Learning to eat, feed, and be ok

My mom holding me on the day I was baptized, and me holding Madelyn the day she was baptized. Madelyn wore the same baptism dress that I wore 30 years ago.
My mom holding me the day I was baptized, and me holding Madelyn the day she was baptized. Madelyn wore the same baptism dress that I wore 30 years ago.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post published one of my personal essays about motherhood. I pitched the essay to the editor of the Post’s On Parenting website last month and was happy when she wrote back to say she wanted to publish it.

I was even more moved by all the positive feedback the essay has received from friends, family, and readers who I didn’t previously know. The essay focuses on the arc of loss, struggle, and recovery that has defined my life story. In doing so, it shows how motherhood has changed me.

Here’s an excerpt:

Before my daughter was born, I pictured what it would be like to nurse her. Ever the optimist, I imagined her latching well and smiling up at me as we bonded over feedings. I had read about the benefits of breastfeeding — as well as the challenges. But c’mon, I thought, how difficult could it really be?

Fast forward to Feb. 6, when Madelyn entered this world. The first thing I noticed about my daughter was her tongue. She kept sticking it out and staring up at me, imitating the goofy faces that her father often makes when posing for photos.

“She’s hungry,” my obstetrician said. “You can start feeding her now.”

Unsure of myself, and in a post-labor haze, I put Madelyn’s lips up to my breast and watched her gently latch. Okay, this feels a little weird. But it’s not so bad, I thought. It doesn’t really hurt, and she seems to be doing okay …

Click here to read the full essay

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