It’s been four months since my last post and I’m starting to settle into things. I love being a mum, and I’m getting my head around leaving the life I had behind. In doing this, I’m seeing a world of new possibilities, ones that feed my passions and inclinations (which haven’t changed, they’ve simply evolved).
Mamahood is fantastic, but its no joke. The emotional adjustment is ongoing and it’s closely linked to the physical adjustment. I’ll talk to you about weakened muscles in a future fitness update (cough… Pun sort of intended), but let’s talk about breastfeeding, shall we? Let me say this first: I breastfeed.
Which is why I have an issue with people who judge mothers who made the grown up decision not to breastfeed. I’ve seen the stats, just like you have, but no one tells you about the potential pitfalls, blocked ducts, mastitis, flat nipples… The list goes on. Sure, its the most natural thing in the world… But only once you know how to do it. And once you accept that your boobs are no longer yours. New mothers have no time to master this breastfeeding thing. Forget your recovery from the physical trauma of childbirth, just pop baby on and get to feeding!
What happens if in your hormonal haze (when it feels like everything is ‘high stakes’) baby can’t suck, you haven’t let down? All you want to do is feed your child. Meanwhile the world is telling you that if you don’t breastfeed you’re not doing right by your kid?
Come on people.
I stuck with breastfeeding out of selfishness, if I’m honest. I loved having HRH close to me. I was lucky enough to be producing enough milk for twins (yo, my kid has turkey thighs and is hella tall. I’ll take the credit, I worked hard to make the milk, owwkaay?!) I also had support from ‘him indoors’, my mum and mother in law. They created an environment that allowed me to focus only on my baby and my health and sanity.
But it wasn’t all roses, figuring out how to carry her, feeding every three hours, wondering if she’d had enough, leaking, being tethered to a small person who needs you to do everything for them, it was hard, and depressing at times.
I remember the point when I resolved to stick with this breastfeeding thing. HRH was three weeks old. I had recovered from blocked ducts (week one) an infection (week two) and I was trying to figure out what to do after discovering that the anti biotics I had taken for a bout of mastitis would lead to a reduction in my milk supply. All I wanted to do was feed my child. And sleep. And not hurt.
I was standing over the sink and crying like a baby. ‘Him indoors’ did his best to console me and I knew that if I said I wanted to start feeding HRH formula he wouldn’t push back. His priority was to make sure his family was well.
For a fleeting second, I thought about feeding HRH formula, just to give myself a break. I had many reasons too stop. But that thought was quickly overtaken by my strong desire to be close to her. Breastfeeding allowed me to do that. And laugh at her milk drunk high. Plus everyone around me assured me she was gaining well – including her doctor. So I took a deep breath and accepted that I would go through the pain of using a breast pump every 1.5 hours and massaging my rock hard mammaries and the rest.
It’s been worth it…. That child loves to eat and I’m only just starting to believe that I have enough for her; that I’ll be enough for her.