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I did not produce enough milk, so I could not be a completely breastfeeding mom. This was very painful, and I couldn’t have done without the support I got.
I have always refrained from having this conversation with anyone or for that matter even with myself.
It’s been close to six months since you came Ivaan. The first time when you latched on me was one of the best things that happened. I remember whispering in your ears, which forever will be just between you and me.
There was happiness all around until the third-fourth day when I realized that I was not able to fulfil your hunger, you had lost a significant amount of weight. Everyone was worried. I can’t forget that night when you cried restlessly for hunger and I was not able to do anything.
I never expressed how I felt but I simply felt disgusted. I would just gulp down my food so that some ‘nuska‘ (home remedy) may work and do the magic. That feeling of satisfying my hunger and not being able to produce enough for my newborn was and is still horrifying. No one said anything but their eyes did. Everyone was worried and at the same time hopeful that things will change.
With a newborn in my lap, I was probably not expected to cry, hence washroom was my escape where I would cry my heart out and come out with a smile all set and motivated to feed my baby.
While I struggled, his hunger was satisfied through the formula. Initially, it did make me feel less of a mother. I thought it’s only me as I’d never seen or heard anyone talk about being a ‘failed’ breastfeeding mom as a pain point ever before. That feeling was not being able to satisfy my little one left me thinking of myself as less of a mother.
“Iska upar ke dhoodh se hi pet bharta hai” (He is satisfied with formula milk), “He is a a pro baby” (naming the brand), “Don’t waste solid milk” (formula milk was referred to solid milk) are some statements which I used to hear pretty often. Some joked, some said it casually, but everyone commented (including mothers) and each time my heart cried out loud.
I hid my tears, hauled my emotions alone to the extent that I felt disconnected with my baby because as a new mom only one thing was expected out of me and I was failing at that. Each time when I sat to breastfeed my child it was like giving an exam because I had a lot to prove to the world out there but never uttered a word because I felt weak, weak as a mother. The projection of motherhood was equal to being a successful breastfeeding mom, and nothing more than that.
It was much later that I realized that I was not alone fighting this, many new moms struggled in initial days, some succeeded and some gave up.
Finding out that I am not alone, gave me hope and courage to not give up on this journey of becoming a breastfeeding mom. And one more thing which did not let me give up was that big smile my baby gave while he took 5 seconds to break while having his golden liquid and that mended it all.
There is nothing in my life above you my baby, I may not have exclusively breastfed you but it doesn’t make me any less of a mother. A shout out to my MIL, my mother and my SIL for always pushing me to breastfeed and believing in me.
This article is not just about the phenomena of becoming a breastfeeding mom, it’s about motherhood for life. I dedicate this to all the mothers; pregnant, new moms, grandmothers etc. A lot is expected out of us, we know it all and we do it all, however there can be situations when we need to find and rely on alternatives. Why be shy, why feel less, why be embarrassed, why to justify the world. We procreate not only biologically, but socially and emotionally too. Can’t get more magical.
Let’s respect mothers around, give them space to bring up their cubs their way, like our children are special so are their mothers.
Image source: shutterstock
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