Wednesday, August 5, 2015

To the Mama Struggling to Breastfeed

Mama Bear,

I hear you. Your cries are ringing out right alongside your sweet baby's, your prayers are frantic and furious. Your husband is terrified of you. You're terrified of you.  You knew nursing was important before she was born, but you didn't know how much you'd be willing to lay down to make it work. Your whole self, not just your breasts. Your sleep and your showers and your trips to the bathroom and your friends and your me time and your very soul.  You've thrown them all into the fire and you are burning with rage because IT'S. STILL. NOT. WORKING.

You've been told to give up. You've been told to hang in there. You've been told it's normal. You've been asked what's wrong with your baby. You've wanted to scream at everyone to please just shut up so you can figure it out. You've wanted to scream for help because you're sure you can't do it. There must be some mistake--you clearly aren't cut out to mother because isn't this supposed to be one of the most natural things we do as women? You hate your husband because he doesn't have breasts so he can't understand what it's like when they're failing you. You hate him for asking what's wrong with bottles. Again. Does he think you can't do it? Is anyone on your side?

Clearly your baby isn't--she's arching away from you and screaming when you try to latch her. Are you that repulsive?  Or maybe she's falling asleep as soon as you pick her up--are you that boring? Where is that unfathomable connection you were promised? How are you in so much pain after nursing when she spends so much of it unlatched and wailing?

I won't tell you to give up and face the guilt.  I won't tell you to just wait until baby is older. I know that's forever away when you don't know when it is.  All I can say is I hear you today, Mama.  

And today is all that matters. Just nurse your baby today, not based on what failed yesterday or what could go wrong tomorrow.  And if you need someone to hear you, reach out. Today. There's a tribe of us who have been where you are, and our todays may look a little different.

You're doing so great, Mama.


Get help/find your tribe at La Leche League.

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