When I was pregnant, I decided I really wanted to try to breastfeed Eve for the first year of her life. At 12 1/2 months, I’m happy to say I will have definitely achieved that goal. I knew that breastfeeding can be really hard, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once I got the hang of it and was settled into it for a few months it was actually pretty easy for me to keep going.
(As a quick aside, please note that I said it was easy for me. I’m not saying breastfeeding is easy for everyone; I was quite fortunate in that regards. I know woman who have tried and had a much harder time and ultimately ended up bottle feeding. Or went right to bottle feeding. My feeling is you do what’s right for you and your family, and don’t let anyone tell you or make you feel bad otherwise!)
But now that Eve is over a year, I have decided that it is time for me to ween her. I’m honestly kind of sad to be reaching this turning point in her life, and I realize that I could keep going if I wanted. But she will be spending a few nights at my parents’ home at the end of this month so Sam and I can work on some home projects that we have just not had time for, and it feels right to finish before we take her down.
As you can imagine, I have breastfeeding on my mind. Like all the time. From how to cut back and to making sure that she is getting enough nutrients; it is a huge transition. As a result, a few weeks ago I had one of those Aha! moments in the shower (why do those always seems to happen there?) as I started to think about all of the ways blogging is like breastfeeding.
You start out having no clue what you are doing
I remember having this very theoretical notion of what breastfeeding would be like, but in practice it is very different. You have this tiny person relying on you for nourishment, and they cry, need help latching on, wiggle around, and sometimes just plain miss the boob. Somehow you have to figure out how to help them while you are hormonal to the point of being completely irrational and sleep deprived.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t know what I was doing. My posts were text-heavy with no images and titles that were weren’t the least bit interesting. I kind of fumbled along for a little while until I started to figure out what I was doing and hit a blogging groove.
It gets easier with time
Breastfeeding seemed really daunting at the beginning. It was something I had to physically prepare myself for before every feeding: I had to be positioned just right, with the nursing pillow wrapped around my waist, a bottle of water and a book and my phone by my side. And don’t even get me started on the prospect of nursing a newborn in public. But before I knew it, feeding Eve wasn’t such a production. Now I just cradle her in my arms or lay down with her, and she does all the work, and after a few minutes she’s done.
With blogging, everything at first seems so challenging. What to post, how to share it, where to share it. But over time you find that things just flow. You get into a groove of when to write and what to write about, you know when to post and where, you have figured out elements of blog design and how to craft your posts.
It sometimes hurts
Breastfeeding can be physically painful (especially when those tiny teeth start to come in or when you wake up in the morning after that first night the baby sleeps for a solid chunk of time) as well as emotionally painful. Like when your baby wails and won’t latch on and all you want to do is sleep or cry right along with her. (Thankfully those days are a distant memory!) Blogging too can be emotionally painful at times. People sometimes write hurtful comments, or a blog post you put your heart and soul into is met with crickets. There are days when both can be extremely tiring and frustrating, but there are the days that make it totally worth it.
Some days are easier than others
Like most things in life, there are ups and downs. There are days you think you have a handle on breastfeeding and the next you find your baby screaming at you every time you go to nurse her. With blogging, you have days, maybe even weeks where the ideas are flowing. The words come to you easily, your posts look amazing and are getting lots of comments and shares, and then the dreaded writer’s block hits, or you see a drop in your traffic, or you try to fix something in your design and suddenly the entire things seems to go haywire. You want to throw in the towel and give up, but you decide to power through, and before you know it things seem to be back on track.
You sometimes doubt yourself
Both breastfeeding and blogging can cause you to doubt yourself. I have had so many days with Eve over the months where I have found myself questioning things: is she getting enough breast milk? Am I feeding her long enough? Am I feeding her long enough on each side? Is she getting all the nutrients she needs?
With blogging, I find myself asking myself sometimes why am I doing this? Is it worth it? Is this post worthy of people’s time? Am I a good enough writer?
Community and support are key
I really attribute the fact that I have been able to breastfeed for this long because I had amazing support from the moment Eve was born. Before we even left the hospital after she was born we attended a free breastfeeding class for all the new moms in the maternity wing, and multiple nurses and lactation consultants met with me in the room. I was able to attend a free breastfeeding group when I was having some issues about a month after Eve was born, where I nursed her in a room with about six other moms who were doing the same. I am constantly surrounded by other moms who are breastfeeding at playgroups, and we have been able to discuss our questions and concerns with each other.
Similarly, I don’t think I could have continued blogging this long had I not found such an amazing group of fellow bloggers who regularly read and comment, who share their amazing wisdom, and continuously inspire me. Over the summer I also joined a small online tribe of fellow bloggers with whom I can commiserate and laugh and share our questions and concerns about all things blogging (and life in general). When someone feels down or overwhelmed, we are there to lift one another up and give each other encouragement.
It can be very soothing
When I nurse Eve now, I’m often relaxed. Since it now happens once a day and it so short, I take this time to just relax and be with her. I love the feeling over her warm, soft body against my stomach; the way she looks at me with her sweet smile and her big, chocolate brown eyes; and now that she’s older, how she stops to look around, point at things, and giggle.
With blogging, when I allow myself to just let the words flow it can be a great way to share what’s on my mind, and release some frustration or creative energy. I find it very relaxing and enjoyable to read others’ blogs, and have built it into my daily routine.