So, This Isn’t The Journey You Hoped For…
You dreamed of breastfeeding. You hoped to nourish your baby with your body, to watch them gently suckling at your breast. I understand that desire. I too wanted that experience more than many will ever understand. I’m not sure why I wanted it so much myself. It was instinct, natural, one of the strongest, most intense needs I’ve ever had.
Things change, life doesn’t go to plan. Challenges arrive to test us and for reasons we’ll never fully know, the dream escapes us. Our wish wasn’t granted. The thing that our babies were ‘born to do’ and our bodies were designed for doesn’t come easily. Sometimes it doesn’t come at all. You can try every technique, explore every avenue, have all the support and information available to you at that time. It’s not for lack of trying. It just doesn’t happen.
But your baby can have breast milk. It may be by alternative means, the warm milk delivered in an artificial teat rather than hot off the breast. There may even be some formula thrown in there along the way (and thank goodness for it, it’s a safety net in times of need).
It’ll be damn hard work. The difficulties of breastfeeding (sore nipples, fatigue, mastitis, supply issues) with the negatives of bottle feeding (washing, storage, preparation) thrown in. It’ll require a schedule and routine that only a crazy person would willingly undertake. (But hey, we’re all a little loopy, aren’t we?) There will be lots of tears, there’ll be grief. There’ll be a period of adjustment as the dream of one lifestyle makes way for the reality of another. It does get a little easier, but I won’t lie, you’ll never forget about the life that you wanted, the experience that you were denied. It’ll haunt you, you’ll dream about it.
But your baby is drinking breast milk. Amazing, healing, tailor made liquid perfection. Pain stakingly provided, its the best gift you can give your baby. Whether you manage a single drop in a syringe, a couple of weeks of the good stuff, an ounce a day or manage to pump more than your baby will ever need, you’ve done it. You’ve breast fed your baby. You did good. And if it doesn’t work out? Then comfort yourself knowing that you tried damn hard. It just wasn’t the journey for you. Your path has been mapped out differently. There may seem to be no reason for your suffering now, but there will be, you’ll see it eventually.
Embrace this new journey. Try to let go of the things you cannot change. Don’t let the baggage of the past weigh you down. There’ll be bad days, when its raw and painful and tears come easily. But hang in there, there’ll be a better day. The sun always rises. Put on your brave face, get that breast pump ready, and know that you’re not alone on this journey, I’m on it too.