Our Crosses To Bare

We All Have A Story…

This post has been rolling around in my head ever since I shared a video on my Facebook Blog Page about a mother who decided to share pictures of her stillborn baby.

A series of events happened over the course of the week or two after I saw this video that even further drove my thoughts on the topic of not only stillbirth but of this notion of nature not always “getting it right”. The events included a few friends suffering early miscarriages (which I am no stranger to) and then having the privilege of having two very intimate conversations with mother’s in my circle who have lost babies after 20 weeks gestation. Listening to their stories felt like I was given sacred privileged information and I was now a gate keeper of a tiny sliver of their hearts.

At 32, my Facebook newsfeed and Instagram is heavily populated by pregnancy and birth announcements. Which I truly do enjoy; but being the pessimistic, nervous Nelly that I am- I can’t help but think sometimes how is it that EVERY pregnancy announcement always is followed by a healthy mom and baby? Its not that I want things to go wrong for anyone, but the statistics do not add up in my scientific brain. The tragic inevitable truth is that nature is not without it’s flaws and does not always get it right. A pregnancy does not always equal a smiling mom and baby…or a baby at all… yet we seldom hear or see these stories.

If you don’t know me in person- I am a talker (I can’t help it!!!). I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but I have a hard time understanding privacy. Not that I can’t understand it- I get it- it’s just very opposite of who I am. In the early days of my child bearing journey when things weren’t going smoothly, I definitely felt shame, embarrassment, and hesitancy to speak on a “taboo” topic- but I felt inclined to share my journey anyway. This is my human experience and my experiences make me human. Not only that but I WANTED to talk about-  it was therapeutic – I didn’t want to carry around the sadness alone. I think this is why I ask the “inappropriate” questions that you’re not supposed to ask women when it comes to childbearing. Because I guess I feel deep down women want to be asked and want to talk about their journeys and loss and perceived failures but feel afraid to. (And for those women that have crossed my path and really do just want to keep their privacy- I apologize if I’ve ever offended you :-X).

We All Have A Story…

Mine goes a little like this… Moving around a lot as a kid, I craved stability in my adult life and settled down early. I bought a house, got married to a good man, and started trying for a baby all before the age of 27. In hindsight, this was probably a bit rushed, but I really do have no regrets. I suffered my first miscarriage in early 2013 followed by two more over the next 9 months. My darling Mazzie girl is a clomid (fertility drug) baby. Breastfeeding had a rough start with us hitting basically every roadblock we could but I pushed through and came out the other side enlightened with a newfound passion. I had a stereotypical vaginal birth in a hospital with an epidural for my first daughter. My second pregnancy came easy without the help of fertility treatments but was an uncomfortable one that plagued me with terrible morning sickness. I had an unmedicated and somewhat traumatic vaginal home birth followed by severe Post Partum Depression/OCD. I breastfed my first daughter through pregnancy and tandem nursed until she was two years and 9 months old and am currently still nursing my second (that’s over THREE years of breastfeeding!!). This is MY story. Although I had trauma, I also had triumphs and I’m realizing every woman’s story is not so different from mine although the events may not be the same.

I know women who in their mid 30’s have the fertility of a 16 year old and can pop out babies like it’s nothing but for whatever reason couldn’t breastfeed. I know women who have trouble staying pregnant but give birth like a BOSS and handle the post partum phase like a breeze. I know women who are young, vibrant, and healthy yet are devastated and heartbroken by unexplained infertility. I know women who have amazing pregnancies and take to breastfeeding like they are Amazonian Goddesses yet have complicated births.

We are all unique and while our experiences share so much similarity, no two are the same. I try to remember behind every pregnancy and birth announcement; there is a woman, there is a family, there is a story. Sometimes women lose babies that they have already carved out a place for in their hearts, sometimes women will dream of seeing that little cross on a pregnancy test for years and may not ever see it. Sometimes women posing in pictures with their newborn babies smiling are truly suffering inside and do not tell a soul.

I never want to stop celebrating our triumphs, but I also don’t want to be naive to the pain and suffering it sometimes takes to get there. Some day we may find out the answers to the very many questions we have. Like how can a mother survive the loss of a child and what purpose does it serve? Maybe it’s not for us to know, or maybe there really isn’t a good answer. But I do know how a sunny warm day feels after a week of rain, or how the warm embrace of my husband feels after a day of disagreements. How can we appreciate the rainbow if we’ve never even seen the storm?

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Ask IM: When Breastfeeding Gets tough Beyond the Newborn Stage

Ask Instinctual Mothering

I am humbled and honored every time a mom, mom to be, or even the occasional father contacts me for advice or information. It never occurred to me that people would actually value my opinion enough to seek out my perspective, it is a shock every time! But it is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share my perspective and experience with you all.

I thought it may be helpful to publish the questions I receive on the blog in a series titled “Ask Instinctual Mothering”. Remember, the answers are only my perspective based off of my own experiences and what I have read or researched. I will never claim to know all there is to know about pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/parenting because I am still learning myself (and have no true accreditation besides a breastfeeding counselor certificate)! However; helping, encouraging, empowering, and sharing information with others is why I’m here typing. It is a true passion and gives me great fulfillment and I hope I can be of service.

I promise to only share real questions from real people and always with their permission (and never their name). If you find yourself pondering something yourself, please feel free to contact me with ANYTHING – even critical feedback! You can contact me through facebook, E-mail at Tmschult@gmail.com, or through the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Okay, enough blabbing. Here is the second “Ask Instinctual Mothering” installment! This was a message I received via Facebook.

When Breastfeeding Gets Tough Beyond the Newborn Phase

Hi Tara!! I hope you are doing great and feeling well!

I’m having a tough time and looking for some help. I’m feeling like I could throw in the towel on nursing my 9 month old. It’s become painful. She just wants to suck all evening and night. My nipples are tender and the one nipple has a milk blister which is painful. I feel like I feel her teeth when she sucks. And she pulls my breast away from her when she is nursing so it pulls my boob. I’m frustrated and yet I don’t want to stop. Any advice? 😢 Does it get better?  Did you ever want to give up? I don’t want to for her sake. I guess I feel defeated right now.

-Frustrated & Defeated

(more…)

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Let’s Talk About Sibling Spacing

Let’s Talk about Natural Sibling Spacing

 

There is one benefit to breastfeeding that I feel doesn’t get enough street cred. It is natural sibling spacing. It’s a topic I rarely hear discussed when talking about breastfeeding benefits. Maybe this is because there is so much misinformation circulating out there about breastfeeding and fertility. I’m sure you have heard one of the following statements at least once if you are a nursing mother: “It’s impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding”, or in stark contrast “I have a friend who got pregnant 3 months after her baby was born and she was breastfeeding, be careful!”

In a society where the pressure is never off- not even with something as sacred and personal as creating life- we all are asked about our child-bearing plans. If you are married, before you even get back from the Honeymoon, people are asking when the babies are coming. If you have one baby, you’re asked when the second is coming before your stretch marks have even faded. And God Forbid you have two of the same gender- wouldn’t you feel you missed out if you didn’t have a girl/boy?

I am guilty of these questions myself, and I actually am never offended by them when they are asked to me personally (which believe me, I get my fair share). But I am a tragically transparent person, and I realize not everyone is as much of an over-sharer as I am. I know these questions may feel intrusive to some, but I do not feel they are ever meant to cause harm. I think people in general are just curious. Maybe trying to relate, find something in common, talk about something they’re interested in, etc. Or just plainly happy for you and excited for your next life step. But it’s inevitable that they affect our way of thinking. They may have some of us start questioning where we should be in life, second guessing ourselves and our decisions or make us not feel “normal”. But when it comes to sibling spacing, I’ve realized there is a huge information gap of what is biologically normal to what is considered “normal” today. Which of course, I’m not shocked, the way we raise infants in the industrialized society is far from biologically normal. The biggest being of course; my favorite topic: breastfeeding. (more…)

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Stop Judging Me for Being Judgemental

The title is meant to be a joke and not to be taken seriously. I hope you can appreciate the irony. BUT I am angry.

First, a quick recap of what has been going on in the world of Breastfeeding advocacy.

The NY Times published an opinion piece on breastfeeding in October which to sum up basically implied breastfeeding benefits are “modest at best” and breastfeeding advocates need to stop all the “moral fervor” by pressuring women into breastfeeding, because really it’s not that big of a deal anyway and only shaming formula feeding mothers. (Excuse me while I roll my eyes).

Well, let’s just say, this piece did not sit well within the breastfeeding advocacy community. There were dozens of response pieces, my favorite being this one, which really tears this piece apart.

I’m not going to delve into why the NY Times piece was absolutely ridiculous and factually false because many authors have already accomplished this, and if you are interested in seeing some of the responses, I posted many of them on the blog’s Facebook page here.

What I do want to talk about however, is the other topic this media frenzy re-energized. The “Mommy wars” trend (which was actually termed by a formula company advertisement- can we say unethical marketing?). Specifically, the idea that breastfeeding advocates are shaming formula feeding mothers, and that as women we should all “support” each other and not criticize and judge each other’s parenting choices. The hashtag “Fed is Best” started to circulate social media by mothers in agreeance with the NY times piece. Umm, wait a second… Isn’t Fed the absolute minimum….? Wouldn’t our children die if they weren’t fed…..? How is this “best”? Way to aim low America. I understand what the hashtag is trying to imply and even agree, but in my opinion- they missed the mark. (more…)

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Ask IM: When Breastfeeding Gets tough Beyond the Newborn Stage

Ask IM: When Breastfeeding Gets tough Beyond the Newborn Stage

Ask Instinctual Mothering

I am humbled and honored every time a mom, mom to be, or even the occasional father contacts me for advice or information. It never occurred to me that people would actually value my opinion enough to seek out my perspective, it is a shock every time! But it is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share my perspective and experience with you all.

I thought it may be helpful to publish the questions I receive on the blog in a series titled “Ask Instinctual Mothering”. Remember, the answers are only my perspective based off of my own experiences and what I have read or researched. I will never claim to know all there is to know about pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/parenting because I am still learning myself (and have no true accreditation besides a breastfeeding counselor certificate)! However; helping, encouraging, empowering, and sharing information with others is why I’m here typing. It is a true passion and gives me great fulfillment and I hope I can be of service.

I promise to only share real questions from real people and always with their permission (and never their name). If you find yourself pondering something yourself, please feel free to contact me with ANYTHING – even critical feedback! You can contact me through facebook, E-mail at Tmschult@gmail.com, or through the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Okay, enough blabbing. Here is the second “Ask Instinctual Mothering” installment! This was a message I received via Facebook.

When Breastfeeding Gets Tough Beyond the Newborn Phase

Hi Tara!! I hope you are doing great and feeling well!

I’m having a tough time and looking for some help. I’m feeling like I could throw in the towel on nursing my 9 month old. It’s become painful. She just wants to suck all evening and night. My nipples are tender and the one nipple has a milk blister which is painful. I feel like I feel her teeth when she sucks. And she pulls my breast away from her when she is nursing so it pulls my boob. I’m frustrated and yet I don’t want to stop. Any advice? 😢 Does it get better?  Did you ever want to give up? I don’t want to for her sake. I guess I feel defeated right now.

-Frustrated & Defeated

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Let’s Talk About Sibling Spacing

Let’s Talk About Sibling Spacing

Let’s Talk about Natural Sibling Spacing

 

There is one benefit to breastfeeding that I feel doesn’t get enough street cred. It is natural sibling spacing. It’s a topic I rarely hear discussed when talking about breastfeeding benefits. Maybe this is because there is so much misinformation circulating out there about breastfeeding and fertility. I’m sure you have heard one of the following statements at least once if you are a nursing mother: “It’s impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding”, or in stark contrast “I have a friend who got pregnant 3 months after her baby was born and she was breastfeeding, be careful!”

In a society where the pressure is never off- not even with something as sacred and personal as creating life- we all are asked about our child-bearing plans. If you are married, before you even get back from the Honeymoon, people are asking when the babies are coming. If you have one baby, you’re asked when the second is coming before your stretch marks have even faded. And God Forbid you have two of the same gender- wouldn’t you feel you missed out if you didn’t have a girl/boy?

I am guilty of these questions myself, and I actually am never offended by them when they are asked to me personally (which believe me, I get my fair share). But I am a tragically transparent person, and I realize not everyone is as much of an over-sharer as I am. I know these questions may feel intrusive to some, but I do not feel they are ever meant to cause harm. I think people in general are just curious. Maybe trying to relate, find something in common, talk about something they’re interested in, etc. Or just plainly happy for you and excited for your next life step. But it’s inevitable that they affect our way of thinking. They may have some of us start questioning where we should be in life, second guessing ourselves and our decisions or make us not feel “normal”. But when it comes to sibling spacing, I’ve realized there is a huge information gap of what is biologically normal to what is considered “normal” today. Which of course, I’m not shocked, the way we raise infants in the industrialized society is far from biologically normal. The biggest being of course; my favorite topic: breastfeeding. (more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Stop Judging Me for Being Judgemental

Stop Judging Me for Being Judgemental

The title is meant to be a joke and not to be taken seriously. I hope you can appreciate the irony. BUT I am angry.

First, a quick recap of what has been going on in the world of Breastfeeding advocacy.

The NY Times published an opinion piece on breastfeeding in October which to sum up basically implied breastfeeding benefits are “modest at best” and breastfeeding advocates need to stop all the “moral fervor” by pressuring women into breastfeeding, because really it’s not that big of a deal anyway and only shaming formula feeding mothers. (Excuse me while I roll my eyes).

Well, let’s just say, this piece did not sit well within the breastfeeding advocacy community. There were dozens of response pieces, my favorite being this one, which really tears this piece apart.

I’m not going to delve into why the NY Times piece was absolutely ridiculous and factually false because many authors have already accomplished this, and if you are interested in seeing some of the responses, I posted many of them on the blog’s Facebook page here.

What I do want to talk about however, is the other topic this media frenzy re-energized. The “Mommy wars” trend (which was actually termed by a formula company advertisement- can we say unethical marketing?). Specifically, the idea that breastfeeding advocates are shaming formula feeding mothers, and that as women we should all “support” each other and not criticize and judge each other’s parenting choices. The hashtag “Fed is Best” started to circulate social media by mothers in agreeance with the NY times piece. Umm, wait a second… Isn’t Fed the absolute minimum….? Wouldn’t our children die if they weren’t fed…..? How is this “best”? Way to aim low America. I understand what the hashtag is trying to imply and even agree, but in my opinion- they missed the mark. (more…)

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