It's Time To Celebrate Postpartum (Without The Filter)

A few days ago, Facebook announced plans to change its algorithms to promote wellbeing amongst its users.

It seems that too many of us have fallen victim to the social media comparison game and the endless clickbait articles that leave us feeling pretty void of compassion by the time the last ad rolls by.

Facebook has listened to our calls for real content...and not a moment too soon.

So with that in mind, it's time that I launched a project I've been planning for a while.  I'm not sure what's been holding me back...fear of failure, perhaps? What if nobody engages? What if nobody cares?

After a mini-pep talk with friends, I feel ready to take the risk.  So I'm now officially introducing the Postpartum Unfiltered project!

Yes, postpartum just got real...and not a moment too soon.

The idea is simple: let's shine a light on the postpartum experience, without the filters.  

I'm asking for your engagement with this one!

I'm asking you to share a picture of your postpartum experience...the picture that summarises it best.  It can be of absolutely anything...your postpartum body, your baby's feeds, the stockpile of diapers, that ever-growing laundry pile, your kindly neighbour, dishes in the sink, or even placenta smoothies (is that just me?!)

The only rule is: it has to be real.

No filters.

Just raw, beautifully real experiences.

Because the more we see through the filters, the more we realise that we are all connected by this powerful experience.

As women, we are conditioned from a young age to compare and compete. Let's be the change that this world needs and join together in solidarity instead.

There is no prize on offer for the supposedly 'best' picture here, there will be no certificate for the one with the most 'likes'.  This project aims to unite and reassure us...with real stories and the connections that inevitably grow from them.

Let's say no to filtered BS and embrace life's raw realities.

Are you ready?

Share your picture today - you can message my Facebook page (or post directly) and I promise to share each and every one.

And to kick things off, here is mine:

Navigating Nursing Aversion

I stumbled across this image the other day, which 'spoke to me', shall we say:

Lately, my breastfeeding journey has hit a few bumps.  Physically, we're doing well.  One year in and I've fought away mastitis just once, as opposed to the four times with my daughter.  My supply is good, my nipples are in tact and my baby is growing like a healthy and bountiful weed.


I've been feeling...agitated.  Not at  every nursing session, but every now and then, I feel utterly touched out and even panicky during feeds.  I'm no stranger to what's going on here, though with my daughter it didn't strike until she was significantly older than twelve months.

The beast I'm confronting is nursing aversion.

As with many things related to women's health, there isn't a whole lot of research or information about nursing aversion.  There is no hard and fast rule as to why it occurs or how best to remedy it, so mums are often left to navigate our way through these unknown waters with minimal support.

Through my own research, I've stumbled across one very significant contributing factor, which is not only apparent in anecdotal tales of nursing aversion, but is also specifically called out in the one and only published study about the phenomenon.

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.