Meet Me Where I Am – Breastfeeding

My breastfeeding journey has been one of many struggles.

In the early days of motherhood, I was engulfed in what can only be described as  Mommy Fog.

The blur of exhaustion…the shock of a traumatic birth…the all-encompassing blanket of love that I felt for my baby girl…they all worked together to create a web of foggy mist that I spent my days (and nights) floating through.

And through the mist, there was near-constant nursing.  And with every feed, there was pain.  You see, an undiagnosed tongue-tie and a traumatic birth played their parts in what was a very difficult beginning to our breastfeeding journey.

I remember so many people offering up ready-made advice.

Before I’d left the hospital, my consultant told me that my chances of breastfeeding were “slim”, due to the trauma I had faced.  You need some formula,” he told me.

When my daughter was a couple of days old, my midwife told me that “not all mothers can do it.  You need some formula,” she told me.

When my daughter was one week old, well-meaning friends and family saw my struggle and offered their solution: “You need some formula,” they told me.

When my daughter was two weeks old, my doctor told me that something “must be wrong” and to cut my losses.  You need some formula,” he told me.

When my daughter was three weeks old, my neighbour popped round to offer her slice of wisdom.  She delivered her own tale of painful breastfeeding, “I didn’t last a week”, she said.  You need some formula,” she told me.

More than this, the information leaflet that came through my door during these initial foggy days delivered the same message…breastfeeding is hard.  You need some formula,” it told me.

Yes, breastfeeding can be hard.  It was excruciatingly difficult for me.  But some things are worth the struggle.  And for me, breastfeeding is a shining example of A Thing That Is Worth The Struggle.

What did I really need?

I needed to hear those perfect four words that so many new moms sadly miss out on – you can do this.  I needed to be met me where I was.  You see, this is what I should have said…

Dear Consultant, I need you to meet me where I am.  The trauma I experienced has sent my body into shock and delayed my milk from coming in.  Your time would be better spent advising me on ways to heal physically and emotionally from the trauma that you recognize, instead of pushing me down a path that I do not wish to take.

Dear Midwife, I need you to meet me where I am.  While it is true that “not all mothers can breastfeed”, the vast majority can.  I need you to put me in touch with a lactation consultant who can work on looking into why I am experiencing so much pain, with a view of actually addressing it.

Dear friends and family, I need you to meet me where I am.  I know it hurts to see me hurting.  But if you can hold my hand and ride this wave with me, I will be forever grateful…instead of offering a quick-fix band-aid to stop this initial discomfort.

Dear Doctor, I need you to meet me where I am.  I need you to work out why breastfeeding hurts so much, as opposed to simply telling me to stop.  If breathing hurt, you wouldn’t tell me just to stop, would you?

Dear Neighbour, I need you to meet me where I am.  I hear you that your journey was hard.  I respect your choice to stop breastfeeding and now I need you to respect my choice to continue.

Dear Formula Company, I need you to…oh sod it, just quit mailing me – ok?

Quite simply, meet me where I am.

And I will do the same for you.  With no misconceptions or alternative motives…I offer out my hand for you to hold as you choose your own path on this road of motherhood.


Meet Me Where I Am: Follow along for the next post in this three-part series, which will focus on sleep.  You can read the first post here.


Thank you to mama Lauren for allowing me to feature her picture in this piece.  For more glimpses into real life breastfeeding, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!

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