I Feel You

Last night was rough. We are in the land of “separation anxiety”, with my little man’s key target of course being his mama. We are also battling thrush, and possibly molars. Needless to say, the boy wants to nurse, and nurse, and nurse, nurse, nurse, all the time. Daddy tried to take over bedtime, because this mama just plain and simple needed a break.

There were tears, there were yells, and then the tears and yells became screams and a breathless baby. In the 5 minutes that I allowed for this to happen, I managed to hop online to my mama tribe and put out a call for support. What I got was exactly what I needed. Not really advice, not tips, but a big old “we feel you”.

We’ve been there. We have all been there. The moments of utter exhaustion, and despair. The place where our need for self and calm begins to outweigh our love, and we struggle to provide. It’s called “Mommy Burnout”. This topic, and strategies for addressing it, are a big focus of my work, and this blog. Of course, sometimes I need to take my own advice.

This morning I was greeted, first by a relieved and smiling baby, happy to wake up to me in his bed. My second greeting, was my husband rushing off late to work. (Hubby has been working hard this summer, a teacher, who loves his students and co-workers so much, and works hard to support our family, he is tireless.) My third greeting was a fellow mama, coming to drop off her little one for a day of play, so that she could go to work. This greeting was planned, and well prepped for, but what I didn’t expect was her early arrival, in an answer to my last night’s call. She came in, settled her little one and said “I have time, go take a nap, meditate, do something for yourself”. Really? Really. Oh good goddess, thank you.

It took a little pushing but I finally went upstairs to my room. I plopped down on my barely used lately meditation cushion, and attempted to close my eyes.

I settled back. I settled in. I took a few long, slow breaths, sighing my tension, anxiety, and grief out of my body. I rested back a little further, and as I did, something beautiful happened. I felt you.

I felt, one by one, hands of support, resting on my shoulders. I felt mamas that I know, mamas who had heard my call, sitting with me. I felt mamas I have never met, mamas from present time and past, resting a hand, taking a moment, to love and support me. I felt connection and comfort. I felt I was not in this alone. I felt myself softening in to this support, soaking it into my weary bones.

And then my son bumped his head, and I heard his cry. I jumped, ready to run to him, to provide the comfort only his mama can provide. But I waited… listened… heard this mama handle him so softly. His cries stopped, my heart melted.

I am not in this alone. And neither are you my friend, neither are you. I feel you. I feel your love and support, and I also feel your need. Let’s do this together.

Like the many petals of my new succulent (which I bought as a gift to myself while on a self-care Trader Joe’s date today), let’s surround each other, open to each other, and support the growth and evolution of our families, and ourselves.

succulant

And thank you mamas, thanks to all of you. I feel you.

An Image Ode to World Breastfeeding Week

I have yet to write about this topic. But this week, and this moment, seem appropriate. It’s World Breast Feeding Week. Coincidentally I had planned a post for today that included the topic of breastfeeding, I started writing it last night (cause lately its best to get the thoughts out on paper while they are there), but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see it. Tonight I’d like to give you a little guided tour, on my experience with breastfeeding. I’ve decided to do this, honestly, openly, and despite some queasy feelings in my belly about going into this topic, in an effort to do my part, to normalize breastfeeding. **Warning, you might see a boob, or two**

 

IMG_2215Here is my squish, fresh and new. This was his first glance at what was soon to be an obsession.

IMG_2633Here we are happily nursing, though just having gotten through a case of Mastitis.

IMG_2672 This is when I knew why he really liked me.

IMG_2730Baby’s gotta eat. Mama’s gotta eat.

IMG_3950Nursing happens in all kinds of places, and babywearing makes this possible.

IMG_3204Group selfie with my two best girls, and a side boob with a latched baby.

IMG_0061The best nursing pictures are taken when baby has fallen into that milk drunk, blissful sleep.

IMG_1022Here’s another. My favorite view.

IMG_1023my meme.

IMG_0445One of many photos with a shirt half up.

IMG_1272A recent one captured by my dad, on our father-daughter, and now grandson dates.

IMG_1518By the Sea.

joziecd11<3

Breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding, and most challenging things I have ever taken on. From tongue tie, to prolonged “breastmilk” jaundice, to mastitis, and now thrush (more on that here soon), we have faced been through many ups and downs, and there have been many moments when I have wondered if it was worth it.

It is. To me, it is worth it. I know that breast milk is the best nutritional start I can give to my child. I know that nursing is the greatest emotional and physical bond I can be giving right now. Not all mamas breastfeed, either by choice, or by circumstance. But for those who have wanted to, tried, succeed, and eventually (at whatever point) stopped, here is my ode to you. As an older man (unknown by me) once told me, “It is the most beautiful thing you can do. It is what nature intended. Please don’t hide it.”

 

The greatest support in breastfeeding that I have experienced has been in my mama tribe. Wisdom, advice, or simply a hug and an “I’ve been there”. If you need support in breastfeeding, please look into a group. La Leche League International can help you to locate a support group in your area.

 

To help normalize breastfeeding, please consider sharing your stories, or photos on the Facebook page.