Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flying Anxiety

I don't consider myself someone who is afraid to fly. Maybe a tiny bit, but not enough to worry about. I don't like to fly, but I'd much rather fly somewhere than drive. That all dates back to my frequent bouts with motion sickness as a kid. I used to throw up on every trip over forty minutes. Not fun. And on airplanes, I threw up on every landing until I was in high school. But this isn't about motion sickness.

My current flying anxiety is about traveling by myself with my pump and frozen breast milk and clothes for the weekend while following the three ounce rule and carrying on my luggage in case I get laid over and have to have access to my pump. Stack all that on top of my herniated cervical disks being on the verge of getting really, really aggravated if I make even the slightest move to set them off--such as lifting said luggage--and I'm a mess. Just researching suggestions for how to manage getting the pump and breast milk through the TSA screening process has me on the verge of tears.

I have to learn to accept that my days of being a pack mule are over. I'm no longer able to pick up anything more than about twenty pounds, and even that can be a stretch. Imagine how I feel with twenty and forty pound kids. There are still times when I have to risk it and pick them up to get them out of the tub, up to the sink, into the crib or into bed after they fell asleep in the car. Sanity ranks higher on my list than having a painful back episode. I don't think you can easily come back once you've gone crazy, whereas a back flare up can be short lived, or at least managed with rest and medication.

Ah. Deep breath.

I've flown before with a pump and milk. I just didn't have to worry about my back...and I borrowed a soft-sided cooler from my in-laws...and it was summer so I didn't have to lug winter gear with me...and I stayed with a friend with a freezer instead of a hotel where I have to either clear out the mini fridge or ask for them to store it in the hotel kitchen. But at least I've done it before. I can do it again. And it will be fun, right?

I don't understand why breast feeding has to make travel and life so difficult. And why someone hasn't already figured out all of this and gotten everyone else on board to make it easier? Motherhood is hard enough as it is. If breast feeding really is better for our children and the experts want more women to nurse their children, then we need to make the entire process more easy, acceptable, and supported as a society.

Moral of the story: Breast feeding is a huge sacrifice as a mother. To be successful, seek out other nursing mothers for support and advice on how to make it manageable.

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