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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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For the Breastfeeding ‘Butters’

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If you’ve ever said “I support breastfeeding, but [insert almost any phrase],” I must break it to you:

You don’t truly support breastfeeding if you need to put a condition upon it. (This goes for the reluctant “supporters” and passionate advocates alike).

Examples: Continue reading

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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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Julep’s Pregnancy Story

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Photo credit: Tender Nest Portraits

This is the story of my pregnancy with my second child, Julep. I’ll share details of my pregnancy with my oldest son MaiTai in a future post.

After this post, check out Julep’s birth story here.

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