My friend Laurie Kingston, I discover, has got more trouble with cancer. This time in her liver.
I've been off work for the past few weeks now, acting as a sort of post-partum doula plus for Irene who's determined to overcome our breastfeeding problems and make sure every ounce of Mallory's nutrition comes from breast milk. This means pumping. Irene spends a good four or five hours a day strapped to a tasteful, pastel yellow pump, expressing breast milk into little plastic bottles. She's been at it since early January.
This isn't really my story at all. But I would like to write it anyway because my partner, whose story this is, doesn't have a way of getting this story told. And it should be told. It's all about breastfeeding and how hard it is.
It's night time here in Ottawa and I'm settling into the late evening thinking about the ever more familiar ritual of getting up for an hour or so a couple of times through the night to feed, comfort or change our month-old baby Mallory. I'm getting used to it. But I must say I'm not very good at being ripped from the kindly duvet-lined womb of sleep. In early days I went through several sessions, playing my role in a stupor. Never sure quite if I was awake or asleep I would rely on Irene to guide me to where I was needed: "Hold her while I pump." "Feed her while I pump." "Walk her until she sleeps."
Being a father to a three-week old child is most definitely the hardest thing I have ever done. I've never wrestled an alligator, defused a bomb or landed an Airbus blindfolded while on acid, but in terms of stress, physical effort, energy and emotion, this is it.
My daughter’s birth is very far from my mind right now but it occurs to me that there’s a few details missing from the last week that I really should fill in. Here goes. In the nine months of anticipating…