If you planned on breastfeeding your baby, but couldn't for any number of reasons, you probably felt a vast mixture of relentless emotions. The stages you go through when you realize you can't breastfeed can feel overwhelming and defeating, especially if you really had your heart set on nursing your baby. I'm here to tell you that even though it probably feels like it, you're not alone.
I, too, was in the same breastfeeding boat a few years ago. I had just delivered my first son and, moments later, the nurse brought him to me and suggested that I try to feed him. I tried, and failed. Not having success the very first time you try to breastfeed is extremely common, so I didn't sweat and assumed that, like most women who want to breastfeed, my son and I would get it down. Instead, what I assumed was a temporary struggle morphed into what felt like an epic one, and I had to quit breastfeeding.
Personally, I never enjoyed it. Actually, I hated breastfeeding, if I'm being honest. Despite my disdain for nursing, there was still this little voice in the back of my head telling me that "breast is best," so I continued in my attempt to nurse my son (though, now, I'm well aware that breast isn't best for everyone). A few weeks into my new role as a mother, I started to experience feelings that made me, well, uneasy. At first I kept them to myself, assuming that I was just exhausted and what I was feeling was relatively "normal." However, my sadness and anger and bitterness began to grow, and it didn't take me long to realize that I was showing signs of postpartum depression. Not just subtle signs, either, but major signs and attempting to feed my son on demand were only making them worse.
When my son was just over two months old, my mental and emotional stability had deteriorated to a point that terrified me. I finally saw my doctor for postpartum depression and was immediately put on medication, which meant that I would no longer be able to breastfeed. Though I felt as if a weight was lifted from my already exhausted shoulders when I finally accepted that I was suffering from something serious, I also felt like a mess of a mother, especially when I couldn't breastfeed my son.
Going through the emotions of realizing you can no longer breastfeed is difficult, at times, but it is also necessary. If you're experiencing those stages right now, know that you're not alone and that it will get better and that you're not a horrible mother. In fact, you're doing a wonderful job.