Breast-feeding. Let’s just jump right into today’s topic. It’s one of the requirements to be classified as a mammal. Animals can do it. It’s natural. The female body is made for it. But what happens when it doesn’t work?
This is a highly emotional, opinion-filled topic, and I’m not looking to get into the pros and cons, the shoulds and shouldn’ts. I’m only going to give you my story.
I remember so vividly when Grace (my oldest) was born. I look at my tall, skinny 9-year-old and it’s effortless to see her as the newborn who was so perfectly beautiful that nurses who weren’t assigned to my room would come to see her. I also vividly remember crying with great heart-ache at the realization that I couldn’t feed her. I can’t feed my baby. Isn’t that the most basic need that a mother is supposed to provide? Dogs can feed like 6 puppies at a time and I can’t manage my one??
Enter the lactation consultant. Now I’m sure these women provide a great service, and have helped many a woman figure out this most basic ability that even cats can provide. But when your baby is starving because nothing is coming out, don’t tell me about positioning and relaxing and blah blah blah. There is also a chance I was slightly hormonal, but that’s neither here nor there.
So I’m crying, Grace is crying, and finally the LC brings out a teeny bottle of formula and Grace sucked that thing dry. I knew it! I knew she was on the verge of absolute starvation and I couldn’t provide what farm animals can!
Anyway, I’ve never experienced those “feelings” or “sensations” that women who nurse know about. Let down? Engorgement? Cabbage leaves? Here’s what I know: I have no supply. I usually keep this to myself during discussions about breastfeeding, because others are allowed to have an opinion, and I have to assume many don’t know what it’s like to have the choice made for you. But today I wanted to be a voice for women who DO know what it’s like, but maybe haven’t shared it. Or maybe this is an opportunity to think about the issue from another side.
I know I’ve taken a somewhat humorous approach to this with the animal thing, and that wasn’t to be offensive or crude, that’s just truly how I felt. Even animals can do it. But I couldn’t. I felt so isolated. If I could make it so moms never felt isolated for any reason ever again amen, I would.
Men, I’m sorry if you’re still with us. Well done for pressing on.