There are times in your life that alter your definition of who you are, times that make you dig deeper and discover a You that you’ve never met before. Motherhood is one of those moments. It’s not the only such life moment, but it is one of them.
I recall laboring for 5 days, only allowing my superman husband to comfort me. I remember the surprise of the mysteries of labor and birth unfolding. I had a room full of candles, a birth statue given to me by Latina (I LOVE HER), a full Birth Plan, a Doula, and a Birthing Center waiting for me. I recall the shock of being told I had to have a cesarean. I didn’t even pack or prepare for the possibility of a cesarean. NOT ME, NOT US! We took every class available to expecting parents in New York City. I watched The Business of Being Born. My body and my birth belonged to me.
So, I certainly didn’t handle it well when I was told to have one of these procedures to meet my son. My reaction was more in-line with being told I was going to die a slow death (so dramatic…typical me). Part of the shock was fear of the unknown, for sure. But another part was the feeling of distrust for medical staff and my fear of “not really giving birth like a real Mom”. It took me a couple weeks to forgive myself. I had exchanged the candle-lit, peaceful music-filled birth I desired most, for a sterile, invasive, drug-riddled surgery. I truly thought there was shame in it. I carried it like a bag of bricks for days.
Nobody told me that breastfeeding could feel like a pencil sharpener grinding your nipple. It did for me. We consulted La Leche League, hired Lactation Consultants and traveled on icy roads to a Lactation Center. This was an obstacle that colored those first weeks. We powered through it and breastfeeding became the comforting, beautiful experience I wanted.
Being born in the winter, we spent so many weeks indoors with our newborn, isolated from the world. HEY! IT WASN’T ALL BAD, Y’ALL!! LOL! I started with that reality because it is the part of Motherhood that no one likes to talk about. All the stress and pain aside, it was a deeply beautiful time. I felt more in love with my Husband than I had for our 8 years together. And The Kid? The Hubs and I couldn’t believe this miracle before us. So tiny yet so strong.
Finally, The Kid was old enough to go outside and do classes. In doing so, I got to meet other new Moms! I heard all the ways that women enter into Motherhood. New Mothers were so open and willing to talk about their labor. It was cathartic. It was a sisterhood in many ways. No matter HOW the babies joined the families, be it adoption, surrogacy, c-section or drug-free natural birth, these Women became Mothers. And in sharing our stories, I saw that love was the common thread. It uplifted me. It refocused me. It empowered me. I realized there is incredible power in finding yourself in the experience of others. When I finally opened up and talked about my pain, my fears, my happiness and my successes, I found out that I wasn’t alone! I found strength in all of it. This is why MilkBrain is important to me. I want other Moms to feel supported. No one should feel alone.
Motherhood is a rollercoaster and you’re never alone for the ride. There’s always another Mom who has been through something similar if not the same. For this reason, MilkBrain is evolving. Even though this blog is a newborn, I can see the power in expanding the MilkBrain voice to include other Mothers. I have invited Moms from all over the country to contribute their stories of victory, failure, joy, and sadness. I hope that you find a needed laugh, a smile and a virtual hug that tells you, “You’re doing fine! Better than fine!”
We do extreme things to keep ourselves, our children and our families happy. We are hard on ourselves. We are Superwomen. MilkBrain is a place we can roar, laugh, cry and find ourselves in the stories and thoughts of other Moms.
I hope you enjoy these amazing Moms as much as I do. We are imperfect and what could be more perfect than that?! Now, excuse me while I go determine if the brown stuff on the light switch is poo or …dammit, I know it’s poo. Stay tuned to MilkBrain!