The things we don’t talk about

As I was wandering work before leaving the other day, a coworker stopped to ask me how things were going and I said great. And they are, don’t get me wrong but she talked about boys and teenage years. Jokingly I laughed it off and said all the boys will be castrated who came to the house and if she’s anything like me, she’s going to die, by my hand.
Now I wasn’t a truly bad child or teenager, I had my flaws and my bad days but more over we talked about how we didn’t cope with our life situations turning us into assholes. Her parents had divorced sending her through a harder teenage experience than most, with her parents being too self absorbed to find her help to cope with the loss.
My parents on the other hand didn’t divorce, I wasn’t picked on in school, I wasn’t popular or unpopular, not a jock, not a nerd… I was just me and I had a group of friends that seemed to be just like me. But depression took over one of my friend’s minds and after his story, I became a bit of an asshole. During our sophomore year he had tried to slit his wrists in the bathroom at school, wanting this pain, which no one could describe, to end. Unsuccessful and what it seemed to be a positive eye opener to him, ended in misery a year later when he took his life with a gun. Now I won’t get into the details of our friendship, let’s just say we knew each other since we were about 2, our brothers’ grew up together, we went to the same school, and here I was sitting in my room wondering what went wrong.

Teens committing suicide is on a rise every year. So is teen homicides, the rate of drug and alcohol use, sex and babies… So how do we stop it? Sex, drugs, pregnancy are talked about in schools every day. But why not depression, mental disorders, and how to cope with loss.

‘We have counseling on staff to talk to’ I remember hearing this quote used over and over by the faculty…. yea they had counseling alright, school counselors who didn’t know a damn thing about loss, depression, or suicide. Or how to make a student at ease with any situation. I fought with my counselor monthly about my school schedule, she was too stupid and bitchy to get that right, how would she help me feel better?

Why is such a relevant thing left out of school? And how can we help our children cope with loss… of a parent, of a single household, of a friend? Most parents I think turn their cheek as if this won’t effect us in our later years, but it’s in those last four years we develop into who we are today. There’s a lot of molding that goes into those years and don’t we want our children to be open and confident on talking about their feelings, instead of turning into assholes.

I remember being emotionally distraught after his first attempt and even worse after his second. I sat in the classroom staring at the wall, sick to my stomach, and holding back any emotion I had. I would go to the bathroom to cry, go home to dwell, and go to work to keep it out of my mind. Though people noticed I had a changed state of mind, not one person offered me help or counseling. Just the pathetic phrases of ‘It’ll get better with time’ or ‘he’s in a better place’ or ‘maybe you should just go home’. Being alone was the last thing I needed and the last thing any teenager needs, I needed my hope and faith in humanity to be restored. I needed to see why life was worth living, why people are joyful and happy. I needed to see and feel why every person doesn’t take their life. But I didn’t get any of that. There was no support group, there was no healing time, there was nothing but a gaping hole with too many questions to ponder. What if? Why? the blame. the shame. where do you go from here?

I turned to self pity, alcohol, hate, overly caring, but above all, I didn’t talk about it to anyone… ever. Not how I truly felt, I sugar coated everything. I tried seeking my own way of help by education and others’ experience. I talk(ed)to his family more, which helped and hurt. I became a person I never thought I would be… I quit truly caring about what people thought or how I felt. Like if I just locked all my emotion inside and made everyone happy, this would never happen again. I would never have to go thru the loss of someone again. But I was wrong, really wrong. Within a year, I had to cope with the fact a friend gave Pat the gun he used, I had to talk to the police about what I knew, I had lost two more friends, and seen another crawl into a dark hole, not speaking to me for months. Because one of those friends, was her brother.

I see now, how this has effected my life and my choices. How most of the time I bottle things up just to let it screw me over in the end… and I wonder if maybe I just had opened up about my feelings and talked to someone if things would be different.

Now, I sit here and think about my own daughter and how much I hate for her to go through bad times, especially when she is older. And how I will try my hardest not to turn my cheek but not to be over bearing in these hard times. How I will teach her to be strong enough to get through but weak enough to be open about her feelings. How I won’t sit and blame it on teenage issues when she needs someone to talk to, and it can’t be me. How I will be willing and able to get her help or counseling, if needed or wanted. How I won’t put her on medication so she cant feel anything, just because the doctor says its best. Overall I hope to teach her that even as her mom, I know what she is going through and I can be a confidant, a friend. That I won’t degrade her feelings but embrace them and except them. And though I can’t make everything better, I can be there for her and help her grow to be stronger.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding

Breast is best, that’s what they say. Its easy and natural and bleh bleh bleh.
Yes, I believe breast is best too but its not easy, its kind of natural. And there’s why too much information out there to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong until you start doing it yourself.
Breast milk is the best food for your baby, your own body produces if specifically for your baby. It makes the right amount and it knows when to start producing more and less. Its always the right temperture, its never unavailable and its easy to be mobile with.
But its not easy, the art of breastfeeding that is.
An art, you question me eh? yes an art, a practice, a ritual… its nothing but ‘comes natural’
By now you’ve made up your mind breast or bottle… formula or pumping? or maybe your going to try it all out, see what fits in your lifestyle? But if its breastfeeding, here’s my story to you.
Hopefully you find a hospital that enables you to breastfeed and encourages you. Answers your questions and help you. Hopefully, you find a doctor who loves the fact your breastfeeding and a spouse/partner who is supporting. Thats really all you need to breastfeed… oh and your baby!
My hospital staff was great, right after my c-section, we headed to recovery and breastfeeding was established. Lucky for me, Brooklyn was ready and willing to give it a go. She laid on my chest trying to find the milk, suckling and turning her head to figure it out. She latched and ate for 15 minutes. The nurse showed me how to hold her, to get her to latch and how to see if she was eating alright. Reading the million breastfeeding books was extremely helpful at this point. In this regard, breastfeeding WAS natural.
But the pain you experience is enough to make you throw in the towel. Not the first latch, but maybe the second or third. When your body has had enough and your skin cracks, maybe even bleeds. And your wondering
how is this natural???
Its not, its time to grab a nurse or a lactation specialist and ask what gives? Your baby comes out knowin the suckle motion, your body starts its production of milk approx 3 days after birth, but the art of latching and positioning is a learned practice. After two or three suckles, if the harshness of pain doesn’t go away, you have to unlatch and try again. Try that with a crying, hungry baby and a tired mom, right?! Well yea… right.
I kept my calm and my patience and you should too. After about the third feed, I finally started to feel like a natural. I asked questions and had nurses help me. I had no shame and the nurses never judged. I would definitely bring a tube of lanolin to the hospital, the first few weeks are pretty hard with the dryness and cracking. But once that is over, breastfeeding is great and it is natural. I still use Lanolin and nursing pads, 4 weeks postpartum, but its more for precaution then healing now.

And then once you get it down get it right your baby hits a growth spurt. Baby is feeding every two hours on both sides, latching unlatching crying and relatching. You’re tired, baby is hungry and god does the pain stop, its like the first week all over again. Its time to throw in the towel and damn… did I want to, but instead I pumped and gave baby bottles for every other feed, to give me a break and my poor aching breasts, they needed a rest. Once back to normal 3-4 hr feeds, we went back to exclusive breastfeeding. Brooklyn went from breast to bottle to breast to pacifier and back an forth like a champ… hopefully your baby will too!

Read about pumping and bottle feeding, it’s another art you have to learn!

So whats the big deal with breastfeeding anyway? I have noticed since I’ve chosen to be a breastfeeding momma there are a million debates about breastfeeding.. so here’s my outlook on them all… from how natural it is to all the assholes who are unsupportive.
1.) Breast is best.
Yes, breastmilk is best. But its not the only thing out there and you don’t technically have to breastfeed… you can pump and bottle feed, you can use formula, you can pump and use formula, you can also breast feed, pump for bottles and use formula… who knows whats best for you until your baby gets here. Why breastfeeding was best for me… its inexpensive, it came easy to me, and its a bonding experience like no other. I enjoy breastfeeding, so I kept with it. So goodness please if it absolutely appalls you, don’t do it, but then again don’t judge me that I do.
2.) The critics… I mean ‘the assholes’
The people out there… its going to be family members, friends, random people at the store or your job who are going to critique you, before during and after you breastfeed. They’re going to try to get you to bottle feed, try to tell you how terrible breastfeeding is, they’ll tell you their sob or scary story to talk you out of it… hey you know what I say… fuck ’em. If they have that big of an issue with breastfeeding, then maybe their insecure about their own issues in life. Here’s some things that was said to me:
Pre-baby:
– My wife wanted to breastfeed but she couldnt do it. So you may think you can but you cant.
oh really? So since your wife can’t, I can’t. oh gee, you’re so right i forgot that the whole world evolves around you. Thanks but no thanks for your crummy advice. Im sorry your wife was unable to breastfeed, but don’t put your sob story on me, this is my story not yours.
– I can’t believe you’re going to put yourself through breastfeeding, it’s so painful and terrible.
ohhh… and don’t forget this was said by a male… who I’m 99% sure has never breastfed. But you’re right its so terrible and painful that 4 weeks in and I’m still breastfeeding joyfully.
– My sister said it was the worst thing in the world, she quit after two days. She said it was too stressful and with her pregnancy hormones she was just too overwhelmed.
You’re sister just went through 9 months of pregnancy… her hormones are not to blame. She didn’t want to breastfeed or she would have stuck with it for more than 2 days, it takes up to 6 weeks they say, to get it perfect. Two days was’t worth her time. And being a sister, you should have supported her more and tried to get her to go see a specialist and maybe done her laundry and dishes to make her not so overwhelmed. There they (you know, the assholes) go again blaming it on hormones…so as pregnant, non pregnant people…when aren’t we hormonal?
– You probably just want to do bottle since your going back to work.
ummm… no? Breastfeeding starts at the breast, then goes to the bottle. its a weaning phase, a mixed phase, or a complete transition… We mix it up, I breastfed Baby for 3 weeks exclusively. But since I have to go back to work, we are progressively trying bottles with Dad…and only dad. We are not handing baby off to everyone with a bottle so THEY can feed her. Get over yourself, its my baby…when dad’s not around mom feeds her…with my boob! and when dad is around, she may get a bottle or she may not.
Truthfully, I find bottles to be a pain in the ass. When baby whines…you have to make sure we have breastmilk thawed, then heat it up, then clean the bottles and start all over. And hopefully by the time you get the bottle heated up, your newborn isn’t crying hysterically bc now she’s starving. Breastfeed… baby whines of hunger, boob comes out, baby eats. simple and no thawing, warming, or clean up.
But yea yea yea… don’t lose bonding experience with baby because people are selfish and want to feed the baby or want to hold the baby when shes hungry. You get six weeks, maybe less, to be exclusive with your baby… everyone else can wait.

With Baby…
– I can’t believe you’re going to feed in public
it’s because people like this breastfeeding is looked down on. You can’t believe I would feed my child in public… ohhh not feed… breastfeed. But if I had a bottle it would be fine, until I couldn’t find a place to warm my bottle and my baby was screaming… Who are you to judge me? please go back to your own world where boobs don’t exist and they’re not plastered on every single billboard, social network, and advertisement.
-Oh, that’s not the same.
So what you’re telling me is that you would rather see women sexually exploited all over the media, but not a child being fed. You would rather your child or grandchild grow up thinking breastfeeding is weird and belongs at home… instead of normal, natural and seeing the world… the real world, not the pathetic one minded world in your head. errr… and did you raise this nation of complete idiots too…you know the teens who are getting pregnant because it couldn’t happen to them, the ones killing their own over an iPod, the ones who dont know the worth of a dollar nor how much work it takes to earn that dollar, who doesn’t understand English, who thinks YOLO and OMG are actual phrases, who would rather spend there days posting pictures of the sun, but not actually be in the sun, the ones who have no clue what social security is or what our rights actually mean??? You raised that kind of child, no wonder breastfeeding boggles your mind. Any damn interaction with your child would kill you, thats why you raised that kind of child. And thats why you are not my concern, move along now.
– Breastmilk and formula are practically the same
Let’s try this again… umm no?! formula is a man made substance mixed with water to make a drink that tastes similar to milk that children can gain nutrients from. Yes, formula works. But don’t tell me they’re the same. My child has spit up about 4 times, in 4 weeks. She has no problems with gas, bloating, peeing, or pooping. No acid reflux, no colic. She’s gained approx 2-4 oz a day and she is one of the easiest children Ive dealt with. And she’s healthy.
I’ve never had to change her formula because of allergies or stomach problems. I haven’t had to switch to something so expensive I cried buying it or went broke trying to feed my child. Hell I’ve never had to switch anything because my allergies are her allergies…so I don’t eat things I’m allergic too… hmm weird.
-What about the gawkers?? …the people who don’t say anything, they just stare
Guess what… I just let them stare. Sometimes I stare back at them to make them feel uncomfortable, like they are trying to make me. Heyyyy!!!
Most people aren’t judgmental, most people I have found are intrigued. Not too many moms breastfeed, let alone breastfeed in public. Its like seeing a guy in an orange suit… just something different to stare at and they probably don’t realize they’re staring. So let them stare and gawk at you, if you feel you are doin the right thing then… like I said before… fuck ’em. Feed your baby and feel liberated doing so!

Breastfeeding has come a long way. There are specialists, double pumps, single pumps, manual pumps,disposable nursing pads, washable nursing pads, handmade nursing pads, silicon covers, plastic covers, nursing bras, nursing tank tops, lanolin, heat packs, cold packs, nursing pillows… and they are all out there to make nursing the most joyful and natural experience for you, so use them.

I think that is the most of things, there will always be someone in your life telling you how to raise your child. This is your child, so when it comes to feeding, bathing, and raising, Be the mom and stand up for yourself!
I wish you well in your breastfeeding adventure, don’t forget to read about it! There are also a ton of consultants and specialists, so don’t think you’re alone! get help! feed your baby! love nursing!
TTFN!!!