I used to think there was nothing worse in this world than spilling your own breast milk, but it turns out I was wrong. It's far worse when someone else throws it away, especially if that person is your spouse. They say the hardest person to forgive is yourself, but that's not true. Not in this case. It's way harder to forgive your partner because for the love of God why would they do this to you?! Still, you love them, so let me share the ways I avoided killing my spouse after they threw away my breast milk.
First, let's establish why spilling breast milk is so terrible. Getting milk out of your breasts and into a bottle is never easy. It takes dedicated effort, often considerable time (time, I should add, spent away from doing things you might actually enjoy) and most likely an expensive, noisy, not-particularly efficient machine. Spilling it by accident is a tragic shame but, hey, mistakes happen. Perhaps over time, and with a few key breathing exercises, you will be able to forgive and forget.
Throwing it away on purpose, however, and even if you didn't realize you were doing something wrong, is an unforgivable sin. I mean, this person is supposed to be on your side, and they go and pull this crap? Blithely jettisoning the fruit of your boobs like this stuff just magically appears every time a unicorn sneezes? WTF? However, before you go all Michael Corleone to their Fredo, consider the following coping strategies I have employed when my husband "didn't think the milk was good any more."
I Tried A Belly Breathe
I've pretty much always known that deep breaths can calm you down. Yes, it's true, but if you're really upset — like if someone who promised to love and honor for you for the rest of lives callously throws out your breast milk — I've found that can quickly get into "angry breathing" and you just wind up hyperventilating.
However, when my son started watching Sesame Street I was introduced to the concept of belly breathing by none other than Common, who I find tremendously charming and soothing. So don't just breathe, belly breathe (while thinking about Common).
I Asked Why & Started Educating
Chances are this is all a big misunderstanding. That doesn't make it all that much less painful, but it can be helpful to understand the source of the misunderstanding and correct it so that it never happens again. Ever. Like, ever, ever because OMG do you know what I have to do to get that milk every day, dude?!
Still, even when faced with impossibly annoying adversity, communication is the only thing that's going to make it better.
I Remembered They're Human
People do stupid crap all the time. Like, the other day I thought I could leave breast milk in the house unsupervised without having to worry about someone throwing it out. What an idiot, right?!
OK. OK. That's not fair, just like coming home to find my precious breast milk dumped out wasn't fair. But seriously, people make mistakes and they shouldn't be judged by the worst of them.
I Literally Bite Off My Own Hand
I don't even know it's happening. One minute I'm raising my hand to my mouth to muffle a scream, and the next minute I look down and there's a bloody stump at the end of my arm. I guess I just enter a kind of fugue state where I don't feel physical sensation.
In the long-run, this is probably for the best because it keeps me from doing worse damage to myself, others, or property. Don't get me wrong: biting off my own hand isn't ideal, but I feel like it's better than, say, setting my house on fire, which I feel would otherwise be on the table.
I Refuse To Think About The Countless Hours I Spent Pumping
Girl, don't do it. The best you can do is pretend that part of your life never happened. To remember all the painstaking, annoying, tethered-to-a-horrible-milking-machine moments is only going to cause untold heartache. It's going to be gut-wrenching, like that scene at the end of Armageddon when Bruce Willis sacrifices himself and sees his daughter's entire life flash before his eyes at the moment of his death. It will do nothing for you to dwell on all that lost time. You're just going to cry hot, bitter tears.
Again, don't think too much about it, but do feel free to cry. Sometimes, you just need a good face-leak. It's healthy. It's cathartic. It's also hard to actually murder a loved one when you're crying that hard, so there's that.
I Fly Off To A Tropical Island
Since traveling to the Caribbean for the first time two years ago, I've been of the mind that there is no problem flying to the Caribbean can't solve. That is unless, of course, you're talking about the myriad socioeconomic problems facing Caribbean nations. Or, if you're at the Fyre Festival and your problem is that you need to leave the Caribbean because you have no food or shelter and feral dogs are chasing you.
But even so, I cannot speak to the restorative powers of a tropical vacation enough. When you're lying on a pristine, white sand beach, dipping your toes in the warm turquoise water, not even spilled breast milk can bring you down because look at where you are.
I Look At Wedding Pictures
Remember why you married this person. Remember your wedding day, when you legally joined yourselves together, perhaps in the sight of your friends and family. Maybe you wore a chic and lovely dress. Maybe you drank good wine and danced. Maybe you got cool coordinated rings. Was there cake? Think of the cake. Cake is delicious. No one can be sad when they think about cake.
I Remember I Can't Collect Life Insurance If I Murder Them
They're actually pretty strict about that sort of thing and, like, I get it. But come on, life insurance policy people: clearly you've never had a partner throw out perfectly good breast milk. You should really write some sort of exemption in a situation like that.
I Remember That Parenting Would Be Harder Without Them, Regardless
Yes, they may toss your milk, but they do help in other areas like diapers, naps, cleaning, nighttime wake ups, outings, and whatever else parenting requires? If the answer is yes then, while this transgression was annoying, in the grand scheme of things it was a drop in the bucket (horrible pun intended).
If they don't help in any of these tasks, then them throwing out breast milk is not your biggest problem. This is saying a lot because, as we've established, the milk thing is a huge problem.
I Show Them This App
Not to shamelessly plug my own creation, but this handy dandy flowchart is really helpful for those times when you don't know if breast milk can be saved, used, or tossed. No, technically I could not use this when I was breastfeeding, so this list item isn't strictly speaking true. However, it can, I hope, be helpful for some of you to keep your beloved spouse from becoming a mortal enemy. After all, one does not throw out a woman's hard-earned breast milk without losing some love points (if only temporarily).