Twelve Hours With Twins (while running a mental health practice)

My wife worked 7AM-7PM today. So I was on boy duty all day. They are three and a half.

Sometimes my wife says things like, “I wish I had Mondays off every week,” like it’s a freaking vacation. I work four days a week, five days (Saturday Mornings) every other week in order to have Monday’s “off”. I stay home with the boys, do administrative work for my practice, often call about ten to fifteen clients back per day, and bring the boys to whatever appointments they are due for.

Today was like every other Monday filled with drama and emergencies I could just not foresee.

Declan woke up cranky and wanting to cuddle. He then laid on the couch and fell asleep, which has actually never happened before ever. So I knew he was sick. Waited for the puke to come (but also texted with a nurse friend because I thought he might have some acute illness that only happens to kids I saw in the emergency department but haunt me as a Mom so she reassured me he didn’t have a weird random illness that would kill him. Just the stomach bug that hadn’t hit fully yet).

Meanwhile his brother Jackson was not sick and was not understanding that his brother was sick. They constantly talk to each. I mean constantly. I didn’t realize how constantly until Declan was asleep and not responding.

I was returning phone calls and cleaning up the kitchen and could hear him, “chatter chatter chatter…DECLAN…chatter chatter chatter DECLAN…..” and each time Jackson would pause then remember Declan was sleeping, then walk toward him to shake him and wake him up, at which point I would either yell or hand gesture wildly and silently while I was on the phone with a client or prospective client booking appointments.

Jackson is an evil genius. He knew when I was on the phone I would not yell at him to leave his brother alone. So he waited until I was on the phone to do his worst to try and get Declan to wake up, which would result in me vaulting myself across the couch blocking him from Declan making my most stern facial expression and waving my arms while talking calmly, “Sure, yes, I specialize in seeing transgender individuals…yes I know your therapist she’s wonderful, so glad she referred you to me…” etc.

Then the guys came to open the pool. I was shocked. First; because they were on time, second; because the owner was with them and he actually knew what the hell he was doing. We needed some repairs done and the last two pool companies I dealt with were  awful in many ways.

So Jackson is now diverted by the pool opening and yelling at the guys opening the pool to look at his watch through the screen door. Declan is still sleeping. Jackson continues to yell to him to come see the pool.

I go outside with pool guy in order to assess the filter with him and as he explains the damages Jackson walks outside. Then a sleepy eyed half dressed Declan follows. Leaving the screen door wide open at which point one of my cats runs outside. I’m yelling at the boys to go inside, which they don’t, I’m scooping up my cat who is addicted to grass so she’s furiously eating blades of grass before I grab her, I toss her inside, shut the screen door, come back down to pool guy where the boys are. Declan starts heaving.

Finally. The puke came. I grabbed him, carried him three feet away from the pool filter and the fence so no one would walk through the ensuing puke. Then he puked. The pool guy was not phased, and said he has a two year old at home, and then proceeded to explain the filter issues with me while I’m holding Declan who was still puking and Jackson stood watching.

I walked Declan back inside carrying him deadweight in my arms. He’s forty pounds.

We walk inside and the power goes out.

Pool guy had been flipping some switches so we checked the breaker and such and it was out. I checked online and there was an outage in our area. Estimated time to fix it two hours.

No storm. No wind. Just an outage directly after my toddler puked specifically because we have a well pump, a dirty pool, and no way to wash the puke off his shirt.

So I stripped him. He screamed. He wanted the damn bear shirt he was wearing.

I set up the kindle which had 18% battery and left him watching The Fox and the Hound while I went outside to finish the filter discussion.

At some point the damn cat got out again.

It was 80 degrees here today.

I was hot. I was sweaty. I couldn’t access my freezer or ice or water for two hours. I still took calls from clients and scheduled two more intakes. Thank God for Hot Spots. On phones. Not actual literal hot spots. Because I was miserably hot.

Remember I have an employee now? In the midst of Declan puking, the pool guy, the power going out, she was texting me with technical and clinical questions about her clients today including but not limited to issues with wifi, our credit card processing machine, and clients.

As I was looking at the dwindling batteries on the kindle, my work phone, my iPhone, and my laptop the power magically came back on.

Declan was now drinking water and the next few hours went okay. Well except the screaming match when I laid him down for naps because he still wanted the damn bear shirt. He just can’t let things go. It always escalates with him because there’s no steering him away from it and he doesn’t let it go until I lose my shit.

He also insisted on sleeping in my bed because he was “sick”. Which I agree he was.

So they napped. I spent an hour on the phone with therapists collaborating about patients.

After naps we played outside in this awesome sprinkler pad. It was an hour of fun.

Then it started. They wanted to swim in the pool. They didn’t understand it was still green, still clearing, not ready. They both freaked out when we had to come inside and that led to another twenty minute show down between us all. Which culminated with Jackson taking one of these stakes we have for a game of giant croquet, and staring me in the face as he slowly pushed the pointy end through the screen door and made a hole. In our screen door. Kind of a big hole.

Perfect. I may have lost my mind a little.

After timeout for Jackson for making a hole in the door we made muffins with them in their underwear. Because epic showdown three of the day was Declan wanting his unicorn pajamas and they were not dry yet. The two hour power outage slowed down my laundry progress.

Crisis call from a client in the midst of the unicorn pajama showdown.

“Yes I can definitely meet with you this week,”

Mute the phone. “For the fifth time YOUR PONIES ARE IN THE DRYER! THEY ARE NOT READY YET!”

“Yes and bring your family, yes totally fine if we do a family session,”

Mute the phone “I WANT MY PONIES MAMA! I WANT MY PINK PONIES MAMA!”

…and so on and so forth. At some point I waxed a spot on my upper thighs that was bothering me. And yes I’m not supposed to open the wax anymore. But I did. And I didn’t grab a strip. So I was running through the house for the strip with the hot wax already on a large area of my upper thigh and the boys saw me run by and said, “Mama what happened?!” Then they witnessed me waxing the large area on my upper thigh because the strips were in the kitchen and I said, “Mothefudgenuggetfudgersfucking fuck I swore,” as I tried not to swear in front of them.

They basically ignored me and went back to watching the dinosaur show I had on for them.

Fast forward to bed time. The whining and the meltdowns were escalating after the muffins and I put them into bed early. Epic meltdowns. Why? Declan wanted his pink goggles. God knows where he put them. I looked. I truly looked. I could not find them anywhere. Jackson didn’t want to go to bed just in general and kept counting to 3 to mock me. “1…2….3!”

I found the stupid goggles thirty minutes later and brought them into Declan. They were in the bottom of a full laundry basket of clean laundry?!

Every night before bed I say a yoga thing with them, and for roughly ten seconds they pulled it together for that, “Sky above, earth below, peace within. Namaste.” Then I bow my head with my thumb knuckles at my third eye (Center of forehead).

Then Declan whined and said, “No want MamasDay Mama!”

At the end of these days I don’t know how to feel. I feel raw, edgy, irritable, then angry that I feel that way. I try to remember the positives about today. The sprinkler was fun. The pool opening happened and went really well, I mean minus Declan vomiting during the opening…the power went out, but it came back on. Thank God. And I got to spend the day with my boys. For better or worse.

Moral of the story. Definitely not a vacation or a “day off”. More like a day at home in hell with occasional moments of happiness and peace interspersed with hours of hell. But for some reason our human brain remembers more of the happiness and less of the hell. Survival tactic I think.

p.s. the saga continued with Declan pooping after bedtime, my wife helping him, he peed on the unicorn pj’s and had another meltdown because she made him change into new bottoms. “But Mama said yes!” I could hear screamed down the hallway as I hid cowering in my bedroom.

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Declan asleep about forty minutes before puking

 

Four Days with Twin Toddlers: Puke, Bees, Emergency Department, and Thunderstorms…

It’s literally only Wednesday.

Let’s start on Sunday.

“Boys we are going to a big store, and you can’t jump on the couches, we have to be good boys in the store.” They looked at me and nodded. Then came the furniture store. They ran around like maniacs. I finally rounded them up in front of me, “Guys, what’s going on?” My Declan, “Mama say no jump. We run.” Perfect. Played by my two year olds.

Followed by a trip to the diner where my Declan started acting sick. He nestled in on my chest, and started to look pale. I’m thinking shit. We have got to go. The week before his brother had acted the same way about a half hour before he puked. So I take him into the car. We sit and wait for my wife and his brother. He just lays on me like when he was a baby. It was actually a beautiful sweet moment. Followed by us trying to fly home, but not beating the puke. He threw up in my brand new car. Not a little bit. A LOT. We pulled over and stripped him down. It was in his hair, on my shirt, my legs, his legs, his shirt. My car. All over my car.

We made it home and survived Sunday. And tried to clean the car.

Monday: Declan was feeling much better. They are home with me on Mondays. I brought them to the town beach where we were going to meet my mom. I stopped and got them doughnuts. We pull up to the beach and I get them out and we go to the playground. There are a few yellow jackets flying around. Then my mom arrives and I give them each a half doughnut. We are swarmed. 4-5 yellow jackets dive bombing each individual. To the point we are all running, then I take the doughnuts, throw them toward the water. The boys are screaming, the seagulls go nuts, we get to the car. The boys are yelling, “Mama not nice!”

I’m not kidding. This is actual reality. The seagulls screaming. We were screaming. Then I finally get in the car, doors closed, and there’s a damn bee buzzing around. Boys start yelling, “Bee NOT NICE” and I’m opening the doors and windows trying to swat it outside. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to leave, car shut tight, faint vomit smell still lingering…bee free.

Tuesday: Thunderstorms after bedtime but right at that sweet spot when they weren’t sound asleep yet. Yeah. That was horrendous. Me sitting by the crib and them falling asleep but magically waking up every time I try and leave the room. SO much thunder.

Wednesday: This takes the cake. I get up, shower, dress. Get the boys up. They go in and pee pee on the potty…yes we are doing that now most of the time…but still wearing pull-ups. I walked with Declan to his room, changing his pull-up, I look up (less than 60 seconds have passed), there’s Jackson on the counter that he’s never been able to reach with the childproof cap in one hand, the bottle of Benadryl in the other, gulping it down.

I’m pretty sure I screamed. Then I was next to him grabbing the bottle, I almost flung it, but realized that was totally irrational and needed to take a picture of it. I took a pic, I think I was still yelling because both boys were crying, then I’m sticking my finger down his throat, he gags, refuses to puke. Of course now he’s really sobbing, then I’m screaming at my wife on the phone because she doesn’t remember the volume that was in the Benadryl bottle from, I don’t know, 8 months ago whenever we used it last.

This is when knowing too much as a former pediatric emergency department nurse sucks ass. I think I should call 911, then I think, they will take me to the nearest hospital which doesn’t have a pediatric specialty. Nearest pediatric hospital is 25 minutes away. And if I call 911 what do I do with Declan? I’m there alone with two kids. The ambulance won’t let us all ride with them.

I quickly made up my mind. Onset of liquid Benadryl will be about 35 minutes. I threw some diapers in a bag grabbed some cereal bars and threw the boys in the car and drove. Didn’t count on rush hour traffic. Took a solid 35 minutes. His lids were heavy by the time I pulled in.

Now I can tell you that drive, that 35 minutes was pure torture. I couldn’t cry, because they were already upset and I was trying to calm them down. I gave them their bars, and literally called myself the worst mom in the universe in my head a million different ways a million different times. I was picturing every kid who overdosed I ever took care of…yeah those weren’t pretty images. I kept asking my son if he was okay, he kept getting more and more cranky and tired looking.

We pulled up, my wife met us there, and I walked in to see the smiling face of a nurse I used to work with in the other children’s hospital. “Hi! It’s okay. It happens.” My eyes welled up, and I was so relieved. Relieved I made it there, relieved to see a friendly and familiar face, and that my baby was in the right place if he was going to have any type of reaction.

It was actually an easy Emergency Department visit. We watched a movie and they monitored his heart rate. He took a nap curled on my chest, and walked around like a drunken sailor when he woke up. It was kind of funny but also made me cry to see him walking drunk. Worst Mom ever award. I’m a freaking nurse. And my kid got into medication. I can’t even process that right now. I can say the healthcare providers we saw were great, and never made me feel like a bad Mom. They provided constant reassurance that these things happen, and twins, but seeing him so tired and out of it. That broke me a little.

We came home. He recovered. Acted fine by dinner time. And then Declan says, “No drink medicine,” I say, “Yes baby, that’s right, no drink medicine,” Declan says, “Unless it’s in a cup.” Facepalm.

I am dreading Thursday. But really what else could possibly go wrong…

Mornings with two 2 year old’s.

Every week day morning I am home with the boys. Just as every evening my wife is home with them. I like to complain that mornings are worse because we are on a time crunch to get out the door. But really any time with twin two year olds is a total shit show.

So just snippets from this morning. From the hours of 7 AM when they wake up through 9 AM when we walk out the door.

Me- holding 4 shirts- Jackson needs options. Declan is already dressed standing next to me. Jackson is about five feet away having a meltdown because I took off his pajama shirt and he doesn’t want to put on a new shirt. Me- “This one?” holding up each shirt individually, Jackson with tears, “No!” “No!” Declan- grabs a shirt “Jacky dis one, Jacky dis one,” Proceeds to run after Jackson with a shirt in his hand. Jackson cries and screams and runs away from Declan. I’m still holding up the other three shirts telling Declan to stop chasing Jackson. “Declan, baby, thank-you, Mama’s got this,” I might as well be talking to air, because they are still screaming running in circles with Declan holding up the damn shirt. Then they stop running and screaming both end up in my lap. Then Jackson is pulling at Declan’s shirt, and Declan babbles at him, and they somehow communicate to me that Jackson needs Declan’s shirt and Declan needs the shirt in his hand. I don’t know how honestly, because they don’t speak in sentences. It’s like some weird twin language that I understand sometimes. So I unbutton and take off Declan’s shirt. Put it on Jackson. Put the other shirt on Declan.

This is all after we have established that “Mommy work” (I’m Mama) “Mommy work.” Instead of “Hi Mama,” Every morning it’s “Good morning babies,” “Mommy work?” “Yes Mommy’s at work.” Then one of them might cry or we might be okay and move onto getting dressed.

At the table for breakfast- “Wa wa Mama” “You want water?” “yes.” “please?” “pwees”. I get their two little cups, fill them up, give them each a cup, the look at the cups (they are exactly the same), then they have this whole conversation between each other, sounds like “Jacky,” “Decy, wa wa,” “Jacky, wa wa, No, Mama, pwees.” Then they hand each other their cups to switch them. Then they sit back and sip them. Apparently I gave them the wrong cups. But like seriously. Exactly the same.

Still at the table- “Ca” “Ca” “Rara Rara No!” “Ca Ca”. “Damnit, Rajha get down, guys the black one is Maddy the white one is Raja, not Cat and Rajha.” They scream “Ca” at Maddy, and “Rara” at Rajha every time one of the cats jumps on the table where they aren’t supposed to be. Every morning. Damn cats.

While we eat breakfast I always turn on some music. I have a playlist mixed of my music and kids music. Finally a Mama song comes on. “Mama no, Moana, Moana,” “Yeah but guys this is Pink, Pink is like one of the best artists…” “Mama Moana, Moana, pwees.” Me muttering under my breath that I can’t even listen to one damn Pink song with my coffee as I fast forward to a Moana song.

Inevitably at some point…Jackson screams, “PEE PEE” “PEE PEE” “PEE PEE” and wherever he is has a total shit fit and runs into the family room and lays on the ground to change his diaper. Yes. He knows when he pees, he holds his pee, and no he won’t get on the damn toilet. We are trying. So he goes and lays down, and he waits for me to come change him. And I gotta be honest. Sometimes I forget. So I’m cleaning up the kitchen, packing their diaper bag, brushing my teeth (I literally have toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant in the bathrooms upstairs and downstairs and the kitchen), then I realize I haven’t seen the blonde one for awhile…”Jack-man?” “Mama pee pee.” Fuck. Right. Then I’m like how long has he been laying there? And feeling like the worst mother ever run over to change him and I find him patiently laying on the floor playing with some toy or something with a full diaper.

Getting out the door.

Herding cats. Well herding the boys and yelling at the cats as they try and sneak out the door. Then the boys start yelling at the cats and we have the same discussion. The black cat is Maddy not Cat.

Yesterday I was putting Declan’s coat on, we had already done his shoes and socks, and Jackson who always runs away, actually got within grabbing distance of me. So I grabbed him, pinned him under my legs, finished zipping up Declan’s coat with a writhing screaming Jackson trying to escape. Then I had to lay on him to get his socks and shoes on, while I’m laying on him Declan’s bring Jackson’s coat over and laying it on Jackson’s face saying “Coooooat Jack-y, coooooooat Jack-y”. I get the shoes on. I grab the coat off the even more pissed Jackson, thank Declan, and then while wrestling Jackson into his coat the car alarm goes off. I look up and Declan’s holding my keys looking guilty, clearly having pushed the panic alarm. I pin Jackson down again, Declan comes and gives me the keys, and when I finally get the coat on the car alarm off and stand up, those two cups of coffee hit me, and I’m like if I pee I lose all momentum and we never get out the door, if I don’t pee….well it may come out anyway thank you twin pregnancy.

I rush them out the door, into the garage, one in each car seat. Each with their own car toys. God forbid it’s the wrong car toy. Each with a snack. And then I thank God for remote control car starters as I open the garage, start the car, lock it, run back inside and pee before we head out for the day.

So yeah. To all my co-workers. This is why I’m freaking beat before work even starts.

Yes I love them and thank God they are cute and they give me amazing hugs. And tonight Jackson banged heads with me accidentally, and he rubbed my head with his little hand and said “I sorry Mama, boo boo,” and he kissed my head. It’s those moments that make me forget just this morning I had him pinned between my legs to get his socks on…to bed now only to wake for another adventure…

When I was told to breastfeed on a toilet.

Pre-babies I had a lot of thoughts about breastfeeding. Some of them still hold true. I don’t need to see other people breastfeed. I am a very modest person in terms of nudity and seeing other people’s boobs is not something I’m into. However, I would never put another mom down for breastfeeding wherever and however they need to do it. It’s my issue so I look away. If I ever heard any one give a mom a hard time for breastfeeding in public I would immediately come to their defense.

Some stuff I learned about breastfeeding twins for twelve months is important. As a society we don’t talk about breastfeeding because it has to do with boobs and we as a society are extremely closed to these discussions because apparently we only like talking about boobs if they are sexualized.

There is a lot of pressure on new mom’s to do things certain ways. And the right way varies depending on who you talk to. People become very judgmental and invalidating. I’m writing this blog post to hopefully provide some encouragement and validation to new mom’s.

I decided to breastfeed my kids because I work in healthcare and I knew it was the healthy choice to make. I was not going to put a lot of pressure on myself to “make” it work though. Because I knew my mental health was more important when starting a journey as a twin mom. So here’s my breastfeeding story.

Immediately after being cut open and having two babies taken from my uterus and while I was still intermittently puking I had two beautiful little beings put onto my boobs. One of them took it to it right away, the other was not very interested.

They were born at 36 weeks, they were both 5 lbs. Having been a pediatric nurse I knew they were at high risk for weight loss and feeding issues. That is what would keep them in the hospital. So I was determined to make this breastfeeding thing work. I also agreed to supplement with formula until my milk came in. I wanted to bring them home.

Enter in pre-eclampsia. I had high blood pressure which is why we did the emergent C-section. The next morning I lost all peripheral vision in both eyes. I was put into maternal special care and started on a magnesium drip as they thought I was having full blown eclampsia. The next twenty-four hours sucked ass. I got no sleep. They check vitals every hour on a Magnesium drip. I was on bed rest, so I had the freaking catheter still in. My incision freaking hurt, and they would still come in every two hours and throw the boys onto my boobs. They also encouraged me to pump between feedings to help bring in milk supply.

So I had no vision, I was on a drip that made me feel shitty, and I was fresh post-op. People were texting us wanting to come to see the boys. I wanted everyone to go away and leave me to die. It sounds so dramatic but it was totally awful.

So that was my introduction to breastfeeding.

Luckily after some force-feeding of the boys with medicine droppers and the 24 hours of Magnesium we were all cleared for discharge. One of my boys was breastfeeding like a champ, the other one not so much. Every two hours it was an ordeal. One boy on each boob, and extra attention to the one boy who needed it.

About five days in my nipples felt like they were going to fall off every time they nursed. I’m not exaggerating. I actually had nightmares where they fell off. Because they didn’t get a break. There was no switching boobs, it was one baby on each boob every time they nursed. No breaks. Around this time we realized both my sons could not tolerate formula. We tried milk based, soy based, anti-allergy etc. The only thing they could keep down and sleep after having was my breast milk. No pressure.

After the first two weeks of me crying through every feeding because my nipples hurt I wanted it to be over. Now. But we literally tried every formula and it was not happening. They were both in pain afterward, up for twelve to twenty-four hours sometimes just miserable. So onward we went with breastfeeding. I did get my lazy feeder to start nursing well, so by about five weeks in they both were at least nursing easily but I was living life as a milk machine. I was always crazy about my supply. If I took six hours to sleep at night, I would wake up in the middle and pump. We were building up a freezer supply which thank God we did because we needed every last drop to get us through to a year.

Enter blocked ducts. I was making milk for two babies. My boobs were overloaded so I continuously would get blocked ducts. It feels like a hard lump in your boob. It’s extremely painful. The solution- nursing. One of my sons was a very vigorous nurser so he’d have to nurse on that side until the duct cleared. He did clear it every time. But it took a few tries sometimes.

Then we had family and friends over and they were sad they couldn’t give the boys bottles. They wanted to know why I couldn’t just not breastfeed them one time. It made me want to scream. I was working so hard physically and emotionally to keep up with twin supply. Every time they had a growth spurt my supply had to keep up with them. I also knew I was going back to work at eighteen weeks and we needed a freezer supply. I was working all the time on making breast milk to feed my sons. I didn’t want to hear it from anyone about giving them a damn bottle.

Breastfeeding twins who are not on the same schedule meant I was breastfeeding upward of eighteen hours a day. Mostly they were on the same schedule. But they never had growth spurts at the same time which meant those weeks were rough. Then one of my sons cut his first tooth at ten weeks. Yes that is rare. Yes it totally sucked. They didn’t use pacifiers at that time, and instead he was gnawing on my boob.

I couldn’t leave the house because if we left the house one of them needed to nurse. They weren’t the quiet nursers. They made a lot of slurping noises, they looked around all the time, and unless we were sitting alone on the couch at home it was not relaxing for me or them. Thus it was an incredibly isolating eleven months. The twelfth month we made it through on all frozen milk.

Had I not had two babies who were extremely sensitive to formula would I have stopped breastfeeding? Yes. Did I receive many opinions about my breastfeeding journey from many different individuals? Yes. Did this want to make me isolate even more? Yes.

Around the tenth month I was back at work already and had been sharing a double office with another new mom. We would both hook up our boobs to our pumps and do our notes while we pumped. It was a nice set-up because we could lock the door and we were both going through the same thing. But then there were some major office changes and we were told we would be put into a group room with three other employees, some males. When I asked my boss and the woman in charge of office space where I would pump they said well we don’t have a space. I said you have to provide me a space, and they said, “Well you can use a bathroom.” I said, “You want me to pump milk, food for children, sitting on an open toilet in a nasty public bathroom?” They both said “yes.” I informed them that this was against our state and federal labor laws to suggest I pump on a toilet. I ended the meeting, waited until I walked out and burst into tears. I was still pumping three times a day at work at that point.

I worked for a hospital, and both of those individuals were women one a mother. I could not believe I was being treated this way and I felt violated. I had come so far in this breastfeeding journey and put so much work into it and it literally was how we fed our children. I was angry and stressed and hormonal and I also knew it was illegal. So then I had to set up meetings with human resources and our executive director. I couldn’t believe that the three men I spoke to (while crying) about my whole experience were more understanding and more willing to help me than the two women.

The psychiatrist I worked with at the time and our chief resident immediately came up with a solution for me to use in the interim until the hospital got it’s shit together. I remember feeling so angry though that I had to even involve them. That my breast-feeding journey became this spectacle and source of gossip at work.

The whole experience was incredibly eye-opening for me. The more I talked to other women at work and online and in my life the more stories I was told about women being told there would be no accommodations made for them to pump at work. Teachers and nurses had it the worst or maybe that’s just who I was surrounded by. Women came forward having been told they could not take pump breaks or there was nowhere for them to pump, or use their car, the bathroom, etc. It was shocking to me.

Why do women not make a stink about this? Why are women treated this way by employers? Why as a society do we not empower women to feed their children in any way they want instead of making it impossible for them to do so without it being a battle? My place of employment should not dictate how I feed my kids. I should.

By the time the boys were eleven months they were big, healthy, eating solid food, and the last time I nursed them one of them bit me (he had a full mouth of teeth by twelve months) hard, and I was done. One of them was clearly ready to be done, one of them would probably still be nursing if I let it go on, but it was time. They went from 5 pounds at birth to over twenty pounds each by one year. My boobs will probably never look the same but it was worth it. There were moments when we would be nursing and they would cling their little hands together or hold onto my fingers. They would sigh and fall asleep on my chest. They would look at me and really see me with their big blue eyes. There were beautiful moments I wouldn’t trade for anything.

When a friend became pregnant with twins they asked me for advice. I said the number one thing I’d do is not stress about nursing. If it works it works, if it doesn’t and they tolerate formula just move on, the first year will be happier and easier and less isolating. Do I regret nursing? Never. Do I wish I was less isolated for the first eleven months? Yes. Do I wish I never had that experience at my job? Absolutely. It was horrible. But it also made me more aware of a problem our society has.

Breastfeeding is an incredibly vulnerable act. It exposes our bodies, it exposes our babies. It puts us into the position of not being able to defend ourselves if needed. It also makes us vulnerable to people’s judgements. Any mom who breastfeeds for any length of time deserves a medal. She deserves encouragement, pride, support, and NO judgement.

It’s taken me a long time to write this blog post. I stopped breastfeeding one year ago. But it still causes me to feel raw when I think about those eleven months. It was so hard for so many reasons. I could not have made it through without the support of my wife. I also would not have made it through if my son’s hadn’t absolutely loved nursing. That’s what kept me going. But I’m not going to lie. I’m very happy it’s over.