What has been one of your greatest challenges in motherhood? What did you do to overcome it?
As a mom of 3, one of my greatest challenges has been the anxiety that I have had to deal with. Anxiety over the fear of the unknown, sick kids, hoping I will sleep again, and wondering if I am doing any of this right for each individual child's needs. I have been able to deal with the stresses and anxiety I have faced by talking with other moms, carving out time for myself, and getting out of the house daily.
What was one of your greatest joys?
The greatest joys of motherhood for me have been when I see my kids smiling faces, when they tell me they love me, and when I get to snuggle up next to them while we read books or talk about our days. I know that these kids know they are loved and in the end that is what they need - a safe space, filled with love.
Tell us about your postpartum journey. What caught you by surprise?
After I had each child, postpartum looked different. My first was by far my hardest. I had challenges with breastfeeding including issues with a lip tie, mastitis, painful nipples, engorgement, and my little one not ever accepting a bottle. Fast forward to 6 months postpartum, I was suffering from feeling lonely and isolated in the new world of motherhood and I was battling postpartum depression.
With my second child my postpartum journey was a lot easier to manage even though my little one was very colicky. I found ways to spend time outside, exercising and breathing fresh air.
I am currently 5 months postpartum with my third baby and it has been great. I have done a lot of pelvic floor workouts to take care of my body and I have been staying active in the community to take care of my mental health.
Postpartum looks different, but similar for every new mom. Nobody is ever alone, even though we feel that way. Postpartum is such a special time and what I wish I could go back in time and tell myself is - don't worry so much! Babies get sick, babies cry, but they are only babies for so long, so soak it up!
Tell us about your breastfeeding journey. Something you learned, something you struggled through, something you loved?
Breastfeeding is a learning curve. I took a prenatal breastfeeding class and read a book about breastfeeding. I thought I was beyond prepared and then I had my baby. I was shocked when it was hard for me! When my baby was 10 days old I had a bad case of mastitis, I felt awful, and I cried and cried and cried begging my husband to go and buy bottles and formula. I was done! It is funny to look back now and think about how I almost gave up something that I love so much now. For me breastfeeding is a designated snuggle time and the older and more independent your child gets, the more us moms need those sweet, sweet snuggles.
Have you heard of the benefits of breast massage and did you give it a try in your breastfeeding journey?
I have used breast massage with each child! I don't know how someone could breastfeed and not do it. With my third I got mastitis when my baby was 3 months old and I was sicker than ever before. Luckily, I was able to completely take care of the mastitis with natural remedies and a heated, vibrating breast massager. It was magic! I also use breast massage for pumping and I love to use my heated massager to get even more milk.
What one piece of advice would you give to new moms?
Don't worry so much, soak up every minute of that baby! They are only this little for such a short amount of time. It is important not to sweat the small stuff and find joy in the journey. You've got this mama!
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