What was one of your greatest challenges in motherhood?
One of my greatest challenges in motherhood has been putting aside everything that I thought I knew and envisioned motherhood to be like, expectations of myself included, and just enjoying the milestones and adventures as they come. It's not easy living in the moment when you feel like you need to be prepared for each new step, but it's imperative when wanting to truly relish in the joy each day brings.
What was one of your greatest joys?
Seeing my children's individual personalities come out and discovering what they like. I learn so much from each of them, during each stage, and it has helped cultivate a love of learning in my own heart.
Tell us about your experience as a labor and delivery nurse? What led you to become a lactation specialist?
By nature I have a very entrepreneurial heart when it comes to helping others. So it came as no surprise that after we welcomed our first child, I decided to go back to nursing school to become a labor and delivery nurse. After my incredible experience I wanted to give back and provide others what had been provided to me. Every birth is different, but the ones in which the mothers felt most empowered are the ones where their desires are advocated for, regardless of what type of birth brought forth their child. To be a witness of that is to truly see a miracle. Similarly to how I blazed into the labor and delivery scene, it was my experience with nursing our second child that inspired me to pursue certification as a Lactation Counselor.
Tell us about your experiences with your own births?
Each experience was very different from one another, but all 100% empowering. Throughout all my pregnancies my biggest desire was to have births free from any unnecessary medical interventions. Faithfully, that desire was granted for each of my 3 deliveries. My first was a hospital birth with midwives, my second was a hospital birth with an OBGYN, and my third was an unassisted homebirth with my husband delivering our baby. The homebirth was intentional, the unassisted part was not. However, my midwife had 4 of us all go into labor relatively close to one another (a 1st for her) and with my labor and delivery being a total of 2.5 hours from 1st contraction to delivery the backup midwife arrived just in time to oversee my post delivery cares. It was intense and so beautiful-then again that can be said for each of them.
Tell us about your postpartum journey. What caught you by surprise? What was your greatest struggle and how did you work towards overcoming it?
I love the euphoria delivery brings. For the 1st couple of days after birth I feel like I can conquer anything. Then the sleepless nights and nursing hurdles hit. I'm always so surprised how difficult nursing is for me. Those sleepless nights can be long when it seems to go from one nursing session to the next and each one of those comes with a little apprehension when it's accompanied by pain. I got through those early days by reminding myself that we are one more nursing session closer to getting it and I just kept trusting that my body was giving each baby everything they needed.
Tell us about your breastfeeding journey. Something you learned, something you struggled through, something you loved?
Just like delivery, breastfeeding looks different for everyone. Without fail it always takes me 8-10 weeks to get into a groove with breastfeeding despite intervention, method, tie assessments, ect. Luckily, most people get there quicker and I seem to be an exception because that's a long time to struggle. Being open about my struggles and having a community of people rooting me on gets me through every time. After the storm I am always reminded why I stick it out. I love the ease of nursing and the times of quiet and stillness it sprinkles throughout my day.
Have you heard of the benefits of breast massage and did you give it a try in your breastfeeding journey?
As a labor and delivery nurse I would speak to the benefits of massaging while nursing and even pumping to help promote milk let down. I got so accustomed to this that I usually use this technique in my own daily nursing sessions. However, I was surprised with how gentle of a massage is truly needed to see this benefit. I recently started using the Lumama Lactation Massager before or during nursing. Not only is it relaxing which helps your milk let down but it's prophylactic at keeping those clogged ducts away.
What one piece of advice would you give to new moms?
You are equipped and you are enough. Let go of the unrealistic expectations and let yourself experience each moment.