In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, Louise McSharry has shared a powerful message to mothers everywhere.
The journalist started quite a stir in the beauty industry when she released her book Fat Chance: My Life in Ups, Downs and Crisp Sandwiches two years ago.
She has been an avid advocate for women being judged for their weight, looks, and lifestyle choices. The 2FM DJ said her aim was “ to help people to feel better about themselves”.
This is about a culture which vilifies and dehumanises fat people to an extent that even some thoroughly trained medical professionals can’t see beyond it.— Louise McSharry (@louisemcsharry) July 28, 2018
We followed her journey as she gave birth to a beautiful baby Sam and shared her breastfeeding struggles.
Now, reminded by the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, she reflects on her struggle and encourages mums to not be so hard on themselves.
The presenter posted on Instagram sharing how she could not get enough milk to Sam from breastfeeding.
This is the first photo ever taken of me and Sam, two days after he was born, in the neo-natal unit. This was the first time I got to hold him too, due to minor complications which required him to have increased oxygen. A couple of minutes after this photo was taken I tried to breastfeed for the first time, having woken myself up every two hours during the previous two nights to milk myself to ensure my milk would come in. It didn’t happen. We had a handful of complications which were proving challenging. Midwives tried to help. Lactation consultants. Nipple shields. I was really committed to breastfeeding. So committed that it took me six weeks of abject misery to accept that it was ruining my time with Sam. So I pumped. For months, I pumped. And eventually I gave him formula. Almost two years later, I still find it difficult to see women breastfeeding and #worldbreastfeedingweek brings up all of my guilt, regret and sadness around the subject. I wish it had been different BUT I also know that I did my absolute best and made the right decision for my family when it came down to it. Should you find yourself feeling sorrow or guilt this week, you’re not alone, but you don’t deserve it either. Sam is a beautiful, healthy boy, and we have both done our absolute best over the last 22 months, and I’m sure you’ve done the same with your little one. Tbh, I think we’re heroes for just getting through each passing day.
“Midwives tried to help. Lactation consultants. Nipple shields. I was really committed to breastfeeding.
“So committed that it took me six weeks of abject misery to accept that it was ruining my time with Sam.”
Louise emphasised how important it was for her to breastfeed her baby but even after pumping for months, it still was not enough for Sam.
She was filled with “guilt, regret, and sadness” at the outcome as she was forced to switch to formula.
Had a couple of lovely swims in the Irish Sea over the last couple of days. I’m working on helping Sam conquer his fear of sand and the sea. We’re making great progress. I love swimming in the sea, but almost every time I do it I feel a tinge of sadness about all the times I didn’t swim growing up because I was too afraid to be seen in a swimsuit. There are a lot of things I didn’t do in my teens and twenties because I was ashamed of my body. Thankfully I came to the conclusion that I deserved to enjoy my life rather than hiding away because of something as superficial as my body’s appearance. I decided that if people judged me, it didn’t matter, that what mattered was living my actual life and not sitting on the sidelines watching other people going on sun holidays or swimming in the sea. As it happens, I’m not aware of anyone making any judgement or comment since I started doing and wearing what I want. Maybe they do, but I think because I’ve decided I don’t care, I don’t even notice it if it is happening. If you’re someone who feels like you can’t do that, because you’re not thin enough, or you can’t wear a swimsuit because you don’t have the right type of body, please have a good think about where those thoughts come from. You deserve to live a full life now. Not ‘when you lose the weight’, because you might never ‘lose the weight’ and actually you’re probably just fine as you are. One thing’s for sure, you won’t find yourself lying on your deathbed thinking ‘thank god I didn’t take my cardigan off on that really hot day’ or ‘I’m really glad I didn’t go swimming with my friends all those times.’ You deserve to LIVE, whatever body you’re in.
For mums going through the same situation, feeling the pressure and judgement from society, she has got something to say.
“Should you find yourself feeling sorrow or guilt this week, you’re not alone, but you don’t deserve it either.
“Sam is a beautiful, healthy boy, and we have both done our absolute best over the last 22 months, and I’m sure you’ve done the same with your little one.”
She reminds mums that they are all “heroes” just for making it through each day.
Dedicated Sam’s morning nap to copying @katiejanehughes’ last Live look. Is the dishwasher full of empty dishes and does the house need to be hoovered and do I have e-mails to reply to? Yes. Do I regret spending time with my beloved makeup and more importantly myself? No. Complexion: @ctilburymakeup Flawless Filter in Fair, @narsissist Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla Highlight: @benefit_ire Dandelion, @catrice.cosmetics Dewy Wetlook Stick Blush: @benefit_irl Coralista Bronzer: @benefit_irl Hoola Lite Eyes: @revolutionmakeupireland Flawless Foils in Rose Gold, @maybelline Lash Sensational primer and mascara Lips: @clarinsofficial Joli Rouge Velvet in Soft Berry
Louise is a beacon of upliftment to mums who constantly deal with the judgement of others.
Sometimes, life does not go the way we plan, and it is up to us to make the best decision for our family.
Power to you Louise! For encouraging all us mums out there to remember we are “not alone”.