I have been absent from my blog for the past few days because I have been dealing with a exhausting case of mastitis (breast pain, 102 degree fever, an aching body, fatigue and headache). I have been lucky so far because this is my first time getting really sick since giving birth. But mastitis definitely taught me quite a bit about what it means to be a mother!
First, being a mother does not stop just because you are sick. My husband helped when he could but he had to work. So I was at home with two kids and barely able to move. The baby decided she would start crawling on the same day I got sick. And her first tooth poked through! She wanted to be on the move and was extra fussy from the teething pain.
Luckily, my son was super helpful and did a great job entertaining the baby. He even made her mashed banana and applesauce for dinner! My husband completely took over when he got home and made sure I got a lot of sleep.
Second, breastfeeding is hard! I nursed my son until he was almost 2. I struggled with my milk supply in the beginning so, once I had a good supply, I never wanted to stop. With my daughter, my supply has been great but I have struggled with latch issues, thrush, clogged ducts and mastitis. Basically, it hurts almost every time I nurse for one reason or another.
I still plan to nurse as long as I can, but I can totally sympathize with moms who just can’t do it. If my son was a toddler, I’m not sure I would have made it this long. I’m fortunate that our pediatrician is also a lactation consultant and has been a lifesaver. And every time I look at my daughter’s chubby cheeks, it feels well worth it.
Third, motherhood doesn’t have to be a one-woman job. Not once did I call a friend or family member for help. I didn’t want to inconvenience them. I figured I would be better soon. I didn’t want them to feel obligated. I seriously need to learn to ask for help.
I don’t know why I feel like I have to handle everything on my own. I guess it is partly because I am embarrassed to ask for help and partly because I’m afraid the person I ask will say no. I did the same thing when I was pregnant and in bed for months. Although several very kind friends and family members gave me help despite the fact that I was too afraid to ask for it.
I am now feeling a bit better. Still not 100%. Of course, I took care of the kids, got some homeschooling in, cooked meals, cleaned the house and did a bunch of household chores with a 100 degree fever because that’s what being a mother is all about.
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