weekly summary, vol. 50

PAIL Special Announcements/Reminders:

  • On our blogroll? Help your readers find us! Post the PAIL icon! If you need help figuring out how to post the button, click here for details. If you are having issues, you can always contact us and we will do our best to put on our tech support hats and solve the problem for you. :)

PAIL Posts This Week:

PAIL Featured Post:

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guest post: the reality of breastfeeding?

A few days ago, I stumbled across some articles about breastfeeding. They weren’t the usual uber-positive articles I was used to encountering. The first article purported to be a no-holds-barred account of the difficulties one can encounter when breastfeeding.  The second article, while a few months older, was more extreme about the pain a mother can encounter while breastfeeding.

OK. True confession time. I didn’t breastfeed my son. Hell, I didn’t even carry him. He came to us via gestational surrogacy, and I decided not to attempt to induce lactation. Our awesome gestational carrier did pump breast milk for him for almost 6 months.

It may seem like I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I do because I’m a woman and a mother.  The prevailing message about breastfeeding is that it is best and if you don’t do it, you’re denying your baby his/her natural food. It’s also irreplaceable bonding time. Not breastfeeding might damage maternal-child attachment.  Not breastfeeding might doom your child to a variety of poor outcomes. Not breastfeeding may even doom you, the mother, to serious breast or ovarian cancer.

I’ve watched what the pressure to breastfeed has instigated. I’ve had too many friends both offline and online berate themselves if breastfeeding doesn’t work out or even when they decide to stop pumping.  Wondering what is wrong with them if their breastfeeding journey is more of a struggle than they thought it would be. They feel as if they’ve failed their child and failed as a woman. At the very least, they feel disappointed in themselves and their experience with breastfeeding. Add in infertility, and a failure to breastfeed or less time breastfeeding than one wishes becomes yet another way in which our body has betrayed us.

And I don’t want any woman to feel that way about herself and her body ever. Ever. I’m not trying to start a debate about breastfeeding. Truly. But I am adamant about the power of mommy blogging. I credit mothers blogging with helping to pull back the curtain on motherhood and demonstrate the reality of what motherhood is like. It has major highs and lows, and mothers are not one-dimensional characters. It can be both awesome and suck at the same time.  These are messages society has not been used to seeing, but they are necessary.

I’d like to see the same attention given to how we feed our babies. How you fed your baby is part of the lingua franca of motherhood, meaning that you can’t join a mommy’s group or meet a group of mothers without method of sustenance becoming practically an ice breaker. And source of judgment.

I’m not against breastfeeding. Far from it.  What I appreciate about these articles is that they bring scrutiny and awareness to the reality of breastfeeding. For some women, it is hard. For some women, it doesn’t work. It isn’t a bed of roses for every woman, and while breastfeeding is laudable, it should not be held up as the only acceptable way and only positive, easy stories portrayed. If your nipples are falling off, for God’s sake, find a different way to feed your baby!

I support every woman and whatever choices she makes, but I don’t want any woman to feel compelled to pursue a certain direction because of peer pressure and one-sided media representations.

What do you think? Do you think articles like these provoke fear or do you think they are a needed reality check?

What kinds of articles about feeding your baby would you like to see the media and blogs tackle?

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Keanne of Family Building With a Twist in her own words: I’m KeAnne (like LeeAnne w/ a “K”). Mommy to 1. Wife to someone who knows how my mind works. Scary (you should see what goes on in my mind). Owned by 3 cats. I work full time and don’t craft or DIY (you’re welcome). I like books, conspiracy theories, Downton Abbey and cooking. I dislike chocolate, zinfandel, carpet beetles and experts. Expect over-thinking, the occasional rant, strong opinions and the occasional (OK, often) piece of useless knowledge.

feature post: “does that mean camels are ugly?”

Our monthly theme this month was body image through the lens of the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) journey. So when I came across Lindsey, of Adventures of Endo in the Arctic’s, recent post I knew it was the perfect tie-in to our monthly theme. Lindsey recounts a conversation she had with her niece and nephew. They were talking about camels:

I asked them if they knew what camel humps were made of.  They suggested water (as most people assume) and I shared that they are actually made of fat.

My nephew was quiet for a minute then asked, “Does that mean camels are ugly?”

What? Yeah, her nephew is young. Young enough that you (or at least I) wouldn’t think they would have been so influenced by popular culture and societal pressures. Lindsey’s response to her nephew’s very innocent yet troubling question is a lot better than I could have done. And then she offers a way she wished she handled the conversation that is just stellar. Like, hands down, thanks for making my job as a parent ten times easier.

How do we do this? How do we raise kids in a society that puts so much ‘weight’ on body image? How do we teach what beauty really is? How do we have these conversations with young kids, because as Lindsey points out:

With an adult I feel like we could have had a long discussion about societal conventions of beauty but with a kid you need to put it into a few sentences and how is that possible when you’re not expecting it?

Check out “Does that mean camels are ugly?” and check out her awesome suggestion for how to handle these conversations and weigh in with your thoughts.

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PAIL headshotChandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She also shares embarrassing stories about her husband and unicorns.

the monday snapshot – CrysHouse

CrysHouse of A Life in Ordinary is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to the The Monday Snapshot – an evolution of the MMM feature, meant to bring the PAIL blogroll to life by giving its members a chance to feature themselves and make new connections. 

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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When I turned 30, I thought I would feel a lot different than I did at 29…so it stands to reason that I believed I would feel a lot different when I became a mom.  Instead, it’s been a peaceful transition.  When Ryan cries or whines (or even when he fills his diaper…and onesie) I don’t panic.  I find myself as content as I am when he looks straight at me and smiles as big as he knows how at 8 weeks.

There’s nothing glamorous about my life right now–my kitchen is a mess, I don’t get to shower every day and my husband ran out of underwear the other day because I haven’t gotten around to the laundry.  But I’m still content.  Some days I cry.  Some days I don’t know why Ryan is upset.  By and far, though, I knew this was the part that was missing from my life for the last eight years.
Ryan is almost two months old.  And even though several of my co-workers call me a dirty whore for admitting this, I’m excited to say he’s sleeping through the night fairly consistently.  Those little celebrations, scheduling naps, diaper changes and feedings, that’s what my days consist of now.  It kinda makes me feel like I’ve been crowned Miss America, you know?
photo-1

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Now, get to know a little more about CrysHouse with her answers to the Monday Snapshot “5 Questions”:

1) How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?

I started my blog four years ago to write about yet another weight loss journey. I’d been struggling to lose weight since my early 20s and didn’t realize until shortly after beginning the s-l-o-w journey yet again that my doctor had missed a diagnosis (for the seven years I had been seeing her and complaining with the same symptoms): PCOS. That realization led to a long series of ups and downs in the weight loss department as well as interesting developments on the IF front.

2) Tell us a little about your ALI journey and your family (3-4 sentences):

My husband (Favorite) and I decided to expand our family in February ’05 after being married almost 2 years. Our first BFP came in March ’10 after several frustrating conversations with my OB (I’m probably naive, but I had never heard of PCO before my mom started doing her own research), a horrible experience with diet pills, ovarian drilling, bad advice regarding testosterone shots and a few rounds of clomid. (These experiences are the reason I always recommend becoming a self-advocate in the doctor’s office–which really seems like common sense after the fact.) Unfortunately, we lost that baby at almost 11 weeks. For a year afterward, I begged to get (and finally received) a prescription for Metformin. After a few months on that medication, I saw three other doctors who all stated my PCO was under control and there was no medical reason I wasn’t getting pregnant. In August ’12, we were given the shock diagnosis of our lives after basically throwing in the towel on TTC–a natural pregnancy. Ryan Christopher is due March 2013.

3) What makes you unique in the blogging world? (e.g. special talent, rare diagnosis, life experience)?

I don’t know that it makes me unique, but I definitely discuss my faith and how it’s affected me in this journey. I also share how pregnancy has completely changed the way my body works.

4) One word to describe yourself: 

I am a hobbit.

5) What blog or website (IF or not) would you recommend to others? Why?

I always recommend Young House Love because their posts are a day-brightener. (And honestly, what woman isn’t interested in improving her home or living area?)

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As always, we want to see your Monday Snapshot as well, so please comment below with a link to your post– and of course, go visit  CrysHouse at A life in Ordinary.

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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weekly summary, vol. 49

PAIL Special Announcements/Reminders:

  • On our blogroll? Help your readers find us! Post the PAIL icon! If you need help figuring out how to post the button, click here for details. If you are having issues, you can always contact us and we will do our best to put on our tech support hats and solve the problem for you. :)

PAIL Posts This Week:

PAIL Featured Post:

  • PAIL’s Monthly Post listing on “Body Image” is up! There are some powerful posts in that list, so you may want to sit with your favorite potent-beverage-of-choice and some uninterrupted computer time to read them. Or is that just me?

New Blogroll Members:

  • Bastcoyote— I’m snarky and pregnant for the 3rd time after 2 miscarriages and 4 rounds of IVF. Pregnancy may actually be making me snarkier. Currently pregnant & due December, 2013.

Welcome, Bastcoyote!

Stay Connected:

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