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First of all, thank you to Melissa DiMartino-Yuen for her entry. She gave me the courage to face up to myself and try to work past the pain I feel towards my body.

I’ve always been overweight. It’s just been a fact of my life. When I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 16, it made sense. And the doctor told me that unless I was on medication and under the care of a doctor, I’d probably never conceive and even then, there was no guarantee.

However, 3 years later, without being on the medications that made me feel less than human, and without trying at all, my husband, then boyfriend, conceived a baby. What a surprise it was. But I welcomed it.

But even though I’d never had body issues before, they began to slowly crop up during my pregnancy. Because of my weight, I never showed in the true sense of the word. I never had anyone ask when the baby was due. No one could tell I was pregnant. Even when I went to the doctor at eight months pregnant, she guessed I was just a few weeks along as I wasn’t showing.

But the feeling of that baby moving in my womb eclipsed it all. Besides the baby belly thing, I felt amazing. I felt normal, health wise, something that had never happened to me before. And it was amazing. And because I’d kept on my diet and stuff, I knew my pregnancy was normal. And I strived for a normal labour and delivery, a birth center birth. However, 30 hours into labour, I wasn’t progressing enough, my water had broken, and I was exhausted. I ended up in the hospital, with a pitocin drip and an epidural.

But I never lost my resolve to give my daughter the best entrance. So despite what the doctors wanted, I didn’t relent to a c-section. And I gave birth VAGINALLY to my beautiful 7 pound 3 ounce baby girl. It felt amazing to know I’d done it. The nurses even told me they thought I’d be a c-section for sure, due to my size. What a feeling.

But then the fun began. I’d set my heart on nursing, giving my daughter the best start. Helping her possibly avoid the obesity that plagued my life. And I did nurse her. She was a champion nurser. And the pride I felt in giving her that was amazing…the first few days.

And then she began to scream. She quit wetting diapers. Her fontanel sunk in. My baby was sick, and I knew why. My milk never came in. And an IBCLC confirmed my worst fears: I couldn’t breastfeed. During puberty, my breasts never developed. And during pregnancy, they still didn’t develop. The PCOS that hadn’t hurt my ability to conceive apparently did make it impossible for me to feed my daughter. I’d never felt any breast tenderness. And no one asked. When I should have been preparing myself in pregnancy, I was dealing with so much else. So, all of a sudden, I had a bottle-fed baby. And I hated my body for it.

I feel betrayed. I feel like less of a woman. I know I am a woman, I gave birth. But I feel like LESS because I couldn’t give my daughter the very best. I feel ugly and deformed. And it hurts me everytime I make her a bottle because I’m missing out on a glorious part of motherhood. She’s missing out on so much health and bond promoting goodness.

Thank you for this site. It’s really cathartic to write this. I’m crying, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I did my best to give my daughter the best. I struggled with fenugreek, SNSs, pumps, etc for 7 weeks before she weaned. I know I did everything I could. But it’s still something that hurts. And it will for a long time. :(

Here are my pictures:

My baby belly: Notice how I’m sorta holding rolls of flub, and not a true round belly

In labour:

My champion newborn nurser:

The breasts that failed me:

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22 comments… add one
  • Kier Sunday, September 24, 2006, 8:13 pm

    Oh, sweetie…I just want to jump into the computer and hug you. First, I can tell you are pregnant in that first picture – it is not “rolls of flub”, but a beautiful baby belly. And I love the picture of your newborn nursing! I was so happy to read that you were able to avoid a c-section. I had to have one and it pains me to this day that I didn’t speak up (even though I know that my daughter needed to get out, asap). Good for you. You are obviously a strong, dedicated Mama who strives for the very best for her child. You are beautiful, and we are all here to support you!♥Kier

  • Jaelithe Sunday, September 24, 2006, 9:14 pm

    I understand why you feel that your body failed you because you haven’t been able to nurse, but you’re not at all less of a mother because you weren’t able to! It’s clear that you are a very dedicated mother, and I am sure your daughter will have a happy and fulfilling childhood, which will be much more important for her in the long run than anything else. You tried as hard as you could to nurse. You did everything right. You do not have to feel guilty. Also, I think your baby belly looks like a perfectly normal baby belly :)

  • a mummy losing it Monday, September 25, 2006, 12:37 am

    Another one who can certainly see a baby belly in that first picture.And good on you for having a vaginal birth when I can imagine the pressure put on you to do otherwise. I’m sorry you cannot breastfeed, but am glad you had a few precious days of it…

  • Cherryskin Monday, September 25, 2006, 6:09 am

    Don’t get hung up about breastfeeding. You grew and birthed a beautiful little girl who will grow up into a no doubt beautiful woman, looking to her mother as a guide. Her mother is an obviously passionate woman who has so much to give and teach her about womanhood!My mother couldn’t breastfeed me, either, as she did not have enough milk (she thinks due to severe pain after an emergancy caesar — in communist Poland in the mid-70s they apparently weren’t particularly interested in analgesia), yet she managed to raise me into a very happy, healthy, strong woman who feels so grateful to have had her unwavering love and guidance.You have the chance to do the same for your daughter — leave the negatives behind and focus on all the wonderful things you have given her, and can give her in the future.

  • Nicole Monday, September 25, 2006, 6:35 am

    Thank you for sending in your story. I felt the heartbreak in your story..it is partly my story too. Unable to exclusively breastfeed any of my children due to lacking sufficiant glandular tissue I too feel like less of a woman–and it sucks! Know that your baby did benefit from the breastmilk you were able to provide for those 7 weeks. A bright spot for you to consider, With each of my pregnancies I grew a bit more glandular tissue. My first baby breastfed for 3 months, my second breastfed for 6 months, and I’m beyond happy to tell you that my thrid child is still breastfeeding at 3 years :) I still had to suppliment my breastmilk, but less so with my 3rd child. Also, your pregnant belly looks beautiful!

  • Anonymous Monday, September 25, 2006, 8:24 am

    Your daughter can still be a healthy, happy baby who is bonded to her mama. Nursing is good, but that is not the most important element – not even close – to raising a healthy and well-adjusted child. Do not be distressed about the lack of milk production; your body is still womanly in every sense of the word.You look lovely, even in labor. Your skin looks very pretty! And, finally, you have a very beautiful newborn! She’s darling (and I sometimes think that babies aren’t really cute until they’re a few months old)!

  • Anonymous Monday, September 25, 2006, 10:19 am

    I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that a woman whose body looks so much like a symbol of fertility and motherhood according to the ancients would have PCOS. I’m so glad you were able to have a child anyway! I can understand your frustration about the breastfeeding problem (good luck with the goat’s rue), but I have to say your lovely pink nipples make me miss my pre-breastfeeding nipples a little bit. That said, if you are able to help your body along with the supplement you are considering, and if it works and you are successful at breastfeeding, your new breasts and nipples will be amazing too. Everything is beautiful for one reason or another!

  • Jenny Monday, September 25, 2006, 10:29 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had my first baby 20 months ago and fully expected to be able to breastfeed. It didn’t work so well at first but we kept trying. Finally, we realized that I wasn’t producing enough milk and started supplementing with a bottle. I kept trying to nurse and can remember sitting with him pressed up against my chest with both of us screaming and crying. Two weeks after he was born, I was hospitalized with a uterine hemmorage. The drugs that they gave me to stop the bleeding contained hormones that dried up my milk supply for good. I was devestated and I went through the first year of his life blaming everything that went wrong (ear infections, rapid weight gain, reflux, etc) on the fact that he wasn’t breastfed. I know your frustration and your pain and, while not diminishing or trivializing it, I want to tell you the end of my story. The bottle was okay. My husband took over the mroning feeding and they had a special time together before he left for work. I could not be more bonded with my son. The beautiful thing is that as they get older, the bonds form around different items – books, songs, snuggles – and those are the bonds that last, even after they are weaned from the bottle. I wish I could give you a hug. You are doing everything for your child and you are a mother in the fullest sense of the word. To your child, you are the only representation of mother that they know. Try to enjoy the time spent snuggling with the bottle. Feed your child with skin to skin contact. Don’t teach them how to hold their own bottle (okay, think of the consequences for this one before you actually do it – but it does make them have to come to you to get the milk). I hope that you know you are not alone in these feelings and I hope that you can see what a wonderful job you are doing caring for your child.

  • Anonymous Monday, September 25, 2006, 11:51 am

    Your post really, really, really touched me. I think you are absolutely amazing. Your daughter chose wisely when she chose you for a mother. I hope your heart heals soon.

  • Anonymous Monday, September 25, 2006, 5:11 pm

    Hi, your story really touched my heart. I too have PCOS and I now have a 27 month old. I tried breastfeeding but my daughter never latched on. I also wish I had the resources then to help me. I wish you the very best! You are beautiful as so is your little angel!! Thanks for sharing your story!!

  • kim Monday, September 25, 2006, 5:25 pm

    Ditto to the anonymous poster above me. You look marvelous.

  • Anonymous Monday, September 25, 2006, 8:37 pm

    what an amazing story. i am so tempted to post mine here as well, just haven’t worked up the courage yet. i couldn’t breastfeed my son after he was born (6 weeks early). I tried everything too, and nothing worked. i don’t think i developed all that much in puberty either. and in 3 pregnancies, i definitely didn’t grow any. good luck with the newfound idea! i hope it works for you. please keep us posted. maybe i can try it too, when the time comes! God bless!-Maijken

  • Anonymous Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 11:54 am

    You are beautiful and courageous. Your little girl is so sweet, it gives me baby fever! I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding my kids and your story gives my hope and courage to try again if that chance comes again.

  • Amber Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 11:54 am

    I can totally relate to the feelings of your body betraying you. The morning before I was to be induced with my first daughter, my OB/Gyn told me that he thought the baby wasn’t going to be able to come out without any perm. damage done to her. I went numb when he told me and am surprised that I could even sign agreed to a c-section. Anyway, she came out much smaller than they thought she would be and I hated it. On top of that, I ended up getting an infection, had to stay in the hospital for five days, and couldn’t nurse for two. I was able to nurse her until she was about 5 mos though.With #2, I wanted a VBAC and again allowed myself to be talked into a c-section even after I went into labor with her. I HATE that I didn’t push for the VBAC. She was smaller than my first and nursed like a champ in the hospital. She developed nipple confusion and I fought for two weeks to BF.Now, pg with #3, I have to have a c/s but I’m bound and determined to at least BF since I have to have the baby cut out of my body.I know this got a little long. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and let you know that you’re not alone. ((((Big hugs))))

  • amy reads Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 9:29 pm

    Do not beat yourself up my dear. One of my twins decided she loved nursing and the other? Not so much. I was fed formula after the first week or two and turned out fine. Too much pressure is placed on women to breast feed in my opinion. If you want to do it and it comes easily, fine, do it. If it doesn’t? Your baby will be just fine and you will not be so stressed. Once you realize bottle feeding your babe is not a SIN you can relax, and take care of that baby as best you can.

  • Drea Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 11:22 am

    Wow what a story!Im so glad you were able to have a baby despite your challenges.Its such a joy.As far as feeling like less of a woman… or mother due to you not being able to breastfeed… please dont.Some people just cant.I wasnt able to.My son just would not latch properly onto me… so I resulting to pumping … after just a month my milk dried up and would no longer produce. I was upset… but I knew that there was pleanty of formulas out there that would provide just as good a nutrients for my child.My son Caleb has been on formula since he was born and has never had any health problems (he is 2).He is not over weight… he eats great… hes as healthy as they come! Im almost 7 mo. pregnant w/ my 2nd child… will I breastfeed? To be honest Im not sure I will. I may try again.. but it was such an ordeal w/ the 1st one that I dont know if I am emotionally sound to go through it again.Knowing my 1st child did just fine on formula is making me lean more to just formula feeing this one. But for the healthy of myself and possibly to let my newborn get the colustrum at the beginning… I may try… we will see.If it doesnt work though Im just thankful the Lord has given scientest the knowledge to create a supplement for breastmilk to keep our children healthy and strong :-)

  • Anonymous Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 12:13 pm

    As long as your baby is snuggled up next to you while you are feeding her a bottle, she IS getting all kinds of love and IS bonding with you. Don’t beat yourself up over this. Your baby loves you no matter what. And as long as you are doing all you can do, and you tried all that you could, that is good enough. Good luck!

  • Anonymous Thursday, September 28, 2006, 8:59 pm

    thank you for sharing your so very personal experiance. I had tears in my eyes as i read and re-read your post. Congratulations on your wonderful, beautiful little baby girl and my respect to you for going through with a vaginal birth, eventhough you were put through so much pressure to have a c-section. You are definitley an inspiration to me to make it through a vaginal birth.It shows again how wrong doctors can be with them predicting that you would not be able to conceive unless you were on medication. Our bodies are just built so amazing, no one can know for sure what they can and will do. I am sorry that you were unable to breastfeed, i am lost on words on this one. I still have about 4 more weeks until my little one is due and I am still somewhat scared of the thought of breastfeeding. But good luck to you and your precious one, be assured that she knows that you are trying the best for her.

  • Anonymous Friday, September 29, 2006, 6:04 pm

    You are beautiful. I hope you can find healing in your experience. From one mother (and cyster) to another: HUGS. -P

  • Anonymous Saturday, September 30, 2006, 9:16 am


  • Anonymous Monday, October 23, 2006, 8:34 pm

    I realize this is a late post, I just found this site, so I hope you get a chance to see this. First off your baby girl is absolutely beautiful and your journey is an inspiration. I do feel badly for you that you feel like less of a mother because you can not breastfeed. I had a son in 1987 and another in 1988 both times the nurses badgered me about breastfeeding and made me feel like less of a mother because I chose not to.When I had my 3rd son in 1990 I decided to breastfeed because I thought I was doing the “right” thing. I hated every minute of it and only did it for about a week and a half. I understand the benefits of breastfeeding but there are benefits of formula also.I always new how much they were eating and the biggest bonus for us was my husband was able to take an active role in the care of his sons which not only made it easier for him to bond, he didn’t feel like an outsider that was only needed for the sperm donation and diaper changes.My sons are healthy, intelligent young men. I do not feel one bit sorry for not breastfeeding. I do feel sad that society has put such an emphasis on breastfeeding that mothers feel inadequate when they are unable or choose not to.By what you shared with us, I don’t think you will have any problems continuing to be a beautiful, wonderful mother.

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