I don’t think there’s been a phase in my life when I haven’t had a solid group of female friends.
When I went to primary school, I was inseparable from the girls I had grown up with in my neighbourhood.
In middle and high school, my closest friends were the girls I had met on the volleyball team, and in university, I made friends that I still consider to be family to this day.
But when I was the first one in our friendship group to become pregnant, it quickly dawned on me that my merry band of Pinot Grigio-drinking, party-loving friends probably wouldn’t enjoy listening to me rant and rave about my little human day in and day out.
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So, I made the conscious decision to seek out new mum friends who’d be able to better understand this new chapter of my life.
Through a local Facebook group, I ended up getting to know a group of women in my area who already had kids of their own.
I, clearly a total newbie to all things baby, looked to them as my guiding angels who were there to tell me which breast pump to buy, what to pack in my hospital bag, and what I needed to do to try and get breastfeeding off to a good start.
When I’d be up at 2am, freaking out because I thought my baby hadn’t been moving as much as usual, I could text them in our group chat and know that they would offer words of comfort that would ease my concerns.
So you can imagine my surprise when the tables turned shortly after I gave birth to my daughter. It all started with – you guessed it – breastfeeding. Despite my best efforts to nurse my baby, my body just wasn’t cooperating.
And after weeks of devouring lactation cookies and anything that could save my milk supply, I finally accepted what felt like defeat.
Feeling disappointed and upset with myself, I texted the group chat that I had decided to start switching from breast milk to formula. Their reaction was miles away from what I had expected - it was judgment of the highest degree.
I was told I had no idea what I was doing and that I had no clue what companies actually put in their baby formula. I should just try harder because apparently, being exhausted 24/7 and having a baby that wasn’t gaining weight weren’t reasons enough for me to drop breastfeeding.
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I felt hurt and embarrassed, and I remember hitting the ‘do not disturb’ button on my phone so I wouldn’t receive any more notifications for the night.