About ten days ago I was scrolling through my personal Twitter feed, catching up on the day’s happenings. I saw a recent tweet from The Infertile Housewife about the difficulty she was having processing her feelings about her breastfeeding experience. I messaged her back that if she wanted to talk, I was always just a tweet/DM/email/whatever away.
My position on feeding babies is this: FEED YO BABEEZ! It doesn’t matter how you choose to/need to/have to feed your baby. Feeding babies is HARD WORK and however you accomplish this, you have likely busted your ass to do so. But, as I am sure we can all attest, not everyone feels this way. It’s that extra layer of crushing guilt and shame about how we feed our babies that I think we could all do without.
ANYWAY. A few tweets later, she sent me an email what ended up being this post “How Breastfeeding Almost Made Me Fail as a Mother”. I teared up when I read it and my heart went out to her. Her experience was, to say the least, devastating:
The lactation consultant did finally come back to talk with me. She tried giving me more tips to try, but I think she realized just how defeated I was becoming. She told me to keep on trying, but if I needed to supplement with formula, it wasn’t a big deal. Well, it was a big deal to me. I did NOT want to do that. I felt like if I didn’t breastfeed, I was a complete loser. I definitely got that impression from the nurses. I was in so much pain though, and I started to feel completely helpless and alone.
When the nurse came in, I couldn’t even look at her. I felt like such a failure, but I knew deep down that I couldn’t carry on like this any longer. Booger was not getting enough to eat, and I was in agony. I had to feed every hour at this point. Enough was enough. She didn’t say much when Truck Driver Burt told her I was in too much pain and that we needed formula. I could feel her disapproval though. It was palpable.
Folks, this post really got to me. Not being, hell, not feeling supported as a new mother is a tremendous obstacle to overcome. Reading this, my heart broke for The Infertile Housewife. It made me so sad, and so angry that she was made to feel this way and experience this treatment. I could commiserate with her on dealing with hopsital lactation consultants. I declared on our tenth and final visit to the lactation clinic that if I heard “try harder” one more time I was “quitting” breastfeeding. Fortunately, I had a lovely woman who not only helped me, but made me feel supported and validated in my efforts, struggles, and choices. I wish T.I.H. had felt the same, truly. I wish we all did, in all things parenting.
It brings me peace of mind to know that she has found some peace in feeding Booger. I hope that writing out her experience, publishing it, and allowing us to feature it here brings some peace and some validation too. We’ve all struggled to feed our babies somehow, some way. Please pop on over to The Infertile Housewife in a fist pump of solidarity and check out her raw and honest post.
The Infertile Housewife in her own words: My husband and I struggled with infertility for three years. In May of 2012, I found out I was finally pregnant with our first child. On January 29, 2013, our son was finally born.