Music is the soundtrack of our lives, highlighting our greatest triumphs and saddest of broken hearts. And, if you're like me, you'll want a steady stream of songs to accompany you through the trials and tribulations of motherhood. For example, I know there are more than a few Destiny's Child songs that definitely prepared me for breastfeeding and helped me remember that, yes, I really am a survivor.
Before I tried my hand at nursing I thought breastfeeding was the ultimate bonding experience between mother and child. I had this unrealistic image of me in a rocking chair, wind blowing through my hair and my peaceful babe receiving all the nutrients she needed without so much as a whimper or whine. I was obviously wearing something white and free-flowing and the sun would always be shining on my effortless breastfeeding experience.
Then I had my baby and actually tried breastfeeding. While it might be natural, it sure as hell isn't easy. I had a difficult time nursing and, when I did, it hurt. So while I know it might be "easy" for some people, breastfeeding was not at all easy for me. Not even a little bit. Thankfully, I had the musical stylings of Destiny's Child to help me get through all the highs and lows of nursing. Little did I know, Beyoncé, Michelle, and Kelly prepared me for one of the hardest parts of parenting.
Labor and delivery left my body in shambles. Like, I did not recognize myself. But when I didn't think my postpartum body was particularly fly, Kelly, Michelle, and Queen Bey had my back. In fact, they had my booty, too. The hit song "Bootylicious" got me past my postpartum discomfort and reminded me that my "jelly" was worthy of celebration. And when I was able to look past my body issues I ended up focusing on breastfeeding, my baby, and my mental health.
The phrase "I depend on me" was the perfect representation of my breastfeeding experience. Hell, it fits my current experience as a work-from-home mom of two kids, too. My babies rely on me for their every need, so it's important I remember to rely on me, too. With this hit song I knew that I could do anything, including breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding, like a full-time job, is time-consuming. Sometimes it felt good to listen to music that made me feel rejuvenated while I was busy "working." Plus, if I felt good I know my baby felt good. So when this club jam came on I felt like I could keep going, as long as my inner dancer was jumpin' jumpin'.
"Bills, Bills, Bills"
Between the hospital bills, the lactation consultant bills, my therapist's bills to treat my postpartum depression, and all the money I spent on breastfeeding products... I mean, can someone pay my bills? Even an independent woman needs a little help sometimes.
When a midnight feeding threatened to break me, I needed to remember that I had to be a solider. I also needed my husband to be a soldier, too, and get the hell up with me. Unless a woman wants to, she shouldn't have to tackle breastfeeding on her own. This is a team effort, my friends, even if only one person is lactating.
"Bug A Boo"
There were times my breastfeeding journey felt like an endless push-and-pull. Between the demands of the outside world — bills, jobs, relationships — and the time I devoted to my hungry baby, I could've launched my "pager" (phone) into the street and said goodbye to it all. Sorry, life, but in the words of Destiny's Child: you're buggin' me.
"No, No, No, No, No"
Two words: postpartum sex.
Motherhood is challenging, and it will test you at times when you least expect it. For me, one of those very intense challenges was breastfeeding, and there were moments when nursing made me feel like a failure. But then Destiny's Child told me that no matter what obstacles I faced as a new mom, I'm a survivor and I'd keep on surviving. And you know what? I did.
And you will, too.