Virtually Postpartum

I met Jess for the first time in an online parenting group when our girls were toddlers. We seemed to mirror one another, with our experiences and outlook. Slowly but surely, we carved a friendship out of words, carefully typed out from different corners of the earth.

I met Jess for the second time at her home in Canada, 4500 miles away from my quaint English village.  My daughter was six at the time, while my son was just 8 months old and we took the trip in spite of my ever-present haze of postpartum sleep deprivation.

Solo Bedtime: A Parent's Nemesis

It's 7pm and my daughter has brushed her teeth, had a bath, released her hair from its braided prison and had precisely half a sip of water. She's read a chapter of her current storybook and is just settling down in her bed to go to sleep.

She would like me to stroke her hair and sit beside her in the quiet darkness, as she drifts off to dream land, but I am otherwise engaged.

Enter Crazy Baby.

Yes, I Breastfeed My Baby To Sleep

You know what I just don't understand?  Anyone who has a problem with "feeding to sleep".

I went without wine for 9 months, pushed a human out of my vagina and somehow figured out how to get Big Sister to school ON TIME while simultaneously managing diaper blow outs and cluster feeding.  These precious minutes of sleepy feeding are literally gold dust...they allow me to slow down, to connect, to breathe.

Why oh why anybody would have an issue with this gift from above is beyond me.

We've all heard it, right? The torrent of opinions that encircles this particular aspect of mothering...

"You're making a rod for your own back!"

"He'll never learn to self-soothe!"

"You're creating an unhealthy sleep association!"

#MeToo - Why My Children Will Be Familiar With The Term 'Patriarchy' Before They Hit First Grade

#MeToo is trending.  Of course it is...Because the sexual harassment of women is endemic to our culture as a whole and not simply a byproduct of Hollywood.

As the Weinstein case rages on, I'm noticing more and more of my female friends becoming enraged at what we consider to be the 'normal' treatment of women and girls in society.

From the shirts aimed at three year old girls, adorned with the word 'CUTE'...versus the shirts aimed at three year old boys, featuring the word 'HEARTBREAKER'.

We are told, from the very beginning, that women are products to be dressed and served for consumption.

The Secret Competition In The Baby Loss Club - Guest Post by Rachel Lewis

I sat nervously in the hospital conference room.  I expected it to be empty, or at least almost empty.  I mean, how many women really suffer pregnancy loss in my area anyway?

And as the minutes wore on, the seats filled, answering my unspoken question.

Apparently, a lot of people lose babies.

A hushed, quiet, almost reverent tone overtook the room.

The moderator began her recitation of expectations for the group.  I shuffled in my chair.  While her words laid out what I could expect to hear, I had no idea how I could expect to feel over the next two hours.

Introductions began.  Instead of sharing our name, our vocation, our hobbies, or the highlights of our family — things you would normally share with a roomful of strangers — we shared the one thing we often don’t speak of to people we don’t know.  Our dead child’s name.  How old or far along our baby was.  The nature of our loss.  The names of our family who survived the loss.

As more than a dozen stories of baby death unfolded before me, the tears I so desperately wanted to hold in spilled silently from my swollen lids.  I cried not so much because of my own loss — but because of theirs.

This was my first foray into a real baby loss club. And without even trying to, I began silently comparing our stories.

The Lean And Grab: A Babywearer's Nemesis

"What is going on here?" I hear you ask...well that's my baby boy, causing havoc in a local store courtesy of the 'Lean And Grab' - a babywearer's nemesis move that tyrant babies perform with ease.

Clearly shops just aren't made for babies, or maybe babies aren't made for shops, but he essentially swiped an entire section of sweaters and adorable baby-sized coats with his tiny-yet-impressively-strong hands.

I can still hear the crash of falling hangers amid his euphoric victory cheering.

Giving The Gift Of Life After Infant Loss

If a picture speaks a thousand words, this one softly whispers every syllable straight to my heart.

Baby Simon was adopted by parents Ben and Kari in July this year and in this picture, he is being fed donor milk by a mother who I cannot stop thinking about.

Ben and Kari wrote:

"When we started the adoption process, we knew that Simon would be welcomed into our community with open arms.  What we didn't know was that people we had never met would touch our hearts so profoundly with their care for him. 
One of Simon's breast milk donors, Melodye, came for a visit yesterday.  Her twins came way too early and unfortunately never made it out of the NICU.  She courageously chose to turn a disaster into a blessing by choosing to give Simon their pumped milk."

Here is a mother who is supporting and nurturing new life, after a loss that words simply cannot define.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, as well as the month that Melodye's sweet babies were due.  It is a month to bring awareness, connection and support to families experiencing the pain of such tragic loss.