“Christie, your baby won’t learn to smile unless he sees you doing it.”
A midwife had to tell me that. I was sick. really sick. I’d lost my voice, my bones ached from fatigue. And I wasn’t smiling.
Two weeks in, breast-feeding was not the glorious, glowing experience I had imagined. But my inner monologue went like this:
“No Christie, you’re not doing this again. You have to keep going. Be strong. You’re always strong. Don’t be so selfish. You cannot stop. Don’t you dare give him a bottle!”
These words are a G-rated, kid-friendly version of what I actually said to myself when I “selfishly” decided to stop breastfeeding my little son, Harley, who is now almost two. TWO WEEKS. Two weeks. That's it. I breastfed my baby boy for the minimum amount of time required to hand in your notice at work.
Holy shit, I just said that out loud. It's something that even now, I struggle to say.
The fog of new motherhood has well and truly cleared, (and I can see clearly now the rain is gone), I now have two beautiful, boisterous boys. And yet, I still feel guilty. I feel melancholy. I wish I’d played those early days differently.
It's entirely illogical. I know that the most important thing was that my baby was healthy and fed, and that my mental health was where it should be. I just wish I had more time. More sniffs of a feeding baby's head. More breast-milk nutrition for my son. More memories of the experience.
Because truth be told, I don't actually remember much of being a breastfeeding mother. For me, the fog was too thick.
LISTEN: Christie Hayes and Holly Wainwright talk all things breastfeeding on the Year One podcast (post continues after audio...)