After nearly a month of feeling poorly; a non-stop mild fever, a cold, cough and passing sore throat, it finally clicked:
I HAVE MASTITIS.
The thought had occurred to me weeks ago – a few days after I weaned Maia for good, and I was starting to feel a bit feverish – but I thought no, surely my breasts would feel worse than this; they feel normal.
After breastfeeding for three years, now I think about it, you’d sort of expect something to happen when you stopped. I just assumed it would all go quite smoothly:
Slow down feeds gradually, stop feeds altogether, milk dries up, DONE…but nope.
Then this week my mother came out with:
“Are you sure it’s not mastitis? You could have an infection!”
Me: “Ah shit. Well yeh. That makes perfect sense.”
Mother: “WHY DIDN’T YOU SEE THE DOCTOR SOONER!”
Me: “I didn’t make the connection.I thought it was just a cold, I thought I was just run down!”
Come Monday morning, I am stood demonstrating to the kind MALE doctor how my breasts still produced milk, ( involving a brief nipple-squeezing session right before his very eyes)but that it was very painful, and I felt like crap. He prescribed antibiotics and I left feeling part mortified, part hopeful.
See, having had a child, I’m quite used to having my body parts examined; but I’ve never had to demonstrate anything in a doctor’s office before. I felt almost like a circus freak show massaging my temperamental nipples trying to get the dairy cow going once more:
“Look see this breast does THIS, whilst this less enthusiastic one on the left– out of use since February 2016 -could barely fill a shot glass!..”
Well now that I know what the problem is, I can stop wondering why my temperature won’t go away and start applying those cabbage leaves. It may suck to feel poorly, but it is a pleasant reminder that I breastfed Maia for over three years. – Something, as you can tell, I’m rather proud of. This is a small price to pay for, well, all the love. (Read about all that love right here).
Now I just have to be patient while my milk dries up.
What a sad yet liberating concept.
and now after three years…