I think difficult breastfeeding experiences must be more taxing on first time mothers. How do you pick yourself up after that? Not only are you dealing with the aftermath of your first childbirth and a new baby, but then you try to breastfeed (and you probably have a romanticized view of that as well) and it’s like a mirror shattering as everything starts to fall away from this rosy little picture you’ve painted in your mind. I think mothers who had previous successful experiences to call on are more likely to fight (and so sad that we have to fight) to figure out the problem. But once you’ve had a bad experience it leaves you fearful, traumatized and lacking confidence.
I realized very recently how much my less than normal breastfeeding experience undermined my confidence. I realized it because I recently got my confidence back. No longer am I a blubbering mess when someone tells me what I ‘ought’ to be doing when I’m not.
When I was regularly supplementing I questioned everything I was doing. I doubted myself, my parenting, my baby’s love for me. I doubted everything. But within a month of obtaining a normal breastfeeding relationship I was able to laugh off ridiculous recommendations because I knew what I was doing was right for us. How awful that something could undermine me so much. I was preyed on by perceived ill comments, by offhand remarks, by just a general feeling of inadequacy, all because I was still trying my hardest to breastfeed normally. Because for us, regardless of the fact we couldn’t do it normally, breastfeeding was the right choice for me, my baby and our lifestyle.
All the times I asked my professionals for help they wanted to give me medication for depression. I refused every time because I knew I was unhappy because of my breastfeeding experience and that is what I wanted help with. No luck there though. It would have been easier for them to treat the resulting symptom than the cause. Such is often the way of medicine. Just a little of the right help would have made things so much easier for me. I’m still in the dark about the cause of our problems.
I’ve got suspicions and a playbook full of things to ask about in the future, but I can only hope that I’ll get some help, real help, next time. I don’t want my confidence stolen again. I think I’ll be better off though. I know what I can do without help. Even though it seems like it’s insurmountable I’ve already won. My confidence won’t be stolen again. I’ve healed my broken confidence, but I wish I knew a way to help others heal theirs.