There are times when, due to individual circumstance, parents are unable to breastfeed or feel that it is really not what they want to do even if things are objectively going well. When our breastfeeding hopes, or intentions don’t come to fruition we can struggle with feelings of loss, sadness, anger, grief and shame. When we are at this point we tend to think we are the only person feeling this way but in reality these feelings are not unusual or abnormal.
Hilary Jacobson, writer, researcher, holistic breastfeeding consultant and hypnotherapist, has written a book called “Healing Breastfeeding Grief” in which she shares from her own and the experience of hundreds of mothers what it can mean to experience these devastating emotions. Applying techniques of mindfulness and neuroplasticity, Jacobson offers a way out of the feelings of heartbreak and failure that overcome mothers when breastfeeding doesn’t go as they had imagined it would.
"I want to help mothers heal," Jacobson says. "Each year, thousands of women enter motherhood carrying a deep wound. My intention for this book is that they heal and feel whole, and step fully and vibrantly into their life as a mother -- no matter how they feed their baby."
The book looks at five steps which can help mothers understand the root of their feelings and give them tools to taking steps forward to deal with those feeling so they can love and enjoy their babies.
• Build your support team
• Understand your issues
• Find remedies
• Feel and process your emotions
• Focus on the love
The first two steps; building your support team, and gathering information so you have a good understanding of how breastfeeding usually works, are both things that parents can do before baby arrives. A La Leche League meeting is a great place to get to know others who can be your supporters and to learn about breastfeeding. If you experience challenges or breastfeeding isn’t what you expected you will have people to turn to who can help you with step three; finding remedies that work for you and your circumstances. LLLC Leaders can provide a listening ear for parents to talk about their feelings and concerns in a non-judgemental atmosphere. We don’t offer advice as every parent/baby relationship is unique and what is right for one family will not be right for another. We offer information that empowers parents to make decisions that are right for them.
In part three of her book Jacobson bridges the gap between mothers and the professionals who have dedicated their lives to support families, and interviews seventeen mother-baby professionals and practitioners who share from their personal and professional experiences with breastfeeding grief. The book shares the experiences of a number of mothers including two who share the details of their personal stories and the different paths they took to feeling whole again.
Learn more at healingbreastfeedinggrief.com
At the time of publication of this post there is a sample chapter available for free download on a Kindle, PC or Mac.
To find La Leche League Canada in your region or neighbourhood whether you have questions or want to meet other breastfeeding mothers check our website.