First, Charlie Mae has totally rejected the bottle [of my pumped breastmilk] thus far. We started introducing it at 4 weeks and today, at 8 weeks, she still hasn't accepted it.
She's taken a few bottles here and there, but despite our endless searching for the perfect nipple, our work with lactation consultants (one who has been called the "bottle whisperer") and trying at every time of day and every scenario, she mostly says "no thanks" to the bottle and launches into an inconsolable screaming fit/meltdown. So that's one challenge that's plaguing the family right now.
Then, yesterday, we had our first day of in-home childcare with a fabulous woman I found on Care.com and hired months ago. The plan is for her to take care of Charlie Mae while I work from home in my studio 2-3 days per week. And while I expected that the first day wouldn't be super productive on my end, I had no idea how emotionally wrenching it would be.
I basically spent her 5-hour shift sitting in my studio listening to Charlie Mae sobbing, trying to figure out when it had been long enough for me to go out and "rescue" her. It wasn't Donna's fault; she was doing everything she could to try and soothe her. And I know that they have to figure this out together, but I also knew that all Charlie Mae wanted/needed was her mom, and I felt horrible not giving her what she needed.
Sure enough, each time I finally hit my limit and decided to go out to help, she would calm down immediately. I felt really bad for Donna, I felt terrible for Charlie Mae ("Am I the worst mom in the history of the world for doing this to her?"), and I also felt bad for myself. It was not fun.
Needless to say, I know I have it easy. I don't have to go back to work outside the home for 40 hours per week and I'm able to be home to help if I need to. But also, the feeling that I'm deserting my child is the worst.
So, tomorrow we have a new plan: I'm going to leave the house for the first 2 hours and go to a coffee shop so that Donna and Charlie Mae can try to work things out without me (and I don't feel the horrible urge to intervene, which may be making things worse).
I still might not get much done and I'll probably be counting down the seconds and/or staring at my phone the entire time I'm away, but at least I'll give them a little space and *maybe* things will be better.
Ugh. The emotional roller coaster of being a working mom has just started, and while I know that working is important to me and to our family--and that ultimately, this has to happen so that I can work again--it doesn't make it any easier. And yes, of course I'm questioning everything after just one day of childcare, but I know it will get better. It has to.
As one of my friends said in a text to me yesterday, "Welcome to the mom guilt club! Every mom is a member."
Thanks for staying with me!