Sunday, August 17, 2014

On Taking Offense

I posted this on my personal Facebook wall earlier and it seemed to get a fairly positive reception. I'm going to repost it here, in its entirety - and to be honest I feel no real need to adjust, revise, or add anything. That's kind of a nice feeling! :D

Let me be clear.

If I post something about liking breastfeeding, or basically anything about breastfeeding being good etc, it is not because I want to shame anybody. I do not want to make you feel bad if you could not breastfeed, if you chose not to breastfeed, if you did for a day or a week or a month or six months and then either had to stop or chose to stop. I am not saying you are somehow inconsiderate of your child's needs, that you are less of a parent than a mom who breastfeeds, or that you did not do what was best or right for your family or child at that moment.

I encourage everyone to at least try. I do believe that breastmilk is better than formula for a lot of reasons and scientific evidence supports that claim through bountiful studies. I do think that if you are unable or choose not to breastfeed that attempting to use donor milk is the next best option but I completely understand that for some that is either not an option or not something they are comfortable with. Trust me, I understand.

I post about breastfeeding because I am proud of it. Because twice before I tried, and was either told by a doctor or by my mind that I needed to stop. I have dealt with the medical reason, with a doctor telling me I needed to stop breastfeeding my four day old or he would never recover from jaundice, was not encouraged to pump or continue attempting to breastfeed in the mean time (except by a very few select people). We were in fact told for four days to leave him in an incubator and not take him out unless he truly needed to be removed - FOUR DAYS of leaving my not yet a week old baby alone, not touching him, watching him cry and scream and still being told we could touch but not hold if we really wanted him to recover. I have dealt with clogged ducts, mastitis, stress, under supply that didn't seem to come up no matter what I tried, the inability to pump even a bit. I have dealt with being on medications where some said it was okay to continue breastfeeding and others said it wasn't. I have dealt with trying to continue during hospital stays and determining safety and whether or not a lip tie was worth revision. I have dealt with bad latch, with insufficient weight gain, with having a chest too big and bruised nipples.

I realize that despite all that I have not experienced HALF of the problems that some moms do, problems either they overcome or not (and struggling with them at all, despite the outcome, makes them far stronger than I). I am lucky for that and I know it, so I try not to complain.

I was formula fed. That doesn't bother me. My awesome mama did everything she could for me and I love her so much for that. Gabe and Alex were formula fed, one from about a week old and the other from around four or six weeks old. I have been there, mixing bottles and worrying about having enough formula and putting up with the stink and stains and preparation and lugging it around. I UNDERSTAND. I have been there and done it and got the t-shirt twice over.

So when I post about breastfeeding, it isn't to belittle you. It isn't to make you angry or diminish the severity of your struggles or personal experiences. It's because three times now I have seriously wanted to breastfeed, have struggled to, have hoped and prayed and begged for it to work, and now, on my last chance, I can say my child has been exclusively breastfed for seven and a half months and will not stop until he is ready. I am proud because I have WANTED this and this was my last chance to have it happen, and it DID.

So, please, don't take offense if you see something about it. Scroll on. But please, please never take offense.

Thanks for letting me rant.

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