Beryl Jane Dela Cruz-Duterte
Stay-at-Home Mom (Former Development Aid Worker)
All the research I did during pregnancy convinced me that breastfeeding will give my child the best start in life.
But apparently, I missed the part where they said it won’t necessarily be as best for the mom.
I gave birth to my firstborn on the first week of December 2016.
The weeks leading up to the "most wonderful time of the year" had been brutal on so many levels; from my crotch, to my breasts, to my sanity.
And unlike back in the day when meltdowns were acceptable, this time I felt that I was failing my baby every time I cried in utter pain and exhaustion, frustrated over my bleeding nipples and engorged breasts; that I was being selfish and inadequate; that I really couldn't measure up to the norms of motherhood.
We were re-admitted a week post-partum for newborn jaundice. I had to breastfeed in pain, cooped up under warm bili lights for phototherapy.
In the stillness of 3 a.m. in my hospital room, I once thought about "quitting" it all like Sylvia Plath did.
But mid-sob, an old quote came ringing repeatedly through my head, completely silencing all the negative voices: "You are blessed when you run out of options, for only then will you find and turn to God."
And so I did.
In actuality, the pain didn't subside. The struggle lingered.
I would’ve given up early on though if it also weren’t for my ‘breast friend’.
“Give it six weeks. I promise, it gets better,” she’d tirelessly say. Her words became my mantra until that promise was fulfilled.
After a grueling start in our breastfeeding journey, feeding him then felt nothing short of heartwarming and gratifying.
It was harrowing in the beginning, exhausting more often, but gratifying on all levels.
Our exclusive direct breastfeeding gifted us with the priceless moments of connection and intimacy that only he and I could share.