When fantastic still feels a little like failure:
It was the perfect venue. I had an amazing support team. Justine and Kasey took care of practically all the legwork for the event. I was relaxed and present. For the first time in three years, I allowed myself to stop, breathe, and absorb the power of what was going on around me. It felt satisfying, inspiring, and fulfilling.
I saw mamas whom I hadn’t seen in months beam with pride as they showed me their big healthy breastfed babies. Their eyes welled up in tears as they told me that they were so grateful to me for their nursing relationship.
I smiled and accepted the compliment, knowing damn well the she did all the real hard work.
The Big Latch On 2015 was a success. There were bottle feeding mothers there who felt welcomed. Some were pumping and bottle feeding, some were feeding formula after a long breastfeeding fight was lost. Those women were the true champions in the room. To be brave enough to say, “Yes, I belong here, too. I may not be latching my baby, but I, too, am a breastfeeding mother.”
240 in attendance. 100 babies latched. Eight babies bottle fed.
We logged 129 latches last year at the 2014 Big Latch On, which was 47 more latches than we logged in 2013.
But, I want to be really honest with you about something.
After a successful event filled with love and pride and acceptance, I felt disappointed.
Disappointed that we didn’t break last year’s record. Disappointed that more bottle feeders didn’t attend. Disappointed that more people didn’t come.
Isn’t that crazy?! Isn’t it crazy that I wasn’t 100% satisfied, proud, and happy?
I have been plagued with this disease of perfectionism my whole life. Maybe you know the feeling.
The 95% that wasn’t a 100%. The A that wasn’t an A+ (the institution of +/- grading… worst day of my life).
For my entire life, I have been blocked from feeling 100% joyful in my successes. And it sucks. It seems that I am always competing against myself and I am always losing.
I know you know what I am talking about. You got the epidural. You had to have a cesarean section. You had to supplement with formula. You don’t make enough milk.
It feels that even though you have a healthy, beautiful baby… you still aren’t enough. You aren’t quite a success.
I have nothing poignant to say here. I don’t know how to convince you that you are enough any more than I know how to convince myself that I am enough.
But, here is what I will say:
This fire that burns hot within me and within you to be our very best selves is what makes us who we are. Perhaps there is no day when we feel satisfied enough to say “I’m done. That was the best I could do and I can do no more.” Because to say that would be to extinguish that fire. But we must not burn through life without stopping to celebrate what deep down we know to be great success:
That you breastfeed for two days, two weeks, two months, or two years.
That you fought your damnedest for that precious two ounces.
That you made the best decision for yourself and your family to stop breastfeeding.
That you extended an invitation to The Big Latch On and 240 moms, dads, babies, and breastfeeding supporters showed up.
I have more work to do and my fire burns strong… but right now, my heart is full of love, pride, and satisfaction for fulfilling my life’s purpose every day.
Thank you to each and every one of you for being a part of my life.
…Next year, we’re going to hit 150.