dear lactation consultant…

One of the most common questions I was asked throughout my pregnancy was “are you going to breastfeed?”. My response remained the same throughout – I’ll do my best.

I wasn’t born yesterday, I am fully aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, especially in those first crucial few days. I am also fully aware of the issues that many of my girlfriends have had on their journeys through motherhood and that breastfeeding is not always as easy as hoped.

I knew that I definitely wanted to try to breastfeed for at least the first couple of months. I was prepared for the late nights feeding my son when my boob was his only option. I was prepared and excited about the bonding that comes with feeding. I was prepared for the benefits of a massive cleavage and the inevitable weight loss that goes along with exclusive breastfeeding.

I was not prepared for the issues that I encountered.

I was less prepared for the emotional turmoil that comes along with feeling like I failed my son.

I was totally unprepared for the abuse I received when after just 6 days, I had to start giving my son formula.

The long and short of my story is that due to a tongue tie that my son was born with and an inability to latch on correctly, my nipples were so badly damaged in the initial few days that my body went into shut down, my milk dried up and formula became a staple in our home. That makes it sound so simple and matter of fact.

It wasn’t. It was traumatic, both physically and mentally. The physical part I could handle. The emotional impact was tougher. Breastfeeding was impacting my ability to bond with my son and nothing is worth that.

Thankfully N saw what was happening and held my hand through the tears as I realized that my boobs were betraying my baby and I. We have an amazing Child Health Nurse who also recognized that the best thing for Archer and I was finding an alternative.

So my family, partner and direct career all agree that breastfeeding, although a fabulous option for most new mums and bubs, was not working for my son and I.

this is what i neededWhy is it then that certain lactation consultants within the community have found it suitable and necessary to inform me of the error of my ways? Telling me that “breast really is best”, “you should push through” “just hold your baby differently” “here, let me show you”.

NO!

It’s not working for us. My baby isn’t happy! I’m not happy! You are not in my home at half past three in the morning to see our struggle. Don’t tell me what is best for my son when you don’t know either of us.

The lack of support and self-righteousness of these women has been something I was totally unprepared for. I’ve had phone calls from a lactation consultant telling me that she knows better than our pediatrician how to treat my sons tongue-tie – stopping short of telling me I was a bad mother for listening to the doctors. I’ve had another practically wrestle my poor son by the neck to try to get him to latch on differently. I could go on for hours about the ways in which I have been insulted and offended by this certain breed of lactation ladies who lack empathy, manners and decency.

this is what i gotI know that not all lactation consultants are the same. There are some who are warm, kind and supportive – regardless of whether you breastfeed or not. Unfortunately, the ones like those I encountered, damage the industry as a whole and leave a bad taste in the mouths of new mums that take a long time to fade.

Speaking with other women about their breastfeeding journeys, I find that my story is not unique. Many have had encounters with lactation consultants that have left them traumatized, teary and questioning their decisions and ability as a new mum. How is this helpful?  An occupation which is designed to encourage breastfeeding and provide support to women at an emotionally and physically fragile time is doing the opposite – instilling negative emotions, fear and feelings of failure.

So to the lactation consultant community – I beg you…. Calm the fuck down. Stop for a moment and listen to your patients. Open your eyes to each individual mothers situation and help to guide her to a solution for her and her baby. I know it will pain you to hear it but breast is NOT always best.

Some of us are betrayed by our boobies. It doesn’t make us failures. It doesn’t make us bad mums. Please don’t make us feel like it does.

Xx A

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/goetter/3588637633/”>Raphael Goetter</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

that wasn’t in the brochure….

Before I got pregnant, I thought I knew a thing or two about the joys of being up the duff. I was by no means an expert but I had witnessed numerous friends and family go through the process, so I thought I was pretty up to speed on what to expect when expecting. And I was. Except for a few little things that people had magically left off of the list….

Here are some of the gems that I have learnt along the way.

  1. medium_6832566733You’ll miss your vagina. Seriously, I haven’t seen it in weeks, maybe months. I miss it. I’m pretty convinced it needs some “tending to” (mental note to book waxing appointment asap)
  2. You might want to consider buying a dog. Much easier to blame those stinky farts that will haunt you for 8 months on a dog than a partner who knows it wasn’t him.
  3. You’ll share things with people like never before. Something about having a pregnant belly makes you community property. Not only will everyone want to share their story with you, but also towards the end, you find yourself having no concerns at all sharing your bits with whoever will listen. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had in depth conversations with other women about the state of my vagina and what is/isn’t normal this far along in my pregnancy – conversations I never thought I’d have.
  4. The boobs you always wanted might just piss you off. This was a real disappointment for me. I had always looked forward to the perks of perky boobs during pregnancy. But when I found myself carrying around a set of double D’s, they were no where near as fun as I had imagined. Disappointing for N too… am sure he’s been dying to play with them the whole time. Poor bastard.
  5. medium_2685851866Heels WILL become the devil. As much as I thought I was going to be “different”, I’m not. I don’t care who you are, being 8 months pregnant and wearing heels to anything other than a super special occasion is insane. I look forward to welcoming stilettos back into my life in a few months time but for now, they are the devil.
  6. People will touch you. A lot. Not only doctors, family and friends (all of which are fine), total strangers will have a good old feel around too. Stranger Danger has been a pretty constant issue for me.
  7. You’ll miss the simple things. Putting on shoes with ease, bending over in general, eating ham. Oh how I miss thee.
  8. It is possible to want to vomit AND eat, at precisely the same time. I was very lucky in the early days of my pregnancy and didn’t suffer a lot from morning sickness. But, who knew that at precisely the same moment, you could have the strongest desire to scoff a bowl of carbs AND throw up. Lucky for me, the carbs usually won.
  9. You will learn the meaning of true patience…. From your partner. Those poor boys. Seriously, I have a newfound respect for the patience of my man. Putting up with me for the last 9 months is something I wouldn’t want to do. Must remember to thank him for that with afore mentioned waxed vagina in about 6 months time. 😉
  10. You’ll pretty much be petrified the entire time. From day dot, I’ve been scared about something. The first few days were pure terror from the realization Fearfulthat there was no way in the whole world that I was ready to be a mother. The next 12 weeks were full of fear about being able to hold onto the embryo that I didn’t realize I wanted so badly. The next 6 months have been a constant balance of irrational fears about eating the wrong food, my baby not moving enough or in the right way, an upcoming scan and basically everything and anything to do with the health of this little person I am carrying. Then there’s the birth bit – you can read about the fear associated with that here.

The most valuable thing people dont tell you is that you are stronger than you think. Through all of the panic and sometimes uber uncomfortable parts of pregnancy, you’ll be fine. You’re tougher and more resilient than you ever gave yourself credit for. Mentally AND physically. That’s why women get to do this bit. Men would crumble.

What surprised you about your pregnancy journey? I’d love to hear from you.

Xx A

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/i-am-rebecca/6832566733/”>i.am.rebecca</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaparral/3333789812/”>Chapendra</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cowbite/2685851866/”>cowbite</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

my ever-growing lady lumps

The pregnant body…. Amazingly clever and wonderful and giving of life and all that. Growing to provide strength and life to my little one. I get it.

But seriously, no one said I had to love it.

I made the mistake today of going bra shopping. I had done the same thing only 3 weeks ago. Upgrading my lovely 10c’s to a new set of 12d’s that were nowhere near as pretty but did a fair job of holding my much fuller, porn star looking boobs into place. Clearly I underestimated my potential.

Today, after a few days of growing discomfort in my brand new 12d’s I decided to hit the shops and see about getting a different set of bras.  And hey, we have so much money to throw around, what’s another $150 spent on underwear (NOT!).

big boobies!

big boobies!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 14d territory. Welcome to my utter dismay at the sheer size of my once “handful is just enough” boobs. I have never been a 14 anything. Ever. It’s not a number I’m either familiar with or comfortable with. Not that I have issue with size 14 women. I say that as long as you are healthy, be whatever size you like, and I love the fact women come in all different shapes and sizes. Its just that for me, this was the first time that I really, truly feel like I have lost control of my body.

I’ve always tried to look after myself. Eaten well and gone through sporadic bouts of loving exercise followed by periods of doing none at all. Throughout it all though, I have been in total control of my weight and how my body looks.

Not anymore folks! These 14d’s have landed on my chest like a sack of potatoes and nothing I can do is going to stop them. I’ve only put on about 3.5kgs since getting up the duff so I can’t place the blame on huge weight gain or blowing out on bad food. This is purely my body doing its thing. My body deciding that a career in a titty mag might be an option to consider, should my current job go tits up (mind the pun).

Many women love the added boobage that comes along with being pregnant. To be honest, I

the dreaded tape

thought I would too. But alas, I am not. I am struggling to embrace my newfound lady lumps. I’m actually struggling to embrace anything – too much boob in the way. They are heavy and they sore, and no doubt, going to get even bigger.

So the control freak in me has had to learn a hard lesson today. My boobs are no longer my own, and neither is the rest of my body.

Both my changing body and how it’s made me feel is no doubt a sign of what is to come. I need to learn to accept the changes that lie ahead, for both my body and my mind. I need to learn to accept my 14d’s. I need to accept that they might turn into 14dd’s (god no).

I need to accept that my body is no longer mine. I’ll get it back one day but for now, over to you my ever-growing lady lumps. Do your thing and I’ll do my best to not totally freak out.

xx A