Loving On Babies, Raising Men

Happy and young pregnant couple hugging in nature. Vintage retro style with light leaks

Welcome to my first blog post! I think it will be short and sweet, but you never can tell with me.. Plus, I am at work and that means I am writing this with a newborn on my lap. Lovely company.

When I became a mom I was 20 years old. We got married in September and baby boy was born in December. Needless to say, he was a surprise. I love surprises though and he was a good one. I knew I always wanted to be mom and now it was happening. Sooner than we expected but the way I look at it is everything happens for a reason. 17 years later I couldn’t be prouder of the man he has grown into.

It is hard to believe how uncomfortable I was made to feel in my childbirth class. I had to go with my mom. I may have been young, and unwed at that point, but I felt so terrible at that class I never went back. My husband was in the Navy and stationed in Washington State so he couldn’t attend the classes with me. I was not going to have my baby in a Naval hospital. (No offense).

Anyway, I had a very long labor full of Pitocin, vomiting and crappy chap stick. I will save my birth story for another post. That will take time and wine and I can’t drink on the job.

When I took him home I breastfed, it was hard but I didn’t even consider bottle feeding. I just didn’t. Which in all honesty was naive on my part- kinda dumb too. I just wasn’t educated. I didn’t know my options about birth or feeding. He did almost starve to death, (not literally) but at the time he was “literally dying” I don’t know why he’s screaming.. it hasn’t been 3 hours. Yep.. go ahead, judge me. I was that mom. That’s what they told me so thats what I did. They didn’t tell me he could be hungry in an hour, or 2. They said feed him every 3 hours. I breastfed for 6 months and supplemented here and there.

We moved to Washington when baby boy was 6 weeks old. We were 20, he was 6 weeks, we just got married, never even spent the night together. (Well, maybe there was that one time but you catch my drift). All of the sudden I was playing house, but it was awesome. My baby boy thrived, he was my best friend, he was so so smart. He always made me look damn good as a parent!

When I had my second son and started learning about crazy “madoula” “doula” business I was so disappointed at what I did not know for my first birth. I felt so guilty. In a way, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t go full force with the whole, “I am women hear me roar” like you, my hero home birthers. But I did listen my heart instead of them. I listened to my intuition, and I listened to my baby.

Wow, listening to him made my life so much easier. I have learned so much from my own parenting mishaps that it only made me want to pursue doulaing even more. I have learned so much from the babies and the families I have worked with as well. The biggest lesson has been that mamas just want to be heard and validated. Even if you are validating a feeling they have you know will subside.. you can tell her, this too shall pass. Now go sleep!

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I would like to say we all know how good breastfeeding is for our babies. We all know how good breastfeeding is for us as women and mothers. But, we also know how hard it is. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you don’t love your baby as much as someone else because you didn’t breastfeed. This coming from a mama who breastfed, bottle fed and supplemented with formula. My boys are 17 and 12 and I can tell you right now, with the societal challenges they are faced with on a daily basis, whether I breastfed them at all or for how long.. love your kids unconditionally.. every day. Yes, we all want to do what is best for our babies. Do YOUR best. I would take back the threenager attitude and babyhood over the where are you going to college discussions or are you even going to college discussions. Parenting babies and toddlers is a physical strain, (yes it can be emotional when they have their meltdowns and hurts) But parenting kids that can wipe their own butt and make their own decisions is such an emotional season. Whatever season you are in, try not to raise your voice, love them, sometimes from afar, if they don’t want to be hugged don’t, respect them, pray for them. When you think you are a bad mom, remember you’re not. Bad moms are not concerned if they are being a bad mom.

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