It’s as if I knew my breastfeeding journey would be short-lived when I told my husband to take this picture. She was a day old here and we were still in the hospital. I wanted him to capture it because it felt so raw and special… and maybe in some weird catastrophizing sort of way, I thought I better soak it in while I could.
I loved breastfeeding.
I hated the other stuff that came with it, but I loved when she latched on right and the feeling of a let down rush just suddenly lighting up the whole world. I loved hearing her little suckling and watching her jaw working and seeing how close she was to my heart.
She was my whole heart, outside of my body.
And this moment was just me and my heart—filling it up, pumping it full, coloring it with life.
A perfect storm made it so that I couldn’t continue breastfeeding long. For that, I felt ashamed for a long time.
But breastfeeding was also a big source of my mental health breakdown and a key contributor to my postpartum depression. I so very much wanted to do it for at least a year because I knew of the immense benefits!
A perfect storm made it so that I couldn’t continue breastfeeding long. For that, I felt ashamed for a long time. I thought she would have a weak immune system because of my inability to nurture her from my body.
Even though I knew it was for the best and even though I knew I couldn’t go back and change anything after I stopped, a lingering guilt flickered. It still does sometimes, 2 years later, but much less so.
I’m scared to share this vulnerable moment. I feel like I don’t deserve to talk about breastfeeding because what do I really know about it when I failed to keep it going? When I couldn’t even get let downs after 30 minutes of pumping? When I couldn’t bear the pain of torn, cracked, bloody nipples and just try again on top of it all?
But I’m finding my voice again.
I realize that my story is not about failure. It’s not failure when you try your hardest.
This is about how we need to support and help moms to get better at breastfeeding and avoid mental health capitulation.
I will always say “Fed is Best,” especially with my PPD/A history. But I will never be against making breastfeeding easier and more accessible! ❤️