I've always made a point to be open and honesty about one undeniable fact when it comes to how I do motherhood: I have absolutely no freakin' clue what I'm doing. I really don't. I didn't know what to do when I was pregnant, I was clueless going though labor and delivery, and feeding my baby was like asking me what the square root of something was. Breastfeeding was challenging in ways I couldn't have imagined but, thankfully, there were more than a few things a breastfeeding mom taught me about formula feeding that made a difficult transition not-so-difficult after all.
My son took to the boob almost directly after he was born. Within a few minutes of his precious life he was eating, and we never experienced any issues when it came to latch, milk supply, or infections. While I was grateful, I can honestly say I would have rather experienced those complications. I had planned for those complications. I could have tackled those complications. What I didn't plan for, however, was how triggering the simple act of breastfeeding would be. As a sexual assault survivor, I had a very hard time separating the sensations of breastfeeding with the trauma I had experienced years prior. I was sent back in time, and made to re-live my assault every time my son was hungry. It was devastating. It was taxing. It was taking a toll on my mental health, and driving me further down a dangerous postpartum depression spiral.
So, after seven months of exclusively breastfeeding my son, I ended that relationship. I switched to formula, dealt with the guilt of doing something so many people told me was a "failure," and held tight to the lessons a breastfeeding mom taught me. I found support and encouragement from a few nursing women when I thought they would judge me, and their kindness made all the difference.