Jessica Hood wants to show the honest truth about pregnancy and birth, no matter what the fallout.
As the Daily Mail reports, the mom from Melbourne is currently pregnant with her fourth child. She has been blogging on Instagram about her pregnancy and plans to document everything that happens during her pregnancy and the newborn phase. She’s even planning to live stream the birth.
Hood told the Mail that she hopes to bring awareness to mental health issues — as well as educate others on what pregnancy and motherhood are really like:
“During this time of my life I was going through a tough time with my anxiety and was in a pretty low place. So I have decided to film my labor on Instagram to bring awareness to the illness. I also wanted to give an educational experience to first time mums to show them exactly what happens during childbirth.”
No stranger to criticism for her parenting decisions, Hood doubled down in a recent post, where she explained that she won’t be breastfeeding the new baby when he arrives.
Writing on Instagram, Hood acknowledged that bottle versus breastfeeding can be controversial, but she believes women need to talk about it. She went on to say that the decision not to breastfeed her youngest was, “a conscious decision,” she made months ago for the good of her own mental health:
My decision was based around not only my mental health but also my past experiences with breastfeeding and my struggles. You see the struggle to breastfeed “for me” was definitely a trigger for my [postpartum depression] with Lily, something I feel contributed to it. I honestly felt like I was not doing a good job and I just couldn’t get it down pat. It was frustrating.
Lily, now 5, is Hood’s oldest child. She’s also mom to 4-year-old Logan and 1-year-old Eden.
Hood explained that her struggles with breastfeeding extended to her experience with Eden as well:
With my last born, she had an undiagnosed lip and tongue tie. Despite being checked we were told she was fine but very quickly she became underweight with her feeding struggles.
Hood’s decision was greeted largely with praise, especially because she was so open about it. But she was concerned about the fact that many women feel “bullied” for making the same choice. She wrote:
Whatever works for you and your baby is what works. Your baby is loved, fed, happy and thriving. How is it anyone else’s business whether or not you breast or bottle fed […] that was the reason I came out and openly spoke about it. Something has gotta change and women need to support each other during such a fragile time.
Hood wrote that she wants to empower parents to make their choices — whether about breastfeeding, schooling, or something else — and be comfortable about it. She continued, “I want women to feel that they can make these choices for THEIR children and not be judged! So yes – I’m not breastfeeding my baby and I am not ashamed one bit.”
On Instagram, Hood’s announcement was met with applause from women who appreciated her stance. One wrote, “Bravo for you. It’s your body and your baby. Breastfeeding can be hard for some women so I’m happy to read you are doing You and baby.”
Many spoke about their struggles with breastfeeding or how they were made to feel bad for using formula. One mom stated:
Everywhere you turn people are talking about how much better breastfeeding is and it always broke my heart and made me feel like a terrible mother because I couldn’t give my kids what they needed. But I have been trying to be positive about it and just be thankful. Thankful that I was even able to have kids … thankful for formula! And thankful for the people I came across who were understanding and who didn’t judge me.
Hood told 9Honey she chose to make the announcement about breastfeeding because it can be such an emotional and controversial issue: “I feel it’s still such a taboo topic which needs to change.”
She added that her own difficulties with breastfeeding made her feel, “not good enough,” and contributed to her postnatal depression. And that while there are many positive messages about breastfeeding, the same is not true for moms who choose formula:
“There needs to be more about feeding choices and bottle feeding to help mothers not only decide what is best for them, but to make them feel comfortable about the choice they make and of course to make them realize they have more support than they think.”
Hood says she still struggles with anxiety and mental health issues, which played a large part in her decision not to breastfeed. As she told 9Honey:
“For myself this seems to be the best decision for myself and my family. My mental state is really important especially in those first really precious months with a new baby and the adjustments that come with it.”