Everyone experiences rejection — it’s a fact of life. But I don’t handle rejection well.
When, in sixth grade, I found out that my crush liked me a lot … but only as a friend … it stung.
When, in eighth grade, I didn’t make the competitive cheerleading team … it stung. (I should note, I went on to be one of only four freshmen to make the JV team the following year; go figure).
When, in college, my heart was broken by a guy I thought was “the one” … it stung. (Clearly, he wasn’t the one; three years later I met Luis! :))
And, when in the work force I saw others get promotions when I only got raises … it stung.
But now, I’ve experienced the biggest rejection to date.
Maya now rejects nursing.
The past few weeks, every time I’ve tried to nurse (mostly just weekends), she blatantly pulls away … won’t latch, won’t suckle, won’t even do anything except turn away and twist her torso away from me — eagerly searching the room for her bottle.
Now, I’ve said before that I don’t nurse often these days but it’s not like she doesn’t know how. Literally in the recovery room this chick knew exactly what to do; it’s instinctual for them to root. I mean, they know where the land of milk and honey is!
With us, it’s always been an issue of my supply — not her latch. She’s never been the problem.
So I spend hours a day making two 5 or 6 oz bottles for her, deal with constantly sore boobs (sorry if that’s TMI–pumping hurts WAY more than nursing does for me) … and she goes on and rejects me.
Making matters worse, this weekend she had her fourth ear infection (poor bambino!) … When the pediatrician and I talked about her eating habits, I admitted how I was considering stopping pumping — especially since she isn’t nursing anymore — and she basically told me that without any breast milk, her 4 ear infections could have easily been 8-10 already (it’s common knowledge that [among other benefits] breast milk reduces the risk of ear infections).
So today, knowing she was sick — and that nursing used to soothe and calm her, regardless of my minimal production — I decided to give it a go at her 10 AM feeding. She rejected me once again. And this time, my husband was there and saw it happen. He reached his hand out and tried to console me but I just couldn’t stop crying.
I can’t even explain why it hurts so much; it’s not like I loved nursing so much or anything … but , in time, I came to really enjoy that bonding experience with Maya. And now, those days are [likely] officially over, I’m sad to say. And I think the hardest part is that I can’t even tell you the last time I nursed her — it must have been a month ago, and it kills me that we had that “last time” and don’t remember it.
Plus, like a girl wanting a boy whose just “not that into her,” now I want Maya to want to nurse … and she doesn’t. I can’t make her want to do it; I can keep trying (and I will for another few weeks) but I think my lack of consistency the past couple of months threw her for a loop and, frankly, a bottle is easier. No work!
Rejection sucks, and I know someday she will be 12 and won’t want to be seen with her lame mom … but this kind just felt so visceral and hurt more than any of the other rejection experiences I’ve felt.
And, 12 hours later, I’m still feeling the sting.
How about you? If you breastfed, how did weaning make you feel? Did you initiate it or did your child? In general (breastfeeding aside) how do you deal with rejection?