It was a hot midsummer afternoon, I was struggling with breastfeeding our three month old son, I had been struggling ever since he first arrived on this planet. He was not a happy baby, I was not a happy mummy. I had read a countless number of books on the subject, spoken to many friends and now I was about to pack my son and our six year old daughter into the car to drive to a maternity hospital twenty minutes away, on a loose promise that the breast-feeding “Expert” there would try to see me between shifts. After waiting for hours to see the “Expert”, she told me everything was fine. I was confused, how could it be when my son never seemed full and screamed all the time and I was constantly in pain…I had even been given “Unlienced” drugs by our GP thinking I may have an infection. I will not go into the full details of that evening, just to say…que taking to long in Mcdonalds (Yes, that’s how desperate I was), returning to car to find baby screaming as had woken up, daughter crying as baby was screaming, trying to breast feed screaming baby with one hand and eat burger with other, as feeling faint from hunger, gang of lads looking over from car park nearby, Oh and my husband away working in Africa for three weeks. I carried on breastfeeding for another four months…the pain never stopped, it never felt good.
When I look back, my first response is to cry, my second response is to say “What the hell was that all about!” What if I had believed I was my OWN expert? How easier and even joyful would that time have been with my son. I knew of another woman who was unable to breastfeed because her skin was just too sensitive, all the Experts in the world can not change that. And that was me, it was not wrong or right, it was just me, the way my body is.
What if there is no “Right way or Wrong way, just OUR way? Imagine feeling into what works for you in any given moment and believing it is okay, knowing that in the next moment everything might change again. When someone claims they are an “Expert” and their way is the only way, what if we smiled, turned and walked away? Nothing in life seems to have one formula that works for everyone. Humans, and most other creatures we share this planet with are diverse and unique. This is a good thing. So, why do we try to conform to someone else’s way of being or doing things? Why do we buy yet another book on parenting, seek out guru after guru to save our souls, spend ridiculous amounts of money on workshops that promise to unlock the secrets to the universal and make us rich (actually, the only people getting rich are those running the workshops!)
Do not get me wrong, I believe we do not have go through this life alone. Reaching out to others and asking for help is a healthy thing. There is much wisdom to be gained by friends sharing their experiences or listening to those who have been through a similar situation. But, the moment someone starts “Telling” you what you should do, that’s the time to leave. It takes courage to be your own “Expert” because if you make a mistake, you might feel you only have yourself to blame. Another way could be, not to blame ourselves but to accept that life is messy sometimes (most times) and we do what we can in each and every moment.
(Image by Lori Portka)