Last Friday my period made a surprise cameo appearance after having taken a 1 year sabbatical. This sent me desperately seeking my "feminine" products, long since retired to the back of bathroom cupboards and hidden travel bags somewhere in my closet. By the time I found a tampon stash I was overwhelmed with the gore of menstruation. I had forgotten clotting, flow, ruined panties, and bled though gym shorts. It took me all of a day and a half to come to terms with what was once such a regular part of my life. The bleeding is back. In a way I welcomed it as a part of me finally returned. Then I feared it, would this effect my milk supply? My natural birth control? Then it just pissed me off. I thought one of the benefits to breastfeeding was that I got a good year off from my period ahead of me.
In all fairness, with Cohen teething, and chewing on my nipples like tit-jerky, I feel entitled to enjoy some of the extended perks of breastfeeding as I endure some of the lesser privileges that accompany the gift of mother's milk. Any why shouldn't I? Quite frankly it seems I have been on a bit of a losing streak for the last few weeks. My supply is still trying to catch up to my demand in more ways than milk production. Since finally surpassing the postpartum paranoia, my stress has manifested physically. I have endured multiple sore throats, a cyst, a cold sore, explosive diarrhea, thrush, and insomnia... not to mention what once was a sensitive part of my body is now on the receiving side of a tiny gummy vice that clamps, unclamps, and tugs at her own will.
Four months into the program, after all of the gift money and savings has been spent, Dan and I are truly experiencing what it is like to live in a one income household. We work very hard at making sure that we don't waste our time bickering over money, and we don't. We have always been respectful of the others spending habits, as neither of us care to repeat the arguments we overheard our parents having when we were children. While we have been successful in this area, that is not to say that we don't spend a good deal of our time bitching to each other about our plight. Like with breastfeeding, I can see how the decision to stay home at this point could seem optional to some. I could return to work this week and double our income. The same way I could put Cohen on formula and not have to worry about her depending on mashing my breasts into cud in order to eat. Both things I would never do, but also both options. Part of how Dan and I get through this time is by reminding ourselves that we have made this choice, and this choice is a privilege that we should be happy to afford, even if it means taping together a broken pair of sunglasses and mending a few shirts this season instead of buying new ones.
At only four months old Cohen has grown so much before my eyes. I am reminded of this every time someone new meets her, an old friend comes to dinner and asks us what she can do. We list a few asinine skills, get brief nods of interest and move on with the conversation. To someone who hasn't seen grasp after failing grasp until a week later when she finally grabs hold of a toy and, just like that, now she can reach for things, it's not as impressive. But I saw it happen. I was there. And it was priceless to witness. I was there to take her in for her four month shots last Friday, where they had the nerve to make my baby bleed her own blood.