Recently I had an article published in the latest issue of FabUPlus Magazine that addressed a topic I’d like to expand on here… There is a TON of talk about women who breastfeed; should breastfeeding be allowed in public, should women face shame for feeding their children in the same way it’s always been done, should women be forced to cover up while breastfeeding, is breastfeeding the preferable choice to formula. The list goes on… But what I don’t see is the discussion about women who just plain out can’t breastfeed and the pressure and stigma they face when they can’t produce for their child.
In quick summary the article touched base on the pressure I faced from medical professionals, random strangers condemning my choice of formula, and the utter devastation I felt when I stopped lactating three months after my daughter was born. I encourage you Loves to run to the nearest Barnes & Noble or the link above to get this issue!! With that being said… I’m going to expand on each area here below. But first a little cuteness before we dive in to the ugly!
Three months after my daughter was born I stopped producing breast milk and felt like such a failure. Now mind you, the month prior my supply was already dwindling so I began to stress about it which everyone will tell you only makes matters worse. So I go to my O.B. (who is fabulous and never tries to shame me about my weight) and explain my concerns, she suggests this herbal tea that has helped other mothers with similar issues. I literally Amazon that stuff while I was still in the parking lot, two days later I start drinking this god awful forest floor tasting tea 4x a day! Nauseating. Which was a bummer because I genuinely like most kinds of tea.
Back on point: my third month and daily forest mulch tea drinks and BAM no more breast milk. Go back to my O.B. feeling panicked and upset, my husband and I had decided on breast milk and that’s what our plan had been (I’m a planner and organizer so when the plan derails so does my anxiety), and ask her if there is anything else I can do? So she prescribes this pill that for two short weeks worked but also caused my intestinal condition to worsen – so no more pills. Which left me with no way to breast feed my daughter.
I felt like a failure as a mother, never did I consider I wouldn’t be able to continue doing what countless other women have done for their babies. I felt shame that my body was somehow lacking. And every time I went for one of my daughters check ups I had to deal with nurses badgering me to ‘make the healthy choice’ for my baby. Throwing in suggestions on how to improve my lactation, rude questions about what I was eating as if my poor “diet” choices where preventing my breast milk from escaping my fatness (all that crap we plus bodies consume on an hourly basis of course – insert heavy eye roll) and tactless questions on my apparent choice of diet for my baby. Add in my hormones and I was one HOT MESS.
I’ll never forget how my husband found me on the bathroom floor crying because I couldn’t pump a drop of breast milk. Very gently he collected me off of the floor and brought me to stand over our daughters crib and told me to look and see how healthy she was. That I didn’t fail her but instead was making an effort to make sure she was provided with every vitamin and nutrients she needed, which in this case was formula, while giving her so much love that there was no way she could be anything BUT healthy.
So I made a new plan. If I couldn’t breastfeed then I’d still make sure my daughter was receiving everything she needed and more with the added formula. My daughters doctor was thrilled with her health and her growth. Which meant so should I. I began to let the anxiety go and forgave myself for being human. Some of us just can’t breastfeed and there is nothing wrong with that. And even if you can and decide not too, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Mom to Mom – If you ever have the unwanted opinions of others barging in to your day just tune them out (or my approach – telling them to kiss my fat ass). My child is healthy and happy and that’s all that matters.
Breastfeed. Don’t breastfeed. There is no shame.
Ok parents I want to hear those crazy encounters with strangers – you know the kind I’m talking about, the kind of encounter where they impart their unwanted bat-shit crazy “parenting wisdoms” to you.
Example: as I was purchasing the formula for my daughter the check stand clerk promptly told me that as a fat person she understood that I didn’t understand I was feeding my daughter poison and it was her “moral duty” to inform me as such. I politely told her that my daughters health wasn’t any of her concern and that she should put that effort in to becoming a person who minds her own business and judges other less. The look on her face was priceless! Talking full on jaw hanging open, eyes wide and filled with shock and rage, and the utter indignation of being put her in place by a fat woman was seriously the highlight of my day.
So share those parenting gems below and let’s all have a bit of a laugh!