Monday, January 7, 2013

Holy Hollister, Boobmom!

I feel like I usually take breastfeeding topics pretty seriously, but I had to laugh when I read this online article:

The first thing I wondered as I read it is why are these ladies trying to start trouble?  I can't find anywhere in the article where they themselves had ever previously been subject to harassment or discrimination with regard to breastfeeding, and my understanding is that the original issue with Hollister took place in Texas... these ladies had a nurse-in at a Hollister store in Delaware. 

I understand their desire to make a point.  I believe in breastfeeding when possible and when desired (some moms just don't want to breastfeed--never mind the ones who can't--and that is perfectly fine if you ask me!), and I especially believe in the right to breastfeed where and when a person desires to do so.  If I didn't believe in it, I wouldn't have a blog about it.  But I don't understand the need to stage an intervention where no problem has yet occurred.  It's like taking Valtrex because you heard the statistic that 70% of Americans have oral herpes... yet you've never suffered from the virus yourself.  Ok, maybe not the best example, but my point is that it's not fair to walk around trying to incriminate a person or business. 

The lack of facts or details in this article leads me to believe that this whole thing was really a non-issue.  For example, I doubt that Hollister has their own personal security guards, so the ones who visited the Nurse-In Narcs were likely those of the mall itself.  And if my deduction is true, then why are they dragging Hollister's name through the mud?  Wouldn't it be Concord Mall that they really have the problem with? 

So, ladies, feed on!  In the future, maybe you could consider exercising your right to free speech, rather than whipping out your boob in public just to get a rise out of people.  Writing a heart-felt letter is a good practice, and writing a blog is actually pretty fun!  And just to make sure I'm making myself clear:  I'm not saying not to whip your boob out, just check your intentions before you do it.  ;)

Signing off.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Off the Subject - The Sandy Hook Tragedy

I realize this is a far cry from what is usually on my mind, but if you are patient, I appreciate your willingness to bear with me.
I’ve been pretty much flabbergasted by the Sandy Hook tragedy, and I believe I’ve only said about 3 sentences total on the subject since Friday.  My statements were mostly unintelligible ramblings, and I’ve finally been able to sum up my true feelings.
The thing about it is that I am really not surprised.  Saddened, yes.  Surprised, no. 
I don’t have any inside knowledge about the young man who killed those children, so my lack of surprise isn’t because I “could see this coming” because of some personality flaw I knew about him.  As far as I’m concerned he isn’t much different than the rest of us… he simply expressed his hate in a more visible way.
Think about it…  What kind of rhyme or reason has there been for any of the mass shootings that have taken place?  What common trait did any of the killers have?  I’m sure some of you are listing things, in hind-sight, about the killers.  Perhaps they were introverts, very withdrawn, very cynical, moody, or had “a certain look in their eyes”.  Maybe they had tension with their parents.  I don’t know about you, but I personally know lots of people who fit many or all of those descriptions, but that doesn’t mean I would start typecasting them as killers.  In fact, if I had read that description in a dictionary, I would expect to see a picture of a teenager next to it!  Anyway, these considerations are usually, as I said, in hind-sight.  That means that their typical actions or behaviors weren’t so alarming that they threw up any red flags... otherwise, the tragedy would have been prevented, right? 
I know my opinion is far from popular, and the last thing I want to do is come across as defending what this person did.  I am not defending him at all.  I am only hoping to challenge each and every one of us.
Why would I possibly want to challenge anyone, other than the killer, in a situation like this?  Well, the killer is dead and what’s done is done, and yet I’ve been noticing everyone pointing their fingers and blaming everyone, the dog, and the kitchen sink for what happened.  If the killer is dead, then why are we still trying to find someone to blame?  Did he have any accomplices?  I didn’t hear of any.  Do we know his motive?  Probably not to the full extent, and since he is dead, why would we even spend time trying to read his mind?
Back to my challenge.  I challenge each of us to turn our pointed fingers back on ourselves.  If you are asking yourself why you are to blame for any of this, then you are probably one of the people who will never understand anyway, so you can drop off right now and go back to verbally murdering your Facebook friends as you speak in code about all their transgressions.  If, on the other hand, you are someone who feels a tiny pang of guilt at your own pointed finger aimed at yourself, please read on.
Consider this:  When was the last time you were totally frustrated and fed up with someone because of how they "wronged" you, and you either thought something mean about that person, or you vented to someone about that person? Once it’s out, it’s out, and there’s no taking it back, right?  Do you normally feel better once you let that out?  I don’t feel better when I do that… but I continue doing it anyway.  Why?  Because it’s socially acceptable.  That’s right:  It is socially acceptable to murder someone with your mind or tongue, but not in deed.  We all do it with mind or tongue, but the mass killers do it in deed.
Why do we murder, anyway?  This is my belief:  We murder because we spend most of our time assessing what others are doing wrong, rather than focusing on how we can do things right, to the point that we become so blinded by what we believe others to be doing wrong that we can’t even see our own negative role in an escalated situation.  In our minds we are justified to point out what others are doing wrong, but how does that make sense?  Isn’t it truly counter-productive to spend any time at all worrying about what others are doing wrong, when most of us actually agree that we can’t change people, and that people have to decide for themselves that they are going to change if they ever will?  How many times have you personally said that?  “I can’t change him.”  That’s right, you can’t.  But do know who you can change?  You can change yourself.
We can’t prevent any of these tragedies any more than we can prevent the sun from setting.  The sad truth of the matter is that it will happen, since clearly we haven’t found a successful way to prevent it from happening.  The happy truth of the matter is that there is a lesson to be learned from all sad truths, and that is simply that it’s yet another reminder for us all to look into our own hearts and consider the condition of our own spirits.  Are we going to mentally or verbally murder others, then spend time pointing fingers outward as if we are completely blameless?  Or are we going to spend every waking minute focusing on how we can be better people to our fellow species, and then pulling our spouses and babies in close to our hearts so that they will always know that, no matter what, we love them. 
I truly believe that love is the cure for all things.  Not gun control.  Not counseling.  Not mass-murderer profiling efforts.  If we would spend more time loving each other, then we might not have to worry as much about guns, counseling, or being on high-alert for future school shooters. 
If I’ve oversimplified this situation, I’m not sorry.  For all the feelings I have hurt, I am sorry.  I’m sorry for being the hypocrite that I am, but I promise I am trying.  Sadly, it took something like this for me to truly realize that it’s me who has been wrong all along.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Would you like more Whole Milk?

I've noticed that there have been quite a few hits on my Whole Milk posts.   Listen up, people.  If you would like to read the rest of the story and see how it ends, PLEASE "like" Whole Milk on Facebook.  You can also "friend" me if you have questions.  Get the word out there!  You are the biggest contributor to making this happen!

I will keep you apprised of the latest happenings so that you can know what to expect.

Thank you for your support!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Whole Milk - Introduction

I had actually sat down to write this book several months ago, but the timing was all wrong.  My initial plan was to write a serious how-to book with the intent to show mothers how to protect themselves in a society where breastfeeding still hasn’t been embraced the way it is in most societies.  Along with that intent, I wanted to stick it to the man for being so ignorant and not recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding; for not acknowledging the consequences of not only failing to create an appropriate environment for women who breastfeed and pump, but for essentially pressuring women to quit early or forgo the opportunity altogether by their neglect of the matter.  Looking back, I can now say my initial intentions were fueled by 3 things: 1) the stress caused by my post-partum work environment, 2) post-partum depression, and 3) reading Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series while I was battling the aforementioned numbers 1 and 2.  It may seem amusing, but this combination of elements had me reeling!
After a lot of self-reflection (and ultimately concluding that such a book would be difficult to write and boring to read), I changed my direction and decided to simply journal my feelings and experiences during the times that I was pumping breast milk.  At the time I was spending a minimum of 75 minutes per day in this position, so I had a lot of time to think about the craziness of it all.  Picture this:  me nestled on the comfy Mother’s Room love seat, or the glider in the nursery at home, my shirt hiked up to my neck, my left hand holding the breast pump guard in place, and my right hand hastily scribbling my internal madness on a worn-out Moleskine notebook.  I’m sure I looked like a lunatic, and there were days when I definitely felt like one.  I often ended the day with two cramped hands and the two voices inside my head arguing about why I shouldn’t just spend my pumping time stalking people on Facebook, rather than developing carpel tunnel by spending so much time doing this ancient activity called writing-by-hand.
So, what is my new intent?  Will it be good enough for people to continue reading this book once they find out what it is?  I’ll let others be the judge.  Women talk… a lot.  But when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding, it seems like many women walk on eggshells, which means that they won’t readily divulge as much information as might be necessary in order to help out a fellow woman who may be struggling with breastfeeding (I don’t, however, believe this to be intentional or malicious.  It’s simply that no one knows where to draw the line with regard to spilling their guts).  So, my new intent is to give people—the expecting mother, the currently breastfeeding mother, the “next time I want to try breastfeeding” mother (be careful when using quotation marks here!), the genuinely interested father-to-be of a potential breastfeeding mother, the genuinely perverted man who will inevitably read this book for no reason other than to read the word “breast” over and over (because these weirdoes do exist)—a real open and honest view of breastfeeding.  WARNING: The content of this book may occasionally be graphic in nature.
Anyone who isn’t already leery about broaching the subject will probably become so. On the other hand, by the end of this book, I believe readers will have the desire to birth 10 children and nurse them all until they are 48 months old.  If my belief does not hold true, I am hoping people will at least have a better understanding of why so many women choose to breastfeed their children, and all that women must endure in order to uphold their conviction that, for them personally, breast is best in mom-eat-mom U.S.A.
So sit back, latch on, and suck this book down!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Woohoo for Yahoo!!!

No recent news has made me happier than reading about Marissa Mayer becoming the new, and PREGNANT, CEO of Yahoo. Ok, that's not true. I was happier when that little 3 year-old Columbian boy was pulled to safety from the sewer he fell into. I literally cried uncontrollably about that.  But besides sewer rescues, I was just thrilled to hear about a pregnant woman becoming CEO of such a large, high-profile corporation.
I really don't have any expectations about what will happen; I only have hopes. I don't expect that this is going to change maternity-related issues and attitudes in the workplace as a whole, but I hope that it is a start. What am I saying? It is a start!! This is truly a really big deal, and it's about time that a woman's brain and positive contribution looks bigger than her ever-growing belly. I don't believe that being pregnant makes a woman weak. I never felt stronger or healthier than I did when I was pregnant, and the day after I gave birth, I looked down at my legs, amazed at how toned they were-- from carrying all that extra weight.  It seems that once a woman conceives she is viewed as "delicate" until the baby arrives. But pregnant women are freaking workhorses! They train and grow for 9 months in order to labor for sometimes days on end (marathons typically only last a few hours!).  How, exactly, is that considered delicate?
All that to say, it's about time someone recognized that there should be no plausible reason why pregnancy should hinder a woman's proven ability to perform her job.
Now, let's consider my favorite pregnancy related topic: breast feeding.  If Marissa Mayer decides to breast feed and pump at the office, how will this affect the way pumping at work is viewed? Will she even choose to take on this challenge? Will she be able to stick to a regular pumping schedule? Will she remember to drink the appropriate ratio of coffee and water, AND eat those 500 extra calories each day in order to maintain sufficient milk output? Will the whole thing be a cakewalk for her, and will she make other women seem like sissies about their struggles in finding a proper balance? Or will she struggle, too, and create more awareness about the challenges of being a breast feeding working mother?
No matter what happens, this is all a step in the right direction. Marissa Mayer is free, just like the rest of us, to experience this amazing and life-changing time in her own unique way. No one can tell her how she should feel, think, or behave.  The one thing we should all do is watch.  I’ve only been to Vegas once, and I don’t think I spent more than $7 total in the casino (in nickel slots, mind you), but I’m willing to bet that Marissa Mayer will have an interesting impact on the way America sees the working mother. 
Now, I need to get back to work.  I just finished pumping, and it was a disaster.  I didn’t even get an ounce out of my efforts.  It’s hard to focus on having a letdown while I am focusing on writing.  Yes, admittedly I wrote this while I was expressing milk for my precious little boy.  But hey, we are all given the same 24 hours in our day, and I try to milk them for all they are worth. 
Obviously, my question is:  What do you think about Marissa Mayer coming into this position while pregnant?
Signing off.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Supply and (Personal) Demands

I am only just now realizing how oblivious I have been to how my normal activity affects breastfeeding.  I've been doing a little science experiment for the past 2 days (so extensive, I know) to see how drinking more water will affect my milk output when pumping at work.  Not surprisingly (and yet I am oddly surprised!), I have already pumped more after 2 pumping sessions today than I pumped after 3 yesterday.  I anticipate that the output will level off at some point, but I suspect that it will continue to rise to that point as I continue to drink more water.

I'm not going to say a lot today (pretty much because I am about to pee my pants from drinking so much water, and I want to reward myself for finishing this post today by using the restroom... gosh, that is strange), despite having much on which to reflect.  Breastfeeding is not a no-brainer activity, even though it has become a very normal and regular part of my life over the past 9 1/2 months.  It still takes a lot of thought and consideration in order to reach a breastfeeding goal.  For example, I have been engaged in an internal struggle about supplementing my Flyweight child's breast milk bottle with some formula.  The reason this has been an issue lately is because I'm watching my freezer supply of breast milk dwindle as I struggle to keep up with the demands of a growing child, yet at the rate I'm going, it looks like I could run out of both frozen and fresh milk before he turns a year old.  I am vehemently opposed to this happening!

So... I decided to do something about it.  And that is why I am about to pee my pants... because I am doing the obvious before I resort to taking more extreme measures.

Stay tuned to find out if the data continues to support my theory.  Well, the theory that I borrowed from someone else’s brain, anyway. 

Signing off.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snickering at Snookie

I just read an article which was a commentary on a Good Morning America interview with Snookie.  The commentary was based on the admission by Snookie that she is afraid of breastfeeding because she heard that breastfeeding is painful.

I was pretty shocked at the response of the blogger for Parents magazine, because it seemed overly judgmental.  Don’t get me wrong—I am not a Snookie fan.  In fact, I’ve only ever seen one episode of Jersey Shore (if it’s not The Real Housewives of the OC or Kardashians, I won’t watch it.  Ha!), but that was enough for me to know I’d seen enough.  The thing I don’t understand is why this blogger thought it was an appropriate transition to go from bashing Snookie, to then validating her fears of breastfeeding.  I had a difficult time following where the article was going because the blogger makes Snookie seem outrageously stupid, but then in her next breath empathizes with her.
No matter who you are or what you’ve done, of course you don’t know what to expect if you haven’t breastfed.  Even if you have breastfed, there can still be many instances of surprise along the way!  Why would Snookie want to even attempt to breastfeed if people are going to make her feel like she’s already made such bad choices in life, that she will inevitably screw up with breastfeeding, too?  Why shouldn’t she be encouraged to try to breastfeed, because it is a possibility that she could be one of the people who has a rather easy and uneventful go of the experience from the beginning?  And who knows?  Perhaps she might even decide that she’s willing to sacrifice more of herself in the process, in order to be a good mother for her baby.
I know there are many perfect people out there.  After all, Jesus went back to Heaven because there were enough perfect people here on Earth that he could wipe his hands and say, “My work here is done,” right?  Sorry about the sarcasm…  That was ugly.  My point is that Snookie deserves a chance, just like anyone else to do something good for her child.  Let’s encourage her, not tear her down before she even gives it a shot.  Perhaps this is the exact reason why breastfeeding often fails in the U.S.A… because we take every opportunity to tell you why you can’t, rather than why you should.
My one question to you is:  Does Snookie’s reputation change the kind of advice you would give her about breastfeeding?
Signing off.