Friday, 18 November 2011

Desert Time

This week I saw a photo of the first time I breastfed my beautiful baby daughter. It made me cry. I looked so happy, so natural. And yet now, twelve weeks later, I am no longer exclusively breastfeeding. My body failed me and my daughter. Insufficient glandular tissue in my breasts means that I have a chronically low milk supply. My baby lost so much weight that we had to start topping her up with formula, and now she is mainly formula fed with my breast milk as the top up and the comforter.
Apparently I was fearfully and wonderfully made, but how do I believe that when I find myself in the 1-2% of women who are physically unable to keep their baby alive with their own body?

The irony of it is that I am a bit of an expert on breastfeeding. It's all I read about and researched when pregnant, so desperate and excited was I to breastfeed.
So now I feel quite angry with God. Why is it that just when I was beginning to respect my body and be proud of it, after years of hating it, I am thrown again into the distress of it being crap? What did I do wrong? What did my daughter do to deserve the battering her tiny digestive system is getting from this unnatural diet? Human milk for human babies. That's what their bodies are designed for.
I'm so angry, so upset, so disappointed. And I hope one day I will come to terms with this failure. But for now, while I thank God for the existence of formula to keep my baby alive and thriving, I must have the time to grieve the loss of the breastfeeding. The loss of the benefits for mum and baby. And I must pray for the ability to accept my lot. And to stop envying those women who are able to exclusively breastfeed. And to stop feeling angry with the women who choose to give formula to their babies so they don't have to breastfeed in the evenings. To be honest, that's one of the hardest things to deal with - women who are able to exclusively breastfeed who don't, who aren't fussed about giving formula even though they don't need to.
Now is the desert time. I feel lost and alone, I feel badly treated and neglected. And I don't expect anyone to understand what I'm going through. I am struggling to see how this is part of God's plan to prosper me and my daughter and not to harm us. Perhaps one day I will see the good in all of this, but right now I am in the middle of it and can't see out.

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