Dan is always telling me that I need to have a little faith. Faith that people will come through. Faith that things will work out. Faith that everything happens for a reason. It’s sort of ironic that he’s the one telling me to have faith – the Irish Catholic Sunday school drop out who scoffs at the idea of his daughter being baptized and asks to be taught the Shabbat prayer because “a religion where you drink wine and eat bread every Friday” is one he can get behind.
But faith in God, or any religion, is such a small part of what faith actually is. Faith is putting your hands in the air on a rollercoaster. It’s leaving your child at daycare. It’s giving your partner a guys night out. Going to a movie by yourself.
Faith, unfortunately, is not something that comes naturally to me. I am, what I like to call, a realist. I live and breath by logic and numbers and lists and plans. And that must be why the universe brought me Dan; the ever-optimist that has never made a list outside of the grocery store – and whose most elaborate plan involves building a bar in his man cave.
And then the universe brought me Mia.
Since Mia there is no planning. There is no logic. There is no reasoning. There is only faith, love and intuition.
As many of you know my journey with breastfeeding has been a complicated and at times difficult one. Before Mia was born I was absolutely sure I would feed her exclusively breastmilk from the moment she was born until 6 months – and continue breastfeeding her until at least a year. And then she was born – and I couldn’t imagine getting through a week of breastfeeding much less a year. I opened the formula sample from Enfamil and put it on the shelf, but didn’t use it. Yet.
“Have some faith,” Dan said. Whatever happens, we’ll get through it.
And then I had to go back to work and the thought of being away from my precious baby for more than an hour literally twisted my heart into a knot and wrung it out. I brought her back into our room and nursed her all night. For me, not for her.
“Have some faith,” Dan said. You’re gonna be ok.
And then like a punishment for all the resentful nights of getting up to breastfeed when Mia was a newborn, my milk supply slowly started to disappear. Pumping at work was BARELY yielding enough to keep Mia content at daycare – and Mia was pulling on and off the breast at night, frustrated by the slow milk flow now that she was used to the bottle. I was so mad. WHY was this happening to me. Why can’t my body provide for my own baby. What’s wrong with me?
“Have some faith,” Dan said. It’s all going to work out.
Last month I started seeing a lactation consultant who recommended all kinds of pumping techniques, compression strategies, latching tips and more. She rented a hospital grade pump for me and recommended a unique blend of herbs to increase my milk supply. We started Mia on solids to increase her calories while we sorted out my supply issues. I started to panic. Would Mia have to start formula? Would she start refusing the breast? Why does this come so easily to everyone else and not to me? How can you want something so badly and not will it to fruition?
“You just need to have faith,” Dan said. Mia’s going to be fine.
And then yesterday I went to a routine OBGYN appointment – and I mentioned my milk supply issues. Instead of giving me the typical runaround that doctors usually do, (i.e. you need to make a separate appointment to discuss medical questions per insurance and scheduling rules) my doctor patiently listened to my every concern, and sat down with me after my appointment, in a separate office, with his on-staff lactation consultant, and worked with me to start a regimen of breastfeeding, pumping, medications and herbs to get my milk supply back on track and keep Mia nursing as long as we both enjoy it. This is the doctor who delivered my baby because my regular doctor wasn’t on call. He wasn’t part of the plan. But maybe it was all part of THIS plan. I just had to have faith.
The lactation consultant then informed me that in the event that we weren’t able to bring up my milk supply enough, there was another mother in the practice, who had an oversupply of milk, who had volunteered to donate her extra milk to Mia if she needs it.
It’s all going to be ok. It’s all going to work out.
This morning the car in front of me paid for my breakfast in the Dunkin Donuts drive thru. And I pumped 6oz instead of two last night. And Mia sleeps 12 hours now. And she loves peas.
There are many things that I’m good at as a person, as a mom. Having faith is not one of them. But today, I realize my hardworking, lighthearted, optimistic husband is right. It’s time to have a little faith. Because in the end, no matter what happens, as soon as you give up control, as soon as you trust your friends, your family and the universe to come through for you – then they do. It might not happen the way you thought it would, the way you wanted it to, or even the way you imagined it could. But it’s all gonna be ok in the end.
Today, I have faith.