A prisoner of my own mind, I constantly wrestled with sharing my struggles while pregnant and postpartum out of fear that I was complaining about things I should feel grateful for.
I think that was the hardest thing I didn’t anticipate while pregnant or after delivery: the isolation you can feel when struggling with common pregnancy and postpartum health symptoms.
I had become so consumed with the well-being of this new, small human, that any small or big problem I was personally facing was put on the backburner out of fear that I was taking for granted all the moments that so many people tell you are the best days of your life.
One thing I really struggled with that felt like the weakest complaint in the world was my leaking breast milk.
Honestly, leaking breast milk is kind of the worst.
It’s an ever-present, stodgy stickiness that can make your skin feel so raw and sensitive from being wet all day that any fabric not as soft as a feather feels like burlap sack being dragged across your boobs.
And for me, leaky boobs had become an all-consuming issue that drove my sanity to the brink of distinction.
Leaking breast milk dictated what I wore to work, what I wore to sleep, how I fed my baby – a lot. To say I even had a specific routine for how I woke up in the morning because of leaking breast milk is an understatement.
Each morning I would wake up only to slightly lift my head (as to not set off the overflow of milk by sitting fully upright) and reach for my pumping bra, flanges and milk bottles that sat on my night stand. Once everything was put on while lying flat, I would finally be able to sit upright and begin my day with a pump session.
The only solace I found from leaking boobs was in the shower where I could leak like crazy and not lose my mind.
But just as the leaking had become clockwork, so did the narrative in my head any time I had a negative feeling on the matter: “But at least you can make breast milk, so it’s really not that bad.”
I felt so alone in dealing with something that I thought no one else really dealt with. Part of my life’s work felt like keeping what was happening to my body and my boobs just to myself and a select few. I feared that a random person might find out my little secret if a milk blotch on my top may appear. The audacity that my issue might somehow come into someone else’s wheelhouse was absolutely not happening on my watch.
And so, I leaked in silence – not letting the outside world know just how hard everything had become. I leaked in silence for 13 months until one day I just had enough. I could not and would not continue to live as I was with this all-encompassing issue.
Creating Leaxy’s leakproof nursing tank not only opened my eyes to just how many people struggle in isolation with this very common, very ordinary issue of leaky boobs, but it also served as an opportunity to create more honest and empathetic conversations that put women’s health issues and the complex feelings that can come with them front and center.
Mental exhaustion, swinging feelings from elation to absolute despair and everything in between are all valid feelings that matter.
And what I’ve noticed throughout it all is that so often we can minimize our pain and struggles in order to make way for other moments that we’re told are like sands slipping through an hourglass. But when that notion of putting everything else ahead of our own needs start to effect how we’re able to care for ourselves, then we must give ourselves the same compassion and care we often give to others.
All this to say that when it comes to whatever difficulty you might be facing, your needs matter. I see you.
And oh, by the way, leaking breast milk is still kind of the worst.
Founder of Leaxy