“Desperate Housewives” actress Marcia Cross conceived her twin girls through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The twins are nearly two months old now and Marcia told People magazine how happy she is with new motherhood and what her days are like:
I’ll tell you my routine – it’s really exciting! I feed, I burp, I change diapers, I pump. And then I have a tiny window of time to myself. I can breastfeed them both at the same time, which for me is a huge accomplishment!
Marcia should feel doubly proud (pun intended) for breastfeeding her twins. A University of Melbourne study released last month found that women who use assisted reproductive technology such as IVF to conceive are less confident about their mothering skills, more anxious about caring for a newborn and less likely to be breastfeeding at three months. Based on the study of 150 women, the researcher concluded that women who used IVF to conceive should receive additional parenting information, reassurance and intensive support for breastfeeding.
I recently spoke to a new grandmother who described the difficulty her daughter had breastfeeding after IVF. Explaining why her daughter stopped breastfeeding, the woman essentially said, ”Her doctor told her she might have a hard time breastfeeding after all the fertility drugs and she did.” I’m not aware of any research that supports the notion that fertility drugs cause difficulty with breastfeeding, but it’s very clear to me that the doctor’s words served as a damaging and self-fulfilling prophecy! How dare that doctor sabotage that woman’s ability to breastfeed! Even if the doctor had concerns, the expectant mother should have been encouraged to seek support to ensure the breastfeeding relationship–not told not to be surprised if it didn’t work out!
The sad thing is that breastfeeding can actually restore a woman’s confidence in her body and help her feel empowered after infertility. That’s what Michigan mother Sue Stuever Battel described as her experience and that was my experience too! Based on the above quote from Marcia Cross about what a “huge accomplishment” it is to nurse her twins it sounds like she feels empowered as well! Congratulations to Marcia Cross on her new babies and her breastfeeding success!