The Underground Failroad

I’m part of it.

I’ve always thought I was. The failroad. A road leading to failure, or my failure leading to a specific road, path, street, highway.

I’m a new mom, but not really new. I’ve raised children, not ones that came out of my body, but children who exited their parents and landed in my lap while I cooked rice and beans and chicken for the 3rd night in a week.

I’ve raised them, from young…from old. and now from birth. I still cook rice and beans and chicken. My favorite food.

My favorite drink is Chinola (passion fruit) with copious amount of coconut rum. I love it. It relaxes me. It helps me when I feel like this failroad will never end.

But then I wake up from the short and yet painful headache of a hangover and I am back on that journey of living…of cooking red beans and rice with meat this time. Something different. Maybe I buy fish instead of chicken. Maybe we go vegetarian for that night.

The kids are upset, have I failed? Did I take them with me on this trip? No. They have their own journey, one that I can influence but choose not to. They have their own idea of a failroad.

The little one though. No one told me the things I would encounter and how much I would feel like a total failure. But it’s underground. Only a few see my pain. I keep it wrapped up tightly like a present given only at Christmastime.

I can hide it well. Moms…we learn to hide it well. Because society says this is supposed to be the best experience in the world.

Society says that breast is best when I actually feel that fed is best.

But I do breastfeed, and it hurts; my nipples are always sore. They bleed sometimes. They ache. I tell my baby son that “not right now honey, mama’s tities hurt” and he cries. He cries and cries. He does not understand. He is just a baby.

He has a need, I meet the need.

When he cries my breasts fill up with milk. But he can’t be on them because my nipples are so sore. So I have to go and manually pump to relieve some of the pressure, to pop some of the grapes inside my breasts.

They’ve grown. They just continue to grow and grow, does not matter how much or how little I pump. They grow as if they are weeds, purposely in my life to make the ground I walk on shaky, uneven, unfair.

He wakes up 4-6 times each night. No, I will not let him cry it out. He wakes up, tosses and turns, puts his little bum upward, falls asleep on my shoulder. Sometimes he wakes up and just wants a change of scenery so I flip him to the other side where my virgin nipples are bursting with liquid life.

I’m happy he is there, it is time for that one to be relieved. I’d rather nourish him than pump but sometimes the latter needs to happen.

No one told me that when he is on one breast, the other breast will wake up from the dead and want to play the “I’ve got a river of life…” game. No one told me this. I found out the hard way….while wearing a nice top.

No one told me that 9 months post partum I would still struggle with incontinence. My body is still not strong enough to hold my urine the way it used to. I have to wear a thick pad because in the middle of the night. No one told me.

So I live in this perpetual underground failroad, where I feel like a failure,. I feel alone because I don’t show my pain, exhaustion, frustration, or anger on the outside. Because I leave all of that underground.

But I write it out here. I share my thoughts, my experiences in hopes that others can relate. I’m letting you know certain things so you don’t feel like such a failure, or so alone in your experience.

I’m writing to you so you can create some positivity from your underground failroad. Because we all have that road and sometimes, just sometimes, we walk it, but it does not have to be walked alone.

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