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


  • Incredible! Breastfeeding is hard work but so amazing for those who can achieve it. A real life reflection.

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  • i’m amazed by any mother who can breastfeed – i had issues with it and ended up expressing. but that she can do 2 at the same time and at different ages is truly amazing.

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  • You are a fantastic mother Jessica – I did manage to feed my babies till they were almost 12 months but it was a battle each time. You have done a wonderful job with a disability to boot.

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  • Good on her! An inspiration for others.

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  • Lovely photo. I wouldn’t feed a toddler, but each to their own.

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  • Good on you Jessica. I believe you are a wonderful mum and have not allowed your disability to overcome your goals and that is to be a caring mother with a heart for provision towards them. I congratulate your achievements because they are great and being a parent is the toughest job and caring path in the world. I salute you, for you are doing a great job at raising your two beautiful children. I wish life’s best for you and your family.

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  • Good on her, its not controversial at all. I was warned by my sister that breastfeeding was painful and it takes time to work it out and im glad she told me, my nipples were bleeding by day 3 and because I knew what to expect, I was less of a hot mess than if I hadnt been armed with that info. Mothers really are super heroes!

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  • It’s okay for doctors and nurses to say breast is best but they should also explain that it can be quite painful at first. If you’ve never had a child breastfeeding before then you need to have explained what to expect and what you should worry about. Yes baby must be fed but at least let us know what pain is normal so we can tell the difference.

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  • That’s a multitasking Mumma good on her

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  • She is just being a mum feeding her children. Its lovely.

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  • What an amazing and truly inspiring woman!

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  • Definitely agree with her there needs to be more education about how hard feeding is and where you can find support.

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  • I don’t see how this is controversial at all. I just see a mum who has done an amazing job despite her setbacks and proven that she can do anything. Good on her! I love these pics

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  • Good on you, you do what is right for you.

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  • Awww Jessica, you are amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience. You’ve got this!

    Reply

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