Why Do We Need World Breast Pumping Day?

Today is World Breast Pumping Day, which maybe sounds a bit odd to some. If you've not pumped, you probably don't have a very clear concept of how much time, energy, and effort goes into pumping. Pumping is easily twice as time-consuming as breastfeeding straight from the breast, and results in the dreaded pile of dishes to wash (and sterilize!). 

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Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear created World Breast Pumping Day to recognize pumping moms and the many different ways we choose to feed our babies. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for feeding our babies. What works for some families, doesn't work for others. What works for one baby, won't necessarily work for subsequent babies. And what works for mom, won't necessarily always work for mom. It's a fluid relationship in more ways than one. Circumstances change, priorities shift, and all we can do is try our best to adjust. 

World Breast Pumping Day gives us the chance to celebrate our successes and mourn the loss if we don't meet our own expectations. 

How can you celebrate World Breast Pumping Day? If you're a pumping mom, a breastfeeding mom, a chest-feeder, combo-feeder, formula-feeder, mom-to-be, experienced mom who isn't feeding infants anymore, or a supporting player (so literally everyone is welcome, as long as you're not a creep), RSVP for the virtual event here. Invite your friends and help spread the word. Share your story. Encourage others who are struggling. (And enter the amazing giveaway that closes at 11:59pm PST tonight...hurry up!)

Boobyball Mini with Rethink Breast Cancer

Rethink Breast Cancer is bringing Boobyball Mini: A Next Gen FUNdraiser to Vancouver this Saturday, April 22nd. This fairytale bash has been planned with kids and parents in mind. Kids are welcome to wear costumes and will be entertained thanks to activities planned by sponsors such as Gap Kids, Indigo, and Panago. Parents will enjoy complimentary cocktails and Kim Crawford and Meiomi wines. As my friend so succinctly put it: think of it as a toddler gala...with an open bar.

Rethink Breast Cancer is the young women's breast cancer movement. Young adult cancer is generally thought of as cancer that is diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 39. Think of what you're doing in your twenties and thirties. Going to school, starting a career, buying a home, finding a partner, having babies. (Listen. I'm not saying you should be doing all or any of these things. If you don't want to buy a home or find a partner or have babies, more power to you. I'm making some generalizations for the sake of my post, cool? Cool.) Young adult cancer can derail these plans. The treatment options for a woman in her sixties, who is done having babies, should be different than the treatment offered to a woman in her twenties or thirties who may want the possibility of children after cancer. Rethink Breast Cancer offers age-appropriate support and resources for young women with breast cancer.

Boobyball Mini: A Next Gen FUNdraiser is headed to Vancouver!

The afternoon affair will be a one-of-a-kind event with great entertainment, music and décor set to an enchanted forest theme. Mingle over cocktails while kids explore our fairy-tale forest.

All proceeds from this event will go directly to Rethink Breast Cancer’s mission to empower young people worldwide who are concerned about and affected by breast cancer including some resources for families dealing with cancer.
— rethinkbreastcancer.com

Vancouver Boobyball Mini: Enchanted Forest tickets are available here.

Use code BBMTEAM for 25% off ticket prices.

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
3:00 - 6:00pm

Heritage Hall
3102 Main Street
Vancouver, B.C.

Cancer is an insidious disease. I genuinely don't think any of us can say that cancer hasn't touched our lives in some way. Whether it's a family member, friend, co-worker, or that crazy blogger who won't shut up about thyroids, we all know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. My hope is that we can move away from the traditional fear-driven, commercialized cancer support (don't even get me started on pinkwashing), and start to provide resources, education, and community for specific groups. Young adult women who are diagnosed with breast cancer face unique challenges. Supporting them specifically doesn't take away from the support available to other groups. If you're in Vancouver, I hope you'll consider attending Boobyball Mini this weekend and showing your support for young adult women facing breast cancer.

Angry Bees

I don't sleep much but when I do, I wake up and my face hurts from clenching my teeth. There's no separation between my mental turmoil and the physical pain that radiates down my jaw. Awake or asleep, my head is in a constant state of angry bees. I am volatile and capricious and perpetually buzzing.

* * *

Poppy has (what we suspect is) an allergic reaction to peanuts. I question our decision to follow her doctor's advice to introduce peanuts at a young age. I berate myself for giving her peanuts so soon after an extended illness when her immune system is already taxed. I watch her breathe as she sleeps, instead of sleeping myself, for two nights. I cry on the phone when the allergist calls to set up her allergy test. "You didn't do this to your baby," he tells me. I don't believe him.

* * *

I commit myself to good sleep habits. I cut down on caffeine and sugar and alcohol. I limit my screen time in the evening. I meditate and take a bath with lavender bubbles and drink a mug of chamomile tea. I crawl between the sheets before 10pm. I dream about forgetting to pick Grady up from school; accidentally leaving Poppy in the bath by herself with the water running; going to work and forgetting to arrange childcare; Shawn being in a car wreck; falling down the stairs; falling from the balcony; falling off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic; always falling.

* * * 

Grady needs an echocardiogram. His cardiologist is reassuring and kind. She is checking on how his heart has grown but she is not concerned. There is no reason to be afraid or anxious but I torture myself for weeks, wondering at what point his aorta arched the wrong way. What did I do to cause it? How will it affect him? The results are the best possible results but I still feel like I broke my baby.

* * *

Before Grady was born, I thought postpartum depression was moms hurting their babies or moms hurting themselves. I didn't know there was a spectrum of different mood disorders that can manifest during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. I think it's important for us to talk about this stuff so women feel less alone in a period of their life that can't help but be vulnerable. Hormones spike and crash. There is no sleep. Pregnancy, giving birth, and life with a baby require stamina and tenacity that can be difficult to find. Talking to other women who have been there before, or who are there with me right now, has been my saving grace. I don't feel like a monster because I have a running montage of all the terrible things that could potentially happen to my kids looping through my mind; I feel like someone whose hormones are out of whack, who needs a good night's sleep, and who is struggling but is not broken. For me, for right now, postpartum depression looks like chaos and worst-case scenarios. For others, it may look like sadness or apathy or rage. And that's okay. Feeling sad or mad or frustrated or devastated doesn't mean you don't love your baby or you're ungrateful or flawed. It means you're a human feeling messy, human emotions.

If you're struggling during pregnancy or postpartum, there are different places you can reach out to find support. Taking the first step can feel overwhelming but it's important to know you're not alone, you're not the first person to feel this way, and you absolutely deserve to be helped and to feel better.

If you need help, start here:

Postpartum Support International
Perinatal Mood Disorder Awareness
Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

Okay / Not Okay

I am okay until I am not okay and the shift always catches me by surprise. For the most part, I am doing okay. I am still in regular therapy and it's been extremely helpful for me. But it's frustrating to still be in this okay / not okay holding pattern because I expected to be "better" by now. (Better. Ha. What is better?)

I met my new niece last week. She was less than a week old, brand new and squishy. I am over-the-moon happy for my sister and her family. I am so in love with my new little family member. Grady was so interested in the tiny little baby with her button nose and her wee toes and her snuffly little cries. It physically hurt to see Grady interact with his new baby cousin. I don't want it to. I don't want to be sad when I see babies or pregnant ladies. And I'm not, always. I'm happysad. I'm okay / not okay.

My oldest friend is getting married in Wales this week. I expected to be there with her. I told her I would be there with her. Spoiler alert: I am not there with her. I am not okay enough to travel to Europe. My anxiety and my energy levels will not allow me to be there for my oldest friend as she marries her love.  

My sisters and my oldest friend and my people tell me it is okay to be not okay. They tell me to be gentle with myself and take the time I need to get better. They tell me to feel my feelings and not worry about disappointing anyone - I will be okay when I am okay and trying to force it or pretend isn't helping anyone. My sisters and my oldest friend and my people are smart people. They are thoughtful and kind and wise so I will make myself believe that they know what they're talking about. I will trust that one day I will just be okay. So okay that I don't even think about it anymore, I'll just be. And until that day comes, I will try my hardest to stop pretzeling myself into the shape of someone who is okay all the time.  

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