Paralympian Jessica Smith shares how motherhood has been a huge learning curve for her.

Jessica, who was born without a left arm, shares how it was not only tough because of her physical challenges, but also in reaching out and asking for help.

She says, “my whole life I have adapted and worked out ways to do things but I thought, I honestly don’t know how I am going to do this –how will I bath a baby? My husband played a big role and at home it wasn’t so difficult but going out was a challenge. If a cover or wrap blew up while I was breastfeeding, I didn’t have the luxury of grabbing it with one hand and I didn’t have confidence with things like putting the pram together.

“My self-esteem took a knock as I adjusted. There is so much social pressure on mums to rush back, to get the body, the life and work back, rather than an acceptance that life is different, everything has changed. I had achieved a lot in my life and I felt as though, I have to be able to prove to myself that I can do this.”

Breastfeeding wasn’t easy for Jessica in the beginning. She says, “I think I was a bit ignorant and arrogant. I thought it would be natural and easy.

“I attended breastfeeding classes and the nurses there implied it would be natural and easy. I wish there had been more emphasis that it could be painful at first and where to find help. I experienced deep pain for about the first six weeks.

“I didn’t seem to find a health professional who would take me seriously. My obstetrician told me my baby was getting plenty of milk so not to worry, nurses didn’t listen to me. I thought I was complaining for no reason. I felt so lost and upset.

“I was embarrassed to talk to anyone – it was so hard to reach out. I hadn’t been around children and other mums so I didn’t know who to talk to. I felt there was always another level of sympathy because I had one arm but that wasn’t as big an issue as the breastfeeding pain.”

In a recent post for breastfeeding awareness week jessica shared,

“The most challenging thing I’ve ever done, yet the most rewarding. First and foremost; there is no right or wrong, fed is best no matter how you do it!

But this is MY journey! And I’m so proud.

I was naive to think breastfeeding was easy, it’s not.

It’s a learnt skill for both mother and baby and it takes time.

I’ve cried so many tears, both of despair and joy throughout my breastfeeding journey.

I’ve breastfed everywhere, you name a place and I can assure you I’ve fed at least one of kids in that location; planes, trains, buses, cafes, bathrooms, shopping centers, airports, parks … because when my kids are hungry, it’s my job to feed them.

It’s be beautiful but also isolating and at times I’ve not enjoyed it at all.

But I appreciate that I’m in the fortunate position to be able to feed my babies, and I know it’s a privilege. {I tandem fed both kids for only a short time, my body and my mind couldn’t take it} ”


View this post on Instagram

The most challenging thing I’ve ever done, yet the most rewarding. First and foremost; there is no right or wrong, fed is best no matter how you do it! But this is MY journey! And I’m so proud. I was naive to think breastfeeding was easy, it’s not. It’s a learnt skill for both mother and baby and it takes time. I’ve cried so many tears, both of despair and joy throughout my breastfeeding journey. I’ve breastfed everywhere, you name a place and I can assure you I’ve fed at least one of kids in that location; planes, trains, buses, cafes, bathrooms, shopping centers, airports, parks … because when my kids are hungry, it’s my job to feed them. It’s be beautiful but also isolating and at times I’ve not enjoyed it at all. But I appreciate that I’m in the fortunate position to be able to feed my babies, and I know it’s a privilege. {I tandem fed both kids for only a short time, my body and my mind couldn’t take it} #breastfeeding #tandemfeeding #breastfeedingweek #breastfeedingawareness

A post shared by Jessica Smith OAM (@jessicasmith27) on

Share your comments below

Image via Instagram


  • Totally normal and not offensive !! Good on you Jessica for persevering even though you struggled !

    Reply


  • Totally don’t understand why this is controversial.
    And honestly mums can’t win these days – bottle feed and get cruised for not breastfeeding. Breastfeed & ciritised for it, told to cover up, not feed in public, only feed till a certain age…..there’s always criticism. We all just need to support each other. Or if nothing nice to contribute then don’t say anything!

    Reply


  • It’s natural and normal. Why is it controversial

    Reply


  • I’m not sure why this is considered controversial. Many mums struggle to breastfeed at all, let alone attempting to feed a toddler and baby with 1 arm. Shame on those who find this kind of photo offensive and have something to say about it. Jessica should be praised not torn down


    • I agree – it is not an offensive photo.
      It is a natural and normal photo and a relatable one too.

    Reply


  • So great that you persisted and were able to manage breastfeeding your two little ones. I agree with you that it is a hard struggle, but oh so worth it in the end.

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  • Way to go!!

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  • I don’t think I would have posted this type of picture however good on her for having such a positive journey.

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  • Good on her for being so raw and honest about breast feeding – it does help other mums possibly in the same situation to know they are not alone.

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  • Quite normal I would have thought.

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  • I would imagine this is what a lot of mums do when their children are close in age.

    Reply


  • Tandem feeding is very normal in my circle. I tandem fed my two for about 4 months.

    Reply

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