I am passionate about breastfeeding and feel strongly that breastmilk matters – no matter how long or how much – it matters and is important for both mother and baby.
I am not an advocate of breast is best – but nor am I an advocate for fed is best (I dislike the term immensely, actually). Informed is best.
Since reaching this point in my journey, I’ve realised that I’ve soldiered through many ailments. And I never decide to give up on living because I have the common cold nor does anyone suggest it – so why should I give up on breastfeeding if I suffer a breastfeeding related complaint? It is my hope that people reading this do not feel sympathy but empathy – and see that strength can be found within. Your breastfeeding goals matter, your journey matters and the support you receive matters.
I told myself I wouldn't neglect the blog again - but I most definitely have. And it's mainly because my day at the moment looks a little like this:
- Up at 5am after being up all night
- Daddy takes small child for breakfast and play while I sleep until 7:20am (yes, 7:20am. I have worked out the EXACT time I need to get up)
- Back on duty at 7:30am
- Breakfast while the boobie monster feeds from me. I do my best not to drop cereal and yoghurt on her head but I make no promises
- The day progresses in a normal fashion of snack times, nap times, play times, adventures, babychinos, various mundane chores that keep everyone clothed, fed and organised, sitting down is criminal
- Daddy gets home at 5pm
- Dinner. Or, more-so, cooking dinner that we eat cold and the small child does not eat. We offer various alternatives which usually end up being avocado and raspberries (there could be worse things I suppose)
- Shower with daddy
- Settling for bed with mummy (which involves about 50 thousand breastfeeds, going to the toilet 17 times and a Riff Raff Sleep Toy called Bandit)
- I want to have a cup of tea, I want a snack, I want to read a book - but I'm too damn tired. I scroll Instagram while I brush my teeth and hop into bed ready for round 2 - the hardest round.
There's always been debate about which is the "harder" (you'll need to read that with big, sarcastic quotation marks to get the full impact) aspect of parenting. That's why I don't say that it's harder to stay home or harder to go to work - I say that it's different. You actually cannot compare the two. There are too many variables. But as I write from my perspective, a stay at home mother, I think it's important to note that it's not all coffee playdates at the park and sitting down to blog when you're at home with a toddler (hence why this website has been neglected for several months).
Try as you might, having 20 minutes to yourself to listen to a meditation track or practice some breathing exercises can feel near impossible. And even if you're lucky enough to have this golden 20 minutes, if you're anything like me, you can get into a trap of thinking that there are "better, more important things to do" or you sit and engage in mindlessness such as scrolling through social media.
I've outlined some techniques that have helped me in the past. I have found that the more I practice these simple ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation, the easier it is to attend a yoga class or listen to a full meditation because my mindset is already positive about it and I'm already enjoying the practice and reaping the benefits.
I'm so very sorry for neglecting you. You see, there's this thing called Instagram - and it allows me to post snippets of my daily life, quotes, short messages of encouragement and effortlessly stay active in promoting my message.
Sometimes writing for you can be daunting. I worry about word count. I never know what to call you. I wonder if my posts are as funny and thought provoking as some others. I struggle to find time to sit at the computer and most my Instagram posts are written whilst breastfeeding a toddler.
But - my new goal is to write more often. I am looking forward to it.
In the meantime, this is what I've been up to:
Hi Shannon. Nice to meet you. What's your story?
Well... I’m a 31 year old mother of three boys; Hamish - 4, Liam - 2 and Nate - 11 months. I’m also an Early Childhood Teacher and emerging Author. I’m a self-confessed perfectionist and worry wart. I live in Brisbane, Queensland with my husband, Sean. I am currently a stay at home mother. I plan to return to work teaching part-time next year.
Originally published November 16 2015 over at Little Tsunami.
Nami, 36, is a mother to Mannus, 5, and Dulcie, 3. She believes the traumatic birth of her son played a significant role in triggering her experience of postnatal depression.
The birth of my son was incredibly traumatic. For days I was unable to even think about the birth without crying – I felt like I’d been in a car crash.
In the three days before Mannus arrived my contractions came and went and throughout this time I barely slept. I was behind the eight ball before the game began. My son had wedged himself on an unusual angle which prolonged active labour and I pushed for almost two hours. Midwives announced that I was minutes away from a Caesarian-section but we’d give it “one last go”. Suddenly I had a team of people around me and my legs were being stretched up above my head (I’ve since learnt this is called the “McRoberts Manouver”) and moments later a baby boy was being passed across the room. I held him for a few minutes but I think I was in shock. I felt that I’d been man-handled, that my body was not mine and it was necessary to do me whatever it took to get that baby out.
SELF CARE – the things you do to replenish your mental, physical and emotional health or “filling up your cup”.
When I first became a mum, all I could think of was my baby and his wellbeing. I also felt guilty if I was not 100% focussed on him. Ultimately, I forgot to take care of myself. Part of my recovery from postnatal depression was to think of self-care strategies that I could use particularly when my “cup” was starting to empty. Here are a few that I turn to:
You seem to be forgotten when you have your second baby… The presumption from a lot of people was that I knew what I was doing and that I must be ok… Some people who visited or sent well wishes after my first baby didn’t after my second. Even though I now have twice as many children as I used to, I am now lonelier than ever.
Paula Fletcher kindly shares her wisdom. For more information about Haven Yoga and Wellness, visit the Facebook page.