that to each other. When Sammy began growing in my belly, we could barely believe it, but we fell even deeper in love. We actually felt sorry for other couples because we felt that no one could love each other as much as we did. And then Sammy was born and he became this most precious and overwhelming manifestation of our love. It's like Sammy's existence brought our love into focus, as if to say, "this is why we met and fell in love."
But becoming a parent changes everything. Becoming a breastfeeding mother changes everything and then some. Prior to Sammy's arrival romance was part of our daily lives. Maintaining a relationship with a newborn and leaky breasts is a challenge. My husband and I are confident that we are up to the challenge, but it is a challenge none-the-less.
Just last night while looking at my breasts I remarked to my husband, "I don't feel like these are mine anymore." I pump twice a day, once in the morning and then once at night (when my husband gives Sammy the morning/previous night's bottle). I also nurse Sammy at least four or five times every day. I love my son and I love that I can supply him with so much nutritious and delicious food, but will I ever feel like my body is mine?
Before I began breastfeeding I will admit that I was judgmental of other mothers who either didn't nurse or gave it up relatively early. Now, I completely understand and respect their choices. Breastfeeding is a joy, but it is a commitment. It is easy, in that all you need is your boob and your baby, but it is hard, in that you always have to be ready to feed or to pump. Breastfeeding can take over your life, for the good or the bad.
From the first day of Sammy's life and every day since I push myself to see the big picture, to not get bogged down in the minutiae of wet spots on my shirt over my nipples, spraying or rock-hard engorged breasts. When I am able to change my perspective I admire my own ability to care for and nourish Sammy, I admire Sammy's ability to suck down all the milk he needs. But through it all, through every moment of self-doubt, of overwhelmed feelings of "I can't do this ANYMORE" I have the loving admiration of my husband. I truly believe my husband has grown to be in awe of my strength as a woman from the minute Sammy was born and as he latched on right away within minutes of emerging.
Romantically, our lives look very different than but that doesn't mean that we are no longer romantic, it just means we are romantic in a different way. I'm sure there will be a day when we will return to the grand gestures of romance and hopefully sooner rather than later!