My daughter is now 3 years old. We’re slowly ending our breastfeeding journey. It’s very bittersweet. So many opposites to describe this experience. Bonding, annoying, embracing, touched out. Most of all life changing. I remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I remember laying in bed nursing my baby listening to the rain outside and thinking what a magical world this really is. How blissful she was as she drifted off to sleep and I could feel her tiny body completely relax. On the same thought, I can remember being her only source of nutrition and getting up every few hours in complete zombie mode, hating life. I remember being a burden at work, having to pump every few hours. Constantly attached to a nosey machine. Praying and hoping I can pump enough to feed her while I was away. Cleaning all that stupid equipment over and over again.
When she was only a month or two old I thought I had it. I was so over it and tired. I physically hurt and was exhausted. I fought myself and made a choice to push through to the end of that month and see how I felt. I’m so glad I did. I learned so much about myself. I really think the rebuilding and self improvement I’ve done, wouldn’t have happened without this journey. I learned how strong I could be. I learned I could over come obstacles. Especially, my biggest one, me.
Such a strange lonely journey with a seat for two. No one can do it for you, but you have to work in partnership with this small wordless creature. Sacrafise, patience, self control. Alone, but connected to this life source. Connected to the history of your foremothers and the future of your offspring. What a magical, unexplainable limbo.
When i try to paint this magical picture that, really, can only be seen by the mothers that have taken this journey. I’m not shaming or discreating mothers that could not or chose not to breastfeeding, but i will also not be dismissed. I’m proud, so very very proud of myself and i deserve to be. We deserve to be. It was not a “cheaper” choice, it was not the easiest options. It took blood, sweat, and tears. Breastfeeding moms work hard! If we made it look easy, I’m sorry. I won’t even get started on the breastfeeding shaming. The “don’t breastfeed in public” or the “when are you going to stop”. This society not only tries to down play our wonderful success, but tires to pass it as something disgusting. No, let me make this very clear. We have an incredible right to be proud and feel like the mommy warriors we are, we earned every bit of it.
To my beautiful daughter, as our journey comes to an end and so many more unfold, I will always be grateful you honored me with this experience.
Although we may seem scattered we are focused. We may not seem reliable, but we are depended on. We are oh so tired, but we have the youth in our hearts. We fall and stumble, but our biggest fans have taught us, that’s life. You have to crawl to walk and we remember the little victories are the precious moments. How they remind us to be alive. It’s amazing how incredibly broken we can feel when at the same time, we feel so complete. Just because the pieces haven’t found their place doesn’t mean we’re not whole. We will continue to travel as our story unfolds. Cherishing the moments and secerts life holds. Distressed, but happy. Our children we’ll mold because in a world so cruel they bring a spark of hope. In their pure innocence and unconditonial love. We find hope in the struggle, love in the hurt, comfort in the anxiety. We know the pain is temporary and a learning experience; in a bigger, beautifully perfect, imperfectly painted, picture of life as a mother.
Lots of woman dream of the day they have a little girl and can put her in the cutest clothes. The lace, bows, and pretty dresses. It makes women squeal. I must confess, I do not have this drive. I still remember suffering at the hands of little girls’ fashion. So, when I had a daughter of my own, I vowed to make comfort first. I have no idea if I have a sensory issue, but I thought I’d share some of the things I remember driving me crazy. In hopes it can maybe help some moms with their children, that may suffer from similar issues. Not to say I’ve outgrown them, I just get to dress myself.
This is a pretty big given, considering the options of tag-less clothes they have now. However, please keep in mind these things can drive adults crazy. Just imagine it for kids.
Be aware of where the stitching and seams hit your child’s body. These two I circled would have driven me crazy. The high stitching on the chest would rub when I raised my arms. Also, would rub on my nipples causing super irritation. The other one in the fold of the arm would be another sensitive area for extra fabric to cause friction. Add caution with stitching that fall on the belly button too.
The blue dress would probably have driven me crazy in three ways. The chest stitching as mentioned. The short cute sleeves in a lot of girls style have a habit of bunching up in the armpits. I admit, the collar would probably have been annoying, but I may have been able to tolerate it.
The purple dress on the right. Be careful with stiff dresses like this that don’t have a lot of flexibility. Especially under the arms. I use to feel almost panicked and constricted when they had no give. Like my arm was stuck.
Oh, lace, how I hate you. Lace has improved over the years. Not nearly as stiff and hard as it once was, but still I’d use caution. Around the neck like this dress and in sensitive areas like the fold of the arms.
Keep in mind a lot of this has to do with fit of the clothes and child’s preference. I’m a long person. So, shirts that looked like they’d fit, sleeves were usually too short. Also, a lot of these long sleeve girl’s shirts, sleeves would be way too tight for my preference. If you can see the structure of my arm in the sleeve. It’s too tight.
I personally hate anything above my belly button. I have to buy low rise pants. This has been a constant struggle of mine. I can even remember having contestant battles with the seat belt because where it put pressure on my stomach made my nausea. Somethings may seem crazy, but they can actually even make your child feel physically ill.
Tights and socks
Worse thing I’d say about tights is all the bunchy up of your underwear. I could tolerate them as a child, but some might not. A big annoying thing was the seam of the tights at the toes. It didn’t always sit above your toes. Sometimes it sat along the front of them. Kind of like the picture on the right. That was a big trigger. Beware thigh high socks though. Sometimes the constriction and odd placement can be annoying too.
If you talked to anyone in my family they will say they would rather take a trip to hell than ever go shoe shopping with me again. This one is not so much my fault. I have skinny ankles and long feet. We always had to add an extra hole to any buckles and even then the heel still might have been too wide and rubbed blisters. The shoe had to be lightweight and had to have a way to be strapped on, couldn’t be a slip on. My note about shoes is, just pay close attention. Shoes that aren’t fitting properly can cause blisters and real pain.
This is probably the most common one and just personal preference. You’ll have to try different things. Look at the lace, how thick the elastic band is, where the seams hit. I personally preferred my underwear a little big. I did not appreciate skin tight, but another kid might not like extra fabric. Maybe, try little shorts? Honestly, if underwear ever becomes a daily battle, I’m just letting her go commando.
Girl vs Boy Romper
Here’s my example. These are rompers. Basically, PJs for babies. Girls, we have a short weird sleeve, that can dig in the armpit. Nice extra stitching to rub on the chest and nipple area. Last, a nice elastic around the leg to add extra constriction. Boys, on the right, has none of that.
There we have it. Some of my big clothing annoyances. Even though I directed this from a girls point of view, this can go for boys too. These things may not apply to every child and they may have their own issues. It can be the fabric, how it fits, the placement of certain things. Some kids only like broke in clothes. I’ll take an old beat up t-shirt over a new one any day. These are just things to keep in mind. All this may seem silly to adults, but it’s like a mental thorn for people like me. Some of it is actual physical pain too. For me, I didn’t like things that rub certain areas. I also didn’t like feeling trapped and my movement restricted. Like I mentioned I would panic if I couldn’t move certain ways or felt like I couldn’t get my clothes off. I would get sick to my stomach and sweat. Being fashionable is nice, but I just don’t think it’s worth sacrificing comfort. At least not for our children who have no idea why. I hope next time you’re having the clothes battle with your child this comes to mind and helps.
I’ve come to realize saying “I’ll never do that” as a mother is the biggest jinx you can put on yourself. I remember pre-motherhood watching mom friends go about their lives and passing my unwanted judgement. Thinking to myself or even saying out loud “I’ll never do (insert snobby comment).” My how the tides can change.
I had a friend that bedshared with her son and then her daughter. Her husband slept on the couch. If she complained about marriage trouble, I would think “well duh, your husband sleeps on the couch. While you crowd your bed with kids.” Even after I became pregnant I swore my child would never end up in my bed. “I’m way too heavy of a sleeper and I needed my space to sleep.’ I currently have a sleeping toddler snoring away next to me. This has been our arrangement since the first month of her life. My spouse never happy with the idea, sleeps separately. I believe the marriage trouble taboo that comes with it is due to a programming of the western norm. I feel safer knowing she’s close at night and even though my partner might not like it, he understands.
My best friend had children before me and when her second was born she breastfed. I remember being soo uncomfortable around her at this time. She breastfed until her daughter was a toddler and I remember her pulling her mom’s shirt down in the middle of a conversation. It was just too much for me. When I became pregnant I decided to breastfeed. If nothing else it was cheaper. I also did believe it would give her the best start in life. Somewhere in there, I think my best friend planted a seed that made me think it was the right thing to do. However, I said I would never breastfeed until she was old enough to rip my shirt off. I was shooting for 6 months to a year tops. Well, folks, I’m still my daughter’s walking milk carton. We’ll be hitting 3 years in a few months.
One of my hardest examples to swallow is “I’ll never put my dogs second.” I honestly thought I understood the love of a parent and had that same love for my pets. I would run into a burning building for them, I would risk my life to protect them. I had no idea that my life’s value didn’t hold a candle to my child. I really wish love for a pet could be comparable to that of a child’s. I suppose if I never had a child I would have never known there is a difference other than the obvious common law, that people’s lives are treated with more value than animals. No, I love my dogs. I want the best for them, but my daughter is my heart. It’s a bittersweet realization.
The list could go on and on. “I’ll never take my kid in a store barefoot.” If your toddler losing their mind over putting those shoes on and your running on two hours of sleep, you might just throw in the towel. “I’ll never give my kid candy” If you need two seconds to yourself to catch your breath, you might just bribe them with candy (not saying I’ve ever done this, just ya know.) “I’ll never put my kid on one of those leashes. They’re not a dog” If you got a runner and you’re walking around a dangerous area, please, put them on one. It’s ok to admit defeat. Just look at it as a building character. It takes a lot to admit when you were wrong.
My biggest piece of advice for parents, never ever, ever, say I’ll never. Karma, the world, God, whatever has a wicked sense of humor. You think You know, but you have no idea. Being a parent pushes you to limits you never knew existed. It’s a world of giving up your stance for a little piece of sanity. A desperate time that calls for desperate measures. Screw what people think, you do what you have to do to get by. As long as you do the best you can to keep your child happy and healthy, and your peace of mind, go ahead and eat your words. I think I’ll just stop saying them. To all the mothers I judged, my most sincere apologies. You’re doing great and I’m sorry to have been one of those people. I hope you get a giggle at my expense.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” —Vivian Greene.
I may be all over the place. I lack in organization and time management more than I’d like to admit, but every cloud has its silver lining. “I think, therefore, I am” I don’t fear the mess, I am the mess. I’m so used to nothing ever falling into place that when it doesn’t, it’s nothing new. I don’t kill myself over holding a perfect image. Hows this transfers into motherhood, you might ask? I don’t hold my daughter to a standard. I don’t expect her to fall into sync with my life’s rhythm. We make our own, crazy lyrics as we go. I don’t buy the perfect shoes and keep them out of the mud, why? They’ll only fit for a couple months tops, anyway. I don’t put her in clothes I think will be uncomfortable. I’m sorry my child’s comfort isn’t worth that picture of fake reality professionally photoshopped on the wall. I want raw real life. I want spontaneous laughter. I want the wind in our wild hair and earth between our toes. I have no one to impress with my perfected mommyhood, we all know its fake anyway. I’m not sure why we continue to put on the show.
I also won’t break my back trying to make my house look like a magazine. We live here. With a toddler and 3 dogs. Dishes are in the sink and I probably need to vacuum. With 3 dogs I will always need to vacuum. I will not let my best years with my baby pass me by cleaning. I want all the little moments that add up to be the best memories. I don’t want to remember trying to rush her out the door and snapping at her because she found chocolate and covered her sparkling clean face. I don’t want to remember feeling ashamed because I couldn’t fake it with the best of them. So, I won’t. I refuse. I welcome the chaos. As long as it means happier authentic moments.
I’ve just recently started taking pen to paper and writing my thoughts and experiences down. While what I write about comes from my heart others definitely helped to inspire me.
I hope to never forget when I stepped into motherhood. I was lost to say the least. As a woman that had never fantasized about the white picket fence and 2.5 children. I had been hit with a heavy dose of reality. “Who thought it was a good idea to give me a child? Animals, I can handle animals. Some are even born with their eyes open and walking. What is this pink, helpless, furless creature?” Like most people, I turned to the internet. I read all the how-tos. I read the endless lists of top 10 baby toys, top 5 signs to watch your infant for, and so on. All this was interesting enough, but what helped me the most was other moms. The brave mothers that wrote their stories and shared them. They exposed their intimate secrets of the good, the bad, and the ugly of every milestone. They share their most vulnerable and weakest moments with the world. I’m sure for every mom that cherished that information there was some internet troll belittling them, but still, they shared. Any time I felt defeated I could search my problem and get other moms with blogs and websites writing things I felt like I could have written it myself. Sometimes I got solutions to problems, other times the hope there is light at the end of the tunnel but I always got the reassurance that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t trapped and helpless. I had a tribe of women who felt, fear, shame, and worry like I did. That got angry, lost their temper, felt like a failure. They also knew the feeling of having their hearts engorged with so much love you’d think it exploded. They shared the excitement of first kicks, first words, first steps. You felt like apart of their family. These powerful women also poured their hearts out with a loss or tragedy to give other moms the strength to make it one more day. These “mommy bloggers” are my heroes, my muse. They helped push me to share. In hopes, I can touch someone like they did me. This is my sincerest thank you and tribute to these mommy warriors.
The challenges of motherhood, everyone goes through them. Even the animal kingdom isn’t safe. Here’s a list of mama animals that I’m sure we can all relate to. The struggles are real in Momlife. (Caution: nature is harsh. This is the animal world not suggesting humans should do or they do these behaviors)
Crunchy Mama: Koala Bears
Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. Which can be poisonous to many animals. They actually build up a resistance, but they aren’t born with this talerance. Mom feeds baby her feces to help build up their gut bacteria to handle their diet. If you’ve ever met a crunchy mom there’s is nothing more important than healthy gut. If this isn’t hardcore Crunchy, I don’t know what is.
Helicopter mama: octopus
After laying her eggs a female octopus won’t leave, for anything! She’ll snack on her own leg to not leave her nest. If you’d rather chew on your own foot than let your babies out of your sight. Octopus is your girl.
Perfectionist Mama: orangutan
Orangutans are one of the best mamas. They have one of the longest relationships with their young outside of humans. Nursing up into the 4 years and beyond. Building nest in the trees and babywearing with ease. If you make being a mom look easy, your an orangutan mom.
Career mom: Rabbit
This mama has her babies and she’s off. Only returning to feed once or twice a day. She really does this for their safety. If your a mom who has to provide from afar, this quick-footed mama might be you.
Free-range Mom: Black Eagle
This mama is so hands off that her own babies might kill each other. It’s not unusual for eagles and other birds to wrestle their siblings out of the nest to avoid food competition. I’m well aware no human moms would be ok with this, but if you’re the mom that stands off until someone is crying. You might be a free-range an eagle mom.
Exhausted mother: Sea otters
According to Science News by the time baby otters are 6 months old, mama sea otters will need 96% more energy to keep the baby fed. Plus, the pup will even steal her food! If a sea otter mom didn’t increase her foraging, “she would lose 63 pounds in body mass by the time her pup was weaned at 180 days.” This is one tired mama. I know I can relate.
Hot mess mom: Panda
I chose pandas as hot messes because they have a hard time having babies, to begin with, but did you know if they have twins they usually abandon one. They can’t usually juggle/feed two. Also, who can forget the panda mom that forgot about her cub? (video below) If you’re cute cuddly, but don’t know if you’re coming or going you might be a panda
Everyone can agree when you become a mother everything changes. Your whole world is turned upside down. Whether, it’s the moment that little stripe shows on the test or when they place their little body on your chest. It’s a wake-up call “nothing will ever be about you again” but that’s ok. That’s who we are. We’re mothers. The bond between mother and child is such a strong primal force. Some of us might step right into the role like it was made for us. Others might fall and stumble. Mothers just want to care for and be with their babies.
Now, in this time many of us mothers are trying to do it all. We are the breadwinners, maids, nannies, accountants, the list goes on and on. We’re forced to beg and plead with family and friends to care for the most important thing to us in this world so we can provide. Or we resort to trusting complete strangers with some rates and grades made by some distant organization.
I’m in so many mom groups with women trying so hard to juggle work and baby. Where the fathers are, who knows. Off playing call of duty, hanging out with their buddies, or they’ve just disappeared altogether. I’m not sure what happened to the “man” of America. Sure, there’s some left, but from what I see most women are in this boat.
This is the horrible truth. What do we do? I can get jobs. I’ve had lots of jobs. I’ve turned down more then I can count because they don’t fit the schedule. I unfortunately or fortunately, try to conform to family’s schedules to avoid a stranger caring for my heart. That’s what it is. My heart is no longer in my body. Its come into this world in a precious little package and it’s so much harder to protect out here in the real world. I’ve read the daycare horror stories. The nanny cams catching the child abuse. It’s more then a mother should bare, but we have to put a roof over our heads. So, we juggle and push and balance everything we can on our backs. We give up meals, sleep, and bits of our sanity. Trying so hard to protect and provide for our little worlds. Just to watch the years fly by and wonder where they went.
This is for the forgotten heroes. The woman that literally have the weight of the future on their backs treated like yesterday’s trash. Not only do we have these personal struggles, but professionally its a joke. You get 6 weeks off. You aren’t granted paid leave unless its vacation time you saved up. Six weeks! It’s laughable. Once back at work you either pump or kiss your breastfeeding relationship goodbye. You also have to fight for your right to pump. For your time to pump and a place to pump. Forget all the laws about what jobs are required to do. Its what a job realistically does.
From the bottom of my heart mamas, I understand. I cry at night too. I beg and pray to God for something better. I hope, I push, I try. It’s such a lonely scary road. We hug our babies tight at night. We breathe in their soft baby smell and hope for a different tomorrow. So many of us never get to see. We blink and our whole world is grown up and gone. Left wondering where they went as we struggled and push through each day. It’s hard to look up when your nose is pushed so hard to the grindstone. We are caught in a web of broken dreams and false promises of the America dream. Trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got because God forbid, we will die trying to give our babies a different future.
The debating on breastfeeding vs formula feeding is never-ending. We can all agree that fed is best. They both have their pros and cons, but the stigma of breastfeeding in our modern society is disgraceful. For such a natural act of a living creature getting nourishment, people sure do have a lot of opinions. In hopes to normalize breastfeeding, here are some of the great bonuses of breastfeeding.
This is the most obvious, but it provides the best nutrition possible for children. Did you know there are complex carbohydrate sugars in breastmilk that is not digested by babies? Scientist discovered it’s actually there to feed the babies good bacteria in their gut. Healthy guts are essential for overall health.
Even if you’re sick continue breastfeeding. Your body will transfer your antibodies to the baby. Already giving the baby ahead start to fighting the bug going around. It’s also said to be able to tell from baby’s saliva what baby needs and adjust the milk to provide. This is why on the breast is better than pumping, if you can.
If baby falls and bumps their head, nothing can soothe them like a nurse session. Meanwhile, you can do a check over.
Is baby scared of the doctor? I’ve done it. Let baby nurse while the doctor takes a quick peek. My opinion, if this makes Doc uncomfortable, time to get a new doctor.
Nothing puts a baby to sleep faster than cuddling up with mama for a snack. Your children will learn to fall asleep without you soon enough. Enjoy these days while they last.
Like scared and hurt, it calms a crabby baby and can make them sleepy. Your scent and heartbeat provided the perfect world. Life is good at this moment.
Have you ever had a baby do nursing yoga? You end up with a butt in your face as they attempt the downward dog. Or when they get a stray spray to the face. The look of confusion is priceless.