For all of you breastfeeding mamas out there, I decided I would write this post for you! If you’re anything like me and you’re always busy, whether it’s with work or the kids, you’re probably not going to take the time to make yourself some lactation cookies. I did make some for myself not long after my daughter was born, but let’s face it. I am not very good at doing a ton of stuff in the kitchen while my kids are awake and while they’re asleep, I’d rather be working out.
But these little nuggets of lactation GOLD are amazing.
I was so excited to be contacted by Milkful to receive a free box of these delicious treats to try out. How nice of them, right?!
I actually started noticing a dip in my supply when I was getting ready to go back to work after a long period of maternity leave. Not only that, I was starting to work out pretty heavily. After seeing my supply drop and not being able to pump as much as I thought I would need for my little while I was at work, I decided to not workout as intensely and to make sure I was taking in enough fat calories. Enter: Milkful Lactation Oat Bars.
I decided to start eating these. I figured, they were probably better than me trying to make my own lactation cookies and they were free, so why not?
So, they have 3 flavors/kinds of bars that you can choose from. I was sent a variety pack and I am pretty thankful for that! I was excited to try them all. Here’s the cool thing about these bars (I mean, besides their milk-boosting power):
It’s true. And they are freaking delicious! I know, you wouldn’t think so with how much these bars are FREE of. At least, I didn’t think so because I am a total dairy snob. Hey, I am from Wisconsin. I like my dairy!
I first tried the Blueberry Almond Coconut one. Let me tell you, if you love coconut, you will love this bar. I personally, am not a huge coconut fan. Don’t get me wrong. it was good, but I didn’t like it that much. It wasn’t a flavor I would reach for often.
Then I tried the Chocolate Banana Nut. I thought,
Okay, you can’t go wrong with chocolate.
And I was right. It was delicious. Chocolate is always delicious.
But the winner…oh man. The winner here is the Maple Walnut one! I didn’t even expect that at all! Mostly becuase I thought the chocolate was going to win. But this one was definitely my favorite. Let’s just say that I was pleasantly surprised. It also makes me happy to know that I am helping boost my supply without having to take any other supplements/pills or drink some disgusting tasting tea…
I definitely recommend this to any mama who may be having issues producing. I would even recommend it to any mama who just wants to eat something delicious and make sure her supply doesn’t drop! If you’re looking to get some, make sure you head on over to Milkful to order yourself some, today!
*Please note: This is a sensitive and real thing that I went through. It was not easy to write and some parts may make you think I am a horrible person…but if you continue reading, I hope that you will understand. Thank you. <3
Did you know that today is World Maternal Mental Health Day?
It is! It has been declared the first Wednesday in May and I’ve been given signs for a long time now, to share my story. Even more signs popped up in the past few days. It’s something I have never really shared with people and if I did it wasn’t in depth, but I wanted to share this in hopes of someone reading it will know that they’re not alone.
This here is a photo of a mother who absolutely loves and adores her child.
This is also a photo of a mother who had/has a hard time with this adorable, little babe.
And I don’t just mean, had a hard time adjusting to motherhood. That, alone, was a battle. But I went through stages of anger, fits, rage, crying, sadness, and hopelessness…and I didn’t know or understand why.
This tiny baby would cry because he was hungry or wanted to be close to me. I had fed him, changed him, burped him, took clothes off, put more clothes back on, rocked him, swayed him, swaddled him, hugged him, wore him…and nothing was working. I feel like this is something quite common. And when you can’t figure out what’s going on with your baby, it’s perfectly normal to cry! Instead, I got angry. I was filled with rage when I couldn’t get him to stop. Following the feelings of anger and rage, I began to really cry. Not only cry but completely sob until it hurt.
I hated the mother I was.
Why would I get so upset at this sweet, baby boy? I grew him in my belly, birthed him, and nourished him with my body through breastfeeding. He was MY baby. My love. Everything I lived for.
So, why did I get so angry all the time? Why was I filled with so much anger when it came to the simple cries of a child needing his mother?
Postnatal Depression is real.
From someone who already struggles with depression (that’s a whole other story), I felt that the post partum part hit me hard. It was always difficult for me to understand what was going on within me and I thought that it was going to destroy the bond with my child and I. As much as it pains me to say this…I was almost afraid. I would get so angry and upset that I was afraid that I was going to be one of those mothers that would actually hurt their child. Yes, it was that bad.
Did I want to hurt my baby? Absolutely not. Never in a million years would I ever want to do such a thing. It is my job to protect my child and to keep them safe. And I will do that until my last dying breath. But was that a real fear of mine? Yes. It’s scary.
But I didn’t know that it wasn’t just me.
Over 75% of women do not get diagnosed or receive treatment or support. And 2 in 10 women have a mental health problem during pregnancy and in the first year, following birth. Think of all of the women around you, having babies. That’s a lot! I’m willing to bet that many of them are hiding it from you and are hiding it well. The problem is, we need to speak up about it.
I had no idea what was going on with me. I thought it was just my regular old depression, short fuse, and bad temper coming in. I didn’t think I actually needed any help with anything. When I was about 6 months post partum with my son, a friend of mine (whom I finally admitted a few things to) said,
“That sounds like post partum depression. I went back to talk to someone and got some help with it.”
I had no clue that she was going through it too! She actually experienced a lot of what I was going through. The anger and the sobbing. She went almost immediately having her child. I went back to get some help and I was given the runaround. Because I was 6 months post baby, I was no longer considered having post partum depression and they thought it was something completely different. So, I looked forward to meeting with the doc and talking about what was going on – to finally get some answers.
Not long after being in that room with the doctor, I left feeling worse about myself. I felt as though I was an unfit mother. The doctor ridiculed me for the things that I was saying and for how I was feeling. He threatened to find a way to take my baby away. Now, that was one of the scariest things for me. That was why I didn’t want to get help or tell anyone about it. Because, how do you explain to someone the anger you feel inside and what’s happening in there…but that you’re not actually going to doANYTHING like what you’re feeling? Some people can’t comprehend that until they are in the same situation. And if you’ve never had depression or post partum depression – you’re not going to get it.
Needless to say, I never went back again. I never went back for help. I just continued with feeling the way I did. I talked to my husband and a couple friends here and there. I tried my best to be the best mother I could for my son. I loved him with everything in me. I wanted the feelings that I would feel every now and then to just go away. I did, however, feel a strong bond with him through breastfeeding. I missed him so much when I had to go to work. I snuggled with him and played with him and had all of the marvelous moments that one would have with their baby. My love never changed.
But I did realize that as he got older and we started trying for our next baby, my feelings weren’t as bad as they once were. Mind you, I was on the Mirena and although it is localized in just the uterus – hormones are hormones. And I learned a long time ago that I cannot do a lot of birth control because of the hormones. The Mirena still affected me. When I got it taken out, it took some time to get pregnant again and those “crazy” feelings weren’t as strong anymore.
Not until I ended up in the ER. Not many know about that situation. It’s hard to talk about but I will say that, depression caused by pregnancy and birth DOES happen. I had my kids close together. My hormones had gone up and down over the past 3 years. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to talk about or admit. And it’s not easy to know that you’ve had this happen to you.
Throughout my pregnancy with my daughter, I had been attacked from others about “mental issues” and being “mentally unstable.” And let me tell you,
It was a time where I was the strongest I had ever been.
Did it hurt when people talked about it as if it was nothing? Hell yes. Did I want to go off on those people? You betcha. But what was that going to solve? Absolutely nothing. It just made me realize that it really is something I needed to talk about. And the sad part was, it was in reference to the night I ended up in the ER. So, over the past year, I realized I needed to talk about this. So, here I am writing this super long post.
As much as I had bonded with my son, I did notice a disconnect. And I still do to this day. My pregnancies, their births, post partum side – everything is like night and day between my children. I didn’t feel the same feelings I had with my daughter after birth like I did with my son. My pregnancy was fitter and healthier the second time around. Hormones are weird like that, where they really can mess with the body in a very negative or even a positive way. But because of this disconnect with my son, I have felt the pang of guilt on more than one occasion. It hurts me to know that I get angry at him easier.
That disconnect actually worried me while I was pregnant with my daughter.
What if I love my daughter more than I love my son? What kind of thought is that?! A real one. And it sucked feeling that way. To be honest with you, I don’t love either of them more or less than the other. BUT – I can totally see a difference in how I am as a mother BECAUSE of my daughter. Because my pregnancy and the BIRTH was so different, I felt more of a connection immediately. When my son was born, he was rushed away from me completely. I am not blaming our disconnect on that whatsoever but I can see the differences throughout pregnancy and birth with each of them. I did post about my birth story with my daughter and I described it as a “healing birth.” And that’s exactly what it was. No, I don’t love my daughter more than my son. But we all connect differently to each other. And that’s okay.
Honestly, there’s a chance that most of me getting angry easier is just due to him being a toddler and those “terrible-twos” are quite difficult. He is a lot like me. Go figure. But I can’t dwell on the fact that I used to be a certain way towards him. I can only move forward and learn from my mistakes.
I wish I could end this post where I tell you that I got the help I needed and I am fixed. But unfortunately, that is not the case. Somehow, in some way, my body healed itself. Not completely, but I noticed that I am no longer as angry or hopeless as I used to be. I don’t cry nearly as much as I did and my heart is more open.
I do, however, urge you to get help if you need it. If you feel ANYTHING like how I have described it in this post, please talk to someone. A doctor, a therapist, a friend (who will then refer you to a doctor or a therapist) but don’t let yourself think you’re helpless. Don’t think that you’re the only one.
You are NOT crazy. This happens. You are not alone.
Anyone see that photo of the mom nursing both of her children at the same time?
Yeah, that’s me. It’s crazy to think that a photo that I had posted to my Instagram page was reposted many times and commented on by so many people. I wrote about how it felt to nurse both of my kids at the same time and it really was an amazing experience for me. You can read about it here:
Even pages like PopSugarMoms, Essential Baby and FitPregnancy wrote about the photo and shared it on their Facebook pages. It was really cool to see that. My friends and even followers on Instagram were sending me messages and tagging me in posts that had my photo on it. And as I would see these posts, I would look at the comments as I left my own.
Many mom’s were sharing their experiences nursing their babies and even tandem nursing as well. It was wonderful and encouraging to read these stories!
The sad part about this is, there were a lot of negative comments. These pages, magazines, and blogs that were reposting my photo or writing articles about it, were using my photo as a way to encourage women. To empower them. To show them how strong our bodies can be. And yet, there was always some yahoo that decided it would be great to say,
“You showed your tits on the internet, good for you.”
“It’s sad that you’re just desperate for attention.”
Those are just the two main ones. Not only that, I ended up receiving messages. Messages that were saying incredibly rude and inappropriate things that I don’t even want to repeat. It was just very upsetting to read these things and to see how they would defend themselves when others would respond to them.
The thing about this photo is that…it was a wonderful moment that I got to share with my children and my husband. Not only that, the ONE time my husband actually took his phone out to snap photos (without being prompted by me) was this moment. Right when I said to him, “I’m doing it!” Because I was shocked and excited that I finally did it.
For some odd reason, I was scared to nurse both of them at the same time. I saw photos of mom’s doing it but I had never seen any of my friends do it. I didn’t even know it was possible until I became a mom. But this special moment that I shared with my family, I wanted to share with the other moms that were following me on Instagram… my excitement! I never posted for attention…that would just be weird. And for someone to say “tits” as if I was a porn star showing off my goods…that’s just foul. I was just doing what my body was intended to do!
There were even comments about how some women can’t breastfeed or can’t do it for that long. Someone decided to tell me it was rude of me to rub it in the faces of those who couldn’t. Well, I’m sorry but I didn’t post it to rub it in. I never claim to be better than any other mom and I’m not one of those people that think you’re horrible for giving your baby formula! Is your baby fed? Then that’s all the matters! But please, don’t continue the vicious cycle of tearing women down. It sucks and I say as women, we just try to end that! Building each other up and empowering one another is what I stand for, hence the reason for my post on Instagram.
Thank you to those who had shared my photo. I was a little worried about having my photo going around the internet, but I will tell you…I am darn proud of the fact that I am doing so many things as a mother that I either swore I’d never do or that I didn’t think I’d be capable of. Turns out…I am a lot stronger than I realized.
4 weeks ago, I woke up looking down at my belly and wondered when I was going to meet my daughter. Little did I know, I was going to be in early stages of labor at the gym that evening and would deliver the next day. I look down today and see a tummy that has been home to two beautiful babies. Stretch marks from the first pregnancy that “ruined” my first ever tattoo that I got when I was 18 and the same ones that stretched between the holes of my navel piercing that I took out when I joined the military. My belly isn’t completely flat but it’s crazy to see the differences and changes my body has made over the past 2 years. And today, I look down and I am proud. I am proud of what my body has done and what it’s going to do. The #postpartumbody is a body (as are all bodies) to be celebrated. I never realized the joy and beauty there is in this body the first time. But I’m so glad I found all of that this time.
**this post was originally posted on my Instagram account and had a lot of responses. I decided that I would post it to my blog as well. ❤️️