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Mother sits in public park with her two children

Source: Courtney Hale / Getty

I remember as a little girl wanting nothing more than to have children, and becoming a mother of 3 has been a joyful experience for me. I truly enjoyed being pregnant… until the topic of breastfeeding came up. People assume all women will be breastfeeding, not realizing how this question could be a dagger to some. Nature has equipped us with what some call “liquid gold”, milk that will build up immune systems and provide nourishment that is coveted by many. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to have this experience. There are so many women like me who want to be able to breastfeed but can’t; with causes ranging from flat nipples, latching issues, little to no production, clogged ducts, and other personal and private reasons. 

Honestly I was devastated when I couldn’t have this experience with my babies. I felt less than, like a failure. I couldn’t do something that was expected of me. Postpartum depression set in and I was traumatized by treatment I received as I navigated community partners for assistance with feeding my newborns. Some people lack empathy when things are not following what they deem as normal. When I had my 2nd child I had to share my breastfeeding story numerous times with Public health staff in NYC in order to get assistance with formula. I remember one office had to call a state representative to clear the assistance for formula because I started maternity leave earlier than planned and was between checks. The representative told the staff to let me know I needed to “get a caseworker for help because it was not her problem.” She told them to not give me any formula and I needed to figure things out. 

I felt so alone. I was frustrated and did not know where to turn. Fortunately someone in the public health field connected me with resources she trusted to help me, and not only was I able to get formula for my daughter, but my experience with my 3rd child was less stressful. People like this are needed because they understand they are there to help mother and child, not create more issues to battle through in an already stressful time. 

Now I have the pleasure of working in Public Health to help Black birthing people and their babies not only survive but thrive! My experiences will surely make a way to help others have a voice in a system that needs work.


LaTasha Gatling is a self care enthusiast, a mindset maven and the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Research & Strategy at The National Birth Equity Collaborative.

Follow her on Instagram @mommymorebucks and on Twitter @mommymorebucks2

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