Real people, real experiences
AdriAnne Larsen is a mom, expert storyteller, writer, and copywriter from Spokane, WA.
She is passionate about helping others write their own stories in their most authentic way. You can find her on Instagram here.
I am so grateful that AdriAnne is willing to share her breastfeeding experience with us. I especially love it because many who have experienced the same aren’t open to sharing about it, and I want you ALL to know that you are not alone in how you feel.
Breastfeeding is different for every woman. Some women love breastfeeding, some women hate it and feel used, and others may be in the middle.
Here is AdriAnne with her story
The idea of breastfeeding never really appealed to me. Sharing my body, plus pain, and a slew of infections and issues that the internet loves to talk about. When we did get pregnant and my body basically felt like a swollen blueberry for 10 months, I already felt out of control. I began the 10 month debate of if I really wanted to share my body with someone for another year-ish after the 10 months of pregnancy.
I read a lot about breastmilk and formula and stared at ingredient lists for longer than I should have. I thought about how I still had 50+ years of life and that 2 years wasn’t that long to share my body with someone else. And then some days it just felt like too long.
I thought that maybe I would be one of the ones who just couldn’t produce milk. But based on the leakage that happened the last few months of pregnancy I figured that theory went out the window.
And then I shamed myself for being so selfish and not jumping headfirst into ‘sacrifice for my child’ mode and being totally on board with breastfeeding.
And then I thought maybe it will kick in once she’s here. Once I see her, I’ll just want to share my body with her and breastfeed her and then everything will be ‘normal.’
Well she was born. And I just didn’t feel it. I felt a fierce responsibility to protect her but not to feed her. The first night home, my mom was here staying with us. Alice had fallen asleep in my mom’s arms and told us to lay down and she would come get us when Alice woke up. Ten minutes later I was on the edge of our bed sobbing uncontrollably because I was worried Alice would know I wasn’t with her and she would feel unsafe and a whole lot of other unexplainable fears and emotions. Hello postpartum, nice to meet you, I hate you.
All the things say to do certain things in order to bond with your baby while breastfeeding them. Look into their eyes, talk to them, rub their cheeks or hands, etc. I feel like I put in a valiant effort to bond with Alice while breastfeeding. Honestly though, I just felt used. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t feel like it made me learn to love her or bond with her.
Sometimes it actually made me angry and frustrated with her. Frustrated on the days when that was literally the only thing that would make her happy. Angry at science that I had to feed her. I was angry that my body was the only body in the house producing milk. Why did that fall on me? Why is this a woman’s job? And yes I tried to see it the special way. This is my special role as a woman. I am a female so I get to grow babies and then feed babies with my body. I give life. I nourish life. I produce what she needs to survive. But that has never felt like a special power to me. It doesn’t empower me to think that I can do that. Mostly because I didn’t earn that power. It happened to me.
I am a woman and so I have woman parts that make babies and feed babies. I didn’t practice that or work my whole life to have a uterus, etc. Maybe I should, but I just don’t. I’ve tried to think that way and appreciate what my body can do and I think I do appreciate what it gave me. It gave me Alice, thank you body. But I don’t feel that ME, my soul, has anything to do with my body’s capabilities.
Just because I give Alice breastmilk, doesn’t make her feel any more loved than if I didn’t. She feels loved because I smile at her and talk to her all day and play with her and hold her when she’s sad. I wipe her tears and give her hugs and swing her around in circles. I make her laugh and tickle her feet and hands and give her bouncy hugs.
Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe my chemical makeup produces less of the hormone that connects me to my children through breastfeeding. Maybe I predisposed myself to not enjoy breastfeeding. Maybe a lot of things. But maybe it’s okay. Maybe I don’t need to love breastfeeding. Maybe I just need to love Alice and that can be enough.
AdriAnne, you are amazing
Thank you, AdriAnne for opening up about your breastfeeding experience. I hope AdriAnne’s experience has helped you in some way, if for no other reason than to know that you are not alone in your feelings about breastfeeding.
Breastmilk is an incredible food for baby. There are so many benefits for mom and baby from breastfeeding. I know that breastfeeding does not always work out for a number of reasons, and that is ok. Loving your baby is enough and feeding them, whatever way that may be, is the most important. Check out this post I wrote about “Fed is Best.”