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I Was Traumatised And Shamed To Breastfeed, Even When I Couldn’t

Forcing new mothers to breastfeed when they can't, adds to their trauma. I was shamed and forced to breastfeed after a painful C-section.

Often, a mother is considered to be the nurturer and a symbol of unconditional love and care. This notion places her on a pedestal that is unfathomable or even unreachable. This eventually robs her of her spontaneity and her genuine urge to behave as naturally as any other human being.

A mother is sadly idolised. She is expected to be the ultimate personification of a superhuman with inherent superpowers.

I, too, was raised with this belief until it became increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for me to live up to the expectations of those around me.
Right from the day my daughter was born, I was informed that it was my rebirth, too. I alone should conform to the needs of my baby (who could hardly voice anything then).

My existence as a human being had taken a back seat, and I was expected to give in to this. The fact that I failed to pump sufficient milk for my baby led me to use tinned food supplies for her (duly recommended by the paediatrician). However, this action of mine was admonished in public.

I was made to feel inept and useless, and I was told that my lack of such a “mammoth activity” would harm my relationship with my daughter.
As a dutiful mother, I yielded to the various suggestions and home remedies to help myself produce more milk. However, nothing worked out.

When this was not enough, I was advised to use a breast pump, oblivious to how traumatic and painful this can be for a mother who has already had a C-section. The story of a C-section, its need, and the eventual recovery is something that’s often neglected but let that be for some other day.

Not to forget, my gynaecologist’s decision to advise a C-section for my health benefits was harshly condemned by so-called near and dear ones. Even before I delivered my baby I was made to go through weird practices in the name of rituals and religion no matter how inconvenient they were for me.

Surprisingly, rituals that were mandatory for me were conveniently bent for the benefit of my sister-in-law who conceived a year later.
The basic and rightful benefits that a pregnant woman should be given were unnecessarily snatched away from me in the name of religion and tradition whereas the same was easily given to my sister-in-law.

And then it is often claimed in such households that a daughter-in-law is nothing but another daughter which is ironic and quite sad indeed.

Likewise, there are many such practices that were imposed on me and I was expected to embrace them all because I am a woman!

Initially, as it is with every new bride, I quietly gave in to them until the point that was the foundation stone for robbing me of my self-respect and self-esteem.

That was when I had enough of the atrocities that were intentionally being meted out to me and I decided to stop paying heed to my so-called well-wishers. And this led me to shun them from my life forever.

This was truly the beginning of what they say, “Better late than never!”

Image credit: Helena Lopes via Pexels

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Joyadrita

A dire penchant for words, can summarize my life as “My pen bleeds my life”! read more...

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