I support breastfeeding, but… [you actually don’t]

I support breastfeeding, but… [you actually don’t]

Booby Tuesday

One thing that drives me nuts is when I see stuff like this:

“I support breastfeeding, but not past a certain age.”
“I support breastfeeding, but women need to cover up in public.”
“I support breastfeeding, but it has to be exclusive.  No formula here!”
“I support breastfeeding, but ONLY IF IT FITS WITH MY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT.”

Call me crazy, but I feel that if you truly support something or someone, there is no need to qualify it. I support my husband. I may not agree with everything he chooses to do, but I still support him. Likewise with breastfeeding. I may not choose to nurse to age 7 or supplement with formula or use a cover in public, but I still support women who do make those choices. Because it’s not about what I think is right. The only thing that I am right about, are the choices I make for my family.

If you feel the need to throw in a ‘but’ after the statement “I support breastfeeding,” then I say you don’t really support breastfeeding. Instead, you support your own beliefs. Which is great, but it’s kind of not necessary, since the general assumption would be that if you had an idea, you’d support it.

I’m not saying you have to love every aspect about breastfeeding to support it. I was ready to wean my son a few months after he turned two. Some people would say I should have let him go longer, let him decide when he was done. Welp, I wasn’t comfortable going longer. Not sure I’ll go much past two years with the next baby; we’ll just have to see. But I know there are mothers who nurse until 3, 4, 5 years and older. You know what? I support them. Period. I respect their ability to make the best decisions for their families.  Nursing for that long may not be my cup of tea, but I can still support the moms who do it.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Another example. Maybe you don’t like how moms feed uncovered in public. That’s fine. You can still support those mothers by realizing it’s not about you. Those moms are not trying to make you uncomfortable; they’re simply feeding their baby in the easiest way they know. Maybe they wanted to use a cover, but a thrashing baby said no. Maybe they wanted to use a private room, but one wasn’t available. Maybe they are just as uncomfortable as you are, especially when they feel your disapproving stare. And maybe, they want people to see them feeding because they want to help normalize breastfeeding in our culture. Whatever. The reasons don’t matter. What matters is being able to support those moms even if you wouldn’t personally make the same choice.

It comes down to support. If you want to see breastfeeding moms succeed, give them your full, unconditional support. Don’t try to hold them to your own standards, because that’s not fair. We’re all in different situations, with different babies, just trying to make it work. We need support, not buts.

 

It’s ok to hate motherhood

It’s kind of funny that my last post was about angry music and in it, I asked my hormonal bitchiness to go away. The day after I wrote it, I had probably the worst day of my pregnancy, hormone-wise.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was the perfect storm of crazy. I was tired, sore from my Sunday run, short-tempered and low on patience. My son was whiny, tired and not really willing to listen to me. Everything came to a head when he refused to nap. I laid with him for a little bit and, of course, fell asleep just long enough to wake up groggy, tired and more irritable than before. I left him lying there awake and told him to sleep. About 15 minutes later, I hear a knocking on his door (his usual way of letting me know he’s up). I ignored it, until I heard him hit the door with what sounded like a hard toy.

I kind of exploded. It wasn’t pretty. I yelled about not hitting the door and he started crying. In a fit of rage, I showed him how his beloved Lego Marvel superheroes video game was going into the closet for the foreseeable future because he wouldn’t nap. All the while, he’s standing there with tears in his eyes, probably confused as to why I was freaking out so much.

Once I forced myself to calm down a bit, I held him for awhile and apologized for yelling. We talked about how it was scary that I yelled and how he shouldn’t have hit his door and I shouldn’t have yelled. He was running around and playing as if nothing had happened about 15 minutes later, but I was still in a state.

Fast forward, my husband gets home and they go outside to play. I sit down outside to watch and soak up some Vitamin D, but within two minutes I have to go lay on my bed and bawl my frickin’ eyes out. While sitting out there, watching my son run around, I had this fleeting thought:

I wish he’d keep running and not come back.

That instantly triggered the mom guilt and reinforced my thoughts of inadequacy; hence the tears. As I lay there sobbing, I alternated between beating myself up for having such a horrible thought and being terrified at the thought of having two children when I can barely manage one.

Now, normally this is the point in a blog post like this where I’d tell you about that magical moment where I realized it’s all going to be okay. That my son did something heart-melting and I saw what a joy motherhood really was. Not going to happen this time. I didn’t have an a-ha moment like that this time.

My son and husband did come in and try to make me feel better. My husband rubbed my back and sat there in silence, knowing I would talk if I wanted to. My son jumped around the bed, asking if I was ok, telling his dad that I was sad and giving me little kisses and hugs. It did help my tears subside and my calm (sanity) return, but it didn’t make me love motherhood again.

And that’s FINE. It’s okay to have thoughts like mine. It’s normal not to love motherhood 100% of the time. It’s all right not to have that Hallmark moment where you realize everything is going to be hunky-dory. If it takes you a little longer to find your calm again, you are still a good mama.

Note: If you have these kind of feelings, acknowledge them. Don’t force them away because you are ashamed, or think good mamas don’t have those thoughts. Let them out in some constructive way: crying, talking to someone, screaming (into a pillow, preferably not at someone else), doing a therapeutic activity (art, yoga, whatever floats your boat). If you hold these types of feelings inside, they will fester and possibly grow into something worse. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel like you’re drowning. Asking for help is a sign of strength. My support team is my husband, my parents, a few close friends and my OB. After I give birth, I plan to go back on my antidepressants (I know there are some I could take during pregnancy, but I don’t feel my need outweighs the potential risks to the baby at this point). Just please, don’t hide these feelings away out of fear or shame. You are a good mama, and don’t ever forget that.

Twisted MixTape: I Hate the World

The theme for this week’s MixTape is free-for-all. I decided to do a MixTape in honor of the chronic irritation that I’ve been living with. Seriously, some days I’m such an asshole I don’t even want to be in the same room as myself! I feel bad for my kiddo (the one on the outside); I try to hide my pissiness but with a very spirited and strong-minded 3 year old…it’s challenging.

So, here is an ode to my hormonal bitchiness. Go away.

Blue Monday by Orgy

I have to do the Orgy version because it’s so much angrier sounding than the New Order original. This is probably what my son is thinking whenever I’m around.

Du Haust by Rammstein

“You hate me.” ‘Nuff said.

Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit

Fred Durst is a douche canoe, but he makes good angry music.

Bodies by Drowning Pool

I actually played this song at my wedding. It was during the garter toss. I think I was the only one amused by it.

Bitches by Insane Clown Posse

This one is pretty bad. It kind of makes me laugh because it’s just so over-the-top sexist, misogynistic and generally just awful to women. So not only is it angry music, but it makes me laugh which then kind of puts me in a better mood.

There is one song missing from this list, and that is “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. OF COURSE I’d listen to that one when angry. It’s just that I used it in my running MixTape so don’t want to overuse it. Oh what the hell, it’s a good song. Here it is:

Don’t forget to check out the host: Jen Kehl at My Skewed View. Also head over to the blog hop to find some other awesome MixTapes.

When the past invades your present (parenting)

My son attends a gymnastics class once a week. On so many levels, it’s a good thing: he gets some socialization, gets a chance to learn new skills, gets practice with listening to authority figures, I get an hour to myself (stuck on a hard bench, but still). He enjoys it, and has been exposed to so many different new things. Did you know a 3yo can do the pommel horse, and rings, and high bar (all with assistance, of course)? When I did gymnastics camp in the 2nd grade, we only did floor, vault and beam.

Colt in the swing at gymnastics

So this sounds all find and dandy, right? Last week, I almost broke down in tears watching him. Not from pride or that sentimental “oh-he’s-getting-so-big” crap that frequently pops up. The tears were threatening to spill because I wondered if this gymnastics thing was a big mistake.

Colt is very spirited and independent. Sometimes, he has trouble focusing. This often comes out in gymnastics, when his coaches are asking him to do specific tasks and he just wants to screw around with the other little boys in his group. Last class, I watched the coach put him in a sort of timeout: a few feet away from the other boys, facing away, because he wouldn’t stop messing around while waiting his turn. I think it was the right thing to do (hell, I’d probably do the same), but it still broke my heart to see my boy singled out. When the same thing kept happening at every station, that’s when the doubt started to creep in.

Then I wondered if maybe these feelings were highlighting my own personality or parenting shortcomings.

I try not to be pushy with Colt. I want him to enjoy his activities and not feel like he has to succeed in order to be loved. But there is a part of me that wants him to be the best. I think it’s natural for every parent to have that feeling. With me, I also know I’m very competitive. I was an overachiever growing up and felt like my worth was dependent on how well I did in school, sports, etc. When I got my first B ever in high school, I felt like a complete failure. In sports, I was always second best, the 6th man, the first sub – never the starter, the star. It made me feel less-than, even though I was always on the varsity team and contributed greatly. I just never felt good enough.

I don’t blame my parents for this. They applauded my achievements and encouraged me to do well, but never tied their love to how well I did. I’ve read that feelings like mine are often seen in children of alcoholics, so I’m guessing I developed them as a coping strategy to my dad’s drinking.

I don’t ever want my son to feel that he has to be perfect to be loved. I also don’t want him to miss out on learning opportunities just because I’m afraid he’ll fail, or be laughed at, or feel inadequate. I think it’s important for him to experience these things, so he can learn healthy coping strategies now that will serve him well as he gets older.

There is proof that the gymnastics thing was more about me than Colt. At the end of class, I was waiting for the coach to come over and tell me that Colt was not getting his sucker today because he didn’t listen (this has happened before). Instead, I watched her put her arm around his shoulders and say, “Good job listening today, Colt.” From a distance, I only saw the negative, but up close she saw improvement. When he ran over to me, beaming and saying happily, “I did listen today,” I swallowed the lecture about listening to his coaches, hugged him and simply said, “I’m so proud of you. Thank you for listening to your coaches.” Apparently, Colt isn’t the only one who is learning from gymnastics.

Boobie Tuesday: Changes in Pregnancy

One reason I decided to jump back into blogging was because I felt compelled to write about breastfeeding stuff. I’m an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, but I don’t do much with it these days. I’m active on a few Facebook groups, and I volunteer with Breastfeeding USA’s social network team. I’m not in a position to find a job in the breastfeeding arena, and though there are a few volunteer opportunities in my area, I’ve been lazy in pursuing them. All that adds up to the conclusion: there are not enough boobies in my life and I must write about them!

Also, I thought using the title “Boobie Tuesday” was really funny. At least until Ruby Tuesday tries to sue me.

Booby Tuesday

Welcome to Boobie Tuesday!

The boobie topic that has been on my mind lately has actually been on my chest: breast changes in pregnancy.

My boobs HURT. Oh my Lord. They are way too enthusiastic for this baby to come. They’re like, “Whoo hoo! New baby on the way! We know what to do! Let’s throw a lactation party and get ready to nurse! Eff yeah, let’s do this!” and then they get sort of hard and all achy. When I wake up in the morning, it seriously feels like my husband punches me in the boobs all night.

Here’s the thing, girls: We are only 15 weeks along. We have at least 25 more weeks until Baby McCall 2.0 shows up. CALM THE EFF DOWN. You will get your chance to nurse; just be patient.

Now, I know it’s normal and positive to have breast changes in pregnancy. But just because something is normal, doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. I had virtually no breast changes in my pregnancy with Colt. I went from a 36D bra to a 38D bra later in my pregnancy as my ginormous belly pushed my diaphragm out a bit. Other than that – not much else went on in the boob department. We still went on to nurse for 27 months.

This time might be different because Colt and I only stopped breastfeeding about a year before I got pregnant. I never stopped producing milk, so the girls never really got a rest in between nursing and pregnancy. So instead of starting from scratch, they merely have to rev things up. Almost right from the start of this pregnancy, I had tender nipples, fuller breasts and soreness all over. Again, totally normal and even to be desired, but I don’t have to like it!

So now I live in soft sports bras (not super constrictive ones – more like the ones for yoga that just barely hold them in place). And I’ve pretty much instituted a “lookie no touchie” policy for my husband (sorry, babe).

What about you? Were your breast changes different from pregnancy to pregnancy?

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday: Let’s Get Physical!

…but not with Olivia Newton-John. Not in this chick’s workout playlist, anyway.

Oh how I’ve missed Twisted Mix Tape! I love talking about music, and sharing music, and discovering music, so my hiatus from this blog hop has been sad times. But no more!

Twisted Mix Tape www.jenkehl.comThe topic this week is motivating music. Since I’m kind of a gym rat who needs music to fuel my workouts, this is near and dear to my heart. So here goes: the top 5 songs that get me pumped the eff up.

1. Lose Yourself by Eminem

Oh My Lawd, this gets me pumped up. This song got me so many months of marathon and half marathon training. At the end of my last leg in one of the relays I did, I just replayed this song over and over and over because I. Was. Just. Done. I needed Eminem to tell me that “Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not.” This especially gets me to that point of, I’m so pumped up I might cry: “So here I go it’s my shot, feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got.”

Funny enough, I’ve never seen 8 Mile.

2. Killing In The Name by Rage Against the Machine

Another badass running song. The pace of my run syncs up well with the beat. This one also gets my blood pumping when I’m lifting heavy things.

“Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

3. Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC

I’m not gonna lie, my love affair with AC/DC is a direct effect of my near-obsessive love of The Avengers. Iron Man makes two kick-ass entrances to this song: one in Iron Man 2 and the other in The Avengers. The Iron Man 2 soundtrack is a staple in my workout playlist rotation. It kind of makes me feel like Iron Man.

4. Pretty much anything by The Lonely Island

So, one thing I like to look for in fitness music is humor. If I’m dying during a long run, I want to hear something funny to take my mind off the fact that I hate life so much right now. The Lonely Island pretty much delivers on that, every time. It’s a close one between I’m On A Boat and Jizz In My Pants, but I think Boat wins because it also has such a driving beat. Jizz is a little mellower. Anyway, here is both. You be the judge!

5. Professional Griefers by deadmau5 featuring Gerard Way

I added this one while living in England. The driving beat, the yelling lyrics, just the overall energy. I freaking love this song.

My workout playlist has definitely evolved. It used to be dominated by pop – Black Eyed Peas, Britney, etc. It still has a bit of that (Britney puts out some damn good dance music) and actually has a lot of British pop from my time in England (Wiley, Far East Movement, David Guetta, JLS, Example).

What music gets you off your rump and moving?