You guys! I'm so excited to present my good friend, Laura, who has started her own blog, Peace and the Pen. She has graciously offered her writing skills as a guest blogger for The Cozy Den. Her approach to minimalism is inspiring, even though I'm no longer pregnant. Please enjoy the following <3
Step into my house and look around.
There are toys piled in a basket in the corner and books scattered across the floor. Little grains of rice from yesterday’s sensory activity adorn my kitchen table. The laundry is piled in baskets, waiting to be put away. My houseplants are half dead and I don’t own a single succulent.
It’s clear that I can hardly be called a minimalist.
Truthfully, I’ve found that minimalism is a journey, not a destination...and much of it takes place inside your head. Living a minimal life is hard when you’re in charge of the daily functioning of many people, and the result is far from perfect.
I’ve found that minimalism consists of letting go of the things that aren’t beneficial to you and clearing your head of negative thoughts.
Today I’m going to share how I put those theories into place in my pregnancies. Please keep in mind, this is just one approach to applying minimalism to pregnancy. My journey will not work for everyone, but I hope that it inspires you to take some time to truly consider what is beneficial to you and your baby during pregnancy...and what can be tossed away.
SuppliesWhen I arrived at the hospital to deliver my first baby, I was 9.5 cm dilated and only 1 hour away from holding my sweet child. I brought a water bottle and a rosary because those were the only things things that seemed necessary when I realized that my baby wasn’t coming out without a little help.
I have also been known to tie a receiving blanket onto my baby’s bottom in lieu of a diaper and to let my baby sleep on the floor.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you to ditch diapers or toss the crib. In reality, it will take some conversing with your partner--and a bit of trial and error--to figure out what is necessary for you and what you can do without.
I will offer you one piece of encouragement. There WILL be times when you aren’t completely prepared. You will forget the wipes on an outing, or you will run out of diapers at an inconvenient time. Your baby WILL be ok. You are a resourceful momma. You will make do, or you will reach out to a mommy nearby and maybe make a new friend in the process.
That being said, here are a few things that are essential to me during pregnancy and a few things that I’ve learned to do without.
Medical TestingI’ll preface this section by saying that my husband is in the medical profession, and I make a point of discussing medical needs with him during each and every pregnancy. I’m always open to change, depending on what Baby and I need.
That being said, these are the tests we consent to during pregnancy:
Hubby and I decline genetic testing, because an unfavorable test result won’t change how we feel about our baby, and will likely cause extra stress during our pregnancy. Some parents disagree and feel that they’d prefer the extra time to prepare for Baby’s special needs. We understand that thinking, too
We also decline further ultrasounds because they are not medically necessary after 20 weeks in a healthy pregnancy.
Preparing your mind for birth and beyond is just as important--if not more so--than setting up Baby’s nursery.
Here are a few tips to help you get your mind in shape for labor and mothering:
Try clutching an ice cube in your hand for 10 seconds. Breathe through the discomfort. Relax your body. Work up to 30 second intervals.
Try lying down and taking slow, deep breaths. Allow your muscles to relax. Envision a place that feels safe to you. Do this each day, starting in your third trimester (or sooner: Meditation and deep breathing are great for your health).
Try the ice cube exercise with your partner. Lay down and clutch the ice cube in
your hand. Allow your partner to point out the areas where you are holding tension. Make an effort to relax completely. Allow your partner to guide your breathing.
No matter how you approach your pregnancy, I hope you can find peace in the knowledge that you are doing the very best for your baby. In the end, all your baby needs is you.
Share with me…
What things did you use during your first pregnancy that you ditched in subsequent pregnancies?
"I am a freelance writer with a background in homemaking, early childhood education, and toddler wrangling.
When I am not writing, I am reading, relaxing outdoors, or negotiating the terms of nap time.
My writing inspires me and helps me process, celebrate, grieve and grow. I hope it does the same for you."
I have been using essential oils before it was “cool.” I have to thank my mom for being just hippy enough to be into them, and for getting me into them as well. Over the years, I’ve accumulated several bottles of EOs, and have become familiar enough with them to create my own blends for things like sinusitis and sore back, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge.
I’m so grateful to have met Daisy of Nature’s Love Shop on Etsy through Instagram last year. While my knowledge is still limited, hers seems endless! And she’s a mom, and so she knows what we as mamas need, as well as what helps the littles.
My first purchase from her was Wild Child for Bean, who was about 20 months. He was starting to get into the temper tantrum phase, and having a hard time dealing with all of these new, big feelings. While it doesn’t stop the tantrums, it definitely seems to help him calm down faster, and leaves him more at peace once the tantrums are done.
My second purchase was for Teething Baby. At that time, Bub was about 4 months old and we had just learned that Hyland’s was taking their teething tablets off the US market. Those teething tablets were what got us through the worst of Bean’s teething, and I was lost without them! This roller was a godsend, especially since Bub refuses to keep his amber necklace on. Almost any time that his gums start to bother him and he gets fussy, I can roll this on his cheeks and he’s back to himself in a matter of moments!
I recently ran low on Teething Baby, so I bought Daisy’s baby bundle, which includes not only Teething Baby, but Sleep Baby and Breathe Baby, too. Both of the boys were getting over some kind of sniffles when these came in; the first night we used it, they both slept without snoring! Sleep Baby has been wonderful, because once we started using it, both of the boys started sleeping late in the morning again! With the days getting longer, they had started to get up around 7ish, which left me with no quiet time in the morning. Using Sleep Baby has given me back about an hour (or even 2!) in the mornings to get in some yoga and cleaning before they wake up.
Daisy has even been sweet enough to include samples of her other blends in every order! Happy Mama is one I definitely need more of, it reminds me of Sequoia National Park, and definitely takes me to a happy place. Happy Tummy has been a rescue blend for tummy upset, which seems to happen a lot in our house. She also carries loads of cute diffusers. Check out her shop here and tell me in the comments what your favorite blends are!
I got a chance to chat with Daisy and ask her a few questions.
1. Tell me a bit about yourself!
My name Daisy and I live in California. I am a stay at home mom of two (boy and girl) and married for 9 years to my high school sweetheart. I love to laugh, enjoy life, love to read and learn new things.
2. What sparked your interest in essential oils?
What started it all was 4 years ago my husband and I were over weight. I knew we had to change for ourselves and our kids. So first things first our eating habits changed, then that took me into what we had at home from cleaning supplies to air fresheners, you name it. I loved having those air freshener plugins in the wall. Realizing that all of the stuff I owned was full of toxins, I knew that had to go. Which brought me into diffusing essential oils. From that I learned that we can use them with perfect dilution on our bodies.
3. What are the brand and quality level of the oils you use?
I use top quality therapeutic grade essential oils that are sourced directly from farms and undergo several testing to ensure no additives or contamination is present.
4. What is your experience, training, and/or expertise in essential oils?
I love to read books on essential oils, I have also joined holistic/natural living classes and from there I have learned a lot.
5. If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
1.To sleep a bit more lol, I am one tired mommy. 2. To stop time, just so I can cherish even more the moments I have with my kids. 3. To bring peace to our beautiful world.
Attention breastfeeding mamas: I have found the perfect bra.
The holy grail of t-shirt bras.
No, I’m not kidding. Even if you’re not breastfeeding anymore, this is seriously the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn in the history of me wearing bras. I anticipate wearing these for a long time even after Bub has weaned.
I’m talking about the Marvella bra from Kindred Bravely.
I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for nearly 4 years. I have tried multiple brands and sizes of nursing bras, and been disappointed every. single. time.
I’ve ordered online. I’ve shopped in stores. I’ve measured myself, had my husband measure me, had the lady at the shop measure me. I’ve had the measurements taken before and after nursing. In the morning and in the evening. Despite having all the numbers, nothing ever fit.
Nursing bras have either been too itchy, no support (what’s the point?), not enough coverage, too much coverage (granny bra anyone?), wiring or boning that started to dig within moments of putting it on, fit fine when I first put it on but my boobs quickly falling out with minimal movement, cups too big or, more often, far too small, or some combination of the above.
I read several reviews on Kindred Bravely before I finally decided to spend the money on yet ANOTHER bra. The reviews were great, and I loved the fact that these bras were actually designed from start to finish by a breastfeeding mama. It also helped tremendously that her sizes went up to DDD(F), which is hard to find in most stores and even online. With a coupon code in hand, I took the plunge. And I am SO glad I did!
The moment I received the bra (super fast shipping, BTW), I ripped open the package to put it on. The first thing I noticed was the extreme softness of the bra. I’m pretty sure Deeanne uses unicorn hair or something. I slipped it on, and I heard angels sing.
The bra has no closures on it, just the clips to let the cups down to nurse. It’s smooth all the way around, and while the band is wider and provides excellent support, it did not roll. The racer back is perfect, because it gives extra support for the milkies, without any wires or boning or shaping. The straps are easy to adjust, and do not give me a headache like a lot of racer backs I’ve tried. Plus, most of my tank tops are racer back, so I can wear this without my bra straps showing (not something I’m usually worried about, but I know a lot of women prefer to not have them show). The cups are nicely padded, lending even more support and hiding the fact that my nips are constantly at attention (breastfeeding moms KNOW). The clips are easy to use one-handed; both unclipping and clipping them back. Next to the velvety softness of the material, my favorite part is the plunge neckline. For ease of nursing, most of my tops are low-neck, meaning most of the full-coverage nursing bras I’ve owned/tried show quite a bit. Not this bra! I can wear my super low V-necks, and nothing shows!
What is the first thing that most women want to do the moment they walk through the door after a long day at work or running errands? Take that bra OFF! I have been partaking in the bra removal tradition just about as long as I’ve been wearing them. Once I lived on my own, my bras would generally be laying on a chair or table nearest to the door, along with my purse. What if I told you that I almost slept in this bra? Yes, it’s THAT comfortable. The only reason I didn’t was that I did not want to have to wake up enough to undo the snaps for the million times a night that Bub nurses :P
But how many times have we thought we found “the one”, only to have it fail us shortly thereafter? (I’m talking bras, still, ladies, even if this does apply to other areas of life.) After nearly 2 weeks of almost constant wear and a few hand washes, this bra is still as comfortable and fits as nicely as the first day I tried it on.
Kindred Bravely has a ton of different styles, including sleeping bras, full coverage, nursing tanks, actually CUTE postpartum undies (I soooooo wish I’d had these instead of the walmart cheapies after giving birth), nightgowns, and pajama sets. This is only my first purchase, and I will most definitely be buying more from Deeanne in the future! I know you need to try some for yourself, so here is a link for $10 off your first purchase: https://www.talkable.com/x/uiVxDy
Be sure to sign up for Deeanne’s newsletter and "Like" Kindred Bravely on Facebook! I generally avoid newsletters, but her's are always short and sweet, and have lots of GREAT offers!
Have you checked out the website yet? Post a comment with your Kindred Bravely wishlist! I'm obsessed with the Lucille and Angelina nightgowns!
*******Disclaimer: I was not provided any kind of compensation in the way of product or anything else for this review. All statements and opinions are entirely my own. All images are courtesy of Kindred Bravely
Recently, I've been encouraged to pick up my camera again. It has been sitting alone, gathering dust, for too long. I'd been doing a few shoots here and there, and occasionally picking it up to capture something that the boys were doing. But it's not enough. I long to capture more, So I have been practicing, and I finally feel like I've arrived technically where my vision has long been.
I am now offering lifestyle sessions like this for children, families, newborns, and maternity. If you are interested, please contact me for availability. If you enjoyed these images, please comment below and feel free to share this post on Facebook or Twitter!
For a majority of my life, I've wanted to be a mom. To know the miracle of pregnancy, the strength of birth, the feel of little arm around my neck, and the sound of tiny feet running through the house.
Being a mother is the greatest accomplishment of my life; it is also the most all-consuming task I've ever undertaken. It's so easy to get lost in it. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, I am Mommy. There is always a need to be met, a meal to be made, a desire to be fulfilled, an owwie that needs tending, a book that needs read (for the trillionth time), a butt that needs wiping, a toy that must be rescued from the couch, another load of laundry to be run.
I'm not complaining by any means; I begged for this life, this privilege, for years. It is who I am, but yet it is still only part of me. It's easy to forget, mothers are still human, individuals, who have (or had) dreams of things OTHER than their kids. For my sake, my partner's sake, and for the sake of my boys, I must remember that I am a person, and treat myself as such in order to not burn out under the "mommy" title. Here is a short list of some of the things that I like to do for myself that aren't mommy-related:
2. Shower/bathe alone
4. Run an errand by myself
5. Paint my nails
6. Have a glass (or two) of an alcoholic beverage
I have dreams, too. Sort of a bucket list, I guess, but things I would like to do, for me and no one else:
1. Learn how to play the cello and the upright bass (two totally different things)
2. Once I learn the bass, start a rockabilly band
3. Learn how to ride a motorcycle
4. Take dance lessons
5. Backpack Europe
6. Pick guitar back up (it's been years)
7. Go back to Japan
Being a mom may be all-consuming, but it is not solely defining of who I am, or what I want out of life.
What are some things you like to do for yourself? What are some dreams you have for yourself (even if you think they're "out there")?
Happy birthday, Bean!
Today you turn 2.
Two years ago, you made me a mommy. You didn't come easy, but you were more than worth it.
Your favorite songs are Old MacDonald and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Despite your daddy and I trying to keep all areas of possible interest open to you, you are 100% boy. You are obsessed with anything with an engine, you love super heroes (particularly Spider-Man and Batman), and you are as fearless and rough-and-tumble as they come. You like to repeat the last word of whatever anyone says to you, and your vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds.
You adore your mamaw and papaw, and get so excited to FaceTime your Oma and Bumpa. You get super excited every time you see or hear a Choo-choo Train. Your favorite foods are chicken nuggets, soup beans, sausage, and cupcakes. You torture the dog, but, for some reason, she puts up with it.
You want to help with everything. You're so excited about your baby brother (and I'm so excited for when he's big enough to poke you back!). You have as much sass as your mama and stubbornness as your papa.
I love you so much, and I'm so excited to see you learning, discovering yourself, and turning into a little boy from my baby. <3
Today is Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day. Many of my followers know that I am one of the 1-2% of pregnant women diagnosed with this debilitating disease, though most people still have very little idea, if any, what it actually is.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG, basically means "A whole lot of vomiting, pretty freaking serious".* HG is NOT morning sickness, to any extreme. HG is not a mental condition physically manifested, though HG can cause depression, anxiety, and PTSD, among other things. HG is not indicative of a healthy baby or healthy pregnancy; in fact, many women with HG will continue to suffer health problems such as poor oral health and GI issues for years after an HG pregnancy, and sadly some of these women will experience the loss of their much-desired little ones due to extreme malnutrition. Even HG mothers who do not lose their precious babes will often go into preterm labor and have to see their babies struggle for life for weeks or months in the NICU.
Hyperemesis does not discriminate. It does not care about a woman's age, race, social status, number of previous pregnancies, health prior to pregnancy, how hard she tried to get pregnant, or how much she desires her pregnancy. It also does not effect every woman the same way. While most HG patients throw up 10+ times a day (even up to and exceeding 50 times in a single 24 hour period), some women experience nausea to such an extreme that it is impossible to eat or drink anything.
As you can imagine, HG is a very dark and trying time for the sufferers and those close to them. Often times, when someone we care about is suffering from something that we don't understand, we find ourselves spouting things we mean to be helpful, but can actually be detrimental to the mental or even physical well-being of the person we love. So, instead of giving you a list of what NOT to say, I would like to present you with a list of things you CAN say to help an HG sufferer.
1. "I'm so sorry that you are suffering."
Simply acknowledging that the woman in your life experiencing HG will provide validation for how she's feeling. Making suggestions on ways to minimize or eliminate HG symptoms are not only generally futile, but tends to invalidate how the sufferer feels. Believe me, she's tried everything you can think of before you could suggest it, anyway. This simple statement is full of empathy and love, and will make a HUGE difference to the woman you love.
2. "What can I do to help?"
When I say that HG is debilitating, that barely scratches the surface. When I was in the most acute stages of HG and not in the hospital, I was confined to my bed. I could barely make it to the bathroom to heave, much less care for my toddler or normal household upkeep. I wore the same clothes for days on end because I didn't have the energy to move that much. If you are close enough, being even more specific is even better. Most women feel like they're failing in their roles as wives and mothers, and are hesitant to ask for assistance in any way. Asking things like, "Can I do your dishes/laundry for you," or "When would you like me to watch your child(ren) for you?" will take the weight off her shoulders of having to ask for specific help.
3. "What are your safe foods and drinks?"
Most women with HG will have a few things that they can stomach, though this is not always the case, and safe foods and drinks can change from day to day or week to week. These RARELY include ginger or crackers (seriously, PLEASE do not offer an HG sufferer ginger or crackers unless she asks for them). Common safe drinks are colas and slushies, though it's important to keep in mind this is not always the case. And, for the love of all that is holy, please keep any opinion of these safe foods to yourself. As someone who is generally a "clean eater," I am less than happy that for 2 weeks my safe food/drink combo was Reese's peanut butter cups and fountain root beer.
(Also, if she says, "nothing," please do not insist that she eats. Trust me, she wants to, but forcing the issue will only serve to make her feel worse and can cause her to get sick if she caves to your insistence.)
4. "What would you like me to use to clean your bathroom for you?"
Women with HG generally spend a majority of their time in the bathroom. Often times, they have so little energy between vomiting spells that they will sleep on the bathroom floor. As you can imagine, it gets pretty gross pretty fast. Cleaning the bathroom for her will lift her spirits tremendously! It is important to ask what kind of cleaners to use, though, as certain scents can actually trigger her into more vomiting/nausea spells.
5. "What are your triggers?"
A trigger is anything that causes a sufferer's symptoms to get worse. Knowing these triggers can help you help her. Common triggers can include (but are not limited to): scents, light, noise, movement, and even people. For me, the light, noise, and movement of the tv made me super ill. The normal activity of my toddler, Bean, running around the house made me hurl. The normal scent of my husband, Bear, (which I usually love) made me dizzy with nausea. The thought of some of my favorite meals sent me running (crawling) to the bathroom. As with safe foods, triggers vary from woman to woman and from day to day, so it's important to know those of your specific loved one.
6. "You have made it ___ weeks!"
As I'm sure you can imagine, HG is a very isolating, depressing, lonely, time-elongating disease. Minutes seem like hours, and a day feels like eternity. Instead of reminding her how much longer she has to go, cheer her on by reminding her how much she has accomplished already! And making it through another day IS a huge accomplishment.
7. "How are you feeling today?"
One of the most frustrating things for me has been people asking me if I feel better yet, and having to tell them no. HG is not a flu, or a cold. Approximately half of all HG sufferers will begin to find relief from some or even all of their symptoms around 16-20 weeks into their pregnancy. Many of them will relapse later in their pregnancy, and the rest will suffer the whole way through. Asking if I felt better yet was a constant reminder that, no, I did not. However, being asked how I felt that day would allow me to share what I was dealing with at that moment without the added pressure of thinking that I should be "feeling better by now."
8. "You are doing everything right."
Yes, she's drinking soda and eating junk food. Yes, she's taking a cocktail of controversial drugs to stay alive. Yes, she is in the hospital every couple days for fluids and infusions. And everything she's doing, she's doing to SURVIVE; and, therefore, SHE'S DOING THE RIGHT THING.
For more information on Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and ways you can help, please visit www.HelpHER.org and www.beyondmorningsickness.com.
*It has been brought to my attention that the word "Gravidarum" is correctly translated as "in pregnancy." My description was not meant to be literal, but I don't wish to confuse anyone, either. While not literal, I will be keeping my original statement, because that is how I (and most HG sufferers/survivors) feel. (:
I haven’t blogged in a long time. Not deeply; not authentically.
Part of it is because life has gotten more hectic. Crochet orders flow in steadily, requests are constantly being made. Bean started walking shortly before his first birthday, and it’s taking everything I have to keep up with him, and attempt to keep up with the housework.
Part of it is because of health struggles. Though I have had underactive thyroid symptoms for most of my life, it was only a few years ago that I was diagnosed and started receiving treatment. These past few months have been test after test, new doctor after new doctor, traveling, new meds, etc.
But the biggest part?
Not so much fear of how other people will think of me (though that’s there, too), but fear of what will come out of me. Fear of whatever unknown thing I’ve buried so deep inside myself that threatens to come out every time I sit down at my keyboard. Fear of the emotions that will inevitably flow. Fear that I won’t be able to stop those emotions. Fear of a breakdown. Fear that I won’t know myself when I’m done.
But I must, or this fear will eat me alive.
Bean is nearing 14 months old. I haven’t done an update on him in a while, simply because his milestones have become so numerous and constant. He’s walking, dancing, singing, running, climbing. He’s learning to put his toys away every night. He’s turning the pages in his books, even though he rarely lets Bear or me finish reading. He’s exploring, making friends, chasing the dogs. He has 7 teeth now.
I was so fearful of his birthday. I’d made great strides in my emotional recovery from his birth, but I was terrified of what the anniversary of that event would bring. Surprisingly, it brought nothing. I wasn’t apathetic, but numb. I felt the joy of being his mother and having the privilege of watching him grow; but I felt no overwhelming happiness at it, nor the overwhelming grief I had been setting myself up for. No tears, no anger, no resentment. I think a good deal of that was due to the fact that my family was visiting that weekend to celebrate, and I had little chance to focus on myself.
For weeks, I’ve been bracing myself for this outburst of feelings that I know have been hiding. Yet, nothing. A few mild panic attacks over nothing related to his birth. Can I really be over it that easily? Maybe God has seen fit to relieve me of that heartache, and I’m not willing, on a subconscious level, to let it go? I don’t believe it, though.
When do you know you’re ready to expand your family? Physically? Emotionally? I’ve been struggling daily with this. Have we given my body enough time to heal, to properly carry another child in my scarred womb? Have we given my heart enough time to heal? The anguish of not remembering my first time meeting my son haunts me. I’m no longer numb, but fearful. Some moments, I feel ready. Most of the time, though, I’m so afraid that I’m not ready, in some capacity or other. I know Bear is ready, and that Bean will be a wonderful big brother. How selfish am I, to keep from them what is rightly theirs because of my own fear?
I have been meaning to re-write Bean’s birth story. The order of events is true, but I lied about how I felt, especially at the end. To myself, to anyone who read it. Why? Who was I trying to protect? What good did that do?
But what will re-writing accomplish? Will it help anyone else? Will it help me? I hope so. I desperately hope so.
Not now, though. I’m still not ready yet.
And now I’m babbling. Into the Universe, into a void. Praying that this word vomit becomes some sort of catharsis for me.
I fear, but I have hope, too.
We're all perfect parents before we have kids, aren't we? We tend to think, "When Ihave kids, I'll always/never [insert random thing here]..." Here's a list of 6 things I swore before having Bean that I broke by the time he was 6 months.
1. No screen time before 2 years old
Thank the stars for YouTube and Baby Einstein. And a large data plan for long car trips with a kid who hates his car seat. (Also look up Baby Got Colic. Lifesaver.)
2. I will Not be used as a pacifier
When Bean is inconsolable any other way and refuses a pacifier, you'd better believe I'm more than willing to, as some say, pop a boob in his mouth.
3. Exercise daily
For real, yoga a few times a week is a good week for me.
4. Keep up with all the housework and have dinner on the table every night
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAJMOGCEWJJLWQBWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! (Why, yes, that is me laughing and crying simultaneously)
5. I wouldn't count my child's age by months
I know, it's annoying to anyone who doesn't currently have a child/grandchild under 24 months (that's exactly 2 years, btw). It was annoying to me, too, until I actually had a kid and discovered the leaps and bounds children under 2 make in a single month. Don't worry, if you ask his age and I don't know you, I'll spare you the weeks, days, hours, and minutes.
6. Wear baby all the time
Not always possible when your kid HATES being wrapped on your back and you don't have an SSC and you don't have the strength or patience after 10 tries.
In breaking my list of ideals, though, I've learned something important. These aren't the things that make me a good parent (or a bad one for breaking them). The things that make us good parents are that we love him unconditionally, he stays clean(ish), and he's fed, sheltered, clean-diapered, and happy. And, in the end, these are the only things that really matter.
*This blog post is in response to another blogger's question, Is It Really That Hard to Cover Up? It is also an open letter to anyone who has called me (or any other nursing mother)
What is the big controversy about breastfeeding in public?
I’ll admit, I’m on the other side of this, and I’m asking the same question.
I understand; you don’t want to see it. And, believe it or not, I respect your wish, and there’s a simple answer to it: don’t look. Ask your husband not to look. Teach your preschool son to look away. There are plenty of things I see on a daily basis that I'd rather not see, but I generally look away rather than gawk.
I don’t see what’s so offensive about expecting someone who doesn’t want to see it to look away.
For me, it is that hard to cover up. Honestly, my son will make more of a spectacle of nursing if he’s fussing and fighting off a cover, instead of me simply allowing him to latch and still see the world around him. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been nursing my son in public and had someone come to look at him, only to jump in shock – after bursting my personal space bubble – at the fact that he’s attached to my *gasp* nipple.
I am a Bologna Barb, but when my son is nursing, there is no areola to be seen, unless you get super close and look on purpose. I seriously wore more revealing tops (plus push-up bras) when I was a teen/early 20's that revealed just as much "naked breast" (if not more) than I show while nursing my son.
And if you’re getting that close, then it’s your issue, not mine.
I agree, there are many breastfeeders who look down on those who don’t. Gladly, I am not one of them, and neither are any of the breastfeeding mothers I’m friends with. If you're not comfortable with nursing without a cover, that's okay, too! If you'd rather cover/pump/go someplace private for YOUR OWN comfort, that's great! If you'd rather give formula because you don't feel comfortable with your child touching your breasts, or because you are unable to breastfeed for ANY other reason, awesome!! You're still making sure your child is well nourished, whichever way. What it boils down to is that YOU are comfortable, and that YOU are feeding YOUR baby. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has any right to say anything about how you do it. I'll be caught dead before I'll say anything negative about how another woman feeds her child, unless she's not feeding them at all.
I will not stand for anyone to be made to feel superior over anyone else because of the way they choose to feed their child. I will support anyone who has a desire to breastfeed, but is scared to because of how others might view them, or because they’re afraid of being immodest, or have to overcome any number of physical or mental hurdles.
You contradict yourself when you say there’s no stigma in 2015, yet you’re begging other nursing mothers to cover. It’s sad that, in our day and age, we’re still having to fight for a woman’s right to not be sexualized. Incredibly, in my state, it’s perfectly legal for a woman to be topless anywhere it’s legal for a man to be topless. That’s not even with a baby attached to a boob.
You may not be sexualizing breastfeeding, but you are perpetuating the cultural belief that breasts are sexual things. I think it is possible to break the cycle of breasts (or any other part of a human body) being seen as purely sexual. If we teach our children what they are actually for and refuse to sexualize them ourselves, they will be much less likely to sexualize breasts when they're older. However, if you want to keep sexual things private, I will need to cover my lips, neck, ears, back, legs, feet, hands… well, pretty much every part of me. Because any and all can be sexual, in the right context. Just because a part of a body can be utilized in a sexual fashion does NOT make it sexual in all cases.
Yes, my vagina helped make my baby, but my breasts did not. They did not start their job until after my baby came out of my womb. So comparing my breasts to my vagina is comparing apples to oranges. I say this as politely as possible; that argument is invalid.
I believe that every person has a right to his or her own opinion and version of modesty. I also believe that the only person’s version of modesty I need to live up to is my own. By the same token, the only one you should feel the need to live up to is your own.
I choose to not subscribe to the cultural norm. It’s not that I believe that I’m better than it, just that I don’t think that cultural norm = morally right. If you choose to follow the cultural norm, that is your choice and I’m not going to down you for it, or try to force my personal view down your throat. But I will ask you, what made this view a cultural norm, and why do you choose to subscribe to it? Simply because it is? Is the fact that it just is a reasonable justification for following it?
If you don’t want your husband ogling other women while they breastfeed, ask him not to look. I don’t ask, because it doesn’t bother me. The only thing my husband thinks (we discussed this the other night) when he sees a breastfeeding mother is, "that baby is eating good!"
If you don’t want your preschool son looking at a breastfeeding mother, teach him to look away. Personally, I hope to raise my son (and any other children I have) to not objectify women (or other human beings in general), so that even if he sees a completely topless woman (totally normal and acceptable in many parts of the world, including many places in the UK, not just 3rd world countries) he will simply see her as a human being, not a thing to ogle or think lustful thoughts about.
Also, I hope you ask them to look away from anyone not wearing enough clothes for your liking, and that you keep extra blankets with you to throw over their heads when you're in public, or to throw over said under-dressed people.
I believe the true issue isn’t nursing in public, or doing so covered/uncovered, but rather personal views of modesty.
100 years ago (give or take), it was not considered immodest to nurse a hungry baby, but it was immodest – especially for a woman of “breeding” – to show her ankle. Thanks to the controversial flappers of the 1920’s, who dared not only to show their ankles but their knees, women have continued to have more and more freedom with the way they dress. So, think of me as a flapper, if you will. Maybe, because of women like myself, breasts will no longer be sexual in the next 100 years. I may be a revolutionary, but it is the turn of the century.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m beating a dead horse. Maybe there will always be two sides, with a select few yelling back and forth at each other, while the rest of us just want to live in peace.
Keep being the awesome mom I’m certain you are, in the best way you know how to mom, and I’ll keep trying my best to do the same.
I don’t hate anyone for not wanting to see a specific part of my anatomy. Please don’t hate me for asking you to look away.
A fellow mama
Mama Bear of one Baby Bear, Bean, who both love Papa Bear, and live in a crafty, gluten-free cozy den.