How did I get here? How did I become the breastfeeding obsessed lady that I am today? When and where did it happen?
Let me paint you a picture.
As a child, like most, I bottle fed my dolls. I didn’t really think about breastfeeding so I didn’t have an opinion on it either way.
Until the early weeks of my own daughter’s life I had always assumed I was breastfed as a baby.It turns out that I wasn’t for long. (due to pain- as tongue ties are hereditary I suspect I also have one, but that’s another story.)
Fast forward a few years to teenagerdom. The arrival in my life of Little Britain’s “Bitty” and documentaries made to shock, showing fully grown children tearing at their mothers shirts for milk as soon as they leave the school gates. Again, I was relatively uneducated about breastfeeding, having had little experience or thoughts about it, so I remained fairly ambiguous in my feelings towards it. I suppose I thought it was a matter of choice but there were lots of “crazy hippies” who went “too far” and that was “gross”.
Skip ahead a few more years. Hormones and natural maternal instinct had completely overwhelmed me and I knew, that more than anything in the world, I had to be a Mum. And yet, still, breastfeeding hadn’t crossed my mind one way or the other.
Then, the time came when family and friends were having children and I watched them feed. I was alarmed by how restricted those who breastfed were and when one friend fed well into toddlerhood I was secretly horrified. I was very much of the opinion, sadly like most people, that once baby had teeth or could ask for the milk then it was well beyond time to stop.
I had mummy friends on Facebook who regularly posted about feeding. Always a believer in standing up for people’s rights I read with anger the stories of women who were asked to move or stop feeding, and I started to read and understand the health benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding. I decided I would probably breastfeed my baby when it was little.
Finally my turn came. My husband and I were delighted to discover that we were expecting our baby so soon after getting married. We attended antenatal classes and prepared ourselves for the birth and beyond. At the start of my pregnancy I had to stop taking some medication as it was not tested during pregnancy or breastfeeding. I was managing the pregnancy OK but we knew that if it needed I may have to restart them after birth- meaning the choice to breastfeed may not be in my hands.
The day came and my happiness was born. And I hated breastfeeding. My breastfeeding journey has already been shared with you so I won’t repeat myself, but suffice to say, it wasn’t an easy path. It took a lot of work, and in those early days, (even weeks) I frequently wished that I did in fact need to restart my medication and felt betrayed by a body, that was finally being healthy, at the one time I wanted it not to be.
So how did I get here? I am positively boob obsessed. I am now the friend that won’t stop talking about my boobs, or indeed other people’s boobs. I am the hippy crazy mother who wants to feed beyond teeth and into toddlerdom. What has made me this way?
I think it’s the fact that it was difficult. Had I have found it easy I perhaps wouldn’t have valued it as much.
Perhaps it’s because I like to shock. I like to argue. I long for someone to tell me to cover up, but in reality this has never happened, but I can’t pretend that a small part of me doesn’t enjoy the opportunity to preach to the misinformed.
At the start, the insecure me really wanted other people to have problems too, I didn’t want to suffer alone and I assumed that everybody would be breastfeeding. I really didn’t want this to become yet another area that I was ashamed of.
The true picture is very different and I was surprised to learn how few people in this country do actually breastfeed for the initial six months and even less beyond.
This gave my confidence a huge boost. I have succeeded at something that not many others do. (despite the struggles) And I guess that’s why. Why I want others to know that I breastfeed.
It makes me proud. I want a “well done”, a “congratulations”, hell, maybe even a “I admire you, I couldn’t do it.”
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel just a little bit superior to those that don’t try to breastfeed, but more than that I want to teach them. I want to educate and inform and share my love of boobs.
But most of all, I’m obsessed because I know, that evidence has shown, I am doing the right thing for my daughter.