It's funny how well a pregnant belly functions as an ice-breaker. At times it's not so great – women sharing their particularly horrible birth stories is one of those times. However, it's wonderful at other times – like when your friends notice your glazed eyes at the prospect of being responsible for another human being and they reassure you that it's all going to be okay.
I was nervous about breastfeeding because there was a lot I didn't know and I didn't know where to begin. (What did we do before Google?) Thanks to a quick internet search I found more information than I knew what to do with! I asked questions in breastfeeding and pregnancy forums online and the relative anonymity allowed me to shed my insecurities. No question was too outlandish, no fear too unreasonable. No matter what I was thinking or feeling, someone had gone before me with the exact same concern and I was comforted in the knowledge that I wasn't alone.
Additionally, an acquaintance of mine stepped forward when I found out I was pregnant and offered her expertise as she had just had her first child a few months earlier. She was my friend's wife and we'd only talked in passing. However, in the name of doing what was best for my unborn child, I got over my shyness and peppered her with questions. It was all fresh in her mind and she was a researcher, like me. Through emails, texts and phone calls she made me feel more and more comfortable with the changes my body was making and it was largely because of her encouragement that I grew more confident. More importantly, she became my friend. She was the one I called when I woke up one morning to find that my body did indeed work and I was leaking! She laughed with me as I celebrated, happy that my body was doing what it was designed to do!
A support system doesn't have to be an extensive network of intimidating professionals. For me, it was a group of faceless women who had gone down the path I was starting and a really good girlfriend who doesn't even bat an eyelash when you show her your enormous nursing bra, saying “What the heck is THAT?”