In A World That Worships Breasts

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Hello my lovelies. I would like to introduce you to Erin. Here she is in a recent photo with her beautiful brood. She looks so happy in this picture I love it.

But she has not always worn that smile….here’s why.

Awkward teenage me!

Ever since I started to develop, I hated my breasts. They didn’t grow right. One was pointed and the other was more “boob like”. I always heard people say that it was normal for them to be different so I just figured I had been dealt the short end of the stick. That being lopsided was just a variation of that normal. The differences in my breast made me terribly self conscious and embarrassed. I was even afraid to have a boyfriend. I had a very poor self esteem grow up in a world that worships breasts.

I became involved with my 2 older kid’s father when I was only 19. unfortunately I found out much to late that he was a narcissist. His treatment of me and his behavior did not help me feel better about myself. This in fact added to my already low self esteem.

I had my first baby Nevaeh at age 21 (2010) and my second Chase in 2012. Nursing was hard for all of us but we powered though and I was able to produce just enough milk so that I did not have to supplement with formula. Both of my tiny humans were very “attached to the boob”. It felt as though I could barely put them down for the first 6 months of their lives. I did all that I knew how to try and increase my milk production. I drank the tea and ate the oatmeal and I took domperidone all in the attempt to avoid formula. these journeys were a success!

Fast forward a few years to 2015. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby but this time with a new partner.  Max was such a quiet baby. He didn’t want to stay attached to the boob like my other 2 children. I continued my breastfeeding journey however Chase got skinnier and skinnier. At one of our checkups my doctor said “he’s not gaining weight” and he wanted me to “eat as much high fat food as possible”. He advised that “if at the next visit he still hadn’t gained weight that formula supplementation would be needed”. At the next appointment sadly he had not put on weight and I began to supplement with formula. Although I did not want to do so it was needed for his health. That being said I still cried and suffered with feeling of loss. All I ever wanted to do was to nurse all my babies. I even used a supplemental nursing system to simulate breastfeeding while formula feeding.

Even with the supplemental formula when we went back to our next checkup he hadn’t gained much weight. My doctor yelled at me saying that I was not giving him the formula and I was starving him on purpose. Told me I had bad milk. Basically made me feel like a horrible mom. I was shocked and angry as I had done everything that I was told to do and more.

I decided to visit a lactation consultant. I told her all of what we had been though, what we had tried both medically and non. I cried while I told her what the doctor had accused me of and that he told me  “I had bad milk”. She looked me straight in the eye and gave me a firm look and said “no your milk isn’t bad” with a roll of her eyes lol. After examining Max she told me that in fact my precious baby boy was tongue and lip tied. After our meeting I did some research. When I searched all the symptoms I had almost all of them on the list. Even a bout of mastitis when he was about a month old.

We decided to get Max tongue and lip tie revision . This procedure is done with the laser. When I went back to the doctor I informed him that we had found out that Max had a tongue and lip tie and that we had had a procedure done to have it rectified. I was appalled when He rolled his eyes and said those lactation consultants always say that and you wasted your money. I was blown away once more when he told me he knew Max had ties and didn’t tell me. I was beyond angry. How dare he watch me and Max go through all that and not do all he could to help!

I’m getting mad all over again and hes 3 and half now lol.

Little Max ended up getting the most formula of all my children. My 4th baby was small as well and we gave her a bottle at night in addition to our regular breastfeeding schedule.  She is two and a half now.

I carried so much guilt with me surrounding my breastfeeding journey. Did I not eat enough? Drink enough? Why was it so hard for me to produce milk? I had friends that had to pump between feedings because they filled up so much and I could drink the tea and take domperidone and still could make barely any milk. Why me!

Once I had been done nursing for a couple years. It was time to get a physical done. I had never had a breast exam because I felt so self conscious about my breast  (I did however do monthly self exams and never found anything to worry about).  When the nurse started to examine me I broke down crying. She was astonished and confused asking what was wrong. I told her it was difficult for me to let anyone see my breasts and it’s uncomfortable to be touched. She must have understood as she from that point on made sure to talk to me and explain each step as we went. When she was done the exam she said “since I cant strangle you for not telling me sooner I’m going to send you to see a plastic surgeon” lol. I think they will be able to help you and provide you with the information you need. So I waited….

I had an anxiety attack every week until I went for that appointment. It was two months of agony worrying it was going to be a male doctor. I think that freaked me out the most.

Finally the day came to go to the appointment. As soon as we (my best friend since 15 years old was with me) pulled into the parking lot I started crying. It was so hard to walk into that office. I couldn’t fill out the paperwork because I was shaking so bad. My other bestie met us at the office to provide additional support. I was so relieved to find out I would be seeing a female doctor but it did not stop the tears. ( I’m crying again right now just reliving it). Once in her office she asked a few opening questions then it was time to show her. I squeezed my friends hand and closed my eyes as she opened my gown. It took her only a few seconds to say ” you have what’s called a tuberous breast defect. Its caused sometime in fetal development and they don’t know what causes it.” She went on to tell me that when I was developing, the tissue was “tied down” and that’s why it couldn’t grow at all. She said it makes nursing extremely difficult and up to 60% of women cant nurse at all with this defect.

The tears streamed down my face but this time they were tears of relief as the weight of the years of guilt lifted off my shoulders. I wanted to yell from the mountain tops that it wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t that I didn’t drink enough or that I had bad milk, I had a defect!  The best part of all that she told me was that it’s not hereditary so my kids shouldn’t have to suffer through what I did.

Due to this being a defect it would be covered by health care to get it fixed! My friend almost lost it as well when she heard the emotion from me when I heard that I was going to be able to get it fixed.  It was explained that the doctor would have to release the tissue and put in an expander. Its basically a balloon that is filled over time and it stretches the skin to make enough to create a breast.

Me at the hospital waiting for surgery!

I just got the expander put in on Jan 7th this year. They will slowly inflate it and once I like the size I will have to wait three months for the skin to relax and I will have implants put in. I feel like a new person already. I can talk about it and before I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I wish my experience with nursing had gone better but I did the best I could with what I had. I know now that I DID NOT fail. What I could do was an accomplishment. I was part of a small group of women who could make even a little milk with this defect. I feel proud instead of guilty when I look back now.

Tongue tie photo was a screen grab