Sunday, December 11, 2011

Time to tackle another tricky relationship...

...this time with my boobs. It's never been good. The sheer joy of being pregnant after such struggles allowed me to feel kindly towards them as for the first 16 weeks they were the only evidence I had that I was pregnant (between scans). Big (b-cup), veiny, full, sore...thank goodness for my boobs. But at the moment I hate them. Like 2 barrage balloons I can't even eat or drink without knocking into them or knocking them into something or someone and so I need to face up to the fact that I desperately want to breast feed but it's going to be a struggle.

On first google search I was disappointed. Specific sites for breast feeding came up with absolutely nothing when I typed 'sexual abuse survivor' into the search box. In sections re. 'problems breast feeding' they were all physical issues rather than emotional. 

The La Leche League however did respond to my enquiry, quickly and suggested a podcast by the author of this book; 

When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women Penny Simkin, PT, and Phyllis Klaus, CSE, MFT (2005) p.80

that I would buy if the country I live in wasn't so corrupt when it comes to parcels arriving/leaving.
...and P.16 of this document is useful

So far I plan to buy breast sheilds. I have purchased a pump and tried it against my skin to see how it feels and even switched pump on for a second or two to see how tolerable it is. I have bottles for back up (not purchased formula yet) and to feed expressed milk to. I have spoken to my obstetrician about concerns who responded well but after being present at my polypectomy, numerous vaginal examinations and 2 embryo transfers he was shocked the subject hadn't come up before. He assures me I can have space and privacy afterwards for first feeding attempts which will help. I started a thread on Mumsnet which got a good response and on these recommendations I have also bought clothes that are discreet for feeding too which hadn't occurred to me.

I'm still quite determined and at least now I feel a little more prepared.

Thank you for the lovely response to my last post, private and public...good idea to tag/label posts too to reach wider audience.


  1. This is an area of difficulty in your situation that had never occurred to me.. but it sounds like you're doing everything you can to prepare for breastfeeding and keeping those around you informed about your needs and the reasons for them. I would only say don't feel bad if you decide not to breastfeed in the end or if it doesn't go well - many women without your history don't end up breastfeeding for numerous reasons and we all have to do what is right for us at the time. xxx

  2. This topic is very under-researched and rarely spoken about, yet it sadly affects to many birthing women and their families. I am a birth doula that works with survivors of sexual abuse and assault. I'd love to share some links with you and your readers that I found helpful. <3

    I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to birth and breastfeeding after sexual trauma.