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How Painful It Is

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I absolutely love that photo above that Hansel took of Phoenix and I.

And I struggled with deciding to post it here.
Not because my breast is exposed, but rather because my heart is so fully exposed, I feel.

I can’t look at this photo right now without crying.
And it’s through a shower of tears I write this post.

My dear Phoenix is 12 weeks old today, and this morning when we woke to begin our day nursing–once again the pain had became too unbearable to take.

I trudged on through as best as I could, then pulled away and made him a bottle instead.

Like nothing, he fed on the plastic nipple and fell sweetly asleep in my arms and granted us another three hours of sleep, thank goodness.

But the truth of the matter is that once again my breast is infected.  The third time in 12 weeks, and I’ve done everything I feel I’m suppose to–visit my doctor,  a lactation consultant, treat myself, treat Phoenix, take herbs, probiotics, etc. etc.–and nothing seems to work. The infection keeps returning.

Breastfeeding is so painful for me.  And on top of it all, I learned a month ago that my breasts don’t produce enough milk–and I’ve been supplementing anyways.

But it’s not only my breasts, you see.  My whole body feels like it is calling out for help.  My back has been hurting, my hips, my incision where the c-section was, and my feet are even starting to fail me.

How come nobody ever told me that pregnancy and postpartum is so hard on the body?  That breastfeeding is not so easy peasy?

Or is it just me?

Between the lack of sleep, the extra body weight, the constant giving-giving-giving my body keeps doing, and not the greatest nutrition–no wonder I feel like I’ve hit a stone wall.

I sit here tonight writing this post, with tears streaming down, because I know what has to be done.  I have to listen to my body–instead of trying to push through it all or find answers from somewhere else or just keep trying to fix it and be some superMom.

I need to heal.
I need to heal.
I need to heal.

Not just from the past 12 months I have gone through of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum–this pain my body is experiencing, I feel goes deeper than that.  It’s evident to me now when I find myself on the Yoga mat.

All of a sudden my body doesn’t feel like my own.  I’m a beginner once again.  A foreigner to this landscape– learning each pose–how to be in my body–how to feel my limbs present in space.

But it’s even deeper than that, you see.

This pain is asking me to pay attention. To see that it stems from some place within myself that doesn’t respond to doing more or taking this or even being something else other than who I am right now.  It’s coming from a place that knows that my old ways of doing things no longer serve me.  That it’s time to let go.  Let go.  Let go.

And when I look at that photo above–I see how sweet the bond is between me and Phoenix–and I know it’s deeper than the act of milk to mouth.  And I realize that this is only the beginning for me.  That motherhood is an endless series of letting go of moments just like these.  The bittersweet blessing of nourishing another Soul that is never meant to be your own.

But nobody told me it would be this hard.

That in the middle of birthing a son, I would be birthing a new self as well.  That the pains I kept hidden and refused to acknowledge for years and years would rise to meet me in the most raw and clever of ways.

That one morning you simply wake up and realize that you are now the mother–
To a beautiful baby boy–
And the parts of yourself that refuse to be neglected no longer.

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