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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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It Just Needs To Be Said About Full-Term Breastfeeding…

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I have two children, an almost 5 year old and an almost 17 month old, who both nurse. They both began nursing just moments after each was born and here we are, still nursing along. I often find myself in the position of explaining this decision (or fate, rather).

Why is an explanation needed and sometimes even demanded from those who choose to do (or simply end up doing) tandem- and full-term breastfeeding?

Now breastfeeding may be less frequent, quicker, less nutritionally vital, more physically active than it was in the newborn days when they had tiny gummy mouths and floppy bodies. Otherwise, it really isn’t much different. They’re the same people they were 17 months and 5 years ago. Still asking to nurse. And one day they won’t.

Continuing to nurse as age advances is no clue that nursing will go on forever, like an evergreen tree of connection to mother. One day, the child will feel differently about this connection and realize the shoe no longer fits. What is the rush or worry until then?

From the looks of many comments on August’s World Breastfeeding Month social media/news threads, it seems there are two kinds of people who weigh in whenever full-term and tandem nursing come up: those who truly fully support breastfeeding and those who don’t (though many kick off their commentary with “I support breastfeeding, but…”). Do the rest just keep quiet to maintain neutrality? I don’t know.

I don’t have the time or concern to respond to or even read every comment/message that aims to preserve the controversy, but I feel it’s necessary to address a few inspired by two videos I recently shared.

Mostly because there aren’t too many tandem nursing, full-term weaning videos and I hope to bust (see what I did there?) some of the myths for other mothers. Also because breastfeeding mothers hear/read these same comments all. the. time. I hope my explanations (not to be mistaken for defenses) will satisfy the wannabe mic-droppers and the apparently ever-curious.

(Links to videos at end of post)

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What to Consider Before Sharing Your Birth Photos

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Thinking about sharing your birth photographs with friends, family, on social media, hanging them up in your foyer, perhaps printing them in a coffee table book for home visitors to peruse?

Here are a few worthwhile things to consider first.

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Don’t Wait To Take a Stand For Genital Autonomy

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A white truck slowed as it rolled by. The same driver swung back around three more times, honking with each pass. This was no coincidence or deja vu.

One of us carried an oversized white posterboard with the words “Honk if you ❤ foreskin” drawn across both sides.

The other eight of us fulfilled some task related to our cause — hoisting other signs, hauling info cards and materials to distribute, capturing the proceedings on camera, or merely accompanying for purpose of solidarity or, in the case of one individual, by chance meeting. Continue reading

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Isn’t the Ghost Inside a Single Onesie More Than Enough? (My Experience at GIAW 2017)

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Image courtesy Saving Our Sons

Here we gathered, sixty four of us. All affected by circumcision in one way or another, the lucky among us protected from the worst of its damage. Sixty four of us prepared to deliver the message that natural bodies are normal, healthy, and beneficial; to leave the alteration for medical necessity or personal consent.

We were here for Genital Integrity Awareness Week — which, in the great fortune of the 2017 calendar — happened to fall on the same week that female genital cutting was outlawed in the U.S. twenty years ago.

For the past two decades, baby girls have been protected from threat to their genital integrity, but their brothers, sons, nephews and grandsons are still routinely cut in barbaric fashion. Some die, and the rest bear the telltale scar forever.

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Image courtesy Saving Our Sons

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(Incorrectly) Assumed Reasons Why My 4-Year-Old Nurses

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I think by now we can all agree exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal method of infant feeding. Our society is slowly but surely becoming more accepting (even approving) of breastfeeding (the concept of it, if anything).

But, here’s the thing.

I notice many of us still seem a tad obsessed with HOW LONG  a woman and child should breastfeed.

Okay, so you get it, you get it. Breastfeeding is healthy, it’s both normal and best, and breastfeeding in public is perfectly appropriate.

But do you pause when the breastfeeding involves a child older than you’d expect? Do you question whether it’s still good or still appropriate? Do you already firmly believe it’s not? Have you ever uttered the phrase “I support breastfeeding, but…” and concluded with an opinion about upper age limits?

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