Meet the Breastfeeding Mums: Nancy
Nancy’s a dental nurse who loves going for walks, going to the gym (when she’s not too busy and spending time with her family. Her first baby, Frank is now 11 months old. Jo from Team Wren caught up with her to chat birth plans, breastfeeding and how long it takes to bond with your baby.
Jo: You told me you had a vision for how your birth would be, but the reality ended up being very different. How did that affect you after Frank was born?
Nancy: I felt very sad. And birth is a traumatising experience as it is, with all the hormones afterwards. I also felt like I was grieving my old life before having a baby, so there were a lot of emotions to deal with. And the birth not being as I wanted it to be was just the cherry on top. There was a lot of adjustment and coming to terms with everything.
Jo: I hear that quite a lot, the grieving of the person you were. Do you still miss the old you, now that Frank’s a few months old?
Nancy: Yes, definitely. But I feel like I’ve turned a corner and I’m getting used to it. As much as you want it to be like in the movies, where you see your baby and love them to pieces straight away, it took some bonding and getting to know him. I feel like I’m getting to that point now where I know him a bit better and I know what he wants. To begin with, I felt a bit like, ‘I don’t know this baby…I don’t know what to do!’ but we’re getting there.
Jo: I understand what you mean about an ideal ‘vision’ of motherhood and babyhood, but it’s not like that at all, is it?
Nancy: No, and I think you feel guilty for admitting it. No one wants to admit that they don’t feel that way immediately. But in my case, it definitely took some time. Everyone says, ‘How are you finding it?’ and you feel like to have to say, ‘Yeah, it’s amazing, I love it’. But in reality, new motherhood is a struggle. Anxiety and intrusive thoughts come along with it. Your body looks completely different. It’s a lot to deal with.
Jo: The way your body looks and feels was a big one for me, too. It took a lot of getting used to.
Nancy: Definitely. Being pregnant was lovely. I’ve always struggled with my weight but when I was pregnant, I was praised for how I looked. I actually quite enjoyed it because I felt as though, for the first time in my life, my body looked how it should. Now you’re just expected to lose the weight and get back to ‘normal’, but I feel like I’m never going to look like how I looked before having him.
Jo: You don’t! No matter what you do, you’ll never look the same again. Over the years, you come to love it, but it does take a while.
Nancy: Yeah, I want to enjoy this time. I don’t want to focus on losing weight and dieting. I want to go for coffees and cakes with other mums. And when you’re so tired, you can’t be constantly thinking about it. You just grab what you can to keep yourself awake.
Jo: Completely! Tell me about your breastfeeding journey. Has it been easy and how do you feel when you’re out in public and you’re feeding?
Nancy: I struggled to begin with. I found it uncomfortable and I had dermatitis on my nipples. But now I don’t mind it at all and I’m happy to feed in public. I don’t really see why people would have a problem with it. Surely they’d rather he wasn’t crying. If he needs to feed, I’ll feed him wherever that is, it doesn’t bother me at all.
Jo: Have you ever had any negative experiences of breastfeeding in public?
Nancy: No, no one’s ever said anything to me. Actually, my sister was breastfeeding yesterday and we were sat at a bus stop and a woman walked past and shook her hand! She said, ‘I’m pleased to see someone using them for what they’re for…!’
After Frank had his jabs, I fed him in the waiting room at the surgery and there were two old men sat opposite me and I was concerned about them feeling uncomfortable! It makes me feel more awkward if I feel like someone else feels awkward.
How’s motherhood been for you? What’s your experience of breastfeeding? Share your stories @my_wren.