The following is a guest post written by Nicole Dorion. She exclusively pumped for 8 months and wrote about her experience and the emotions she was feeling as she finished one of the hardest things she had ever done. You can find her on Instagram.
2 ounces. That’s all I get now from my morning pumping session. My best of the day.
It’s not enough.
After months of exclusively pumping, I’m down to my final days. And I can’t believe how hard it is to let go.
I knew this time would come. I wished for it to come.
I loathed the pump from day one. Maybe because pumping didn’t feel like my choice.
My baby was born premature. Too small and undeveloped to breast feed, he used a feeding tube instead. My job was to pump enough milk for him.
So I tried.
I pumped before I ever got to hold my baby.
I pumped every 2 hours, day and night.
I pumped even when nothing came out.
I cried wondering why my body kept failing me.
Preterm labor. A low milk supply. I resented so much, but refused to give up.
I power pumped for an hour every day.
I pumped in the car. I pumped at work. I pumped when I was sick. I pumped myself raw.
I pumped when my baby slept through the night, cradling that black box in my arms because those painfully-exhausting midnight sessions were my biggest producers.
Tirelessly, I pumped to build and maintain a supply that was never quite enough.
I hated pumping. The lost time. The isolation. The endless wheezing and whining of that machine attached to me.
I would think “enough is enough.” Yet I was compulsively committed to it.
My baby needed that liquid gold. And longed for my body to do something right.
As broken as I felt, I became stronger than I ever imagined.
I pumped to provide for my baby.
I pumped to connect with him.
I pumped to give him the best start to life.
I pumped not because it was my first choice, but because I chose to do what I could.
Now I pump enough for just one bottle a day. His last meal before bed. The one I always get to feed him.
My heart grows a little heavier as I watch the ounces disappear. But I breathe a little easier too.
I remind myself our connection is deeper than the liquid in a bottle. That whether it comes from my body or the store, he is loved and he is nourished.
And that is enough.