So I lasted a day. I am typing this post on a super-shiny new red laptop. And it cost me all of the money in my account – we will be living on potatoes and herbs for a while because that’s what I’m growing in the garden.

In other news, Bub had her first injections today. It was something of an eye-opener, sitting in the waiting room with loads of other mums – all as anxious as me. I started thinking about being a mum and just what that meant. I would be, to the small wriggling wormy thing in my arms, a source of comfort, advice, love, money, and lifts to friends houses. I would eventually become a confidante – relationship-willing – a nurse and a teacher. And so would all the women in the waiting room around me.

Before setting out, I had been researching my options for switching to formula feed. God knows I’ve tried to breastfeed and with all the fight I’ve got in me, I’m still going. It’s tough though. Aside from the mastitis and the physical inconvenience of having boobs the size of Canada, I’ve been finding the whole thing mentally and emotionally draining. Some nights, when I’ve sat with my tits out for 5 hours while Bub cries at one and then the other for no discernible reason*, I have a good cry myself.

It is my duty to do right by this child. She didn’t ask to be born, and certainly didn’t ask to be born to a melodramatic writer with a chronic case of procrastination. It’s hard to keep going, and in my hated weaker moments I do stroke the car keys and ponder the convenient evil that is the 24 hour Tesco. I could sneakily buy some powder, nip home and feed it to Bub without anyone else having to know. 4am is, on rare occasions, a most forgiving time.

Thinking all of this, waiting with my smiley little worm to meet the needles, I took another glance around. Two other mums were giving their babies a bottle of formula to comfort them after their own jabs. My initial reaction was to sit and smugly think about how much better Bub would be for being breastfed, but today I decided I needed to be slower to judge. Perhaps these women had been through what I had, and had been equally miserable feeding. Perhaps their children had been born to a surrogate and so lacked  milk of their own to give them. Perhaps there was some underlying medical reason to use a bottle. Perhaps those women weren’t willing to flash strangers from the back seat of a Micra when their baby was hidden from view in readiness for the coming meal.

Bub had her jabs. I took a smiling, happy baby into the room. She looked me in the eye and grinned because she knew me, then I held her in place while a nurse caused her pain. It felt like a betrayal. I tell myself that she won’t remember it and that it’s for the best in the long run, but I’ll remember that bright, trusting smile until the day I die.

Of all the things I will do as a mother – breast or bottle feed, to vaccinate or not – and of all the things I will become, only one is really certain. In my eyes, in the eyes of my peers, and sometimes in those of my daughter, the only inevitable thing is that at some stage, everyone will see me as Wrong.

For someone like me, who was always so sure of her convictions that she repeatedly told the teacher off at age 10, this is a very bitter pill to swallow.


*I’ve seen midwives, health visitors, breastfeeding councillors and the doctor. They all say the latch is good and Bub is gaining weight well. I’ve been told she might grow out of it at 3 months.