Welcome to the space of Motherhood Unfiltered! It is always our hope that the words you read here bring a refreshing dose of encouragement and support in your motherhood journey! Today we're sharing thoughts from Jennifer Nolde on her motherhood journey.
What was one of your greatest challenges in motherhood?
One of the greatest challenges with motherhood so far was dealing with postpartum depression. I have 3 children, and with each one the postpartum depression was worse. Having the other littles at home as well as a brand new baby was so difficult. My other children didn’t understand why I was feeling the way I did and that was so hard on me.
What was one of your greatest joys?
One of my greatest joys is seeing my girls grow to be kind humans. There are so many decisions you have to make as a parent and I often feel like I’m failing. To be honest, I have that feeling almost daily! There have been moments when I see them being kind to someone or even simply using good manners and I’m reminded that I’m doing alright!
Tell us about your postpartum journey. What caught you by surprise? What was your greatest struggle and how did you work towards overcoming it?
As I mentioned before, the postpartum depression was extremely difficult. Taking care of myself and overcoming that while also taking care of my family was by far one of the hardest things I’ve done. Other than that, feeling the amount of love you have for your children caught me by surprise. I mean, I knew that I would love them, but when I first laid eyes on them it was overwhelming. I remember being pregnant with my 2nd and 3rd babies and having thoughts about how unsure I was that I would have enough room in my heart to love another child as much as I loved my first. Then they came along and it was that same overwhelming love all over again.
Tell us about your breastfeeding journey. Something you learned, something you struggled through, something you loved?
My breastfeeding journey was so different with each of my children. My oldest was born 8 weeks early and spent the first 5 weeks of her life in the NICU. She had a feeding tube so I started off exclusively pumping. That was not easy by any means, but the fact that I felt like it was one of the only things I could do for her made it easy for me not to give up. She transitioned back and forth from breast to bottle so easily as well. (I feel lucky!)
My next child was born with a tongue and lip tie so our breastfeeding journey started out rough. She had issues with latching, causing pain for me as well as a whole bunch of issues for her. After seeking help with that and getting the tongue and lip ties revised things started to improve but were still far from easy. I ended up losing my milk supply on one side but was still able to exclusively breastfeed on the other side for 9 months. I was working at the time and she refused to take a bottle. She would go all day without eating and then nurse ALL night. Talk about exhausting!
My 3rd baby was by far the easiest to breastfeed and the most enjoyable. She had some initial issues with latching- she had a tongue tie as well, but because of the great support system I had with my previous daughter, we were able to get it taken care of right away and had a great experience from there.
Have you heard of the benefits of breast massage and did you give it a try in your breastfeeding journey?
I have heard of the benefits and I had to massage while pumping to help with let downs. I experienced clogged ducts with all three children and massage and heat is what I used to get relief.
What one piece of advice would you give to new moms?
I would tell new moms to try to soak it all in and enjoy every moment, even the hard ones. I know this saying is so cliché, but it’s SO true- “the days may seem long, but the years fly by”. So far in my motherhood journey, I feel like there have been more hard days than easy, but I’m learning to embrace them all.
Follow Jennifer here: @the.nolde.crew