Perfectionism by Daniella Rabbani
Can we talk about perfectionism? If you’re anything like me and the mindful mamas I know: you beat yourself up. For being human. For missing the mark. For not doing it “right”. For “messing up your kid.”
Oh dear sweet Maker of Life Mama. Please know that motherhood is an art not a science. Books and blogs, though well meaning, can only provide us the highlights and lowlights. And most of life is the uneventful stuff in between.
If you’re (still) reading this: you’re doing great. Because you care. And you know that baby absorbs our energy more than our words or even our actions. So here you are. Making peace with your less than instagrammable moments. The moments you wish you’d done better or that you wished had gone your way.
I learned this lesson the hard way. (Not too hard. Thank goodness. I don’t want to be too dramatic.) When my son Ness was in my belly, I had visions - plans even - of nursing my infant at work/ home / the subway/ park wherever! I’d be a feminist feeding warrior. A breastfeeding advocate.
Cut to day three of sweet Ness’ life when he was dehydrated (peeing crystals) and not getting enough to eat from me. I went to the best lactation consultants in NYC and spent thousands on helping hands to help me care for the baby while I nursed then formula fed then pumped just enough to give him whatever nutrients I could provide. Turns out my polycystic overuse and hypothyroidism make it so that I make very little milk.
This (what felt like Herculean effort) lasted 4.5 months until Ness outright rejected the breast for the bottle. I had put so much love and energy into our breastfeeding journey that I was devastated that I “failed” him. So much so that I got the shingles (a reactivation of the chicken pox virus). One month later, my five month old was covered in pox.
Stress. Disappointment in myself. It made me sick. And it made Ness sick too.
Ten months later, our boy is thriving. Words words words. Giggles and climbing and friends! Boy is he full of life and zest. Breastmilk or no.
We learned something, Ness, my husband and I. Perfectionism is a luxury we cannot afford. It’s actually not a luxury at all. It’s the greatest form of self abuse.
So I won’t engage in it. And I hope you won’t either. My goal these days is to do my best. Take care of myself. Raise myself as I raise my children. And stay in my own lane: always remembering that no one’s boasting or posting about the mundane moments.
Daniella Rabbani is an actress/ filmmaker making her feature film debut in Warner Brothers Oceans 8 this summer and TV debut in God Friended Me on CBS this Fall. She lives in Brooklyn with the love of her life Dan, baby Ness and pup Bernardo.