I will never be able to breastfeed.
If you're a mother and you're reading this.... maybe that breaks your heart. Or, if you don't like to breastfeed, maybe you find that statement empowering. Or maybe you don't care, and that's okay too. Because at the end of the day, there is more than one way to be a great mother.
When I was 18, I had to make a huge decision. I was going to get a breast reduction, and that had some consequences. They would sever my nerve endings, and cut my supply off totally (yes, that means they were going to cut my nipples off *yikes*). If they weren't going to cut them off, I would lose all blood flow, and they would shrivel up and die. *triple yikes*
So, I had to think, years from now, would I want to breastfeed my child? At 18, I really had no idea. I took a couple of weeks to think about this decision. But when it really came down to it, it didn't matter to me.
To be honest, I wasn't even sure I wanted to be a mother at all. What I did know is that I was miserable. My back ached, my shoulders even had permanent dents in them from heavy bra straps. Worse than the physical ailments, I had no confidence. At all.
Maybe this all sounds selfish to you. Thinking that I would give up the 'connections' with my future child for a little bit more confidence or a more comfortable back. But what kind of life could I give a child if I hated myself? Hated the way I looked? If I was miserable? That's not what I want to teach my child... So, I decided it didn't matter. Because there are so many ways to connect with your child.
In the end, there is no right way to parent a child. Besides, I really didn't think I wanted children for a long time. When I met my S.O., I learned that I DID want children. Badly. I had just been waiting for the right person, because that person didn't mind that I couldn't breastfeed.
I had made the decision a long time ago that I could never breastfeed, and that was made permanent by the surgery. But with the right person, it just simply didn't matter. All my previous worries and concerns got washed away when I met my S.O.
I know now that I can be a mother, maybe even a great one. It had always been inside of me, and it took some special people to show me that. So, respect the mothers who choose to breastfeed, and respect the ones who choose not to, or simply just can't. There's only one connection that truly matters when it comes to parenthood, and that's unconditional love. (And I have a ton of that!)