Sonia agreed to meet with me first thing in the morning for a casual breastfeeding session, just as the Fort Pierce Farmers’ Market was opening.
Vendors were still putting out produce and placing plants precisely in rows upon their tables. Grilling gyro meat and dark roast coffee thickened the air as the new day’s sun shimmered over the Indian River Lagoon. A cool breeze whipped over the water and kept me cool as I waited for her under the shade of a royal palm.
I was exited to meet her since we had been chatting over emails since before her baby was born. I finally got to put a face with a name. Our session was super mellow as we wandered around the vendors in the early morning sun. We met at the perfect time since the market was really picking up by the end of her session.
After her session, she had these words to offer about her breastfeeding journey.
“It had been 11 1/2 years since I had my last baby and I had 7 years of breastfeeding under my belt! I thought I was a seasoned professional but after so many years it was literally like being a first-time mom all over again! I was caught off guard so bad it was like I didn't even know myself. On day two baby was taken to go under bili lights in the hospital and for whatever reason, I just agreed to what any doctor said.
The day after we came home I fell (nearly fainted and lost balance and vision) and had to be rushed to the hospital. I had developed postpartum preeclampsia and spent over another week in the hospital trying to get my blood pressure back under control. Between all of the IV's, BP cuffs, vitals, testing, doctors, nurses, medications, worrying about pets and older siblings at home we were off to a very rough start.
I felt like I was failing my older kids at home, my baby, and my partner for being stuck in a hospital bed attached to IV's and monitors. My supply struggled, I mentally struggled with the fact that I now relied on medication to stay alive and I was climbing an uphill battle. We spent our first month of life in and out of the hospital and the next 2 months worried about supply, taking supplements, counting diapers, watching the clock, power pumping, lactation cookies, oatmeal, YOU NAME IT until finally after about a 3 month fight I surrendered to the reality that I needed to do all of this just so I can feed my baby.
And then it happened, no sooner than I accepted having to go through all of this extra work, I woke up to an oversupply and found myself having to wake the baby up just to get some relief!
The pain and worry were suddenly gone, the baby was fattening up and I finally had my peace of mind.
This baby was a lesson on just how difficult breastfeeding really can be for some mothers, giving me so much respect and empathy for those struggling to figure it out with little support. It will ALWAYS be worth the struggle and brushing off every unsupportive comment made by those that don't understand why we fight so hard to do what we feel is best for our babies. I still can't believe how close I came to giving up, but so thankful I didn't!”
Thank you Sonia, for sharing your breastfeeding journey so that other parents can learn and connect with your story.