Last year, during World Breastfeeding Week, I was in mourning the loss of my nursing relationship with my oldest daughter, Mia. It gave me a fresh perspective on things that I want to keep in the forefront of my mind this year, as I celebrate my nursing relationship with my second daughter, Gabriella.
Now, Mia and I had a long nursing relationship, we had a good run and it was beautiful and precious. It ended rather suddenly for us when my milk disappeared due to pregnancy and all hope of tandem nursing went out the window. This loss of a dream and sudden weaning is what I want to discuss in terms of mourning. I want to call attention to those mamas who had brief breastfeeding experiences, difficult ones, ones that either ended suddenly or painfully; ones that were sabotaged, unfulfilled or fraught with grief. I want to show the women who did not have the ideal breastfeeding relationship that we ALSO support them this week. I want to reach out to the ones who may be quietly mourning this week and send my love to them.
If you are a mama who had low supply and supplemented I want you to know that you still had a beautiful breastfeeding experience and I support you.
If you are a mama who exclusively pumped your milk I want you to know that your struggles are not unnoticed and I support you.
If you are a mama who breastfeed for a short while before your troubles became too much to bear, I want you to know it still counts and I support you.
If you are a mama who struggled with pain and poor information or support from your care providers, I want you to know that you are not to blame and I support you.
If you are a mama who uses an SNS because of IGT or other physiological issues that make milk production difficult I want you to know that how much milk you make does not determine how successful you are and I support you.
And I know I have not even begun to cover all of the possibilities here, but I want all mothers out there who might mourn the more difficult path they are on, the less picturesque one, the one less traveled, that you are phenomenal mothers and World Breastfeeding Week is also for you. Celebrate your hard won victories, revel in your strength, let go of feelings that you are not able to participate because your breastfeeding relationship involved bottles, an SNS, a pump, a nipple shield, formula or only lasted a few days. You are wonderful mothers; you deserve a shout-out and some lime-light too. I treasure your stories, struggles, precious photos and tears. And I support you. <3