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Hey mama-to-be,

You are pregnant. Ah, the excitement is building. A BABY. Whether you’ve been trying for years or you weren’t planning it, the day is coming on fast and that baby is gonna come whether you are ready or not.

You have a plan. A birth plan. (I am assuming. Though for me, my plan was more ‘let’s see what happens’.) You want it all natural. No meds, no pain killers. Get that epidural FAR away. You took the birthing classes, your hubby knows the breathing techniques, you have the essential oils, and you have done all the exercises.

And when baby is born? Pull out that breast and don’t even mention the ‘F word’. No, you are feeding your baby ALL natural. You are surely going to bond right away. Skin to skin time 24/7, let that baby naturally come to latch, and just feel the bond.

It’ll be perfectly right.

Right?

Mama-to-be. I don’t know if THAT is you. I don’t know if you dream of having an all-natural birth or if you want the epidural ready to be injected as soon as you step foot in that hospital. I don’t know if the ‘F-word’ raises a red flag or if you are okay with having that bottle around in case. I don’t know. All of us mamas are different. SO different.

But I bet you ARE really looking forward to that perfect breastfeeding experience. I am going to assume that whether or not you know it now, once that baby comes you are going to have a strong desire to hold that baby close as he or she gulps down milk meant just for your baby. I bet your mama heart is going to be excited for days spent in bed nursing your little one as he or she grows into a healthy and strong three-month-old, six-month-old, nine-month-old, one-year-old. God made it to be this perfect way—a mama caring for her baby the way only a mama can. THIS was how God designed it and therefore it will be absolutely beautiful.

Well, mama-to-be. I want you to know something. I want you to know this not because I want to break your mama heart or because I am bitter or purposefully being terribly negative. I want you to know this because it is what I wish someone had told me before I gave birth to my first. It is what I wish I had known before my baby had made her way into this world. It is what I wish someone would have told me the first few weeks of my baby’s life.

Breastfeeding is hard. In fact breastfeeding is SO hard that sometimes it doesn’t even work. Sometimes your milk doesn’t come in. Sometimes your baby won’t latch. Sometimes the pain is horrendous.

Sometimes it Just. Doesnt. Work. And it’s heartbreaking. It’s devastating.

It’s NOT always beautiful.

HOW could God make something that seems SO perfectly natural become so IMPERFECT?

Well, He didn’t.
But sin did.

In an ideal world, all of us mamas would be breastfeeding our babies with ease and loving it. I am sure of it.

But guess what? We don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world that is fallen because of the Fall. We live in a world that is completely imperfect. Which means there is pain and sickness and war and famine.

It also means breastfeeding is no longer perfectly perfect. It means that perfect bonding experience is no longer so because there is a divide from sin.

It is not because we moms are failures. It is not because God WANTED to make it hard for us. It is not because our babies hate us.

It is just because of sin.

Wow. That takes the pressure off doesn’t it?

And you know what? God’s grace covered that too.

We can be so thankful for lactation consultants and nipple shields and pumps and Lansinoh.

We can also be SO thankful for feeding tubes and bottles and yes. The F-word. FORMULA.

By God’s grace, we have all of these aids to help us and we also have another feeding option to make sure our babies thrive.

That is what it is all about, mama-to-be. It is ALL about that baby thriving.

No, I am not saying it won’t be heartbreaking. But I am saying that despite the heartbreak and difficulty it brings, you are not a failure if the whole breastfeeding thing doesn’t work. Mama-to-be, you need to know that now. You need to know that now so if the time comes, you won’t forget.

You won’t forget that you are not a failure. You will remember you are a GOOD mama. And that you can be thankful for formula because, by God’s grace, He allows our babies to survive and thrive with it.

So, mama-to-be, whatever your idea of breastfeeding is right now, just remember that whatever happens after that baby is born, it’s OK. It’s OK to feed baby however baby needs to be fed.

And mama-to-be? Breastmilk or not, formula or not, you are a good mama.

In fact, you are the BEST mama for that baby.

Love,
Just another mama

Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulalarm) where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.

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