I may not have had the chance to feed my baby but my breasts did an awesome job at trying and I owe it to them to share ‘our’ story.
I lost my Mum to breast cancer so my breasts have always felt like a ticking timebomb to me, they are larger than I would ideally like and don’t sit well in the clothes I’d love to wear, they have been a longterm source of annoyance for me!
So from 37 weeks I started handexpressing, isn’t it amazing how your breasts can make milk?! They sit there doing nothing but being sexualised all your life until your hormones take over and kick them into gear! Expressing milk felt like I was actively doing something for my baby on maternity leave, something my baby would be able to appreciate – he wasn’t going to care that I’d cleaned every inch of the house and rearranged all the cupboards or sorted his outfits into age categories!!!
Each drop I felt so proud that I was doing this for him and potentially being really clever and this might get me an extra bit of sleep or a bath when my little passenger arrived! I remember beaming with pride when my husband would comment about the store I was building up in the freezer!
Iver was born 11 days past his due date, utterly perfect. During the final stages of delivery his heart stopped beating and he was born lifeless, the amazing nurses and nurse practitioners were amazing and after 26 minutes of doing everything they could they got a heart rate but 24 hours later the decision was made to withdraw care.
Iver was never conscious for me to put him to my breast but on day three my breast’s still screamed out for me to feed my baby dispite the midwife giving me a drug to try and stop this happening. It felt like a cruel joke, I was so sore from delivery still and I had these agonizing rocks on my chest that felt that they were on fire but I had no baby in my arms to make up for this pain.
Throwing away the milk I had expressed was hard, but weirdly it was also a source of comfort, a reminder when I felt I’d failed him that I had desperately wanted to do the best I could for him.
I haven’t had the sleepless nights feeding every half hour, I’ve had sleepless nights for a very different reason.
I’m in awe of what my breasts can do, of that physiological response, that they were the first sign I was pregnant, from the very beginning of pregnancy my body started to prepare to sustain my baby after birth and I feel so sad that I could never put Iver to my breast and feed him, that I won’t know how that would have felt.
Five and a half months on my breasts are still a size bigger and I’m still in my maternity bras but I have a new relationship with this part of my body, my breasts no longer represent a ticking timebomb, I now look in the mirror and feel proud of what my body tried to do for my precious baby, and for the extraordinary things my body is capable of.
I wanted to share that me and my body desperately wanted to feed my baby and that is just a different kind of journey I guess.
This post was written a few months ago now and I am so happy to share that Kate has just come home with her second baby. This fills me with all the love and joy. I find Kate’s story incredibly moving. You can find Kate making beautiful jewellery here.
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