This is the Second in the series about Breastfeeding in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. As a reminder, this is my Wife’s personal story and she has graciously agreed to let it be shared here. This website is about inclusion and support, and because of that any and all negative comments will not be approved.
In retrospect it seems horrible that we called our Lactation Consultant “The Nipple Nazi” but it isn’t a name we came up with. In fact it was what pretty much everyone in our medium sized town called her. (She probably knew about it and didn’t care, because she was not ashamed of her passion when it came to helping new Mom’s feed their babies.)
Ever since we had brought Asher home, he was unable to latch. We saw our Doctor, various nurses, and Mecalah consulted with her friends who had breastfed. She used spacers on her nipples that made her look like her breast were out of some Sci Fi movie in order to encourage Asher to latch. Mostly, though, she pumped. She pumped and pumped and pumped. Almost every time she pumped she would try to get Asher to eat himself, but he never could get the hang of it.
Since I had no Paternity Leave (which is a topic for another day), I had to return to work rather quickly. Which left her at home to struggle during the day without me there to support her. Let me clarify that I know she didn’t NEED me in order to successfully breastfeed, but having a shoulder to cry on and someone to tell you it is all going to be ok is never a bad thing.
When she told me she had made an appointment with The Nipple Nazi in order to get some help I was kind of freaked out because at this point Mecalah was pretty fragile. To feel like a failure when it came to feeding your child on top of the postpartum hormones that were raging…well I can’t imagine what a fierce internal struggle she was going through. “All I do is pump!” she would cry. “I feel like I’m not even getting to enjoy being a Mom because I am constantly hooked up to the machine.” I lavished her with encouragement but I was getting worried for her. I wanted to her to be able to enjoy these first weeks, not cry through them.
The day of the appointment came and I feel like I prayed all day. My Mom was in town to help with the baby and was going with her, and although I knew she would back up Mecalah, she was also intimidated by the reputation of woman we were going to see.
Mecalah texted me about an hour after her appointment time and told me she couldn’t wait for me to get home and that she was so happy with what happened at the meeting. I knew in my heart that the consultant must have figured out a way to get Asher to latch, after all what else could have lifted my wife’s spirits so much?
I got home and Mecalah was upstairs with Asher, so I rushed in the bedroom. I picked up my son and told my wife to tell me all about it.
“I’m giving up!” she told me.
Huh? What had happened at this meeting? My wife had been so determined to get Asher to latch that she went to see someone called The Nipple Nazi and now she was giving up?
She went on to explain that, although her consultant was unendingly pro-breastfeeding, that she explained there were are some woman that it will just not work for.
I can feel the internet getting up in arms about this. After all this is a pro breastfeeding post during World Breastfeeding Week and I am saying to give up?
No, I am not telling YOU to give up. I am saying that for my wife, after talking to countless medical professionals and consultants and nurses and friends and loved ones and strangers on the internet that, in the end, what was BEST FOR HER was simply to pump for as long as she could.
And that is what she did. And our son is healthy. And happy. And loved.
But, surprisingly, the only people who have made my wife feel like a failure are some of the people who are the most outspoken advocates of breastfeeding. They have told her she didn’t try hard enough. That she should have stuck it out.
To her, they are telling her that she should have sunk deeper into a depression, which is turn would not have bonded her with our son, but driven a wedge between them.
We support breastfeeding moms. We think that you should be able to feed your child anywhere you want without covering up and that no one should bother you.
But we also support the right for Moms to be happy and do what is best for them and their children.
So this week, remember, that you should set aside judgement and celebrate the fact that Women’s bodies are an absolute miracle.
The Pappy and his family support you! Not because you do or do not breastfeed, but because you are a Mom. And that in itself makes you AMAZING!