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Dear Mama, You Are Not a Failure

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Dear Mama,

Your baby was diagnosed with failure to thrive.


Oh mama, please don’t misunderstand this.

This is not a diagnosis for you. The “failure” is not meant for you, or your worth, or your mama skills or all you are trying to do for your baby. The “failure” is just for thriving. Just for eating. And you know what? After coming out of a warm, mama’s womb, being fed by a cord — eating isn’t easy.

And mama, that’s not you.

I know. I know you tried or are trying to nurse. I know you did or are pumping day and night. I know you are bottle feeding and/or tube feeding trying to get every calorie in that you possibly can. I know you are waking up all hours of the night. I know you are counting each and every ounce going into your baby. I know you are stressing about doctors appointments and weight checks and test results. I know.

I’ve been there mama.

But please, my dear mama, you are not a failure.

You are not a failure because your baby didn’t want to latch.

You are not a failure because your milk supply just wasn’t enough.

You are not a failure because your baby was too weak to suck.

You are not a failure because your baby liked the bottle better.

You are not a failure because your baby needed a tube to be fed.

You are not a failure because your baby lost more weight than they should have.

You are not a failure because you had to feed your baby in a way you did not plan, whether bottle or tube.

You are not a failure.

Please, dear Mama, no matter what — don’t forget that.

You are the perfect mama for your baby. And your tiny baby — the tiniest of all of them — needs you. You.

And all that you have and are doing for your tiny baby? It’s enough.

You, dear mama, are not a failure.

Follow this journey at A Beautiful Alarm.

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Originally published: September 11, 2017
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