I always planned to breastfeed my babies. All of my nursing mom friends made it sound so wonderful, convenient, and easy. It seemed like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, no one told me that breastfeeding can also be difficult, painful, and sometimes impossible. So when I was tired, depressed, and struggling with undersupply, I didn't open up to anyone. When I did, I often received condescending, conflicting, and bad advice. There ended up being so many things I wanted during breastfeeding that I just couldn't bring myself to ask for.
I was embarrassed that things didn't seem to be working out as planned. I didn't know anyone who had struggled with breastfeeding (or at least, anyone who was willing to talk about it). When I asked for advice, I received comments like, "Just keep nursing. Of course you are making enough breast milk." So I stopped asking, and consequently I felt alone. When I got mastitis and thrush, the only person I opened up to said, "Why don't you just switch to formula?" I wasn't supported and, again, found myself keeping my struggles to myself. I felt like no one actually listened to me, and if they did, they didn't believe me when I explained what I was going through.
I needed someone to fill in the blanks when I just couldn't go anymore. I wished my partner would have offered to help around the house, encouraged me to keep breastfeeding, and gave me a break without me having to ask. Because, honestly, I was afraid to ask for help, thinking that late-night feedings, no sleep, and single-handedly growing a human and making food for her was my job as a mom. Now I know that breastfeeding (and motherhood) is like riding on an airplane through turbulence — if you don't put on your own oxygen mask first, you won't be able to care for anyone else. There are so many oxygen masks I wished I had asked for, because they would have made all the difference.