New motherhood was looming and I thought I knew it all,
I’d breathe and pant and push just right after bouncing on my ball.
Instead a surgeon’s knife was called when my induction failed.
A perfect baby boy was born though my birth plans were derailed.
Finally they placed him on my chest, under my gown.
And though the golden hour had passed, with help, my breast he found.
So grateful I could feed him, at least I could do that.
Exhausted, sore and stapled, legs laid numb and flat.
I fed him and I loved him but it never was quite right
My nipples bled and up and down I’d pace the hall at night.
Turns out I really didn’t know what was normal, who to call.
All too soon I doubted if I could make enough milk at all.
It wasn’t getting easier, “What’s happened to his sleep?”
Without support, I just assumed he wasn’t getting enough to eat.
Everyone agreed of course. “You’ve done enough” they said.
“You’ve earned a break.” “It’ll be alright.” “It only matters that he’s fed.”
So despite the guilt already creeping in my mind,
I searched the shelves of powder for the “Hungry Baby” kind.
Life moved along. “It’s for the best.” I’d often tell myself.
Though secretly I felt ashamed, like I had failed the test.
Now motherhood’s no longer new and each baby taught me more.
How every journey is unique like every one before.
And looking back it’s clear to me that they were wrong to say,
That how I chose to feed them didn’t matter anyway.
Because breastfeeding matters! Of this there is no doubt.
Of course it does or why else would that voice inside us shout.
I’ve also learned that I was wrong to feel either guilt or shame
I was failed. I did not fail….I was not to blame!
I should have been supported, informed and made aware
Of how baby’s only happy when mummy is right there.
Told how nights are easier when mum and babe co-sleeps,
Of feeds that come in clusters and growth that comes in leaps.
Though I grieve what might’ve been I’ve made my peace and know
I did the best that I could do, learning’s how we grow.
Information isn’t pressure. Mums deserve the truth, cos when
You know better, you do better when you get the chance again.
Breastfeeding should be valued as the gift it is to all.
We need to move past talk of guilt and help heal wounds still raw.
I can’t change what happened but I can help the next mum,
To listen to her instincts, to succeed and overcome.
All Mothers deserve better and it’s time we made demands
Better births and fairer treatment, health care that understands
Bottles aren’t the only answer. Breastfeeding works when it is seen
As a skill that’s worth investing in and when we’re all on the same team.