“Breastfeeding grief” is one of the most complicated factors in the puerperium because it involves two very powerful things in the psyche of mothers:
1- I will be a bad mother if I don't give "my milk" to my baby as it is the best food he can have in this beginning of life
2- a giant social pressure for this to happen no matter what, since it is instinctual because we have maternal instinct and we need to handle all demands at all costs.
The great news to comfort our pisqué and heart is that there is no maternal instinct, there are many other things and the main thing is the construction of maternal love and this makes it easier for each mother and each baby and each family to adapt, adjust in so many ways " POSSIBLE” in their various constructions. Diversity in the background can present itself as a spoon, syringe, breast milk in the bottle, formula or having someone who offers this milk, among other options, but in a society where motherhood is romanticized and imprisoning if it is not the 'breast' recipe at any cost, the feeling of a certain failure remains.
When we break this myth of maternal instinct, we are faced with the emotional permission to love our children, to nurture ourselves, and to do our best to nurture this baby and ourselves in ways that are possible and kind, because one thing is for sure: this baby will need to be fed and we cannot negotiate, but how, by whom, and in what way can be negotiated, and you as a mother need to be in charge of this negotiation because the mother needs to be mothered before anything!
This negotiation she enters when the account is not closing, when the mother for numerous reasons (and believe me there are many) does not have enough support, network, information, and support to try what should be a premise - breastfeed the calf in the breast dance / drinks.
And so as not to leave questions to readers, it is clear that breast milk is best, it is potent and we have no doubt that there is not yet such a powerful substitute in various areas of the body and bond binomial. The milk that gushes is derived from many potencies for the baby and that is proven, it is pure gold, but as every potency has its numerous challenges to achieve it and breastfeeding ends up fiercely entering a moment of pure postpartum turbulence.
Each step that she evokes for her efficiency is loaded with challenges and a visceral effort of this mother and baby and overflows beyond the will, going completely into the field of social and support and support networks.
With this in mind, we need to think “Who do I neglect when I take care of who I take care of?”, it is often the mother, the woman who tries her best, it is the pain, it is the mourning and the demands on this woman who does her best 24/7.
The accounts often do not end with breastfeeding and this has to enter the surface of readjustments for the sake of maternal mental health and consequently for bonding with her baby who needs care and that her caregiver is encouraged to do so.
During pregnancy, you created several ideas, fantasies, about what the baby would be like and what you would be like as a mother. But when the little one is born, reality can be very different from what he had imagined, and dealing with this difference between the baby and mother of the imagination and the real is not always easy.
This mother you've always dreamed of being will only come with time, and you'll see that she too will come redesigned. On this journey you will abandon skins that no longer fit and take possession of your new skin in which you feel more comfortable and unique. ⠀
This involves a lot of symbolic mourning, there since pregnancy. In mine, for example, I still deal with the grief of not feeling well in the first trimester and almost not having photo records, etc, but this grief is mine and as I work I realize that I did my best and my possible at that time where throwing up 11 times a day was what I dealt with... and it's ok, it's my story with my baby and my body showing me that motherhood is getting out of control of what they say, what society puts , than I believed before it happens to me.
We mothers are not an “aesthetic object” of imprisonment, but a living being a speaking and expressive organism.
Don't shut up your body or fear your emotions about some process, paying attention to the body that speaks is merging the physiological world with the world of feeling. And that, in motherhood, makes preferential sense for this woman in daily transformation. With the loving auscultation of her physical and emotional interiority, the woman will have more strength to face the collective mentality that wants her to submit to what is accepted and considered “normal”.
Live your grief, work it out in your therapy, start one if you need to, cry if necessary about what hits you and how it hits you because that's part of it.
That mother you always dreamed of being only comes with time...But tell her a new story, build your protagonist plot…. look at your baby and give yourself (allow yourself) feedback that nourishes you such as: my baby is healthy, look at how he smiles at me, my baby is being well taken care of, I take care of this little one as best I can, and so on .
Healthy babies are the best feedback that we're doing a lot more a lot of things right… just our desire to go after it and find out and try it is already the concreteness of it all. This is one of the best ways to break these pressures and prisons that we place and are placed in the maternity processes and are essential for a mental health able to deal with the absences, the mourning and the readjustments that only my baby, my maternity and my unique individualities show me and put me in the challenges every day!
The baby is much more linked to the attempts of those who care for him, it is this desire and unique force that makes the magic happen and not just the destiny processes that go beyond the field of each one's realities. The attempt is much more promising than the end result in the psyche of the mother and baby and in the construction of Parenting.
Everything will be ok... select or re-select your support networks (as well as what you consume most on social networks..) a mother should not have reservations about putting her anguish wherever she goes because mothering is a social act and we should all welcome it. Whatever it is in an empathic and loving way from this woman who feels and needs support.
Look for qualified professionals who listens and can assist you in the best possible way even if you leave the curve that you projected, your breastfeeding journey will be written by you, and it will be full of meanings and love stories.
Go on, open the windows of the possible and good mothering and breastfeeding to you!
Caroene Santos Murray
Perinatal and Parental Psychologist
Clinical Psychologist - Children and adults