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No More Babies: How I Really Feel (Last Child Grief)

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Thoughts at 4 Months Postpartum

I only have two children, and two will be my only. We always planned to have two kids for the usual reasons: financial resources, practicality, health reasons, familiarity, and so on.

This pregnancy and postpartum were much different than the first. I suspect it has much to do with knowing they’ll be my last.

I feel the postpartum slipping away. My youngest is now four months old, which means a little more than a trimester ago he was playing, breathing, wriggling, and listening in my womb.

For these past months I’ve watched my body turn into something blooming and abundant to swollen and rumpling to deflated and limp, stressed from constant demands upon it and weak from the the endless drill of late nights and early mornings. I’ve felt unmotivated to move into a new chapter, for I know once that happens, I won’t get to call myself ‘newly postpartum.’ In my case, not ever again.

This is now the body I’m left with. Rather, this is the body I get to keep. I’ve got more skin than I had before, a herniated navel, and my hair seems to be grieving with me as it sheds like a willow in the fall.

I think I’ll say I’m no longer ‘postpartum’ when my linea nigra disappears. The first time it took a year. I think that’s when I’ll stop telling people “I just had a baby…”

Right now my body is a signpost of declarations that say this shop is closed, be back soon. I know better because my intentions are steps ahead; I know the shop is closed indefinitely. Continue reading

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Milk & Muscle: Exercise During the Breastfeeding Period

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What if you’re a breastfeeding mother and want to exercise? Then you’re ten steps (or Zumba classes) ahead of the rest of us, fit mama!

We know gymnurstics doesn’t count as working out… so what does? Walking, jogging/running, biking and other forms of cardio, swimming, dancing, lifting weights, yoga, pilates, low impact exercise like stretching, home workouts, strength training, kick boxing, hula hooping, whatever gets your body moving and blood flowing.

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Is Infant Circumcision Incompatible With Breastfeeding?

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Is circumcision the ‘Voldemort’ in a conversation about early breastfeeding difficulties? Though it’s a studied certainty that infant circumcision can have ruinous effects upon breastfeeding, it seems only the rare or high-profile breastfeeding expert dares to mention this risk by name, much less maintain an official protocol for assistance if challenges arise.

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The Secrets of Postpartum Bodies

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The power of transformation is an inherent gift of woman. The spider, snake, and butterfly are just a few of many creatures regarded as manifestations of feminine energy and universal symbols of shape-shifting. A master of creation, woman’s body is the original 3D printer. When she nurses a child, as Mark Twain once said, “she has no equal among men.”

Somehow still, many of us know discontent with or hatred for our bodies, whether transient or persistent. What’s worse is we believe it’s normal. Accepted to the point of expectation. This is especially true at the moment we inherit our mothering bodies. Through literally all forms of media and outlets for opinion, we are told before anything else that mothering bodies are not sexy, therefore not valuable, therefore invisible.

It’s a dangerous trajectory for the postpartum woman who is vulnerable, open, and recovering — she is brainwashed to confuse these things with weakness, brokenness, incapability, and decreased desirability. Continue reading

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13 Ideas For a More Pleasant Postpartum

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Mamas, here are some ideas that can make the postpartum era feel comforting, warm, nurturing, and even beautiful. This is a time of great transformation, and when the rough surface is polished away, one for new beginnings. Give it space to live up to its potential as perhaps one of the most forgiving and therapeutic eras of your life.

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Thoughts On My Two Postpartums (and Maybe Yours, Too)

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My sons, myself, and my midwife at our final postpartum visit.

I had my final postpartum visit last week. My last postpartum visit EVER. Bittersweet, yes. I feel a mixture of grief and motivation. Part of me wants to apologize (to whom, I do not know) for being melodramatic. The rest of me knows no apology is needed — postpartum time deserves far more attention and care than it typically receives.

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Touching, Printing, and Eating My Placenta

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*BEFORE YOU READ: This is a post about human placentas. It includes photos. If you’re not accustomed to seeing a real placenta or don’t wish to see one, you might consider skipping this post.*

*All uncaptioned photos below are credited to Stephanie Shirley Photography*

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