The Art of Getting Out of Bed A Hundred Times

One night last week my attempts at falling asleep were a complete joke.  The amount of times I actually got out of bed was beyond frustrating. What a comedy this would have been if you were to have watched this.  It all started with two giant flies buzzing around the room keeping me up. I was alone in bed since my husband sometimes falls asleep downstairs, so it was up to me to battle it out with them.

There was no way I was falling asleep with these annoying bastards alive in my room. They kept landing by my head which was also driving me insane.

I got up and grabbed a magazine and chased them across the bed, over to my nightstand, back to my windows, my mirror, and my dresser. When I came to realize I just did not possess the speed of Mr. Miyagi with my magazine, I went into the bathroom to grab a can of aerosol hairspray to end them with.

On my way out of the bathroom, I noticed the cat was crouched down and ready to pounce while staring at the bottom of the oven.

Great. I had an inkling there was a mouse under there. For the moment though, I had the flies to tackle.

Once I was back in the bedroom the hairspray did the trick and I cursed myself for not having thought of that 30 minutes ago.

I climbed back into my bed pooped. Once I lied down I remembered the cat in the kitchen and got back up again to close my door so I didn’t have to hear what might ensue later.

The bed welcomed me with the warmth and softness that you get so excited to cocoon yourself into right before you fall asleep.. Just as I was drifting off, I felt something crawling across my chest.

I clicked on the light and found it was just a tiny ant. OK, just an ant. No biggie. But where there’s one, there’s typically several more. My mind started filling with all types of scenarios involving me asleep and covered head to toe in ants.  Then it felt like there was sand from the beach by my toes. Oh crap, what if it wasn’t sand and one of the kids had eaten goldfish in our bed and now there were crumbs? What if there was a sea of ants I was falling asleep on top of? I sprang from the bed-yet again.

Ripping off the comforter and top sheet, I scoured the bed looking for the ant farm that must be there. I did not find one other creepy crawly – thank GOD.

Now I had to pee.

I opened the door and glanced at the cat. He was still assuming the about-to-tackle position. I went to the bathroom and headed back into my room to try -yet again- to fall asleep.

This time, I accidentally left my door open.

I fell asleep, but apparently not very deeply because an hour or so later I woke from a loud sound in the kitchen. My mind took a minute to wake up and process what I thought might be happening, but it was too late. Seconds after I heard the loud sound, I felt the cat jump on my bed.

NO…PLEASE… NO.

I clicked on the light and there on the bed was my cat with a wriggling brown mouse hanging from his mouth. I leaped out of bed and tried to coerce my cat out of the room. This, of course, did not work.  He then let the mouse go, which thankfully was dazed and confused. It did not run far before he snatched it back up.

At that moment I picked up the cat and ran through the hallway to the  kitchen door and tossed him outside. He’s an indoor/outdoor cat-so it’s all good. Don’t worry, I didn’t just like throw an indoor cat out on the street.

I shuffled back to my bed thinking about the night’s events. Flies, an ant, and a mouse had paid the bedroom a visit-the universe was surely conspiring against the idea of a good night’s sleep.

Finally, for what felt like the hundredth time, I crawled into bed and fell asleep.

A couple hours later, I awoke to a herd of elephants coming at me.  I mean I awoke to my 7 year old stomping through his room and into mine and  bursting through my door to tell me he was hot, wide awake, he was up for the day, and wanting to hang out and chat.

Say what?

Rolling over, I searched the nightstand groggily with my eyes closed for my phone to check the time. The numbers seemed to be laughing at me as I read them: 4:45 a.m. I barked at him to get into my bed and try to calm himself and fall back to sleep.

After trying for close to an hour (trying= tossed and turned, definitely convinced me he has restless leg syndrome based on the number of times he moved his legs, mentioned every random thought that crossed his mind including the dream he just had, and how hot his bed was, and when his next playdate going to be,  etc. etc. ) I finally gave up and shouted with the rasp comparable to that of a bear who had just awoken from hibernation,

“Get a screen or watch a movie!”

Fortunately, he liked that idea and left the room and remembered to shut the door for me.

Ah, Momma can catch some winks for at least (I roll over to check the time on my phone again and it’s now 5:40) a half hour before I have to get up for work.

Curling up and stoked for that half hour and just as the sleep veil starts to set in,  I hear my bedroom door open.

Enter my 4 year old.

I lift the covers for him and he slides in and lies there quietly with his big blue eyes heavily opening then shutting, opening then shutting. I stare at him as if trying to will him back to sleep so I can just SQUEEZE in this last 30 minutes.

He says something softly and I lean in and ask him to repeat it so I can hear.

“It’s wake up time Mommy.”

I GIVE UP.

A Shared Interest

Beaming in the backseat of the car you gleefully exclaimed that you had finally found something that you “actually like”. We were driving back from your first hip hop dance class and sweat was glistening on your blonde brow.

During the short ride home we bantered about the feeling that comes over  the both of us when we dance. More specifically, when the song is really cranked up and you feel it on the outside and the inside. Hearing that you had not only found your “thing” but that we share the very same interest made my own excitement palpable.

We’ve always enjoyed breaking it down together in the kitchen in the privacy of our own home. This was different though. This was an activity you consistently asked to go to, and you were seriously bummed about missing if  I didn’t make it home in time from work to take you to a class.  I wondered still if it would be a short lived interest and you would move on to something else or lose interest as you had with soccer.

It was almost a year ago when you made this announcement about finding something you really enjoy.  You’ve since shared a stage with your best friend, performing in the variety show as a second grader. And now, in just two days, you will be on stage again for your second time ever doing a hip hop routine with your peers. You’re both excited and nervous -you’ve mentioned this now a couple of times. We chat about how it’s normal to feel that way before a performance and that’s what makes it fun. The thrill of going on stage, the lights on you, lots of people watching and the fear mixed in are all part of the territory. I watch you dance at home and in the car and at rehearsals – and you just beam. You go into your own little world and it’s really cool to watch.

When you’re older, I’ll talk to you about this time in our lives. “This time” as in the right now. I want you to know how momentous it was for me to be your mom watching you grow, develop interests,  and experience this piece of your personality unfolding. To share a common interest that we both feel so passionately about makes this a true bonding experience for me. I didn’t think it was possible to actually notice bonding. I can’t say that I’ve had any bonding experiences thus far in life quite like this one.

Someday, when my body doesn’t quite work the way it used to, and I can’t dance with you, run with you, or keep up with you the way I do now, I’ll have to think back to this beautiful experience. A shared love of something that allowed us to be a part of something separately but together at the same time. I’ll be so grateful, my heart will be immensely full and I’ll sit back in my wheelchair and wipe a tear from my old wrinkled cheek while reminiscing about the glory days of motherhood and a body that still worked. And then right at that moment, more than likely your dad will dare me to get up out of my wheelchair and twerk… and the sentimental moment will pass.

 

Who is Peeking In On Your Worst Mommy Moments?

While we’re all on good behavior most of the time out in public, you know that there are a select few closest to you that see you let it all hang out with your kids. But hold up. What about the people that see the worst version of you that you don’t really think about? Yikes right? Yeah-think about that for a second.

Recently, I had some God awful upper respiratory virus with some body aches sprinkled in and while I called out sick to work, I still had to drag my butt out of bed and drive my kids to school because we can’t call out sick to the Mom job. My husband goes into work early this day of the week, so I am always on drop off duty this particular day.

I ran through the how-to-get-my-sick-achey-bod-out-of-bed scenarios in my head: Did I have the energy to grab a baseball hat? Nope, that would require standing on my tippy toes to reach it  in the closet-even my toes hurt.

If it wasn’t on the top of my closet area, it would likely be buried at the bottom of my closet, which meant I would need to dig for it. This equals bending over -nope definitely can’t bend over with my head full of all this mucus and all this achiness. Did I mention the aching? .

How greasy was my hair? I would look in the mirror and decide.

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How would I get dressed? Leave pajama top on-it’s not too noticeable. Will somehow finagle pulling jeans on. Maybe the kids could help me pull them on? I lugged my body around like a ton of bricks and ever so slowly got the jeans on, slipped shoes on, and opted for combing my hair through twice and walking out the door.

Due to getting out the door being the biggest pain in the booty with my two kids, I often open the door as the “indicator” that we’re about to head out. I figure my kids will someday recognize this open door  symbol and skip their way to the car, get in, and buckle up with smiles on their faces and halos over their heads. A woman can dream right?

When I opened the door to set the “indicator” that we were getting ready to leave, I noticed it was a beautiful day and my neighbor had her windows open. On the way out the door, I went to scoop up my son’s folder and put his homework in it.  Then I saw a late library book notice from the school. It was $70 if we did not return the books.  The two most expensive books had been in his backpack for a month.  What was even more maddening was he had been reminded every single day to return the books by Yours Truly.   I was trying to shout at him with my newfound sore-throat man voice and hobbled like Quasimoto to his room where I started crazily tossing books from his bookcase. Dammit-I was going to find the other late books that were not in his backpack. This may have looked like the wire hanger scene from Mommy Dearest- just with books flying everywhere and me shouting at the bookcase like it had just murdered someone. Oh yeah…and…our windows were open.

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Take two of trying muddle out the door and my 4 year old son decides he doesn’t want to get in the car.  He circles the car. He goes left then I go right and vice versa.

I start repeating over and over getting louder each time, “Mommy doesn’t feel good. Mommy doesn’t feel good. MOMMY DOESN’T FEEL GOOD!” I was hoping if I kept saying that he’d feel bad and finally get in the car.

Aaaaand now he’s headed for the flower garden.  He’s going to play with the flowers in the garden and run back and forth from the flowers to the car. When he makes it to the car he’s going to write his name in the condensation on the window- because why not? To a 4 year old, we have ALL the time in the world.  I wish buddy.

He’s hysterically laughing of course. Really? Mamma don’t play that right about now. Mamma wants to be IN BED. What probably sounded and looked so cute to everyone else on the planet including my neighbors felt like hell. My pounding headache felt like it was talking at me,  “Must… get water.. Must… find bed.  Must… lie down.”

With my Pee-Wee Herman meets Wolfman voice I growl at my son to “Get. In.The.Car.” The scary voice works.

As I lean down to buckle him into his booster seat, the car door (which is not fully propped open) begins to close just in time to double-combo smack me in the head and shoulder.  F***!

You know when something hurts so bad like stepping on a lego, or hitting your head on something, or stubbing your toe? And you know that  hot and angry feeling you get just as the pain sets in? YEP. That was this moment. I think I did some version swearing, and kicking the  car door. Whatever I did, I’m sure I looked nuts.

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With spring being here and summer fast approaching, both sets of my neighbors on either side of our house have their windows open more often than not. It dawned on me that my neighbors must think I am the mother from HELL. They hear the worst version of this mom right here every…single…day whenever I am trying to get my kids into the car. And this day was particularly worse than those days because of how bad this virus was kicking my butt.

My absolute least favorite time of each day when the worst version of myself is visiting is when I am attempting to get my sons into the car to go somewhere. It’s typically a 5 to 10 minute fiasco with lots of shouting. And oh how I hate a nag! But to BE one…that’s worse. When it’s time to get in the car – it’s time for The Nagmeister.

I’ll have to sprinkle in a “Good Job” or an “I love you” the next time one of my kids gets their butt into the car without a hassle just so my neighbors realize I’m not Mommy Dearest all the time. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. My kids don’t get into the car until I start shouting. It was a cute thought while it lasted.

On Writing

Some insight into why writing feels right…

Everyone’s story is different. For that reason, there is something so satisfying about indulging in a good biography.  Fiction and non-fiction narratives that tell stories of the character’s arc are forever fascinating for the human mind. We can learn from someone else’s experiences; empathizing, marveling, relating, or grieving while reading what they’ve suffered, lost, overcome, or endured. As someone who thoroughly enjoys hearing and reading about others’ lives whether it’s over a beer, a coffee, a blog, or pages of a book, I discovered there is much to be enjoyed when writing about life as well.

I’ve always kept a journal. My parents gave me my first one at the age of 7. You could say there’s enough material to write at least 3 books!  Whether or not they’d be interesting is debatable. But I did take some time over the last few days to read through them and wow…what a trip. The details are long forgotten. That’s why writing in a journal is key should you ever want to harken back to the days of your youth.  Let me tell you-it zaps  you right inside that very moment that would have otherwise been lost in the Bumbletown of your waning memory.

In my mid-twenties I took a memoir writing course and when the class ended my professor made me promise to someday write a book about my life.  She also mentioned that if it never came to fruition, to always keep writing.  Her advice has long hung out in my conscience. She also warned it was probably best to write a memoir prior to having children because time would be scarce. She had written her book with two small children and cautioned it was tough to do so. Well, I didn’t listen to her and damn was she right. At any rate,  my chance at writing did eventually show up, even if in an unexpected way.

In 2009, I started a Facebook group for working moms. I wanted to meet other moms to build relationships and coordinate play dates on the weekends. Fast forward to early 2016 when an editor of an online blogging publication www.suburbanmisfitmom.com posted an ad in my working moms group looking for writers. A few weeks later my first and very personal article was published on my inconsistent childhood read it here.

There was a crazy waterfall of emotions that occurred when my first article had been published. I was sitting in morning rush hour traffic when the “You’ve Been Published” notification came through. Just picture Diane Lane in that bus scene in the movie Unfaithful. That was me.

Instead of dipping my toe in, I dove head first and opened up in the only way I know how when I write. It was scary but exhilarating.

Following the high of being published came the mystery of how certain people interacted with me after reading about my personal not-so-sunny experiences. Surprisingly,  whether they are close to you, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger- each reaction is different and some are not even close to what you would expect. Sometimes it’s confusing and off-putting and other times it’s gratifying and motivating. Either way, writing felt right regardless of some of the mixed reactions.

As the reader, when reading autobiographical content, I try to keep in mind that this is the writer’s experience. This is their truth and their life.  On the other hand, as the writer, you have to remember that people will interpret things in a completely different way than you meant them to and they will also project their own stuff onto it whether you like it or not.  This projection will then lead them to act in confusing ways towards you. Lord knows I’ve spent many midnights in an anxiety ridden sweat fest over-analyzing this very thing. This is the part no one can prepare you for as the writer.  I certainly wasn’t prepared for it, and I contemplated not continuing writing for a beat or two because of it.

Thankfully, I ended up pushing the nerves of vulnerability aside. Why? Because I honestly feel writing is a necessary thing for me.   Also, who wouldn’t want a hobby that feels right, makes the brain feel like it’s being put to good use, and that has the ability to  help people?

This is one of the most fulfilling hobbies. I feel just as giddy when I write as I do when I take a dance class. For example, in my article about getting lost and happy , I discuss the immense gratification I get from dancing and putting my creative side to work.  This very same feeling transpires when I write. To have connected with these two passions and made them part of my weekly routine -this is living life.

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Writing is also therapeutic for me in many ways. It’s a connection to people and a way to show why I have an appreciation for my life that runs deep. The foundation for many of my writings is derived from an epiphany I had after becoming a mom. I came to the stark realization that I would and will do everything in my power to give my children a better experience. This means throwing out the script. ERASE AND REBOOT.  It also means I have to unlearn a lot. That’s not going to be easy. But writing about my unlearnings  will be interesting for me to say the least.

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There’s an appreciation transaction that occurs every day that I pull into my little white ranch with my beloved testosterone-filled family.  The reason that transaction even takes place is because of  the bumpy road I pedaled on to get there.   Most of the time, the stuff that really hurts us, is the stuff that allows us to grow into who we are.  I am choosing to use the cuts that may have a lingering sting as a source to better this life in the NOW. And so far, at least today, it’s a feel good story.

 

 

 

The Paths We Take

One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors (1998) with Gwyneth Paltrow as the lead role. The movie takes us through her life in two ways. One half of the film shows how her life unfolds when she makes the train, the other half of the movie is what happens when she misses the train. I think the reason I love this movie so much is because it’s both timeless and incredibly thought provoking.

It’s fascinating to think about the many different paths life can take. Recently, I had the pleasure of  hanging out with various old friends whom I haven’t seen in awhile. The conversations were some of the most interesting I’ve had in a long time. I felt an immense amount of admiration while hearing some of their stories. Career accomplishments they’ve made these last few years, some had bucket list trips they had taken or are about to take, others were growing their families or had just bought their first home.  Some of them had started out with very little and have ended up quite successful. Others needed some help along the way due to the economic crash and had finally felt like they’d turned a corner. Some were living back under their parent’s roof and have now purchased their own homes and are more appreciative than ever of what they can now call their own. Watching people grow over the years and seeing who they become is one of the beautiful things in life.

Most people don’t see themselves as extraordinary.  Meanwhile, if they only knew how far they’ve come! As the listener, hearing these stories made my heart grow two-fold. People are out there working hard at life and damn, I want them to know these unique paths they’re on are all a pretty big deal! People need to take a moment and reflect on where they were 5 years ago versus where they are now. Be proud. Seriously. You’re killin’ it!

I look at my husband and how hard he has worked on his business. The path he chose actually lead us to Connecticut. That was my Sliding Doors moment: to stay in Chicago or not to stay. My path forked and while I was unsure about starting over again, I was sure I was in love, so I took a leap of faith.

These paths we all take aren’t 100% ours though. In part we owe thanks to the supporters that said the things we needed to hear or maybe the things we didn’t want to hear to make it to where we are.

Looking back on the night before I moved, my mother said some words of encouragement to me. She was probably wondering how I would be across the country, on my own with my boyfriend of only 5 months, no job lined up, a roommate I didn’t know yet, and so much uncertainty that lay ahead of me.  As it turns out, if she was nervous about my choice, she did not let on that she was. Instead she was excited for me, she told me she was convinced I would marry this guy, that she felt it was the right call, and that it was pretty awesome I’d be living near a beach and not too far from New York City. She 100% supported my decision. It was just the boost I needed to go forth and see what was in store for the next chapter of my life.

So here I am on Chapter 37 of my life and that little decision I made turns out to have been one of the best.

It got me thinking about the decisions my sons will make and where their lives might take them.

The other day I pulled into our driveway and both my sons were dancing out front. They had a little speaker set up (thank you bluetooth) and a sign taped to the speaker that said “Please give us Money”. After I stopped laughing at their cute creative way to make a dollar, I quietly watched them. I don’t know how long I stood there, but I tried to encapsulate the moment.

I took in their blonde fluffy hair, their face expressions, and their moves while jamming out with wild abandon. I thought about the men they will grow to eventually be. How will they choose to spend their days? Will they live far away from us? Will they want to call us or have nothing to do with us?  I wondered if they would choose to be married or stay single, to travel the world, or settle down and have families. Most of all I wondered if as their parent I could somehow bottle this carefree happiness that they embodied in this moment and make sure it stays part of them into adulthood.

For now, while they are young, it’ll be fun to talk about what they want to do or be or what they like and don’t like.  And then of course when they’re teenagers I can look forward to making them watch Sliding Doors with me. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Nursing Wounds

babymamaWe have all heard or read about those fairytale stories on the bonding that comes with breast-feeding your newborn. While I was pregnant, I  wondered if that would be my experience. It was exciting to look forward to all of the unknowns that having a baby would bring. Little did I know the act of feeding my son would become what I dreaded the most every day as a new mom.

When I was wheeled in to meet my new baby ( I had him via C-section), I could not wait to snuggle and take in everything about the first moments. The nurse lifted him and placed him on my chest and helped to get him into position as most new mothers appreciate. I waited for something to happen. Not much did. The first latch was not comfortable and much to my baby’s dismay nothing was happening. I tried and tried to get the milk to flow, but my efforts were fruitless and I started to feel anxious.

A few hours later, I felt like Pamela Anderson.  I became engorged. I’ll save all of the unpleasant details of this since it was not pretty. In a nutshell, two nurses tried willfully to assist me while my husband shared some terse words with them. Things were getting pretty tense in the room. The nurses were rushing around the room and running down the list of things they could try to get the milk to come out. Hot compresses and pushing down on them did nothing. Eventually they had to have me pump and give my baby some formula since my milk seemed forever stuck.  My husband and I felt really stressed during this time because our baby was crying so hard and was clearly very hungry. The pain was searing. Thankfully, the pump worked wonders and I had some relief. I also began using a shield (which I think is one of the best inventions) since the latch was also so painful.

I attended one of the hospital’s new mom gatherings to learn how to bathe my baby and ask questions about any issues I was having. It seemed my breastfeeding troubles were quite common, and they assured me that soon I would be well on my way to smooth feedings.

A few days after returning home with my newborn, once again, I was in a lot of pain in my chest. A fever showed up and I felt as though moving my body and even carrying the baby was really difficult. I called a lactation consultant. She told me I had mastitis. This is when a milk duct becomes clogged and infected. You pretty much have  flu-like symptoms- chills, fever, and a sharp, cutting, shooting  razor blade feeling all throughout your chest. The internet will tell you it may last for 48 hours but every time I had it, it lasted for 4 days at a minimum.

After the storm of engorgement and mastitis cleared, I thought I was through the woods and that  I might be onto having those blissful nursing moments with my child that I had heard so much about. I would come to find out I was being overly optimistic.

Something was actually very off when I would nurse.

Each time the milk would let down, there be an avalanche of anxiety that would come with it. I began to dread when each feeding was approaching because of symptoms that followed.

I started to pay close attention to what was happening to me each time the let down began. First came the extreme thirst, then the hollow homesick feeling, then the feeling of wanting to close my eyes or drop my head, then a blanket of sadness so thick that the need to cry out in complete despair would overtake me. It was like I had taken a pill that made me feel concentrated grief. Then the worst part of the roller coaster would come- the self loathing. The feeling that there was nothing to live for. The feeling that  I did not deserve this child let alone deserve to be a mother. And then just like that, as soon as these negative emotions would come over me, they would vanish. I would snap back to life; content and calm while holding my baby and nursing him.

After a growth spurt night of marathon feedings every hour and feeling these wretched emotions 5 or 6 times throughout the night, I decided it was time to go in and see my midwife. Something was certainly not right.

My midwife thought it sounded  like post partum, but she did agree it was strange that it was only surrounding the times I would nurse.

I went home feeling depressed and wondering how I would ever get through this. At the good advice of a friend, I called the lactation consultant and she said she’d be right over.

She came right over and within 2 minutes of talking to me, she said, “You have D-MER. Otherwise known as Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex”.

What in the world was D-MER?

She explained it as a misfire in the brain. Hormones have a job when you breastfeed: oxytocin pushes the milk out to begin let down while prolactin (the milk-making hormone) goes up. Prolactin cannot go up unless dopamine comes down.    People with D-MER have a different chemical reaction with those hormones- specifically dopamine. Instead of the dopamine slowly going down, it drastically plummets during let down.  In someone with D-MER,  because the dopamine is dropping so rapidly, it causes a despondent or anxiety laced reaction.

According to D-MER.org, D-MER follows the same pattern as any other reflex. You can tell yourself your knee isn’t going to jerk when you hit it… but it does, just as much the hundredth time as it does the first, and it stops as soon as the stimulus stops. D-MER is physiological, not psychological. It is hormones, not past experience or repressed memories, that cause it.”

The lactation consultant explained to me that this was a very new discovery and most people in the medical profession had not heard of it,  did not know much about it, and there wasn’t much of a treatment for it.

As I allowed myself to take in the information, I became acutely aware that what I had feared most surrounding breastfeeding actually had come true. Instead of feeling euphoria or bliss, I would feel as though I were in eternal sadness during the very act.

I tried to find the silver lining in the situation.  I was grateful for having an answer. To know that what you’ve been experiencing has a name and is a real thing is comforting. I honestly thought I was going crazy prior to her telling me this.

My lactation consultant explained that there was no specific way to make it stop. With  little info from the medical field, all I could do was try to manage it with herbal supplements or by talking myself off the ledge each time it would occur.

My goal had been to make it to 6 months of breast-feeding back when I was pregnant and unaware of what lay before me.  How could I meet my goal of nursing for 6 months if I had to swim in this mental sewage for up to a minute multiple times a day?

I pushed on. It felt like a marathon without a finish line, but I did end up crossing it.

I was sure to share the info the lactation consultant had given me with my midwife so she could be aware of it and advise her other patients should they have it as well.

I’m thrilled to say that there is now an organization called D-MER.org. Hopefully medical professionals out there in the OB/GYN  field will study this condition and more info will become attainable. I remember trying to run a search on Google for it  and there was little to no info on the internet about the topic.

I’m sharing this very personal story because it may help a fellow mom that is going through this madness. It’s not your fault and it’s not controllable.  Call a lactation consultant, pep talk  yourself while it’s happening, ask your husband or partner to sit with you and say uplifting things during let down or just sit and hold your hand so that you can make it past that awful first part.  Be sure to share with your doctor that you’re not depressed consistently – it’s specific to nursing. That’s a big indicator that it’s D-MER.

Thank goodness for my smart as a whip lactation consultant. She ended up on speed dial – not only for the D-MER but because I ended up with mastitis 3 more times! Man, sometimes life is punishing.

In the end, I got through it. We moms are strong. Our bodies are truly amazing. We give birth and go through quite an intense healing process all while learning to navigate sleeplessness, breast-feeding, and the biggest role we’ll ever play in life: Mommy.  There are so many unexpected things that can show up on our doorstep as moms. Incredibly, we persevere because in the end we have to show up for our babies each day.

I’m happy to say I made it to my 6 month goal of nursing with my first son. It was and still is the hardest feat I have ever conquered. I threw a little private party for myself when it was over.

When my second son was born I was hopeful that it would be easier since I had been around this block once before. I had made a personal pact not to be so hard on myself and to throw in the towel if needed. Turns out I made it to 5 months- and guess what? It was equally as hard and unforgiving; I had mastitis the same amount of times as I had with my first son and the D-MER was a regular visitor with every feeding. That’s enough to make someone pretty bitter about breastfeeding.

The positive here is that I felt like I had sacrificed something for the betterment of my child. It seems the most selfless things we do feel the most rewarding-as hard as they might be and as impossible as it feels while going through it.While I was often frustrated that I would never have that blissful experience with breastfeeding, it did seem to get easier to manage the longer I nursed.  It’s so true that oftentimes no one else knows just how hard you’ve worked at something more than YOU do. When I was finished with breast-feeding my second son, I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest.

Women sometimes discuss their stretch marks and such, showing the traces of pregnancy and no longer walking in their youthful scar-free bodies. And while we all have one mark or another on the outside that reminds us we’re in the “mom club”, there’s a pocket of pride within that holds the secrets of  motherhood’s other battle scars. The kind of scars that aren’t visible on the outside.

 

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When I think back on the hilariously ridiculous fights that my husband and I used to have prior to kids and marriage, I can’t help but look back endearingly. The disagreements we have now are far more grown up and boring: Who left the other one high and dry in the morn without packing a…

via Funny Fights: Coins, Ants, Couches, & A Wedding Dress — Suburban Misfit Mom