When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was quite happily going with the flow.
No birth plan needed – I told the midwife if I couldn’t bear the pain I would ask for assistance and if not I would crack on with the gas and air. The same with breastfeeding, I was keen to have a go and see how I got on.
I was determined that I wouldn’t be one of those women that felt robbed of a natural experience or guilty about not breastfeeding…. but all the time hoping deep down that both experiences would be ‘perfect’.
As it turned out my labour ended in an emergency c-section with partial cord around the neck incident and a 9lb 6oz boy.
Then came the feeding.
The hospital staff were amazing, although it didn’t get off to an amazing start. After two days of no interest from my boy, he soon caught on and enjoyed eight straight hours of feeding through the night. I turned out to be one of those women with the boobs and the baby which knew exactly what to do and plenty of milk to do it with!
However, things weren’t as they seemed.
I hated every single minute of it. So much so that I got no enjoyment whatsoever out of the first six weeks of motherhood. I would spend hours and hours secretly trawling the internet looking for someone, somewhere, anywhere that would tell me that I could stop without breaking my baby – but to no avail.
I was a shadow of a person with a smile constantly nailed to my face when what I really felt was that I was dying inside a little bit each day. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Looking back I was clearly depressed.
It didn’t help that everyone was telling me how marvellous it was and to stop would mean the poor child would be afflicted with every disease known to mankind.
I was lucky as a lovely midwife took me in hand and encouraged a bit of mixed feeding. It saved my life – I could still cry when I think about her visit and that was three years ago.
I know some people will think I was lucky and would have loved to have been able to breastfeed. I still have a friend who judges me for choosing to stop.
The point I am trying to make is that being a mum comes with so many, many emotions that, having just given birth and not having slept for four nights, I was ill-equipped to deal with.
I don’t doubt that breast milk gives your baby the best possible start and should I have another baby I would do it all over again, and would advise all new mums to have a go.
But next time I will also think about giving myself the best possible start at enjoying my baby and not do what I think everyone thinks is best.
I’m no medical expert but surely a happy mother parents far better than a depressed zombie. Anyone that judges you for thinking otherwise can bugger off!
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