This Mum wanted to let other new Mum's to know that its totally OK to not be OK. She also highlights such a common story... the struggle with breastfeeding and feeling like a failure.
If you struggle with managing your thoughts please do seek advice from your GP as soon as possible.
"Before having a baby I had these big ideas about what parenting is like, I was a laid back kinda person with a what will be will be or I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it type attitude. There was a little anxiety buried deep in my psyche, my worries were like any other everyday gal. Will I find the right person? Am I destined to be alone forever? and when I found the right person, will I be able to have children? I think every woman who wants children has thought this.
When I found out I was pregnant it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders but those anxieties are swiftly replaced with the worry you have for this tiny human being that you haven’t yet met. Will they be healthy? Is the biggest concern. Mumma worry is just your bread and butter now because that doesn’t end after birth oh no.
As women it is always from a young age drilled into us that labour is painful, and while I take nothing away from the experience that yes labour is damn painful (that’s a whole other story) the hard work is absolutely nothing in comparison to what comes after and this is the point that I want to make here: labour ain’t nothing compared to the days/weeks/months following labour.
Not everyone is the same, but this was my experience. I got struck the f down with baby blues, this was compounded by the fact my milk was not coming down and my healthy baby girl wasn’t latching properly, I was watching her lose weight in those first few days getting tinged with jaundice and I felt completely inadequate as a mother and a woman.
This is what they don’t tell you, but even if they do you don’t listen because you think it’ll be this beautiful natural thing that’ll just happen ... but... breastfeeding is hard f-in work alright.
I had a Dr tell me my baby should be getting about 37mls of colostrum at each feed... I was not producing 1ml, in the first three days my anxiety was peaking I was crying non stop and uncontrollably. What had I done? How could I look after a baby when I could hardly look after myself? This is the hormones talking and you my friend are at their mercy.
My milk finally came in after I was already at home, my goodness you’ve never felt pain like it, you look like you’ve just had breast surgery with these two boulders sticking off your chest, in my case (super rare) I have breast tissue in my armpits so I got these truly sexy and unbelievable mounds there that I affectionately nic-named my pit tits, these were the size of apples and didn’t reduce in size until my milk flow came under control (they were also ridiculously painful, like I couldn’t get out of bed leaning on them painful) all the while I still had a baby unwilling to latch properly.
I went to different places for support and mums groups, in the hospital they had suggested using nipple shields and Bub had taken to them so she was finally getting fed. But it didn’t feel to me like I was doing it properly, I felt as though I had failed because now I had a baby that would only feed with shields on, like she associated them with her food now, I felt rejected and inadequate as a mother, but mostly I was worried because she wasn’t gaining as much weight as they like at the child health nurses. they want every baby to fall into that 50th percentile. See that’s the thing, every child is so different, but at the time all I could focus on was her weight and not the fact she was happy and healthy because she was sleeping and not crying In hunger. I would increase her feeds to try and push her weight into the next bracket, but it never got there.
All this is winding up to the point I want to make; 9 months it took my hormones to properly balance out I’m finally getting into a groove of parenting, but there is 9 months of my child’s life that I ultimately regret not enjoying more because I was too hung up on a weight number and I was peaking from hormone imbalance.
My advice is take it easy on yourself Mumma, you will do a great job. Be prepared that the hard yards are just beginning after labour, if you plan on breastfeeding just have some formula as backup just in case, sometimes it doesn’t happen for some women and that is not your fault!!!
They push breastfeeding as being best but my motto has always been fed is best!
Be aware that for some women the baby blues hits hard, discuss this with your partner, you WILL need their support, sometimes this can hang around and sometimes it can escalate to post natal depression.
Every woman thinks it won’t affect them because they were one way before pregnancy and labour but any person can be at risk.
Just make sure you have a good support network of family and friends who are aware of any warning signs, above all look after yourself! You will feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself from your old life but I guarantee you will never regret bringing that beautiful bundle into the world because there really is nothing better then looking into your child’s face, watching them grow and feeling your heart brim with love like nothing before."