Breastfeeding Helped Me After a Traumatic Birth

Breastfeeding Helped Me After a Traumatic Birth_ghostwritermummy.co.ukMy second baby was born amidst beeps and wires. A stranger’s hands plucked him from my body and thrust him into the world. A stranger’s hands held him close, and willed him to take a breath. A stranger’s hands were his first experience of human contact, in a cold and sterile operating theatre. His little blue body was taken away to have tubes inserted and his chest massaged. And he did it. He breathed. He turned pink. He screamed!

And all the while, I slept.

And when I awoke, there was this baby. He was wrapped in a blue blanket and though I knew that I was supposed to have a baby, I couldn’t help but wonder who he was. Why were they placing this baby on my chest and telling me to feed him? Why did my arms feel like lead? And why, oh why, did I want to run away and scream into the sky?

My son’s birth was not a happy event. It took months and months before I was able to sleep with the lights off upstairs. Months before I trusted that my son was really here to stay. Months before I was able to look at him and truly know that I loved him.

And I did love him. I do! But the early days that followed his birth were so raw, so emotionally charged and so muddled. I just could not understand what had happened to me, my body, and my baby. He had been taken from me whilst I slept; I’d missed the first hour of his life and I wanted it back. I wanted my pregnancy back. I wanted my baby tucked up in my bump. If I could rewind the clock, I would. To do it all again, and to get it right.

The day we brought my son home from the hospital, I was barely able to walk. I had bruises that snaked from my neck to my knees and my throat was raw and sore from the breathing tube. I couldn’t lift him. I couldn’t carry him. I could just about put one foot in front of the other. And so it began. The one and only thing that I knew I could do for my son, with our emotions lying in tatters around our feet.

And so I held him to my chest. I lowered my head through tears and I breathed him in. That smell. The top of his head, with the palest golden hair and the tiny roundness of it all. I held him for a moment and steadied my breathing, knowing that I couldn’t put it off any longer. I was all he had, in that moment. I would not abandon him again. I kissed his head, lightly, moved him so that he was nuzzled close.

The first feed was hard. Out of the hospital and away from the midwives and their helping hands, it was just me and him. So as the last of the daylight began to ebb from the day, and the world was ready for me to be mother again, my son latched on and took a feed. And I waited. For that instant BANG. The rush of love. The feeling that I was a mother, again, and this was my baby and we were in love. I truly, truly wish it had been that way.

It was a slow burner. But each and every time that I held my son close, I took a moment to breathe him in. To feel the weight of his little body against mine. I took a moment to touch the top of his head, to watch his little fingers paw at me and stroke me gently. I took a moment to listen to the little sigh as the milk began to flow, and the little noises he made as he started to drink. This was one thing that nobody could take away from us. This was special. This was ours.

Breastfeeding saved my son and I. If it were not for those long moments spent watching him, loving him and breathing him in… if it were not for the fact that I was able to hold him to my breast and share something that nobody else could… if it were not for me… I kept him alive, and he returned the favour.Breastfeeding Helped Me After a Traumatic Birth_ghostwritermummy.co.uk

It wasn’t easy, but I am fiercely proud of my breastfeeding journey with my son. I used those nursing sessions to make up for that lost hour, and to make promises to him that I still keep to this day. And though it was almost eight years ago, I still remember the smell of that little head. I still feel his little body on mine, his fingers curled around mine, and his perfect body relaxing into a feed. I still remember how it felt when he paused during a feed one day to look straight up at me to smile. I still remember how special our bond was, and I know that breastfeeding saved us.

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21 Comments

  1. August 4, 2017 / 11:39 am

    This was a beautiful and well-written post ❤ it took me many years to come to terms with my inability to breastfeed my daughter (due to medical issues) – I felt as though I had failed her, and myself, and damaged our bond however we are close still now seven years on and I love her more than anything x

  2. August 4, 2017 / 11:42 am

    What a beautifully written post. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you. I ended up in theatre an hour after giving birth to both my girls, leaving them behind. It doesn’t compare to your experience but with my first especially I felt sad/guilty about leaving her so soon, missing out on her checks, getting weighed and her first feed being hours later. I’m pleased that breastfeeding helped you bond. I guess it did me too. It really is a unique bond we have with our babies.
    Claire recently posted..The snowman tourMy Profile

  3. August 4, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Gosh, what an insightful post. As someone who doesn’t have children, it was so interesting to learn about what you go through. I’m pleased that your breast feeding journey was beneficial to you both and how deep a bond was created through the experience. Thank you for such an honest and open post.

  4. Kate
    August 4, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    Traumatic births really are traumatic. But the main thing is a healthy child and you got that. Please don’t dwell on that lost hour and be thankful of all the many many hours that you will have together. This must have been tough to write and I hope you’re okay about it all now.

  5. August 4, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    I breastfed all of my three babies and I’m completely positive that it really helped with the bonding process. My youngest is now ten and is it weird that my heart breaks when I realise I’ll never get to do those things again?

  6. August 5, 2017 / 7:27 am

    Oh my goodness your birth story sounds so scary! I can’t imagine how you must have felt, but I’m so glad breastfeeding helped you bond. It’s such a special thing to do, to nurse a child.

  7. August 5, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    This is such a lovely post. Breastfeeding wasn’t for us but I totally admire everyone that manages to keep going through those rough first few weeks.

  8. August 5, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    I really love your style of writing, so raw. It sounds like you had a traumatic time with the birth of your little one but what a handsome chap he’s turned out to be!

    Ami xxx
    Ami recently posted..Aluna Bar and Restaurant – BristolMy Profile

  9. August 5, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    Beautiful. My second birth was all a bit of a panic and I nearly had her in a layby and then I was rushed to hospital. I felt like my head was spinning and couldn’t quite believe that had happened. But that moment that she pulled her little head up and attached to my beast was the start of our bond, it’s such a precious and special moment feeding your oen child. It definitely saved me x

  10. August 5, 2017 / 11:53 pm

    This is such a beautiful and raw piece of writing Suzanne, really gorgeous and it is lovely to hear how those long times of breastfeeding really helped you to fall in love with your precious boy. You have been a wonderful advocate over the years for better maternity and post natal care. Mich x
    Michelle Twin Mum recently posted..Fun for all Ages at Mighty Claws Adventure Golf, BournemouthMy Profile

  11. August 6, 2017 / 10:16 am

    What a lovely post. I’ve never experienced birth, so I cannot even begin to imagine how you must have felt but I am glad you found breastfeeding to help. I find it the most beautiful thing xo

  12. August 7, 2017 / 10:42 am

    This so eloquently written! I’m sorry you had such a traumatic time of it when your little one was first born, but what a handsome young man he’s grown into. X

  13. August 7, 2017 / 11:39 am

    Ahh you described the smell so well, if I close my eyes now I can still be transported back to smelling Boo when she was in NICU. I have the most amazing bond with Boo (even now she’s 6) and I do think it’s down to special time together when I fed her, although mine was bottle – milk time is a lovely one on one time.
    Rosie Corriette recently posted..The Archaeology of Crossrail | A Fun Day At Museum of London DocklandsMy Profile

  14. August 7, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Beautiful post. I breastfed all of mine and it is an experience that I am so glad I persevered with. I loved the bond it gives us, even if they think it’s gross now

  15. August 7, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    This made me cry a little. I’m glad your breastfeeding journey help you.

  16. August 9, 2017 / 12:06 am

    I’m so glad that breastfeeding was able to heal you both – such a precious bonding experience. Just look at your boy now!

  17. August 9, 2017 / 12:20 am

    This has brought a tear to my eye. You poor things to have to go through such an traumatic entrance to the world. I don’t blame you for wanting to wind the clock back I would have been the same. How strong you are to have carried on and cared for your baby and to have bonded with him through the feeding process. I breastfed both of mine and so can relate in part to your story. Reading it took me right back to feeding Kipper. I am so glad love conquered all xx

  18. August 10, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    How beautiful that such a scary experience was replaced with that bond and love that may have been slow to start, but one that you both reached. x

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