Feeding: There is no such thing as failure
You never particularly liked school. College was just an excuse to socialise and go shopping. And work has always been about earning just enough money to keep you stocked up on your excessive toiletries habit. Your goal in life has always been the same...to be a Mummy. To some people this might sound awfully old fashioned and perhaps, dare I say it, a little unambitious? However, we're not here to judge. That is simply how you've always felt.
Little did you know you had quite a long wait on your hands; several poor relationship choices and one boyfriend very reluctant to relinquish his youth saw to that! Seeing most of your friends and peers achieve the only thing you ever wanted in life was very difficult to say the least. You love all your friends dearly but some days I couldn't even face meeting up with them because it just hurt too much. You felt out of the loop; not part of the 'mummy club' and therefore not on the same wavelength as everyone else. Fortunately you're lucky enough to know fabulous people who all understood how you felt and let you be a crap friend sometimes!
Being a wee bit late to the party had its benefits; you have endless experiences to replay and plenty of help and advice on tap. As you watched each one of your nearest and dearest go through pregnancy and motherhood you built up a mental notes list to yourself...TRY to do this; TRY not to do that. You were very confident you could keep that key word a priority - 'TRY'. So when you were lucky enough to fall pregnant and people inevitably started showing an interest in your plans you maintained that you would just 'go with the flow' and 'take things as they come'.
On the whole you managed this quite easily...however when it came to breastfeeding that was a totally different story. You were adamant that you would simply try your best and if it didn't work you would just switch to formula. Easy right? No stress, no bother. Unfortunately society saw things a little bit differently. You completely understand that, quite simply, breastfeeding is best all round. You don't, however, need to hear this phrase repeated like a mantra 10 times, every day, by a multitude of people, in a variety of mediums. Midwives, health visitors, baby classes, the GP, consultants, the internet, product packaging, books, the TV, a singing telegram (not really the last one).
At one point you furiously marched a leaflet out to your blue bin in a fit of rage - in the post from the government no less...ever so helpfully advising you that if you breastfed it would help reduce the risk of childhood cancer. You were very lucky not to have been suffering from postnatal depression and was of relatively sound mind at the time, but if you weren't??
You personally didn't enjoy breastfeeding on the whole; you struggled with latching on, your nipples were blistered, it was uncomfortably sweaty and you didn't like that you couldn't see how much Florence was feeding. But if all you've ever wanted is to be a Mum, surely this should all come totally naturally to you, you thought? Nope, for some reason your brain thinks it's a little bit gross. And that's OK!
Passive-aggressive comments from ageing relatives helped - 'Oh dear, well in my day we didn't have a choice, we just had to get on with it, didn't we my darling?' (addressing the baby, not you). Anyway, despite your determination not to succumb to the mounting pressure you still found yourself quietly crying whilst frantically expressing at 4.30am one day (Florence was fast asleep might I add). Realising how crazy this was and considering stopping, your immediate thought was 'Oh God, I'm too scared to tell the health visitor'.
The next morning you thought BUGGER THIS. All breastfeeding paraphernalia went straight up in the loft and your poor old boobs were put out to pasture. You tried, you did your best. I know it sounds a cliché but happy mum, happy baby - you were getting stressed out and it's just not worth it. If you choose to breastfeed and can manage it for as long as you wish, that's fantastic, if you choose to formula feed from the get-go...that's fantastic. So is everything else in between. There is no such thing as failure.
Nowadays we all have so many choices at every single step of our journey - aren't we lucky? And shouldn't we make the most of that? No amount of friendly advice, self help books or website forums can advise you exactly what to do every time; Mums, Dads, babies...we are all so vastly different.
And at the end of the day that's what makes us all so bloody amazing!