Monday, May 14, 2007

The Origin of the Species

I've found myself being slightly disconcerted recently by the realization that if Mr. Darwin had had his way, most likely, neither I nor the Prawn would be be here now.

This occured to me the first time soon after the c-section. If my cervix wasn't going to open after 3 days and a lot of fairly strong drugs, there was a good chance that it wasn't opening for for anybody. It doesn't take a degree in history to know what would have happened to me in the days before medicine.

As if that weren't enough, there's also the breastfeeding situation.

As much as I've been trying to convince myself that I don't feel guilty for my lack of success with breastfeeding, but the truth is, I do. My production is ridiculously low. I have tried breast massage. I have tried pumping well beyond when the breast is empty to stimulate production. I have tried Fenugreek. I have tried it all. But nothing seems to be working. If I get two lots of 80 mls a day, I'm lucky. In the days before formula, it also doesn't take a genius to know what fate would have befallen my daughter.

Health care professionals seem to be quite keen to point out the obvious to me. "You do know that breastfeeding is best for your baby?" one stern health visitor asked when I told her I'd been forced to suppliment. No, I thought, I must have missed that part of pre-natal class and the roughly 8 billion posters stuck to the walls of every health care facility I've visited for the last year, plus be bereft of an ounce of common sense. Telling me that I'm nutritionally failing my child when I'm already acutely aware of the fact is helping a lot, really it is. It also doesn't help that local NHS Trusts have breastfeeding targets to maintain funding, so it's not really in their interests to make me feel better about my situation.

That the Prawn is here at all is a minor miracle in my book. She's a tremendously happy and healthy baby. I just wish I could rid myself of the guilt of failing her.

6 comments:

Meg said...

You shouldnt be made to feel guilty for what your body will or wont do. I have come to the conclusion that there is just not enough support for those of us who are having a hard time with breastfeeding. I'm getting pretty tired of it.

I think about the darwin thing too. Jasper wouldnt have existed before 1992 when icsi was invented, and at 33 weeks gestation, he certainly wouldnt have survived without everything we have now.

It's pretty wacky to think about.

MsPrufrock said...

Oh gee, a post about breastfeeding, who would have thought I'd come out of the woodwork?

Part of my mental instability in being unable to breastfeed was as a result of midwives and health visitors making me feel immensely inadequate. I have a university degree and am fully capable of understanding that breast milk is best, but thank you for making me feel like shit even more! Much appreciated.

Fuck em. Ahem

alisa said...

Oh goodness, you haven't failed at anything. She's alive and fat and smiling and taking dumps. You tried all the options and if your mam's just aren't cooperating, there's really nothing else you can do. It's not like you can send an internal memo...
"Dear boobies, production has been down, step it up or there will be lay offs."
If that was the case, you would have saved a TON of money with the baby-making area of your body. For reallies.

lisalou said...

Please don't feel guilty.It breaks my heart. You tried.Besides, your baby looks happy and well fed! Just go with it, you're doin' great!

Janelle said...

you haven't failed in the least. any breast milk is better than none and little prawn has had some...so good for you!
i wish i could help but i had plenty of milk, BUT was not able to pump for whatever reasons! everytime i tried i barely got an ounce out?!
so you do what you must and prawn in beautiful and healthy =) thats what matters most!

Thalia said...

it's one of those big lies, it seems, how easy and natural breast feeding is. Please please try to cut yourself some slack, you're doing everything you possibly can, and she is clearly absolutely fine.