The Problem with Normal and What it Really Takes to Be There for Someone and Offer Love
I’ve been going through the hardest time in my life. With little Sophia, discovering that she wasn’t gaining “enough” weight, which really meant that she was 10th%ile, which is actually on the curve, so within the realm of “normal” but she wasn’t as heavy as “normal.”
Turns out, that curve was designed for formula-fed babies too, which is different from breast-fed babies. When that alarm was sounded + I thought there was a chance that my babe was “close” to “failure to thrive,” I freaked. I took action quickly and started seeking the advice, counsel and opinions of others.
One thing led to another and our baby was having laser surgery to alter her lip and tongue, and I was supplementing with a bottle and formula. It’s called triple feeding. Keeping up with feeding a newborn is a fatiguing endeavor as it is, but add to that pumping, feeding with a bottle and breast-feeding and you have a recipe for a hormonal mother to lose her center!
Sophia is now 12 weeks. I exclusively breast-fed the first 6 weeks, and have spent the last 6 triple feeding. I’m tired of pumping every couple of hours, at least 8 times a day. I’m tired of washing bottles. I’m tired of the no-good formula. Most of all, I’m sad that my baby, who was breast-feeding, seems to need to be tricked into it now.
It’s a struggle. She still does it at night and in the morning, but throughout the day she wants her easy bottle. I suppose she’s adopted a taste for plastic over my nipple. It’s disheartening to say the least.
Add to all this my monkey mind and it’s a recipe for depression. No wonder post-partumn depression is a thing. This motherhood business is no joke!
You see, I was a small baby. So it could be true that Sophia is just small and that she wasn’t failing to thrive, but that she just wasn’t gaining weight like other average babies her age.
You see, this is what really gets me. So much of what we determine to be normal, especially in the medical or scientific communities, is what every one else has done or what fits in.
Einstein didn’t fit in. Neither have many great geniuses or other innovative people. If there’s one thing I’m learning through becoming a mother, it’s that expecting for one to have a “normal” experience is completely insane.
When I went into labor with Sophia, everyone told me to go to the birth center when I had regular contractions that were 3 minutes apart. Well, that never happened. So, I didn’t know when to go and I almost birthed my babe by myself.
I think it’s dangerous to try to get everyone to be “normal” or fit in, or show up where we want them to on a curve. This doesn’t leave any room for magic, for newness, for evolution or change. It doesn’t leave us to be unique beings. It forces us to conform or else we intervene with medicine in ways that sometimes end up harming ourselves or those we love.
So here I sit. 4 weeks past Sophia’s surgery. Since I decided to introduce a bottle and formula and alter her physically, our breast-feeding relationship is challenging. She’s had to re-learn to suck- as she had all that time in utero and since birth with a certain pattern and then we changed that.
And I can’t help but wonder…what if I’d said, “How about we don’t do anything and see what happens?” or, “What if we go slowly and try some other things first?”
You see, as soon as we declare something is a problem, there’s a world of people whose job it is to intervene, or offer solutions. If you ask 10 people, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. So, who do you trust? Whose opinion do you follow?
And herein lies the answer to why I am a practicing psychic. In the end, we’ll only ever feel good if we choose for ourselves, from our own knowing. And when a slew of people are bombarding you with their opinions, it’s almost impossible to hear your own voice.
I let myself lose my space a bit. I was a hormonal, fatigued and worried new mom. I opened the door to a cascade of interventions that have led me to heartache, in that I deeply wanted to breast-feed my babe.
Now, I’m left to work on letting go, and forgiving myself and others for the ways in which we behave that are less than compassionate, intentional, or full of understanding of the big picture.
That leads me to my final point. In all of this, all I’ve wanted is to find someone to listen to me. In my regret, my grief, my questioning, I just needed someone to lend me an ear. To really hear me out.
Over and over again, I find people who interrupt me, offer advice, cut me off, and get mad or defensive or angry about it. And if I hear one more time that I can’t go back + change it so let it go...I’m gonna scream! If my mom died and I wanted to share my regrets or sadness is that what you’d tell me? (I do say the serenity prayer about 5x a day!)
If I know anything at all, it’s that we have to feel it to heal it. There’s letting our mind let it go, and there’s allowing space for reflection and realization that we’d change it if we had to do it again- that’s growth and learning so we can do better in the future!!
So, I’m left with sadness. Sadness for how hard it can be to set and hold boundaries, to stand for what we know to be true, even when everyone else says something different, and how sad it is that sometimes, out of our own inability to be with difficult emotion, we cut off others and won’t hear them- thus perpetuating their sadness and disconnection.
If you can do anything for someone today, let it be deep listening. No one needs your solution, your opinion or your advice, so much as they need your deep listening and willingness to give space to all that they are- without judgment. That’s unconditional love at its finest.
All my love,