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"I felt guilty for not loving breastfeeding enough." Maggie wants to help new mums feel less ashamed.

Maggie Amanda, 'The Peninsula Mumma', wants to help other mums feel less ashamed when things don't turn out as expected. 

Known for her insightful and raw content about motherhood, the mum of two has passionately shared her everyday experiences of postpartum life since her son was born four years ago. 

When her daughter recently turned one and Maggie celebrated 12 months of breastfeeding, she wrote about how reaching this milestone felt more complex than it might appear.

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Video via Mamamia.

"Before my son was born, I felt like there were two options for breastfeeding," Maggie tells Mamamia.

"One option is that there would be extreme complications, meaning you could not breastfeed at all. And the other option was that every time you breastfed your child, you experienced an intense love while wearing a white flowing dress and having visions of butterflies.

"I didn't get either of those experiences."

Maggie explains that while she did not experience latching or supply issues, she also didn't love breastfeeding like she imagined she might.

"I didn't feel any connection. I didn't love it and that confused me. I didn't really want to talk about it because who wants to hear from a woman who finds breastfeeding relatively easy but still doesn't like it? 

"I felt really guilty for not loving it enough. And that's still something I struggle with."

Maggie suffered from postpartum anxiety and one symptom was that she hated feeding her babies in public.

"I was just so anxious about any looks that I would get. And although people would say, 'It's normal', when you're already hyper aware about what you're doing and you're in a low mood, it just takes one look to break you."

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The realities of motherhood: Maggie and her kids in the bathroom. Image: Supplied.

When her daughter was a baby, she refused to take a bottle. Maggie says this would have been helpful to give her some physical and emotional separation during that vulnerable new mum stage.

"I was the only source of food and after you've grown this child inside of you for close to 10 months and then birthed the child, I was hoping someone else could step in to help me. But, no. I was the only one able to feed her. 

"That was really, really difficult. She was also into contact napping on me, so I just felt really claustrophobic."

For Maggie, motherhood was the perfect example of two truths coexisting within her at the same time. 

"On the one hand, you think, 'I never want to be without my child as my child is the absolute world'. But I would also think, 'I just want to be away and alone!' It is a constant battle."

A huge learning for Maggie was how becoming a mum changed her feelings towards her body. 

"In my twenties, I didn't like my body. I was constantly yo-yo dieting to lose weight, but I realise now that you can't go from hating yourself to loving yourself. At some point, you need to change how you feel. 

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"Having two babies has made me reflect on how amazing my body is and what it is for.

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"It is here to do things and not just look pretty or conform to impossible body standards. I now try to look after myself with proper nutrition thanks to Equalution and I never deny myself anything. I see food as fuel but also as something to be enjoyed. 

"I exercise for my physical and mental health. Even just five minutes here and there going for short runs outdoors. I enjoy exercise now and I love that my kids see me doing something for myself."

As part of her new and kinder relationship with her body, Maggie talks openly about her experience with prolapse. She says that many new mums just accept bladder or pelvic floor issues post-birth as 'normal' which she says shouldn't be the case.

"After my son was born, I noticed pain when I went to the toilet and a very heavy feeling in my vagina, especially around my period. I booked an appointment with a physio who diagnosed a bladder and bowel prolapse with nerve damage in the vagina. 

"I was shocked to discover how many women suffer with prolapse after birth but are sometimes too embarrassed or ashamed to get help. 

"As I had nerve damage, I could not do kegel exercises, so I had further appointments with my physio who used a vaginal probe device called a 'peri calm' to help. 

"I find all the jokes about mums or women 'pissing themselves' on the trampoline really unfunny. It's a serious health issue that mums are just supposed to laugh about. 

"Most Aussie women don't even know there are options that can help. In France, they give new mums 10 weeks of free physio appointments. I wish this was the case here."

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As Maggie continues to share her experiences of motherhood, including via the new platform Sunroom, she hopes that by continuing to be open and honest with her community, she can make a difference to how other mums feel about themselves.

"Sunroom has been created by women for women and non-binary creators, designed to be a liberating space for celebrating unfiltered self-expression and enabling creators to make money on their own terms. 

"The reason I align so well with Sunroom, is because their mission is to remove the stigmas women and non-binaries face when asking for more or showing more in their pursuit of creating content that feels authentic to them.

"I love sharing my experiences, but it upsets me when social media businesses like Instagram disable my account for talking honestly about things like prolapse, breastfeeding, and intimacy after birth. Like, why are these important women's issues seen as taboo? It infuriates me! 

"If people don't like me or what I have to say, they can unfollow me, but I think we need to normalise these issues even if it is through humour which is a big thing for me - I have to laugh or I'll cry.

"I have experienced so much guilt and a fear of failing with so many aspects of motherhood. But I've learnt we're all the same - we're all trying to do our best and all these experiences I have had are normal. My community has taught me that, and I am so grateful.

"We just need to keep supporting each other."

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and  TikTok.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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