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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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Break The Ice About Circumcision: For Birth/Medical Workers & Their Clients

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Gather Your Bravery

Whether you’re a midwife, OB/Gyn, doula, childbirth educator, nurse, or pediatrician, you need to have this talk. You need to bring up circumcision and facilitate an honest, complete, educational discussion about it, just as you would any other birth or newborn procedure.

You routinely provide updated information about, say, epidurals and exclusive breastfeeding, right? Then you must give as much attention to this other elective birth ‘option’ of neonatal genital cutting.

I’m sure it can be difficult to balance the various aspects of your job description: unconditional support of a mother’s choices, preserving her and her baby’s well-being, matter-of-factly offering guidance with minimal personal bias.

Though it may seem that a neutral stance of ‘pro-parent’s choice’ (PPC) is the path of least resistance here, it is certainly not ‘pro-baby.’ As a birth worker, your responsibility of care covers a client’s child as well.

Think about this: Would you discourage a parent from circumcising a daughter if they expressed interest to do so? Or would you refer a pro- female circumcision parent to someone who’s willing to perform the procedure, locally or overseas?

Many PPC birth workers refer pro-male circumcision clients who are expecting sons to what they nickname ‘holistic circumcisers’ (though the very definition of circumcision absolutely defies the concept of holism), which deprives these parents the support and encouragement they need to make a better choice — that is, the choice to give their son HIS own choice.

Remember you might be the only person to ever bring this up with your client during her pregnancy. If she cannot count on her care provider to open up this relevant discussion, who can she count on?

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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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22 Tips For Breastfeeding In Public With Confidence

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Self-conscious much?

A recent Centers for Disease Control public opinion study found “only 43 percent of U.S. adults believed that women should have the right to breastfeed in public places.” Theoretically, every time I go out with my baby, I can count every two people we pass and justifiably assume the next three people do not approve of my child breastfeeding there.

With this in mind, in my early public nursing days I felt too embarrassed to be seen struggling to breastfeed my little baby, especially with postpartum depression at a high, an anxiety disorder, and being the first among all my friends to become a mother.

I wanted so badly to live in a part of the world that was acclimated to the sight of normal infant feeding.

The sprawling, diverse metropolitan area where I live isn’t even a major hotspot for public breastfeeding oppression. That’s the frightening part. A quick Google search will guide you through countless stories of mothers across the nation being harassed, shamed, bullied, and discriminated against by strangers, coworkers, relatives, acquaintances, anyone with an opinion… because they breastfed their children in public.

With my first baby I started out nursing in my car. At the time, to me it felt pretty ‘public.’ I quickly realized this could only be a temporary solution to calm my nerves. Not only was it terribly inconvenient to retreat to my car for privacy multiple times per excursion, but it was also completely unnecessary. (And far from foolproof! Do you know where we were the first time I was harassed for nursing? Sitting in the front seat of my parked car minding our own business).

Out of the car and into actual buildings I emerged. I only felt at ease enough in low-crowd places and often found the corner of rooms to nurse so I could have privacy. Then I felt like a professional NIPer after working my way up to nursing on-the-go while babywearing.

Things became easier when I expanded my potential nursing spots to, well, anywhere we happened to be. I wore covers at first (I ditched them for good after that car harassment incident, and life got less complicated when I put those annoying things in storage).

It didn’t take long before I wasn’t giving a second thought to when and where I’d nurse my child because it was not an isolated event — it was just part of the flow of life, which doesn’t stop when you become a mother.

Four and a half years later, through babyhood, toddlerhood, another pregnancy, and tandeming, I don’t think a week has gone by that I haven’t nursed in public, and it’s been nearly that long that I’ve done so confidently.

Twenty helpful tips I learned along the way, in no particular order:

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If I Could Give Only 5 Pieces of Breastfeeding Advice To a New Mom

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If you could give only five pieces of breastfeeding advice to a new mother, what would you say? Here’s what I’d tell her.

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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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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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