My son was a planned surprise, which means I wanted him but didn’t think he could ever happen. What was even more unexpected were the feelings that arose around my ability to care for him. It took years for me to figure out that a lot of my struggles as a new mother were directly related to my history as a sexual assault survivor.
One of the unanticipated difficulties was breastfeeding.
Nineteen years ago I studied every book I could find on childbirth and parenting in my local library when I was pregnant for the third time with my first viable pregnancy. I was a young Native/mixed woman and my partner a young Native man, but I had been adopted and raised by a white family. Knowing I was going to be a mother with so little connection to my culture made me anxious