Breastfeeding, Donor Milk and Me

22-IMG_0244Since having twins last year, I have been committed to breastfeeding them.  I NEVER judge others for their choice, or their decision to formula feed.  It is, however, my personal choice, and I’m wicked stubborn.

Since June, I cannot tell you how many times I have been pushed to try formula.  I have been criticized for my choice and encouraged by many family, friends and providers to switch.  I have been called selfish, I have been criticized and I have left conversations doubting my ability to provide adequate calories.

Add that to clogged ducts, lip ties, tongue ties and overall terrible latches, and it’s been pretty shitty.  I love nursing and I love that the boys have had only breastmilk and nutritious foods, but the actual process has been hard.

And then I accepted my first bags of donor milk.

I had bronchitis and I was in the ER.  My cousin over-nighted it (yes, that’s a thing).  17 ounces.  It got me through a day of dehydration, fever, and overall feeling lousy.  She has twins too, so she didn’t hesitate.  She just called FedEx.

Then

A high school friend walked up to me at a community event and offered it. I wanted to say no, because I don’t need anyone’s help.  *lie*

But I said yes.  Tears flooded my eyes and I couldn’t make any more words.  This amazing human being delivered it to my house in 3-4 oz bags and helped me get through a huge growth spurt.  I don’t know how I would have survived that week without that milk.

Then

Dunkin Donuts and Lansinoh
Drinks all around!

My best friend had her baby.  She would drop off bags every once in a while, sometimes with a coffee….(I have amazing friends)  Her baby was 6 weeks old when this started.

Now, if I need a few ounces she comes over and pumps to put it in the fridge.  That is love.  That is support.

Then

A random person on Facebook reached out to me.  She had found me through Human Milk 4 Human Babies and she wanted to help.  I picked up a huge bag of pumped, creamy, fatty, amazing milk for the boys.  I cried as I accepted it.  I cried because this amazing gift nourishes my boys, and therefore nourishes me.

I know that not everyone can donate, and not everyone feels comfortable sharing milk, or accepting shared milk.  For me, it’s like holding my hand.  This is fucking hardMotherhood is hardNursing is hard.  So to you, women in my life who have given me this gift…

Thank you — Because I don’t think you really knew…

You didn’t know that I have often felt like I’m *not enough*; that there is not enough of me to go around.  Between two babies, my beautiful daughter and my amazing husband, I’m spread thin.

You didn’t know that I have been accused of being *not enough* by others, judged for not using formula, for not feeding cereal (it constipates them) or for not choosing the same route that others have chosen for their children.

You didn’t know that the day they were born, a nurse told me that I shouldn’t be upset if they need formula, and I wasn’t even off the surgical table.

You didn’t know that there are people who have broadly challenged my parenting choices, and brought me to question myself.

You didn’t know that I celebrate when my sons maintain their weight curve above the 5th percentile

You didn’t know that I have cried over this, A LOT.  I have sat with my crying babies, rocking them, nursing them, drinking quarts of water at a time, feeling like I’m failing.

You didn’t know that I sighed a huge relief when I opened my freezer and had those medela, lansinoh, nuk bags waiting for us.

You didn’t know; now you do.

Thank you

Scary Mommy

Bitchy Victimized Snowflakes and Friends

A week ago, we marched. 

Women's March 2017
What we teach our children resonates forever

I say “we” because I marched with my beautiful family and friends.  I marched with hundreds of thousands (dare I say, millions) of men and women who felt unheard.
It was liberating, seriously.
It was *take your bra off and throw your pants on the floor*-liberating.
Liberating like walking out of high school after your last final.
Liberating like your two weeks notice being over.
Liberating; for me.

So, from my perspective, how could that be bad?

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I’ve learned a lot and I’ve gathered that some folks didn’t feel welcome.  This was astonishing to me.  I kept asking and gathering information. How is this a thing?  How was this not for everyone?  But the truth is, it wasn’t, they were still unheard.  Let’s unpack that.

What is it to be unheard?  When my daughter isn’t listening, and I mean REALLY not listening, I shout.  I shout and then she looks at me.  When she looks at me I bring my voice down quiet.  I speak kindly and show her that when she listens, there is nothing to be afraid of.  When I am heard, I do not speak loudly.  When I feel heard, I feel respected and my mind is peaceful.  When she is unheard, similar things happen.  She shouts and cries and acts frantic, sound familiar?

How many of us feel unheard?

The answer is embarrassing.  It’s too many.  The truth is, if you are reading this and interested in what is happening in our political culture currently, you probably feel emotional, frantic, scared.  You may, perhaps, feel like you’re screaming and no one is listening.  It sucks.

 

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SO MANY men and women proclaimed that the march did NOT embody them.  I’m truly interested in this.  From my perspective, the march was for everyone.  I beam with excitement when I see a picture of a friend with her anti-abortion signage.  I had other friends with signs that had puns, proclamations of feminism, statements that embodied their fears, their feelings, their true thoughts.  I was stoked to see #lovetrumpshate plastered with pink knitted hats and breastfeeding mothers.  I loved the creativity.  I loved the ownership and pride.  I loved Ashley Judd. I am proud that my daughter held a sign promoting love and equality.  This is a value that we instill in her.  We love ALL people. 

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So, why?  Why did so many of my friends feel the need to say “These women (and men) did not march for me”

Because some us
were out of line.

Some of the people at the march were assholes, apparently.
This infuriates me

How dare you, in your pink pussy hat with your #fucktrump sign, make my conservative friends feel that THEIR voice wasn’t welcome at the march.  Who was it?  Who was it that told women and men that their opinions didn’t matter.  Every voice, every man, every woman, every kid deserved to march that day and I’m embarrassed that some of my friends with different views did not feel welcome.  If I had heard it, I would have said something.  I did not.

This goes two ways. If you didn’t want to come, that’s fine.

DO NOT belittle me for choosing to be heard that day.

Don’t make fun of the pink hat and tell me I’m victimizing myself, because that makes you the asshole.  When our president uses the word “pussy” it sets a precident.  Some decided that the anger, the fire that was sparked from that word, needed a place.  If that place is a pink hat and a protest sign, so be it. That seems pretty peaceful.

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Here’s where I draw the line:  In a world where the right of a woman to wear pants is young, a women’s march should NOT embarrass you.  If it embarrasses you that I marched, you should google “how to unfriend on facebook” because I’m about to get even more embarrassing.

I will not tolerate ignorance that racism exists, or that gay people are somehow broken and need fixing.  We need to continue to promote rights, inclusivity, and equality.  If you are fighting to ban, segregate, diminish and divide, we just can’t have a conversation because these are seeded in hatred, not in a difference of opinion.

When it comes to difference of opinion, I promise to listen.  If you voted for our president and you believe he will do good, I hear you.  I see you.  I believe in you and I am stoked that you voted your heart.  I ask you to hear me as well.  I work to be an ally to all people.  I urge you; reach out to someone who disagrees with you.  Get to know someone with a different opinion.  Keep your calm, invite them into your space.  LISTEN to what they have to say.  This is imperative.  If I’m not listening, get loud.  If the government isn’t listening, let’s get loud together.

Calling me a bitchy victimized snowflake does not make me want to sit down with you and listen to your fears and hopes. Me telling you that your voting preference bars you from marching isn’t effective either, and it makes me an asshole.

Bottom line:  I’ll stand next to you and defend your rights if you’ll stand next to me in defense of mine.

#THISISWHATDEMOCRACYLOOKSLIKE

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