17 August, 2011

here's where we are today

i took my yoga class. haven't been back since, but it's stayed with me. yoga is more important off the mat, anyway.

i went to acupuncture to get my chi flowing.

i have been reading my buddha books again. and i am finding some peace. of course i am not all better, but as far as the anger at the people who don't deserve it, i am letting go.

but then there were these two blog posts and a comment that got me thinking. the thoughts are rolling around in my head. so here i am letting them out. working through them. trying to figure it all out.

for one thing, i have decided that i will only be responding to a need for help when the help is asked for. i will reach out to people who are open and receptive. and the rest i will let go. i can accept that a parent can only make the choices that he or she is ready for right now in this lifetime. i can't change anyone. i can support other mothers if i know their decisions are made out of love, but when decisions are made out of selfishness, i believe that to be another story. i can't support that. i can keep my mouth shut (most of the time), but i cannot support it. babies are too too precious for us to treat them as if they matter so little.

so do i still judge? you bet. we all do. it's human nature. i'm working on it.

but here is the difference. i would never say something to a woman to make her feel bad for her parenting choices. yes, i say it here in my blog. but i don't force anyone to read my blog. people know where i am coming from. they don't have to read it. i say it on my facebook page that was set up specifically so i could say these things. i do not say it to a mother in line at the grocery store (well i did once, but i would never again). or to my friend. or to a cousin. or to anyone.

some say that if we don't want to be judged for our choices, we should not judge others. again, everyone judges. the trouble comes when we let those judgments out to hurt feelings. i would never outright tell a mother that she is making a wrong choice or that i think i know best. i may think these things in my head, and we all do and that's okay, but i would never let it out.

i do, however, find it amusing that so many feel it is okay to tell me that i should not have my baby in bed with me, that i should not still be nursing my son, that i should not pick him up every time he cries, that i should vaccinate him, that i should not have my baby at home, etc. etc. the difference is, though, that when someone says those things to me or about me, i don't care. it annoys the shit out of me that they think it's okay to say it, but it does not make me question what i am doing, nor does it make me feel guilty about my decisions. does it make me lose respect for the person. hell yes. does it make me keep them at a distance? for sure. but i say judge away!

i judge because i believe that our world is affected by the way people are born and by the way they are cared for as babies. i believe this because my gut tells me it is true. and because the research backs it up.

oh i know, you can find research to back up anything.

but i have yet to see research that proves that breast feeding is unhealthy (no matter how long it's done). i have never seen an ounce of research to prove that babies are not harmed in some way by being left alone to cry. i have never seen research that says it is not harmful to put a baby in your choice of plastic and to ignore it. i have not seen research that proves it is unsafe for a breast feeding mother to sleep in bed with her baby.

of course, it is impossible to prove that something is not harmful.

but i have read lots of research stating the opposite to be true.

so i am working on being unconsumed by it all. i am working on letting go. the buddha reminds me that suffering comes from the attachment to the idea that things should be different, not from the thing itself. so i am working on it.

and in the end, most of the babies will be fine. my hope is that in the future, we will all be more than fine.

12 August, 2011

pumping and working -- with love from guest blogger meredith

meredith is a super mom. i remember when we first met up together after having a baby, we chatted about all of the nursing challenges we had faced. i remember her saying specifically, "quitting just wasn't an option." i reference this quote often. it's just like anything else, if you enter a challenge with the idea of trying it out or seeing if it will work, undoubtedly, you will fail. if quitting is not an option, you will figure something out. you will make it work. just like meredith did. she went back to work and pumped for an entire school year. she had enough extra milk that she was able to supply other moms who needed milk for their babies with her own liquid love. my friend used her milk while her baby was in the nicu for months. there are so many stories of women who have made it work, against the odds, when others would have just given a bottle of artificial milk. i hope that these women will speak out and share their stories, too. more women need to understand that where there is a will, there is a way. if it's important to you, you can do it. and with a support network such as the one we have created on facebook, it makes it that much easier. so if you are a working mom, or are planning to go back to work after having your baby, or know someone who is, please ask to join meredith's facebook page. share it out. because if a mom wants to continue nursing, going back to work should not stop her. it's even law now that employers must provide a suitable and comfortable location THAT IS NOT A BATHROOM for moms so that they can pump. so here is a little something from meredith about meredith.

I breastfed until I was 4. I helped my mom pump for my sister. I tandem nursed with my younger sister. I grew up in a log cabin in the woods with my hippy parents. I guess you can say I was destined to be a breastfeeding mom.

From the time I got pregnant with Brayden in June of 2009, I knew I was going to breastfeed. There was no other option for me. And then when Brayden was born four weeks early on January 28, 2010, I was in for a challenge. He was so little & had so much trouble latching on. Thank goodness for my mom, my husband, & the nipple shield. Without these three things, I would have given up. Each day got easier & we fell into a groove & are still going strong almost 19 months later!

I knew I would have to go back to teaching that September, when Brayden was about 7 months old. With college loans, credit card debt, mortgage, & all the other fun expenses of being an adult, it was not an option for me to stay home, even though I wanted to so badly. However, I am very lucky with my childcare situation – my husband is a firefighter who works one 24-hour shift & then has three days off, so he is home with B most of the time & the other days a friend would watch B at our house or I would drop him off to go play with his friends & their stay-at-home moms.

I started pumping in June a bit so when I taught summer school for 5 weeks, 4 days a week, 3 hours a day, Brayden could still have my milk if he wanted when I was gone. So he would nurse before I left in the morning, then would sometimes take a bottle when I was away from him, & then he’d nurse as soon as I got home. Then in August I started pumping more frequently to prepare my freezer for my first school year as a working mom.

I knew that pumping at work would take some getting used to when teaching started up in September. It would be a daily occurrence – I would have 27 minutes, yes ONLY 27 minutes, to pee, pump, & eat. I was getting nervous just thinking about it. Was this even possible? But I knew I wanted Brayden to have breastmilk each & every day even when I was not there, so it was just something I had to get adjusted to doing every single school day. Back in July, I had ordered a Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra from Amazon. This would allow me to eat, check Facebook, read e-mails, etc. while I pumped. This was the best $30 I ever spent! If you are going back to work, this is a must-have!

So I fell into a routine of running to the bathroom right after my advisory class, locking my classroom door, sitting down in a desk, getting the pump all set up, eating, packing up all the pump parts, & making sure I was ready for my 6th period class all in 27 minutes. When my body became adjusted to pumping, I was able to pump an average of 8-10 ounces each day. Just remember if you only get 3-5 ounces in a pumping session in the beginning, this is totally normal. Your body needs time to get used to the pump, so don’t give up!

As Brayden’s first birthday approached in January, I figured I’d stop pumping. This is what I had heard people talk about – only pumping until their baby was one. But Brayden was still taking some breastmilk from a bottle almost every day, so I didn’t want to deny him that. So I continued to pump until June. It had become second nature to me, so it was no big deal!

At almost 19 months, Brayden still nurses 3-4 times a day & a few times throughout the night. Whether he is nursing for comfort or food, I don’t care. I just cherish these special bonding times that we have together, just the two of us.

Our nursing relationship has continued to be strong even though I had to be away from him from 8:00am to 3:30pm, Monday through Friday from September to June. I would try to nurse him in the morning before work if he wanted to, pump at work, and then we would nurse right when I arrived home. This was a great way for me to relax after work & reconnect & touch base with Brayden after my work day. Then he would continue to nurse quite a bit the rest of the afternoon & evening as if to catch up for missed nursing sessions during the day.

As another school year approaches, I start to get sad that I have to be away from my little boy again, but I know that we will always be able to catch up when I get home over warm breastmilk.

10 August, 2011


today, i took my first yoga class alone since before you were conceived. it's been over three years.

you and i took yoga classes together when you were a little baby. you were starting to walk and i couldn't do much yoga. i had to follow you around bending over holding your fingers and walk around the studio while everyone else practiced yoga. you never were one for sitting still. and when i was pregnant with you, i took classes. i loved it. especially with flossie. she made it so primal. so beautiful. but it was more about connecting with you than it was about me. i also have done a bit over teaching over these past three years. but that's just not the same. teaching yoga and practicing yoga are two very different things.

i haven't done much for just me over the past three years. that's not a complaint. just an observation. so it was nice to do this today.

but today's class was the first one in which i actually did some yoga that pushed me, that made me sweat, that stretched my body and my mind. it was fantabulously awesome. your dad took you to the park with your cousins while i practiced. i didn't worry about you at all. i knew that what i was doing for me was good for you. and i can't wait to go back.

however, i was ridiculed by my ego the entire time. of course, right across from me sat a super cool chick with facial piercings and rad tattoos and funky blonde hair. she had a beautiful practice. i couldn't stop thinking about how cool she was and how much i wanted to be more like her. and of course, the instructor jumped right in after only two sun salutes with one of my most challenging postures...PIGEON. i hate pigeon pose. i know, i am not supposed to hate yoga poses. but i hate this one. i hate it because it brings things up. it's hard. and i want so badly to do it.

so about halfway through the class i got a grip on my ego. i thought about the blonde chick (and remembered pocahontas from years back. remember her, nz?) and i thought that maybe she has had an easy life and nothing has gotten in the way of her practice. and then i thought maybe she had a lot of shit thrown her way and this was what saved her. and then i thought, does it matter? she has her practice. and she loves it. and i have mine. though it's not what it used to be and i have no idea what it will ever be again, it's my practice.

the funny thing is that afterwards, we went to school to clean out my old classroom. it has someone else's name above the door now. that made me feel kind of weird and sad. and then i cleaned out my stuff. i gave most of it to your dad for his classroom. and lots went into the trash or recycling bin. i walked out with a bag of yoga mats from when i used to own the studio and a box full of random buddha statues and the like that kids had given me over the years. i thought that was very appropriate.

and then i remembered that the first time i resigned from a teaching job, i was on my way to my first kids' yoga teacher training in nyc with jodi komitor. i was starting a new life. this time, i've already started my new life. but today, as i closed the door on one chapter, i re-opened a door to another. my yoga is still there. and so is the buddha.

09 August, 2011

bringing buddha back

i realize that much of my suffering -- anger frustration guilt regret jealousy and the rest -- is caused by greed, just like the buddha taught.

my desire to be able to reverse time, to hold cooper in my arms, to be able to change people's minds and actions, to change my own past actions, to get pregnant easily, to carry a baby without fear, to have my home birth, to make your dad behave in the ways that i want him to, and everything else that causes that rage to bubble up inside, is causing me to suffer. it's making me heavy. i don't laugh or love like i used to.

your dad misses me. he misses who i used to be. and i miss that, too. i miss who we used to be before it all.

i am not who i was before. and i never will be again. i can't fix that. i can't go back. but i can work on bringing a little bit of me back. the part that let things roll. that accepted other people. that didn't stress about things that i had no control over. that part i can bring back. i used to love people. and accept them for where they were. i used to laugh more. and smile more. and be, well, just lighter.

but things happened. i lost cooper. we struggled with getting pregnant with you. you ended up being pulled out of my womb by a doctor with a mask on instead of being born peacefully into your dad's arms like we had planned. and then you were you. you challenge me every step of the way. and while your dad and i came together like magnets in all of those other times of sadness and pain, when you were born we just seemed to repel each other's forces. it's been so hard. the past three and a half years have been so hard.

but here's the thing. i want to be light again. to be easy. to laugh. to let things roll. i want love and acceptance. i want you to have a mom who laughs a lot. and not just with you. i want you to see me laugh with others. and with your dad.

i need to bring buddha back.