Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Whatcha Need to Know?" Wednesdays

I'm hoping that as I get to know more of you and more comments are posted, Wednesdays at The Connected Mom will be devoted to addressing issues that you have questions about. Please feel free to email me at or comment below any of my posts. Saturdays will be for the 'light' stuff (inspiring stories, giveaways, etc.). :o)

This week, I'm coming to you for help. What I need to know is about grieving and breastfeeding. I want to hear from you about how you handled loss, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting while grieving a loss.

I know that stress can cause your milk supply to drop; did you dip into a freezer stash or take supplements to counteract the potential drop?

What about the way you parent? Holding your children closer than ever would seem the natural course of things, but I imagine it's not easy to do when you have those moments of simply wanting to pull away from everything. Having a preschooler who may not fully understand the reality of what is happening will provide unique challenges as well.

Today's role reversal is because I'm facing this very situation. My grandfather is 88 years old and was placed on hospice right before Killian was born in January. He had two goals-- to see Killian and to make it long enough to celebrate their 50th anniversary with my grandma. Well, he was here when Killian came home (we stopped at their house on the way to ours).

He's the "Joseph" in Killian Joseph Merritt B. He not only made it long enough to meet Killian, but has gotten to enjoy him as well.

Growing up, my grandpa & I always had a special bond. He owned a sewing machine shop & I was his 'apprentice'-- complete with pink business cards. We'd walk to the 7-11 around the corner every day at lunch and he'd buy me snowballs. He would order my hotcakes every Sunday morning before church when we went to McDonald's, make sure they were 'perfectly golden', slather them with butter, pour on the syrup, and cut them to my liking. (Yeah, I was a *little* spoiled.) He gave my first 'boyfriend' a quarter a week to save up for my wedding ring; in preschool that was big money! I'd snuggle up to him in worship service, and when I was really little he was affectionately referred to as my 'water bed'. He taught me how to skip when I thought I'd fail kindergarten if I didn't learn. He taught me how to break down a sewing machine, clean it up with Fantastik and make it sparkle like new.
Me & Grandpa 1983

He taught me what unconditional love really means. In my eyes, he can do no wrong. For some girls, that person is their daddy. Unfortunately, the bad choices my father made are far too many to get into on here. The first time my dad was incarcerated, my grandpa asked me if I wanted my daddy home. When I told him I did, with all the wisdom of a 2 year old and no clue what the next 15 years would bring, my grandpa fought tooth & nail to make sure I got what I asked for. He and my grandma helped my mom with me when I was little; when I was 20 I lived with them for a few years, and they helped me with my first daughter as well. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding.

This Tuesday, September 14, is my grandparent's 50th anniversary.

This weekend I had to let my 8 year old know that she might not be back from her dad's house before Grandpa passes away. I'd briefly spoken to her about him getting worse, and of course she has seen it. I've never lived more than 15 minutes away from them, so she sees them often. I've never had to deal with death like this (someone so close & having to tell a child this young). Marley (3.5 years) is just old enough to miss him, but too young to understand the permanence of what it about to happen. It tears my heart out that she and Killian won't really have any memories of him.

How in the world do you go through this and remain 'attached'? Is that what keeps you going? I nursed through an 'early' miscarriage, but this seems to be on a whole other level compared to that. I've always begged my grandpa to stay for the next thing.... I know that won't work this time. I can't imagine the breath that will come after I know that he has passed. I worry that I should pump and freeze some milk or take some Fenugreek as a preemptive move, but I'd really like to hear from others who have experience with this.

Me & Grandpa 2006 my expression not the worst!? ;o)


Sarah R said... [Reply to comment]

I have no advice or words.. just sitting here crying :(
What a Man!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

(I'm not really "anonymous".... just didn't know anything about any of those other profile choices!)

Carmen, I can't address the "boo" issue, but I can say that your writing is priceless.... just like your Grandpa. One of my earliest memories of him was holding your mama on his shoulders. Grandma was pregnant with your Uncle Fred, and I was infatuated (still am!) with your Uncle Reggie, who was about 14 or 15 years old! Grandpa has always been a "larger-than-life" personality. There will never be another like him. This is and will be tough. One thing is for sure though.... God's grace is sufficient. We must lean on it.

Love you,
Aunt Debi

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, Sarah-- Don't cry. He's lived a full life, has had 50 years with a wonderful woman, seen grandbabies and great-grandbabies, and isn't in pain. He's completely at peace with what's happening; I'm the one with the selfish fears. :o/

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

Carmen, I breastfed through two miscarriages and thankfully DS just nursed more to keep my supply up. I didn't notice a drop, but I did notice more nursing. I would offer the breast more and settle in for longer sessions.

So sorry for your loss.

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