Becky's Story - #breakthestigma

In her own words, Becky's story, we all need to talk to enable us to #breakthestigma and support each other.
"Thought I would email you our story whilst it is still fresh, (Daisy is 7 weeks old) and I hope it might help someone out there, I still feel guilty about my feelings even now writing this to you. I have always considered myself to be a very happy person and hate to let anything get me down so the emotions I felt after giving birth were quite a shock.

Daisy was born after quite a traumatic stint at the hospital. Long story short, induced on the Monday, gave birth on the Saturday. 5 days of contractions on and off, waters broken by a midwife, hormone drip, epidural, catheter, antibiotic drip, fluids drip, episiotomy and basically a feet in stirrups kind of birth. Such a different story to the water birth I had dreamt of with only deep breathing as my pain relief! That said, I would hate to scare anyone about giving birth. It was the most incredible thing giving birth to Daisy. I could still feel my contractions and I had this overwhelming strength when it came to pushing towards the end. Holding her for the first time was the most wonderful thing in the world. But, this was the start of everything feeling as if it was totally out of my control so it is necessary to mention this as I felt physically and mentally very fragile after the experience.
Throughout this my husband had been my hero, so supportive and caring and had stayed so strong throughout. So it was pretty devastating when he had to go back to work after just over a week with us at home, (a week of his leave had been spent with me in hospital whilst I was being induced).  I felt so alone all of a sudden, despite all of the offers from friends and family to visit. I still felt fragile from labour and feeding Daisy had become increasingly painful. I kept the curtains closed, I delayed most of my friends from visiting and I completely lost my appetite. Breastfeeding had become more and more important to me, especially after nothing else had followed what I had planned. This was the one thing I wanted to try and keep control of. I had dreamt of breastfeeding being this wonderful bonding experience and I had read so much about how it could adapt for your baby and really felt it was the best thing I could possibly do. But it became so painful that I started to delay feeds and would be curling my toes and gritting my teeth throughout so it actually started to destroy our bond. I felt so guilty, so worried, sad and out of control. I couldn't sleep even though I was completely exhausted and did not want anyone to see how badly I was coping.

After a health visitor weigh-in showed that Daisy was not putting on the weight she should I hit rock bottom. I was told to supplement with formula to get back on track. I desperately googled for breastfeeding support and found Jill, a lactation consultant who responded immediately and came to our house the next day. She talked through my birth story, she listened and she let me cry. She watched me feed and found that Daisy had a 70% tongue tie. It was as if all of the dark clouds disappeared and I finally felt like there was sunshine back in my life. It wasn't anything I was doing wrong, it wasn't anything Daisy was doing wrong and we were going to be ok. We booked to have it sorted and I thought that it would be a miracle cure. The truth is that things got worse before they got better. Daisy had to learn how to use her tongue all over again and she would not breastfeed at all for the next few days. What followed was expressing milk every hour or two to desperately try and save my milk supply. I questioned what I was doing constantly and all of the worried and guilty feelings came back again. I felt judged using formula and judged breastfeeding.
The good news is that Daisy did learn how to use her tongue again and all of the pumping and determination paid off and finally I can breastfeed my baby the way that I dreamt I would. We have such a strong bond now and I have done as much as I can to make up for lost time through baby wearing and lots of skin to skin. It has showed me just how much pressure we all put on ourselves to be the perfect mother. The bottom line is that no matter how you feed your baby all they really need is your love. If I am happy-she is happy and I really do love her, more than I can ever describe in words.

Sorry for the essay. I really do hope this might help someone out there

X becky"