Monday, May 07, 2007

The parenting superninja

Sometimes, I am a rather unpleasant person in the privacy of my own head. While I do think that I'm generally a less judgemental person than I was pre-infertility and pre-parenting, I do have moments where I get my superiority complex on, mainly related to breastfeeding.

I'm tremendously fortunate to have been able to make it work, I know. My body cooperated and produced enough milk (after a slight hiccup in the days after delivery), and I had excellent support from some fantastic lactation consultants, from friends, and from family members. My girls were not premature and were able to nurse from the beginning, and our hospital encouraged us to supplement by finger-feeding, so we didn't have to deal with nipple confusion or inability to latch. If any one of these things had gone differently, we might not have made it; I know that all of them are very real issues, and if any of them caused you to be unable to nurse, I would never belittle that.

What tends to push my buttons -- and here is the not-nice-person part -- is women who don't even try to breastfeed, or who give up within days or weeks at the first bump in the road, because "it's too hard". My first impulse is to say, well, my breastfeeding horror stories are MUCH worse than yours! And I had twins! And I'm still nursing them at eight months! Therefore, I win and you are a wimp for not overcoming adversity just like I did.

However, the next thought that occurs to me is that I really did have a hard time. I had to pump and supplement at the beginning, then deal with oversupply, cracked nipples, thrush, and recurrent mastitis, in addition to the "normal" massive sleep deprivation that comes with newborn twins. If you read the common-difficulties chapter in the breastfeeding book, there are only a couple of them I don't get to check off. It's hard not to realize that mothers who dropped out before I did are normal, rather than wimpy, and that yeah, I deserve a metal.

I know it's not nice to toot your own horn, but sometimes it does help, realizing just what you've managed to accomplish. I was recently telling a friend how I grocery-shop with twins, pulling the cart with one hand and pushing the double stroller with the other; when he told me, "Wow, impressive", I told him that I'm a parenting superninja. I said it jokingly, but I wasn't entirely kidding, either. Recently, at a friend's house where Ninja Warrior was on in the background, I realized just how appropriate that comparison really was.

I may not be able to do the Spider Walk, but damn if I'm not a master of Two Babies in Arms, and I can run a nursing marathon with the best of them. I can't even walk right now, thanks to my stupid knee, but I can hobble around on crutches with a baby in the sling, and believe you me, that takes talent. I don't have any medals, or even metals, to give out, but I do know there are a lot of us out there who deserve them -- the twin moms, the preemie moms, the exclusive-pumper moms, the single moms, the special-needs moms. We're parenting superninjas, all of us, and we are awesome.

I think we'll have to do something about the uniform, though. Black pajamas may be very comfortable and easy-care, but I bet they show the spit-up stains something awful.


Speaking of the Stupid KneeTM, it is still swollen, still painful, and still can't bear full weight. It is a little better than it was right after the injury, so I have a tiny bit of hope that perhaps the ACL is not torn, but it's also clear that something is Not Right with it. I'm seeing my orthopedic surgeon at 3:25 this afternoon to determine what the damage is, and will update with what he says.


Stacey said...

I'm going through a lot of breastfeeding angst lately - feeling hella guilty about quitting. I just hated pumping. It gave me no joy, and the knowledge that I was giving Ace the best he could possibly get didn't negate the dread I felt getting everything ready to pump. If I could go back, I would have made them wait and not given him a bottle, and just started him off nursing. Sometimes I want to try to nurse him anyway. I wish I could have had that bond. Damn prematurity.

Oh well, I guess I'm just glad he got what he did. I get a little self-righteous about the women who never try also, but I have to get that out of my mind because I have no idea why they didn't.

Eva said...

Hope the knee mends very, very quickly.

I can relate on all fronts (not a huge surprise with twins almost the same age!). The BF was ridiculously challenging in the beginning, and is so rewarding now, and it's hard not to wonder why others aren't doing it too, even though they may have very good reasons.

We were at the park yesterday with singleton moms, and when I was walking around with a kid on each hip there were a lot of, "wow, look at you comments." And I thought, wow, look at me... who would have known I could pull this off (bags under my eyes and spit up stains tell a different story, but...). I think we should petition for two Mothers Days.

Stacey said...

Isn't it funny how people give us (by "us," I mean parents who have faced unique challenges) these "whoa, I can't believe you can do what you do" looks and comments, and we're just like "uh, thanks? that's kinda my life though..." I just think it's interesting that we never know what we can handle till we've handled it.

(And still I whine about my impending temporary single-motherhood.)

Stacie said...

"Advanced Mommying" is what my husband calls it. When we watched a woman negotiate three girls of different ages and one stroller up stairs into a Mexican restaurant this weekend we both stared in awe.

*1cLUCKyRN* said...

Emma...the fun is just beginning. My twins will be 16 YEARS old in July. You think breastfeeding twins is tough...wait til it's time to let them drive :)

Mama Peach said...

I want to thank you for not bashing those of us with difficult situations. My twins were born at 31 weeks and spent 39 days in the NICU. I pumped around the clock everyday, it was exhausting. I did decide that I needed to give up pumping last week, due to the fact the girls still won't be able to nurse for another few month (due to weight gain, and then just not being strong enough yet). I have been beating myself up about this, but made the choice for me and my family not to continue.
I will toot my own horn as say I did nurse their brother till he was 27 months and he was also a NICU baby for 14 days. It can be done, but this time was not in the cards.
Still trying not to beat myself up over the decision. I really wanted to say I nursed twins.