mayacama mama

Knowing One’s Limits


It’s been a little over a week since Zane’s birth.  My parents returned home yesterday.  It was our first whole day as a family of four.  I’m realizing now it’s going to be a challenge, though not impossible, to find the time to write and keep up this blog.  I know mama you told me to sleep when the baby is sleeping, but I MUST write, too.

I’ve had a difficult first week even though I’ve had incredible support.  I had planned to breastfeed Zane, just as I had Zoey, for at least a year.  That was my goal.  And without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that after getting support from my mom, my doula, a lactation consultant, and other things to support breastfeeding, the pain was too great and I reached my limit two nights ago.  I started thinking about what I wrote a few posts back about mothers understanding Christ’s words “this is my body . . .given up for you.”  I sacrificed myself for a week and then I realized it was time to let that desire to breastfeed go.  Sometimes we want things so much, like our dream of living at the Santa Lucia Preserve, yet circumstances point us in another direction.  And we can do ourselves harm by resisting what wasn’t our plan and clawing at what cannot be, or we can move forward in a new direction and accept the unknown.  I’m grateful that our little guy has accepted the bottle while I continue to pump milk for him.

It’s easy to let my mind wander into thinking maybe I didn’t try hard enough or maybe there’s something else I can do that will allow me to breastfeed, but the reality is that I gave Zane my best effort and it just wasn’t to be.  And when I finally accepted that I had reached my limit, I felt tremendous relief.  I could let my body heal and be close to my baby boy without cursing and crying out in pain every time he wanted to eat.  And although Stephen may not share my enthusiasm, I am glad I am not the only one who feeds him now.  I can’t do it all by myself.  And there’s no shame in recognizing that.

It is trust in the limits of the self that makes us open and it is trust in the gifts of others that makes us secure. We come to realize that we don’t have to do everything, that we can’t do everything, that what I can’t do is someone else’s gift and responsibility.  I am a small piece of the cosmic clock, a necessary piece but not the only piece.  My limitations make space for the gifts of other people.  Without the grace of our limitations we would be isolated, dry, and insufferable creatures indeed.  It is our limitations and the trust, the dependence on others, that springs from them that saves us from all the tiny little deaths that struggle brings.
Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope by Joan Chittister


Author: Jessica Adriance Cowan

I'm a wife, mama of a daughter and son, a lover of writing, and budding herbalist.

4 thoughts on “Knowing One’s Limits

  1. My Dear One, don’t beat yourself up over this. You tried your best, and that was it. Zane’s Dad grew up on the bottle and he turned out pretty good! It’s also a great bonding for Zane and Steve. Here’s something that might help.

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    Reinhold Niebuhr

  2. I’m actually enjoying the freedom of not being the sole food provider for him. I agree that it is a good way for the boys to bond together.

  3. god I make cute grandchildren

  4. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually recognise what you are talking about!

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