We Are All Mothers
“I struggled with breastfeeding in the first two weeks because Yev was born at 36 weeks, so his latch and sucking reflex wasn’t fully there yet. I chose to pump and bottle feed, which was definitely challenging and I didn’t enjoy it, but it was essential, of course, to keep him fed.” - Anamieke T.
When we become pregnant, we assume breastfeeding will be easy because it is such a natural thing. However, for so many of us, this is not the case. There are so many stigmas around breastfeeding, and there seems to be such a divide between families that choose to breastfeed and families that choose/or have to formula feed. There is often a lack of information, resources and support in the breastfeeding department; particularly in this town, and it is the last thing that a new mom needs to have on her plate among all the other struggles postpartum can bring along.
Anamieke is a friend and fellow Doula. I photographed her son a mere few hours after he was born into this world. Getting together with her to chat about motherhood and let our babies play is alway such a joy. It’s always so easy to talk to Anamieke. Her smile radiates warmth and she has such a big heart. Her son is such an adorable little guy!
One of the things that Anamieke and I have in common is that both of our sons were born at 36 weeks and lacked a suck reflex. This made breastfeeding very challenging in the first few weeks. Often we aren’t provided with a ton of information and we struggle our way through those first few weeks in a bit of a blur, and either are able to continue on to meet our breastfeeding goals, or choose to switch to a different feeding method, which often can lead to depression, anxiety, grief, and other emotions.
I’ve spoken a lot about breastfeeding on my platform via this website, instagram, facebook, etc. It’s a goal of mine to continue to normalize and promote breastfeeding everywhere, but also equally important to build a community rich of resources and support in Powell River. Moving back here, so many of my friends, clients, and colleagues have talked to me about the lack of support in this town when it comes to breastfeeding. As I continue to pursue bringing more support for breastfeeding in this town, I am also very passionate about making a safe space for all mothers, inclusive of any way they choose to feed their baby.
Anamieke is a great example of how breastfeeding can often start out so different than we first imagine. Often it is completely out of our control in circumstances that we wouldn’t ever expect. Other times it can be circumstances we know ahead of time, like breast reduction surgery, or inverted nipples. With the right support, information and resources we all can work towards achieving our breastfeeding goals—whatever that may look like.
As Anamieke shares some of her experiences thus far into motherhood and pregnancy, please as always be mindful, respectful and read it with an open heart and an open mind.
Anamieke—thank you for participating in this project and bringing light to those around you. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worthy. You are honourable & you are enough. Keep on being amazing.
Did you experience any anxiety or depression during pregnancy? If yes, did you feel comfortable sharing with your health care provider or close family/friends about these experiences?
I did experience some anxiety during pregnancy, it definitely wasn’t my favourite part, even though it was easy and both me and baby were healthy the whole way through. I did share my feelings with close family and friends and my care provider.
Did you struggle with breastfeeding or feel pressure to breastfeed or formula feed?
I struggled with breastfeeding in the first two weeks because Yev was born at 36 weeks, so his latch and sucking reflex wasn’t fully there yet. I chose to pump and bottle feed, which was definitely challenging and I didn’t enjoy it, but it was essential, of course, to keep him fed. Once we began breastfeeding it was great, and I was lucky to not experience any of the pain that’s commonly associated with it.
Were you aware of the resources available within the community of Powell River and Regional District for new moms and pregnant mothers?
Yes I was aware of at least a couple, like the BOND program, public health at the hospital, and strongstart.
Did you and your partner struggle relationship wise after the birth of your child(ren)?
Not really, we had lots of help and of course people love warning new parents to be about sleep deprivation and everything (actually that is quite annoying after a while) so we probably braced ourselves for the worst.
Did you find the adjustment into motherhood easy and natural or did you struggle with finding your identity?
I found that I quite loved it, and still do. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much at all, though I was never really into anything that wasn’t bring-your-baby-along friendly.
Some Helpful Resources in the community for breast-feeding families:
La Leche League - A breastfeeding support group that meets on the last Monday of every month from 10AM-12PM at the Family Place in Town Centre Mall.
Healthy Babies Drop-In At Public Health Thursdays at 1:30PM-3:30PM
Ten Moons Midwifery