Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Possessng Drops of Rain

It is my sweet girl Indra's third birthday today and although Sparreaux's birth is much fresher in my mind, Indra's birth and how she came into our lives is the balance that all my other children's births rests upon.   Indra, the name, means possessing drops of rain or sky god.   Indra is the god that pushes up the sky and releases dawn.   Often mischievous but rarely punished.   The gods tool is called the Vajra (thunderbolt in Sanskrit) it is believed to represent firmness of spirit and spiritual power.   While Indra developed and grew inside of me, my life, my relationship, my job, everything was a mess.   Justin's alcoholism was reaching its apex with a major crisis every week at least.   When I would close my eyes and focus on this little being growing inside of me, I would see her floating in a sea of tears, incubated in sadness.  I came to rely on her strength; as she grew, I grew.   Not only was I preparing for her birth but I was also releasing the trauma of Clara and Ellie's birth.  I had never given birth vaginally before, I had been taught through the delivery of the twins that I could not trust my body and in the words of my OB "had a weak uterus."   I felt like a sapling in a storm.   I required a flexibility and potency never summoned before.   Through visits with my midwife and personal meditation, I was able to create a dialogue with Indra while she grew inside of me.   She whispered to me of her power, she handed me thunderbolts to throw when I was frustrated and scared, she allowed me to crawl inside and cuddle with her when I just couldn't take it anymore.   She created healing rains of tears to cascade through my days and lonely nights when I wasn't sure who I was anymore and questioned my faith in life.   So many times I wished her not there so I could go at it alone.  I felt like I was harming her by being so sad all the time.  That my baby would be born blue.
On the morning of May 16th at 8:20a.m, I pushed Indra into this world on my bed surrounded by Justin, Anne (midwife assistant), Katie (midwife), and Rachel (doula).   Indra would not be pressured into set timeline.  She came in her own way in her own time.   I had group B strep and could not afford to allow labor to go on and on after my water broke for fear of infection.   I felt a lot of pressure to make labor and delivery happen.   With my birth team hanging out on the evening of May 15th, my contractions would pick up and drop off and I was already 10+ hours from when my water broke.  I would get going at a good pace and I would think, "this is it!  This is what labor really feels like!" and then it would go away.  I felt like I was failing and I wasn't sure what to do with those feelings when I already felt so vulnerable.  My sagely midwife let Justin and I know that it was okay and we just needed some time to ourselves.   Everyone left and immediately the atmosphere changed.    A huge settling of energy and expectation took place.   I was able to tune back in to Indra and focus on trusting Justin enough to birth our baby together.   Justin and I took a shower, watched a funny movie and went to sleep for the night.   At about 3 a.m. I woke up with a shock.  I felt like someone had touched my tailbone with a jolt of electricity and I was whisked away to labor-land.   Justin called the birth team back to the house and I was none the wiser.   I fully pulled into my body and worked with the push and pull of the contractions.   I remember saying between contractions, "this is a lot.   This is really a lot."   My midwife agreed.   It was a lot.   
Five pushes and my baby was in my arms.   Those five pushes was the closing scene on years of believing that I was not able to birth a baby without a scalpel and a surgeon involved.  Those five pushes solidified my understanding of myself as a woman and a mother.  Those five pushes allowed me to lay to rest all of the fear and grievance trapped in the twins' birth.   And here she was, my little rain god creating yet another shower of tears, staring up at me with those deep grey eyes of the newly-born letting me know that we made it.   We did it.   Together.

Happy Birthday Indra.   You are a blessing every single day.   I love you and I am so grateful for you in my life.
All dressed up-celebrating three years of awesomeness!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pump Up The Jams-Pump It Up!

Pumping.   I have a very complex, long history with pumping as I am sure every mother that has ever hooked her breasts up to this loathe device probably does.   It all started when the twins were born about nine years ago now.   I did not anticipate the relationship that I would eventually develop with pumping when I was pregnant with them.   Yes, I knew that I would maybe pump here or there, but not like it ended up.  If you have read any of my other blogs, you know that the twins were born premature (32 weeks) and were in the NICU for a month before coming home.   In my dream world of mothering that I had long established during my turbulent pregnancy, I saw visions of plump babies happily nursing away with no thoughts of low milk supply or poor latching.   Instead, what I had were two 3 pound babes in incubators getting my breastmilk through a tube in their nose.  Going from not breast feeding ever to hooking my nipples up to a hospital grade pump while totally stressed out about the viability of my children really took a toll on me emotionally and physically.   I had huge blisters on both nipples that needed ice packs to make it through to the next pumping session where the said huge blisters on both nipples would pop open and hurt like a motherfucker.   The pump itself was an unfinished metal contraption bolted down to a table not unlike something you would see underneath the hood of a car or in some torture chamber somewhere.   The mother sits in a cracked, vinyl chair and hooks up her own sterile supplies.   The decor is sparse with a vase of dusty, fake flowers and perhaps a print on the wall of a baby in a duck costume.   The NICU staff gives you a polaroid picture of your baby(ies) to stare at while pumping so that you may envision yourself with them, wrapped in their smell and warmth to help let your milk down.   My heart was heavy and yet my breasts were not.
Way more flow than I had.

 I felt like I had failed.   I kept at it with them (the babes and the breasts) and did eventually get a working routine down between visits with the lactation consultants and kangaroo care with my twinlettes.   I felt determined to make breastfeeding work.   I can happily say that once the babes were home, I successfully nursed both until close to 18 months of age.  I was a stay-at-home mom with them so the pump rarely, if ever came into play from there on out.

With Indra, it was never a question.   She was a planned homebirth and a whole lot more chill than a high-risk, twin pregnancy.   I nursed her within moments of her arrival and had a sweet breastfeeding relationship.   Going back to work with the pump in tow sucked, to say the least.   I had no experience leaving a baby at three or four months and supplying their food while away.  I did not know what to expect.   The place I worked at the time was a highly corporate structure of a company with policies and procedures for EVERYTHING except breastfeeding mothers.   I needed to obtain a doctors note to use my pump as a fucking prescription and to make the point that pumping was not a "break time" for me.
Your policies can suck it, k?

  So, they gave me a key to a dank and freezing locker room of sorts and any woman with a key could come in any time.   There was one skinny bench placed perpendicular to the wall on which I would sit, a small sink and mirror, a shower (strange), and a few rows of abandoned lockers.   This was before the days of pumping bras (at least that I knew of) so I would hold the breast shields to both breasts with my forearm and eat my lunch with the other hand while balancing my book on my thigh.   It was so freaking freezing in there that I would need to bring a sweater down to the locker room with me even in the dog-days of summer to wrap around me or else my milk would not let down.  I am sure I looked like some sort of Baba-Yaga apparition sitting there with my machine going "er-er, er-er, er-er."  These pumping sessions would last about twenty minutes from set up to clean up and then I would have my actual break.   I want to put in a bit of a plug here for mothers that feel like "well, my employer lets me pump at work so I don't really feel right asking for another break" and on the flip side the employer seeing dollar signs fly out the window when a mother goes to pump or takes a break; those breaks for me were sanity savers and made me a lot more efficient and happy at my job.  I could sit with my co-workers in the break room and chat, I could go for a walk, I could go get something out of the vending machine.... really that time was for me.   Pumping was not for me.  It is for my baby.   Isolating myself in a freezing cold, barren locker room for twenty minutes was not a thrill, believe me.   I pumped for Indra for about a year until she moved on to eating mostly solid foods.   When done, I sold my pump and its gazillions of attachments plus extra supplies on CL to some super lucky lady for $30.   She got a hell of a deal on me thinking I would never put my breasts in that torture chamber again.   Well, I was wrong.

Sparreaux.   I did not even think about getting a pump prior to Sparreaux's delivery.   I knew I had about three months maternity leave and I did not really see why I would need a pump right away.   Well, long story short- the day following her birth, my breasts were fucking boulders.   Absolutely bulging with milk that my newborn baby was not up to the task of taking down.   By the time I realized by dilemma, the medical supply store was fifteen minutes away from closing for the weekend.   I called them in tears begging them to wait for Justin who was flying up there, the valiant breastfeeding advocate he is to procure a pump for me.   I tearfully tried to hand express any milk I could but seriously, my breasts were so full that my nipples were virtually flat!   Argh!
I probably would have killed to use this.   Looks almost steam punk.

  So, when the pump came I was never so glad to see that machine in my whole life.   I hooked up to it with a bliss never before experienced in my life.  Just to round out this tale of desperation: I did get about 6 ounces out of each breast.  Damn!   With Sparreaux, I never had a concern about low supply.  My boobs were on hyper-mode.   I was pumping and nursing her every day while stock piling breastmilk in the freezer.   By the time my maternity leave was up, I probably had close to 240 ounces of liquid gold to spare.

Returning to work was much better this time.   I was at a new job in a small office with a boss who is very family-focused and friendly to breastfeeding moms and our needs.   However, I did mention we are a small office so therefore there really is not a place to pump so it was in the bathroom with me.   Given the change in circumstances and how supported I felt in helping my babe get the best food, I did not mind.   It was super gross to go in there if someone had just taken a dump or something but other than that, it was not a bad deal.   We have a little bench in there to hang out on and we ran a cord under the door to plug in my pump.   Thanks to a co-workers absolute dismay that I did not know what a pumping bra was and demanded that I get one like right fucking now, I was able to pump hands-free.
Before the pumping bra.   See the thrill on my face?  No?  Oh yeah, it's not there!
Me, after the pumping bra.   See how all of my stretch marks disappeared too?  That is how amazing this thing is!       *Disclaimer: this is not really me.

  My job is a busy one and I have a ton of responsibilities and I felt like I was really not utilizing my time very well by being shut up in a bathroom so I had the genius idea of putting up a curtain at my desk so I could pump and work at the same time.
With a pumping bra anything is possible.   I would totally NOT rake with a pump.

You can even stand around drinking alcohol and looking disinterested in a brick-walled studio apartment.

  I know, I know what you are thinking!   Wait!  Didn't I just say that it is important for a woman to take a break for herself and pump?!  Yup, I did say that and I still stand by it.   What I like about the set up I have now is if I have something time-sensitive to attend to, I can work at it and not stress out about it but I do not necessarily need to.  My job is not structure-ridden.  I can take a break whenever I want and take care of whatever needs I may have at any time but the work still needs to get done.   It is a sort of "just make sure it's done by the end of the day" sort of deal.   In my previous job where even taking a two-minute bathroom break was monitored and counted against your "stats", I needed that me time otherwise I probably would have either killed someone or had a serious mental-health break down.  So, yes, in my tiny office all of my co-workers get to sit and listen to the "er-er, er-er, er-er" sound of my breast pump from behind my sage green curtain and they couldn't care less.   I have a pretty progressive little company I work for and I am uber grateful for their support and lighthearted approach to my parenting needs.
My job is pro-breastfeeding!!
  Sparreaux is now nine months old so I am sure the pumping will begin to wane soon and truth be told, I am actually a little remiss to let it go.   Pumping is certainly not like a party for your boobs or anything and I do not look forward to it but in doing this routine everyday, I know I am making a contribution to my baby's health and well-being.   Even when she is away from me, we are connected through my milk.   I know so many ladies who ditch their breastfeeding efforts once going back to work comes into play and I must say, I can understand, it is not the most ideal thing to be exposing your breasts in a public place and drawing milk out of them with a machine that does not even get the concept of discreet.  But really ladies, it is worth it.   So, I will continue to pump up the jams from behind my curtain while my co-workers crack jokes about what it sounds like my pump is saying to them (and that listening to Florence + The Machine is going to make my milk curdle) and relish in the fact that I am almost done and all that I have done in the name of breastfeeding.

Pumping milk for your baby makes you a rad mom!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I want to talk about something that is probably going to ruffle some feathers.   I want to call some mamas out on the carpet.   I guess I kind of want to tug a monster out of hiding and expose it.   Now, before I begin on this mini-rant, I want to be clear that this does not pertain to ALL.   A distressing trend is happening among the hippie, natural, crunchy mamas.   In the ever widening sea of mama blogs, facebook groups and internet forums I see so much hypocrisy that it is starting to make me uncomfortable to be on the team.   From the breastfeeding moms that vilify formula feeding moms to the home-birthers who think going to the hospital and getting an epidural is akin to voting Republican.

You don't make your own baby food?! 

Oh, you're still using a Bjorn?

Disposable diapers?  Are you kidding?   We don't even use cloth diapers.  We practice Elimination Communication.

Poor child is forward-facing at 15 months!  Is his mother trying to kill him?

Yeah, I know those are stereotypes.   But that is what is kind of killing me about this whole crunchy-mama wave.

Crunchy Family In Action

Wooden Teething Toys

Music Appreciation


 I know so much of it (if not all of it) is rooted in love and what is best for the child.   I have been avidly attachment parenting since I first became a mother almost nine years ago and I must admit, I did go through a phase of harsh judgement myself.   I did not understand mothers who relied on the "cry it out" technique and I truly believed that it was abusive.   My twins were not allowed to watch Disney movies because of the inherent misogyny in their story lines.  I never put anything into or onto their bodies that wasn't organic.   Since then, I have learned a lot about myself and mothering.  I have honed my beliefs and attitudes to fully encompass compassionate parenting but it now comes along with a pretty hefty dose of reality and flexibility.   With six kids and two parents that work full-time, we must really focus on what is truly important.  Love.

Reading Together


Now, to my ladies.   My dear network of mothers and fathers that are fully devoted to their craft of raising outstanding little people.   I see a problem.   We are exclusive!   Meaning: we exclude.   I watch these discussion threads on-line and mothers are bashing each other for not being crunchy enough to the point where ladies who really are having trouble breastfeeding are worried to bring it up!   The ever dreaded "supplementing" is seen as a failure.    Here is the real kicker here:  if a mother brought up in an on-line forum that she was having trouble with milk supply and was thinking of supplementing, mothers would pour in advice on how to increase supply and tell her not to worry and give all sorts of love and kindness.   However, I feel that if this woman were in public mixing up a bottle of formula for her infant that some of these very same "supportive" women would cast judgement.   We don't always know the situations of others and this includes the big topic, the mother of all topics that really gets people in a fury- circumcision.   Intactivists drive me up a fucking wall!    I totally agree with the message of the intactivists but they remind me of a cult almost.   I saw a FB post recently asking for thoughts on a pro-breastfeeding billboard.   The comments were the usual garden-variety but one of them said; "I think the billboard is beautiful.  It is natural just like my son's penis.   We are just trying to live life the natural way."   What?!  Just like my son's penis?   How is that relevant?   It would be like saying, "I think hamburgers are kind of gross." and someone replying with, "yeah, it is just sad how they bash the cow's heads in with a huge mallet right before they string them up by their hind legs, cut their throats and dip them into boiling water to shed their fur."   Right. 

So, in short, I just want to remind everyone to play nice and remember that the whole point is love.  Let's not tear each other down and cast judgements.   It is hard enough being a mom without worrying that your kid doesn't have the bento-box style lunch and eats free or reduced lunch at school instead or that your little girls play with barbies and not waldorf dolls.   It is getting increasingly expensive to be a simple, hippie mama these days with the latest babywearing gear, baby legs and soft sole shoes, organic cotton clothing/diapers and the ethos that started the whole trend is really getting lost, I feel.    Every single one of these crunchy-mama trends does come with completely valid points when it comes to your kiddo's well being, however, no one is endangering their kids, no one is stupid or ignorant, no one is mean if they are not toeing the line.   So, keep calm and carry on crunchy mamas. 

More Babywearing (minus the Housekeeping)

Attachment Parenting=Happy Babes and Mamas

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dreaming Together

Once again we roll around to the age-old complication that attachment parenting and co-sleeping provokes.    When we are stumbling from our bed, bleary-eyed and sex starved for several days on end and our baby is smiling but we are ready to tear each others throats out in either lust or because we are pissed and tired; the question is begged- Where is the balance?   Now, there has been a whole lot of posts in the mama-blogosphere as of late in regards to the safety of co-sleeping and I want to address this briefly before moving on to complain about my life.   Justin and I are co-sleeping professionals but beyond that I really think the whole co-sleeping debate is rather ethnocentric and lacking in logic.   In case you haven't seen the billboards that Michigan has put up in a recent campaign to teach mothers that sleeping with your babies is akin to killing them with a very sharp and menacing looking butcher knife:

Or that your bed is a grave:

 In all of the planet Earth, the instance of children having their own rooms or own places to sleep is less common than a communal sleeping arrangement.   The same talking heads that spout this bullshit are the very same that claim mothers responding to their baby's cry is allowing them to manipulate you or that attachment parenting means you consent to your children controlling you.   We do live in a society and culture that provides for just about everyone to be compartmentalized in their own spaces but this does not necessarily mean it is better or safer.  In fact, mothers sleeping with their infants has proven to be a safeguard against SIDS.   Babies need to rouse themselves continually throughout the night to regulate their delicate breathing cycles and find rhythm and comfort in their mother's breath and heartbeat.

Dr. Sears says it so well:
Nighttime is scary time for little people. When considering where baby should sleep, look at things from a baby's point of view. If you were an infant, would you rather sleep alone in a dark room behind bars or right next to your favorite person in the whole wide world and inches away from you favorite cuisine? The choice is obvious.
I think we say it pretty well, too:
Sparreaux and her mama

Justin is going to kill me but I love it!

Justin and a very little Indra taking an afternoon nap

   So, to all those nagging (but well-intentioned) relatives and friends that say, "Oh, is he/she sleeping through the night yet?"  a better question might be, "Is your baby still waking regularly to nurse throughout the night?"   How good would that make you feel as a mother to get that same praise you would get if your baby were "well trained" to suppress their needs if you were encouraged to sleep next to your little one and be a constant source of support, safety, and growth.  Ok, ok, I know- I am totally rolling you through the crunchy mama, attachment parenting granola but bear with me.

Let's focus our attention back to our situation.   With Indra we had a really hard time transitioning her to her own bed.   In fact, I would say it was downright traumatic on all of us.  Indra still sneaks up to our bed about 2-3 times a week and inserts herself gently between us.   She gets her best rest and you can absolutely tell a difference in her well-being the next day if she has slept next to us.   We, however, needed to kick her out of the nest for the arrival of Sparreaux.   Indra is sort of a kung-fu fighter in her sleep and only Justin with his incredible ability to sleep through anything (including toddler kicks to the face) can rest next to her.   Clearly, kung-fu toddler and an infant don't mix well.  So, fast forward: Sparreaux is now 1/2 a year old and is starting to really insert a noticeable wedge into my personal space and also my relationship.   I can get her down to sleep but she won't stay asleep unless I am right next to her and/or my boob is in her mouth.    It is quite frustrating for the both of us.   I need to lay down with her in order to get any night-time reading done.   Me time?   Non-existent.   So, here lies the problem and the solution is difficult to suss out.  If ever there were a time that I would consider the dreaded "cry-it-out" technique; this would be it.   Justin likes to remind me that it is I that chooses this lifestyle and it is because I love it.   I love even the times that are difficult and present a challenge.   Growing kiddos, I know how very fast it goes and Sparreaux is my last so I resign.....if she wants her mama, well- I want her.  :)

For safe co-sleeping sources, please check out these links:

Dr. Sears
Mothering Magazine
Breastfeeding dot com
Attachment Parenting dot org

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Forgetting Our Mother's Stories

Do we know the stories of our mother's births?   Do we honor our mother's pain, the process, the love and the teeth-gritting honesty that labor and delivery inspires?  Our birthdays come and go with the celebratory drinks, the parties, layer cakes and candles and yet, do we pause to consider the gasp and the groan that delivered us to this moment?

I asked my now deceased grandmother once about the birth of my mother.   I was probably 10 or so and did not even have the smallest grasp on the gravity and emotional tiger that birth is but in her story I could already sense the injustice and the pain she still carried remembering the experience.   When my mother was born, it was a time in obstetrics when women did not play an active part in the birth.   My grandmother was, in fact, put under anesthesia and the babe was born with the use of forceps.   Please consider this for a moment.....  A Northern Minnesota woman.   A woman very capable of hard work.   A woman who can simultaneously raise a family and a house without the aid of modern day conveniences being told that she is not capable of delivering a baby.   This method was not questioned at the time.   Full faith was put into doctors and women began to discredit their intuition and power.   The woman (my grandmother and probably your grandmother too) woke up and was handed a washed, swaddled and fed newborn baby.  The process is completely out of her hands.   Her power is completely stripped.

In speaking with my grandmother about this, she had a certain amount of distance about the topic.   I sensed more questions would make her uncomfortable so this is truly all  I know about my own mother's birth.   I do, however, want to make a small aside at this point and let my readers know that when my grandmother began giving birth, obstetrics had just taken a step away from a horrible process known as Twilight Sleep.   You can read all about it here if you want more info.   But for those who just want to know what it is and move on:

In reality it was not a sleep at all, it was a combination of morphine and scopolamine , not only did it aid in taking away the pain of childbirth for the mother, but it also took away a mothers memory of the event as a whole, while also taking away her self control. Because of the loss of control women were often tied to beds for not only their own safety, but for the safety of the hospital staff, but they made sure to use soft materials like lambs wool that would not leave marks on the arms and legs of these women, because then their husbands (who mind you were not allowed into the delivery room) would question what the hospital did to their wife.  But mom’s were not the only ones who suffered from this drug, it also had an impact on the infant, as do many pain relief drugs still used today.
The move away from this form of delivery was such a relief to women that even Life magazine made it a cover story.

My own mother's birth of me was much different but still holds the power of birth out of the reach of most women.   My mother and I have talked about her birth process many times and I am still riveted each time we revisit the topic.   It was the early 80's and my mother was told by her doc to head to the hospital as it appeared labor was beginning,   My mom, knowing the strict and overbearing nature of hospitals, took her sweet time getting there.   She did some shopping, took a shower, ate some lunch and moseyed on in quite calm to an angry pack of nurses furious with her for not rushing to the hospital as directed by her doctor.  My delivery went so fast that they did not have a lot of time for the zillions of interventions that were routine at that time but one thing that sticks out to me from my mom's story is this: the episiotimy.   This is where the skin between the anus and the vagina is cut to allow more room for the babe to enter the world.   In my mother's mind, she had heard so many horror stories of tearing and that the episiotimy would soothe this concern that she would not push until she had the cut done.   My birth weight was just over 5 pounds and my mother is of average height/weight ratio.   The episiotimy was completely unnecessary and took a whole lot more time to heal from had she torn, which from the birth weight seems improbable.   But, you see?  The fear.... the fear that a mother is incapable of bringing a babe into this world; that our bodies will not stretch or accommodate a baby to be born.   My mother actually halted the pushing process (and if you have ever pushed a baby out, you will know what sort of resolve this would take) so that she could have an unnecessary procedure done, a procedure wed out of fear and purchased on the diminishing power of women.   I find the dichotomy between the mom willingly tossing the ridiculous advice of her doctor to race to the hospital at the onset of labor and the mom who halts pushing for the same ridiculous advice so perplexing.   Women are so often at the mercy of the doctors and nurses they trust when we feel so vulnerable and unsure.   My mom is one strong lady and I credit her for the ferocity I carry and that is why it strikes me so....

My own birth stories are all so different from one another and would take pages and pages but in a gist-
Twins- 8 years ago, c-section, 32 weeks, 1 month in the NICU
Singleton-Almost 3 years ago VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section), homebirth
Singleton- 4 months ago- VBAC, hospital

Each of the above experiences is beautiful, unique and sometimes painful to discuss.   But what prompted this blog and all of the above ramblings was this photo:

I found it on the web with the line, "one of the most beautiful birth photos I have ever seen."   Intrigued, I clicked on it and what unraveled was a thread of comments so shocking and unreal, I was left confused and deeply hurt.   The view of what birth is and what birth should be in our culture is a sad state of affairs.   With our c-section rate at 1 in 3 births, it is no wonder a photo like the one above prompts other women to disapprove.   However, what is even more shocking is that the criticism from other women is often aimed at causing the woman in the photo shame, hurt, and even remorse for sharing this photo.
A smattering of some of the ugly comments (I left the terrible grammar alone):
If you wanted the best for your child you should of went to a hospital where they can save you and the baby if somthing happend. Doctors are educated and around for reasons. This picture is sick to look at if she was on her back in a hospital bed might be a different story.
The photo is beautiful but I feel like it is staged after the birth. Her hair looks perfect, her hand is relaxed. Perhaps she had a very quick labor and delivery but still she doesn’t appear to be in much pain.
Strikingly powerful? More like nauseating. Being a mom to be, most births I’ve seen make me a bit emotional. This just makes me want to puke…
How do have a baby on your knees? Wouldn’t you be more comfortable lying down? Why does the man look naked? I think having a baby is a beautiful thing too but the way I was raised it sould be more private. Thumbs down.
I disagree. It is mainly striking to her and her husband and the baby I think. This photo is very disturbing…. I am sorry to say that, I am a mom too. I don’t thinking screaming to the camera so the world can see my baby coming out between my legs is cool at all.
This is the most disgusting thing I have seen in awhile. It does not looke real as many have said .She does not look pregnant at all. Too many bones showing for her to have a baby. As for your comment Jasmine ,hurtful is not what people are saying. Just the truth. You must have looked like that.
Sorry I think this picture is gross. I gave birth twice. We have two wonderful sons my husband and I but I would be in a real frenzy if a picture would have been posted for the world to see. It’s a private moment with agonizing pain where the sun does NOT shine so why would I post this willingly? We ALL know what giving birth is like and yet you don’t see us running around showing everyone what it was like.
I think that is a good representation of comments (negative).   To be fair, most of the comments on the thread are positive and defend this woman's right to birth as she pleases but the level of hate is just so alarming!   We have come so far in our rights as women to give birth and share our birth stories without fear and here it is, almost 2012 and we still have jackasses saying, "shouldn't she be on her back?"  People say this picture is gross and makes them want to puke....   what I see is people forgetting their roots, disrespecting their mothers and the process which brought them to the very keyboard they are spewing their hateful garbage upon.  Let's not forget the glory of our mothers: the sweat, the tears, the stretching and moaning; the pull of the moon from the sky, the earth between her toes, the visceral cry of wonder, pain, and bliss.   Please, let's not forget. 

For those of you interested in reading the birth story of Phoenix, the beautiful baby of the mother discussed in this blog, click here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Notes From the Underground

So, my efforts in regular blogging have failed miserably but, hey…I’m back!   Did’ja miss me?   I missed me.  Writing is like breathing to me, if I don’t do it regularly; I will die (for real).   The PPD (postpartum depression) really kicked my ass for a while and made it nearly impossible to do even the simplest of tasks and truly my life has been a bit of a disaster clean-up area for the last six weeks or so.   Well, that is enough of the excuses so here is what’s been going on behind the curtain:
As far as the PPD, it is all better!
Mmmmm snuggles!

Looking back on it now, it is quite mind blowing how warped I was.  I would get furiously angry with Sparreaux for normal baby behaviors such as crying or needing to be held.   It was almost like I had expectations that she would understand I was tired or sad and didn’t want to feed her, rock her, etc…   Very strange for me being the AP parent I am to be feeling this way.  Justin even brought up how little I wanted to hold or be with Sparreaux and I flipped on him for even suggesting such a thing.   I truly did not have a grasp on how far from myself I really was.   I think the anger flares are the most surprising aspect of my experience with PPD.   I have experienced depression before but nothing like this.   It was like I hightailed it outta my body when Sparreaux was born and some nut-job took my place.   We (Justin and I) invited our doula over to discuss what we should do.   We were both at a loss on how to handle my disappearance.  It truly was like I wasn’t even there.   I felt like I was orbiting above my life, watching myself act like a completely selfish jerk but had not control over it whatsoever.  Our really lovely and compassionate doula told us that in her experience, women generally did not “bounce back” from PPD but truly did need a combination of therapy and anti-depressant medication to recover from PPD.  
I did visit my doctor and took the depression screening test.   I checked off that everything was a problem except feeling suicidal, I didn’t have that.   Since I am nursing, I was not able to have a vast array of medicinal choices so I took a list of the three SSRIs that I could take home with me to do some research and ultimately decided upon Prozac.   It was kind of a bumpy ride starting the Prozac but in the course of time it did what it was supposed to.   The thick, heavy veil of depression was lifted and I could look around and breathe with clarity.   I bonded with Sparreaux, felt less anxiety, my OCD tendencies reduced greatly, Justin and I did not argue about everything, I could effectively live my life.   I could review my thoughts and emotions whereas before I would just spew them everywhere with no regard to my family’s needs.   I make it sound like I was a grade-A asshole but really I was just quite sick and in need of some support.   With my trusted therapist and a few weeks of this medication, I feel at home within my skin. 
More baby lovin'
Sparreaux is going to be four months old this month!   Man, does time fly.   She is starting to blow spit bubbles.   She can recognize herself in a mirror (which is a blast to watch).   Indra adores her.   She wants to kiss her all the time!   Just last week Sparreaux was crying and I was holding her on my lap.   Indra was very concerned so I asked her, “What should we do to help Sparreaux feel better?”   The little sweetheart started lifting my shirt and pointing to my breast and said, “nuse, nuse.”   How freakin’ adorable is that?   I melted, I really did.   Unfortunatley, Sparreaux had just nursed so I suggested a nuk which Indra felt confident in helping with. 
Indra hearts Sparreaux
Indra, she is a blog post all on her own.   She is a toddler-beast!   She makes the simplest of tasks daunting and difficult.   From putting her shoes on to eating her dinner, she is one obstinate little kid.   And you know what drives me absolutely crazy about this?   She is an angel at daycare.  NO crying, NO tantrums, NO fits; all love and kisses and sweetness.
My sweet little bear (oxymoron is intentional)

  Justin and I have to practically wrestle her into her clothes in the morning.   Threaten everything under the sun if she doesn’t stay in her bed.  Promise her rainbows and unicorns if she will just take ONE bite of her dinner.   We have her working with specialists to develop her speech and foster her independence which is going ACHINGLY slow.  I love her to little itty bitty pieces but sometimes I just want to scream, “Come on Indra, it’s just a pair of freaking socks!  Put them on and let's go!”   *deep breath* But, I don’t.   We plod on gently and carefully each and every day trying new charts, routines, techniques; our efforts are constantly being renewed.   She is 30 months this month and going to be heading into pre-school and she cannot even communicate.
That is actually her "puke bucket" on her head. She thought it made a better hat (btw, there is no puke in there)

  I truly think that the communication or lack thereof is so frustrating to her and may be the root of many of her meltdowns.   I worry about her entering into a world of make-believe and ABCs when she doesn’t even know how to tell me where on her body she just got an owie.   Oh, little love.  My heart aches for you.

Our funny faces!!   Aren't we FUNNY?!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby Blues

The baby blues.   I have not experienced this before.   Unexplained sadness, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, crying....
It is so very strange.   I know that I am okay but I have this haunting sensation that follows me around all day tugging on my happiness, adding weight and burden to simple tasks and conversations.   I do not have adequate words to explain.   I am enjoying the new baby.   Our family is adjusting beautifully.   Breastfeeding and bonding couldn't be better.   So what is it?   What is wrong?

I look at myself in the mirror and I am confused by what I see.  I can see the effects of the conflicting emotions on my face.   My skin appears heavy upon my bones.    My eyes seem numb and unaware.  

And maybe the fact that there isn't an answer or a reason why is causing such panic in me.  

So, for now, I guess I just wait.   And hope.