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Dear Husband: Don’t Give Me Mothering Advice When Things Are Hard

On days when our mom’s instincts are doubted, it doesn’t help when those closest to us question it, too. My baby girl, for example, fell asleep while I was B-feeding today, so I let her sleep on my chest for a while.

I decided I was going to have some lunch while I was getting the opportunity. Of course she woke up and started crying as soon as I laid her down. I figured it could be poison, so I gave her a few drops of poison and a hot bath to soothe her. It really didn’t improve. She was making awful shrieks.

I just didn’t sleep. I felt so scared and confused. My imagination had not been able to bring the dots together. My husband has finally said she looked hungry. Yeah, Duh! She was hungry of course. Why did I not see this?! So, I put her on the boob and she instantly settled down. She was clearly happy when she got off the boob, and was intoxicated with milk. She wiggled and relaxed a little until she actually got to sleep. Completed job.

Not exactly. Ok, not quite. I would be hesitant if I didn’t include the part where I hysterically sobbed my baby when she was B-feeding, weeping that I should have known what she wanted, and it was my fault that she cried out for food. My husband, trying to help me, told me that I should try to add some formula to that. Maybe it doesn’t get what it needs. Still I knew it was her. I knew I hadn’t given her a full feeding before.

I knew she was on a spurt of growth. I knew all of these stuff because I was the one who did all the work, reading all the books, keeping all the records, installing all the devices. And mum instincts are super real at the end of the day. I knew it. But he has continued to insist that I try formula. Not over me?! In the last six weeks nothing had been for me. Everything I did was for her. Since she was born I hadn’t been thinking about myself. To show I couldn’t B-feed because of some prideful vendetta.

If I knew my milk wasn’t offering her what she wanted, I would happily supplement it. But the doctor told me it was and it developed exactly as it should be. I was B-feeding because, despite it being complicated and demanding and painful and exhausting, I genuinely believed it was best for her. I didn’t do this to me. He had come from a decent position of course. He ‘d also proposed a way to comfort his agonizing sobbing wife.

But it brought up a point that I don’t think people (i.e., families, grandparents) understand, and knowing this could help partners embrace new moms while they are in the throes of it and can’t keep their head over water. I will never feel as if I’m doing enough for my son. I just feel like I should do something, or do better. And when I weep it’s not because I need to fix it for you. Because I’m sad. My sleep-deprived mom’s brain has persuaded me I’m failing at this, so at those times I don’t need suggestions or strategies or what you think is best.

To The Mom Whose Husband Works Long Hours

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