Lost. And Found

The great irony of our journey to parenthood, to me, is the bottle brush that hangs by our sink. We use it almost daily to wash out the Babe’s bottles, but we didn’t buy it for her. We didn’t even buy it for baby bottles.

We bought it soon after we moved to Boston and noticed some gunks in our water bottles. It was the only bottle brush at the store and though it came with a nipple brush, the price was right, so we took it home. “We’ll never use it for bottles, of course,” I told Taylor, indicating that the nipple brush could probably be tossed. Still, the nipple brush sat in the box under the sink and we never threw it out.

You see, I am a firm believer in breastfeeding. Even when we were beginning to consider adopting, we were hoping to bring home an infant and to be able to breastfeed. It is totally possible, and as our home study progressed, my sister even gifted us the supplementer we would use (since I likely wouldn’t be able to bring in a full supply of milk). We never planned to use or to need bottles. Or bottle brushes.

And yet, here we are. We use those darn brushes nearly every day. We take the bottles with us in the diaper bag and we give her milk when she needs it, wherever we are. I realize how strange this may sound, but I feel terribly conspicuous whenever I bring the bottle out, almost ashamed.

It isn’t rational. I know that 1) people aren’t judging my parenting because I’m giving my daughter a bottle, 2) given the situation, what else would we do? 3) only we know the full details of our own lives, so who cares what other people think? [This is totally not a post on shaming non-breastfeeding parents, so please don’t misunderstand my feelings here.]

Still, that bottle brush gets to me. We had plans. We had everything worked out. Nothing has gone the way we would have expected on our way to parenthood. So many things have been not the way we hoped. It has been hard to accept a lot of what we have been given.

We have been given much. Sorrow, yes, but also joy and love and light and life.

So I only want to confess that I am still (in many ways) grieving for what we have missed. Loss is hard. But I try my best to work through the grief by enjoying the gifts we do have, the things we haven’t missed:  her first steps and her morning kisses for momma and dada, the day she finally decided she liked avocado, the way she’s learning that momma gives the milk and she has to sit with me to get it, that she can point to her “sugars” now, and is starting to run already.

We have been given much.

This Lenten season is a time of thanksgiving and preparing our hearts for Resurrection; of letting go of our old selves and allowing our hearts to be made anew. Finding a new life has already taken root within us.

Time to go wash some bottles..



5 comments

  1. Viv wrote:

    Inspiring as always. True, beautiful and full of love. You are wonderful seester 🙂

  2. lagbd wrote:

    ptl. you are a light to us all. lagbd

  3. Amanda wrote:

    I, too, am an adoptive Mom, who had great plans of nursing my baby. We did nurse for the first two months, but it was a continual trial and we ended up having to stop (I was alleric to all formulas that we were supplementing with and we couldn’t get enough breastmilk and, then, while I took the bar, she developed a major preference for the bottle and refused to nurse 🙁 )…

    I’m the biggest supporter of the benefits of breastfeeding. I always thought I would nurse my children and read so much about adoptive breastfeeding. We have all the gadgets and herbs, etc…
    Even while I was nursing, I was having to supplement with formula. In the beginning I felt like such a fraud or bad Mom every time I went to the store to buy formula.

    • renidemus wrote:

      Amanda, thanks for sharing this. I keep thinking “oh, if only we had had her sooner,” so (and please don’t take this the wrong way) it’s a bit comforting to know that even if things had gone the way we hoped initially, we still might not have been able to breastfeed. I’ve been trying to be at peace with the snuggles and the ways of bonding which we do have right now, with the way things are and all we have to look forward to. It is a constant struggle, though, especially when (nearly) EVERY other mother I know around me is breastfeeding. With you in spirit 🙂 How old is your little one now?