Here’s what I thought:
What was surprising to you? I’d love to hear from you!
For me, it was breastfeeding. It’s supposed to be a natural thing–a God-given ability, right? God designed us to be able to nurse our young, yet it was a struggle with both children. Almost nothing easy or natural about it, AND there was no mention of all the possible struggles that could occur with breastfeeding beforehand. No issues. No challenges. Just here’s how you latch, here’s how often you’ll probably nurse, and here are the different positions for nursing. I felt blindsided.
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I sometimes think that lactation consultants and nurses don’t want to dwell on the challenges of breastfeeding when talking to expecting parents because they don’t want to scare them off. They want everyone to at least try breastfeeding–and drawing too much attention to the difficulties that surround breastfeeding might scare people off.
I like what you said Sharon, your world does shrink! I remember when I first truly realized I had lost my freedom to leave the house (without my baby). A friend came to visit maybe 2 days after as she got ready to leave I asked, where are you headed, and she said super casually, oh just grabbing dinner in Manhattan with my sister (I lived in Brooklyn at the time) and my heart literally clenched understanding that I could no longer do that – not without pumping or hiring a sitter and it was kind of devastating!
Those words: “grabbing dinner.” That’s what would hit me. Because there’s no more “grabbing” anything during that time. Everything is a coordinated effort just to make it happen. 🙂 It’s funny how words change their meanings after a birth.
Mine has been how lonely breastfeeding can be. If you’re out, it means finding a place to feed baby for untold period of time, if you’re at home with guests it means excusing yourself to the other room for however long this session will take. It’s a lot of secluded time… It’s such a special bonding experience and I love it so far, I just never realized how divided it can feel at times.
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Oh. Yes. It’s incredibly isolating. And at the same time, so many people ask about how the nursing is going in those early weeks. Maybe it reflects our society’s ambivalence about breastfeeding. “I want you to do it, but I don’t want to see it.” Goodness.
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