Happy New year and welcome to the first blog post of 2022! I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays and were able to spend time with those you love most. This week, we interviewed Danica. Danica is a mom of three who loves sharing her motherhood journey and supporting other mammas along the way. Keep reading to hear what Danica had to say!
What has been the most challenging thing transitioning into motherhood? What did you do to overcome it?
I became a mother a lot sooner than my friends and close relatives, so being a first time mom was really lonely and I didn’t have a village of support. Nor did I know where to ask for help. We struggled financially and I didn’t know the types of resources that were available through our community or my insurance. It wasn’t until well after my son’s first birthday that I learned even if you don’t have physical support nearby, that you can find a virtual community for moral support throughout motherhood. This is where I began learning and connecting with other moms through Instagram. It helped me feel less alone and I was able to create some meaningful friendships. Some of whom I still talk to today.
What has brought you joy in motherhood?
Seeing my children develop into their own personalities. Learning with my children has humbled me.
Tell us about your birth experiences. Did they go as you expected?
With my first child, I originally planned for a natural birth with no medications. I was not prepared for the pain! I had heavy contractions, but not enough to dilate me. I felt as if the hospital was rushing to get me out of there, so they kept pushing pitocin on me to speed things along. It made my contractions a lot stronger until I finally agreed for an epidural. I was in labor with my first child for almost 30 hours!
With my second, it went a lot faster and I listened to my body to know when it was finally time to go to the hospital. And when I did, I was already 5 centimeters dilated! I knew I didn’t want to bear through the pain of the contractions so I asked for an epidural immediately. I wasn’t given pitocin this time and they allowed me to wait until my body was ready to push. Overall, I thought my experience with my second child went well.
With my third, it was a little nerve wracking because I gave birth during a pandemic, so there were a lot of uncertainties. Also, it was the very first time my water broke at home! When I arrived at the hospital all precautions were taken and I was glad that my husband was able to stay with me. My contractions were irregular and not strong enough to dilate me. I hesitated for a while, but finally I agreed to be given pitocin. However, I made sure I was in control of how much they gave me. Even though I was in labor a little longer this time than with my second baby, pushing baby out was a lot quicker!
Tell us about your breastfeeding journeys.
My breastfeeding journey with each baby has been different. I exclusively pumped for my first baby and with my second and third, I breastfeed and pump while I’m away. With all three it wasn’t an easy beginning. I had mastitis and clogged ducts often.
When I had my first baby, I was clueless about breastfeeding. I didn’t know what to expect and I especially did not know it would hurt so much! I just couldn’t figure out the right latch and every feed was so painful. I felt like my son was frustrated at every feed and in turn I was so frustrated. I saw a lactation consultant and learned about pumping. I just wanted to ensure my son would eat so after pumping every 2 hours for the whole week, as exhausted as I was, I decided to continue to pump and not nurse. Let’s be clear, pumping is STILL breastfeeding. When I stored away my pump after 14 months of exclusively pumping, I had never felt more proud of myself. Looking back at those 14 months, it came with so many challenges from anxiety to low milk supply, but I still did it! So, if you ask me what are some of my proudest mom life moments, I must say one is exclusively pumping.
When I had my second baby, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding again. At birth, my daughter latched on like a champ, but the nipple pains and engorgement were inevitable. Thankfully, after a couple of months, my milk supply regulated and the pains went away. I breastfed my daughter until she was a little over 2 years old. Even though I loved the bond we had during breastfeeding, I missed having my body to myself. I weaned her when I found out I was pregnant with my third baby. It wasn’t easy weaning her, but just like everyone else, us moms must advocate for our needs. It’s not selfish to put our needs first and I needed my time for myself before preparing for another baby whom I wanted to breastfeed as well.
I’m nursing my baby girl who is now 7 months old and with all of the physical challenges come emotional ones too. Breastfeeding and pumping is beautiful and hard. It’s not easy, but it’s also one of my proudest achievements.
Have you heard of breast massage? Have you found it beneficial?
I have heard of breast massage and do find it very beneficial and so helpful since I get clogged ducts often!
What postpartum advice do you have for other moms?
My postpartum advice for other moms would be to take things one day at a time and no matter what phase you are in, remember that it is all temporary. All the feelings and emotions we go through during this time are completely valid. We are not who we once were, we are changed. We are a new person going through matrescence.
You can follow Danica on Instagram (@thememiorsofamommy) and read her blog where she shares about her motherhood experiences, recipes, and essential oils.