When I made the decision to breastfeed, I was pretty good at brushing off mentions of other people's negative experiences. I knew potential complications were a thing, but I wasn't in any way prepared for the nauseating roller coaster ride that would be nursing (for me). It was an awful journey, filled with heartache and disappointment. So, when I couldn't deal with the anxiety and depression anymore, I stopped. As a result of my decision, I heard things you wouldn't believe people say to a woman who quits breastfeeding; things I'd never say to another new mother who made the best choice for her, and her situation.
My choice to stop breastfeeding came after a significant period of time in which I endured a long string of complications. Not only did my milk fail to come in as it's supposed to, but my baby absolutely refused me and the process itself. Not only was I frustrated when things didn't go as expected, I was confused. I did everything necessary to prepare, went in with a "can-do" attitude, and still I failed. The stress of not being able to execute such a "natural" thing caused so much anxiety, my postpartum depression worsened to the point that I emotionally detached from motherhood completely. It was a dark time that escalated slowly enough I didn't notice until it was almost too late. The first thing I did as an attempt to re-center, was stop breastfeeding. It was a painful decision, but my mental and emotional health depended on stopping. So I did.
There's so much judgement surrounding whether or not us moms choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, whether we use cloth or disposable diapers, and whether or not we choose to stay home or continue on with full-time careers. None of these are easy things we aren't fully thinking through. Ultimately, whatever we decide is what's best for us and our babies. What someone thinks doesn't, and shouldn't, factor into our decision making. With that, here's some unbelievable things people say to women who quit breastfeeding. For the record, I've heard them all and not a single one changed my mind.