Today’s breastfeeding guest post is by the lovely Emma from The Real Supermum Blog, you can also find Emma on twitter @TheRealSupermum – Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Emma x
I was only 19 when I gave birth to my first daughter. I was terrified at the thought of becoming a mum. I had bought every baby and parenting book and magazine available and read them daily, absorbing as much information as I could. I was determined to get it right. I felt I had to prove I could be a good mum. My parents disapproved of my partner, he was 10 years older than me and looking back I now wished I had listened to them, but I within 2 weeks of meeting him, I moved in with him. I was basically then left to get on with it.
My midwife was due to retire soon after I had my daughter and a old school type midwife breastfeeding was often discussed. She did not force the topic but it was pushed upon me that I should at least try. If all perfect mums breastfed, then that’s what I was going to do. I was very proud of the fact I was going to feed my own child. Breastfeeding came naturally to me and the bond between my daughter and I blossomed beautifully. Her father worked long hours and we were getting along quite happily. It was when my daughter was 4 weeks old that my breastfeeding nightmare began.
My partners mother, whom may I add has never accepted me in her sons life, began making negative remarks. I was not eating enough, I was too young, my boobs were not big enough. In her opinion I was not doing a good enough job for her granddaughter. I should not be breastfeeding. The relationship with my daughters father was some what strained. Since having our daughter he had become extremely jealous that this new baby was taking up so much of my time. He now had a new weapon to use against me, that I was not giving our daughter what she needed, she needed to be fed properly, on proper milk.
This made me feel worthless and after weeks of them both taunting me, I gave in. I stopped breastfeeding. I did not slowly stop, I just stopped. I was in pain and felt incredible guilt. I soon became depressed, I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and was soon prescribed antidepressants. Did breastfeeding trigger my depression? I believe so.
When my second daughter was born, I had already decided she would not be breastfed. My thoughts on breastfeeding were only negative ones. It was not something I would ever do again.My son was born at home, ten months after my second daughter. My relationship with their father was by this time over. Sadly it would take a further 3 years before I finally found the courage to leave him. The domestic violence was at its worse when our 3rd child was born. He had already made it clear when we found out we were due to have a boy, that this boy would never be accepted. My partner refused to share me with another male.
Our son arrived 3 weeks early. Before the midwives would leave, they had to make sure that baby had been fed. I gave him the bottle of formula milk, we had prepared. Within minutes he began to vomit aggressively. Either I tried to breastfeed or we would have to be transferred to the hospital. Our new baby was not tolerating formula milk. I know I had to be at home, so I breastfed my new baby and he was more than happy with that decision. I was terrified of trying a bottle again, yet terrified of breastfeeding. I was in turmoil and within weeks I was severely depressed again. I continued to breastfeed for 6 weeks before giving up.
I thankfully left my ex husband after 11 years of sever violence. I met my new partner 6 months later. Four years later we also have 3 children together. He was very supportive in allowing me to choose which feeding method we would use. I did breastfeed our first 2 children, each for for 2 weeks, but always upstairs alone. I did not have the confidence to feed them in front of others. Our 3rd son was not breastfed.
It was only a matter of months ago that my partner and I were discussing breastfeeding, I for the first time revealed how frightened I am of the subject. He was rather upset that I was not able to tell him how I was feeling, as he could have supported me more. I have decided that IF we had another baby, I would definitely at least try to breastfeed again, this time with the correct support.