*I’m still sick so Jayne from Mum’s the Word offered to guest post for me. I am so grateful to her for doing this and would give her big hugs if I could.
But then I might get her sick and she wouldn’t be able to write on her amazing blog and that would just suck. So I will say thank you so much for helping me out and send virtual hugs her way. And one big virtual kiss that has been sanitized through cyberspace. Mwah!
I like that her post gives another side to breastfeeding. It’s one that not everyone might agree with but I love that she’s so honest when it comes to sharing her thoughts about it. Again, thank you Jayne.
Reading through Elle’s blog, I find it astonishing how many experiences we’ve shared, despite never having met. We both have daughters who ended up in the NICU, unable to regulate their blood sugars, we both went through the wrenching agony of leaving our babies in the hospital and going home empty handed and we both were unable to breastfeed.
However, while Elle suffered the trials of trying to get her baby to latch on, I knew right from the beginning of my pregnancy that I would not breastfeed my baby, and it’s only here, on a relative stranger’s blog, that I feel I’m able to be honest about it.
When we discovered I was pregnant, I was hit with the usual barrage of questions from family, friends and healthcare professionals; would I prefer a girl or a boy? Would we be going for a natural birth? Did we have any names in mind? The one question which came up every time was “will you be breastfeeding?” and for a while, I would answer as honestly as possible and say I hadn’t decided.
But the more I thought about it, the more the thought (and I don’t say this lightly) repulsed me. Now, if you don’t read my blog, you won’t know me. But let me assure you, I’m not one of these too-posh-to-push-pass-my-kid-off-to-a-nanny types. I have spent almost every second of every day since my daughter was born caring for her, I’ve never spent more than a couple of hours away from her, she shares my bed and often my dinner, I do all the stuff that mums do and more. But not breastfeeding.
I wish it wasn’t this way, and I’ve never been able to sufficiently explain why I have such a strong aversion to it. I know it’s better for her, I know it’s a beautiful bonding experience. I have no problem with others doing it and happily sit with my best friend while she feeds her son. I just can’t bring myself to do it. And it’s like a guilty secret, hanging over my head.
The only explanation I can come up with is that I have a love/hate relationship with my breasts. I developed ridiculously early and ever since, they’ve been a burden, a weight on my shoulders, if you’ll pardon the pun.
When Sausage was born and rushed off to the NICU, I was still unconscious from the C-Section, so by the time I came around they’d already put her on formula, and then my breast milk just never showed up, which I can only assume was a side effect from being unable to hold my baby.
But since then, when people have asked why I didn’t breastfeed, I always omit the part about the conscious decision not to, and skip straight to the part where I say I couldn’t. I have to say, I kind of resent the fact that I have to do this, in order to escape judgement from the Mummy Mafia. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? There are those out there who are so quick to judge.
I don’t know, maybe I deserve to be judged, I know in some ways I judge myself. But I also know, my daughter is healthy, happy and wonderfully bright. And isn’t that all that matters? Shouldn’t us mums try and stick together? I know I’ll be reserving judgement next time someone tells me that they do things a bit differently.