What should have been a joyful moment – the birth of her baby girl – soon turned to dismay when Leanne Joseph realised she would never be able to breastfeed her newborn.
Two years before she welcomed her baby, Leanne had undergone surgery to remove her milk ducts which her doctor told her contained “pre-cancerous cells”.
But after developing OCD and feeling “inadequate” at the inability to breastfeed her baby for years, she would soon discover that her surgeon had lied about the procedure and she could have breastfed her daughter all along.
It started when Leanne was just 25 years old. She was getting ready to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding when she noticed a spot of “muddy” discharge in her bra.
After speaking to her husband Mark, and finding good online reviews for a surgeon near their home in Sutton Coldfield in England, she decided to get it checked out.
Speaking to The Sun, Leanne said she warmed to her doctor, Ian Paterson, straight away.
“He had an excellent bedside manner and it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. He was kind and put me at ease,” she said.
“He said he would send me for an ultrasound and see me shortly after to discuss the results.”
But soon Leanne was told that she had pre-cancerous cells in her milk ducts. Her doctor told she would need to have an operation to have them removed.
“It felt like a cancer diagnosis. I thought I would die. I was only 25 – it was a crushing blow,” Leanne said.
The couple - only newly married themselves - managed to scrape together the $17,000 needed for the surgery and time off work to recover.
Things changed for Leanne two years later when she welcomed her daughter, Ruby, during an experience she describes as "the worst of her life".
"I was on a maternity ward with five other women who were all breastfeeding and I kept on having to explain why I couldn't do it," she said.