To be honest, whilst waiting for my first baby to arrive, I was more worried about getting the breastfeeding right than the actual process of giving birth itself. I’d seen the stats – and was suitably worried about whether I would succeed or fail to create a happy, healthy, intelligent etc etc new little person – and I’d heard the horror stories. Boy, were there a lot of those. All seemed to revolve around pain (for me), the need to flash my boobs at every given opportunity and the peer pressure (that I placed on myself, to be fair) that friends and family had already done it and succeeded.
What would happen to me? Would I be able to stand the pain? Would I be one of those women who can cook a three-course meal with a small human attached to her right nipple? Would I give my baby the very best start in life, whether that involved my boobs or a bottle or both?
Second time around, there’s still an element of trepidation although it’s tempered by my knowing a lot more about what to expect. I guess I now know I can do it, I know the ups and downs that will be an inevitable part of the journey and, most importantly, I know something which goes against all your instinctive thoughts and expectations – it’s NOT the most natural thing in the world. Both baby and you will need to learn to breastfeed. All sorts of things can create barriers in those first few days. Getting past these obstacles is about determination, perseverance and support from family and other networks in your community. And most of all it’s about your belief in yourself. You’re strong, you’ve just bought another human into the world for goodness sake, you CAN do this.