What a pertinent article by Niamh Mulvey in ‘The Pool‘ this week. Looking back with clarity, when the fog of baby days has finally lifted, I see how almost deranged with guilt I felt when my breast feeding plan failed with my first child. She couldn’t latch on, and by God did I try everything. I watched video tutorials; I stopped random mothers in cafes and in the queue at Sainsbury’s; I pestering midwives. My boobs were banjaxed. I felt rubbish. What was the point of my 34D rack if they couldn’t fulfil their basic function? Why did women smile serenely as they breastfeed, while I yelped in pain and choked back sobs for the duration of my child’s feed?
Except, as my addled brain failed to commute, my supply had dwindled and wee Georgina wasn’t actually been fed at all. Cue a dash to the Ulster with a 3 week old jaundiced, underweight baby. She was starved and for the next few months I felt the weight of my ineptitude. If I think about it long enough, those feelings or shame still flood back.
So thanks Niamh. Sometimes breast feeding doesn’t work out; it doesn’t make you a bad mum, and in the heightened emotional state that new motherhood brings, we need that spelt out for us.