Day 3 - Fitness Friday!
Today brings an awesome prize, for those mamas who want to stay relaxed during pregnancy and get some fresh air and socializing postpartum.
Hayden Fitness Studio, in Vernon, has four (4) passes up for grabs! That's right - there will be four (4) winners today!
Enter here: https://goo.gl/forms/PbremONC2lKNN4Q83
They also offer a variety of other fitness programs for all levels
Check out their schedule, here.
They are located at: #201 - 2500 53rd Ave in Vernon
Make sure to head on over to out pages, Maternal Oak Doula and Hayden Fitness Studio, on Facebook, and tag your friends for bonus entries!
This contest will close in 24 hours and a winner will be drawn shortly there after.
Today brings us another fantastic prize - donated by Heena at My lil Buttercup, in Penticton. Heena carries an array of babywearing carriers, accessories, and other assorted items for parenthood!
She has amazingly gifted one lucky winner a set of Tula blankets! Valued at $100
*Winner to pay shipping
Keep an eye on her page, My lil Buttercup, for an upcoming sale on many items!
Enter here: https://goo.gl/forms/6G7H54OBsfaFJWiv1
Make sure to head on over to out pages, Maternal Oak Doula and My lil Buttercup, on Facebook, and tag your friends for bonus entries!
This contest will close in 24 hours and a winner will be drawn shortly there after.
It all started, when a recent client had a Facebook post up, in search for newborn photo props. I remember I had a bag of adorable headbands....somewhere.
This is a topic, that is rarely spoken upon. It is almost taboo - because how could you be disappointed about your own child's gender, when they are healthy. I wonder, though, how many other mothers, or even fathers, having this tugging feeling on their hearts. I know I do - and I never ever talk about it. Are you wondering, yet, what the topic is?
It is real, yes. Haven't heard of such a thing? I don't doubt that. Not many people have. Why would someone openly and honestly just state 'No, actually, I wish I had a girl instead'? How shallow, does it sound, and unloving as a parent? I know what most people are thinking - how could anyone ever think such things? I have, for years, and will continue to battle with it for potentially the rest of my life. Opening up and being raw and honest, is putting me in a very vulnerable state - but I needed to get it off my chest not knowing if other families are experiencing this. Actually, I know they are. I have been approached on multiple occasions, asking me about Gender Disappointment and if I had ever experienced it.
Being a mom to 3 boys - the comments almost always are:
'Are you going to keep trying, till you get that girl?'
'Aww man - another one?!'
'Don't you wish you had a girl?'
'No - we aren't. But thank you for being concerned about our sex life'
'Yes - another one. It's like somehow you think we can control our child's gender'
'Yes - I do. I desperately with all my heart and soul wish I had a daughter to call my own'
Of course, all everyone wants is to be able to, first of all - get pregnant. Second of all - carry a healthy baby to term. Of course. But that does not take away from the sting. One of the biggest questions asked, to pregnant woman is, 'Do you want a girl or a boy?' Often times, women will say they do not care, yes, but just as often you will hear a choice. And instantly - the judgement starts.
'Well you should just be happy that you got pregnant'
'It doesn't matter, right? As long as they are healthy'
When I got pregnant, with my first, I wanted a boy, and when we found out he in fact was, a boy - I was over the moon. When the second, came along, I had my boy so naturally was more drawn towards wanting a girl - who doesn't want that million dollar family? Being in Canada, you had to wait till your 20 week ultrasound to find out. We just so happened to be in Las Vegas, on vacation, around 16 weeks. We found a place down there to get a 3D ultrasound, to find out earlier. I remember waking up, that morning, and feeling sick to my stomach. I already knew what they were going to tell me. After the appointment, and out of sight of the tech, I broke down. I was angry. I was disappointed. I was devastated. I felt robbed and cheated, at my chance of having a daughter in that moment. As time went on, I grew to like the idea of two sons, and the fun bond they would have growing up. And, to this day, I love that boy with all of my heart and always will.
The twang, though, has never gone away. I do not wish I did not have that son - do not get those two confused. I would not give him up for any daughter. I don't think any parent wants to trade a gender for a gender. The big misconception, with Gender Disappointment is the what if's.
'What would my life look like, if I had a daughter?'
'Would she want to dance? Or play football, like her brothers?'
'Have long brown hair like me? Her dads beautiful hazel eyes?'
When we started trying, for another, I still had that hope in my heart that maybe one day I would have a girl. I got pregnant, and within days had a miscarriage and lost that baby - 2 weeks before our wedding. I woke up, that morning, knowing something was wrong. As soon as it set in, what was happening - my gut and heart instantly went to - 'it's a girl and this was my only chance at a daughter'. To this day, I cannot shake that feeling. Be it a coping mechanism, or not - my gut was right the other times.
Along came child number 4 - and can you take a guess at what that sweet baby was? I went into that ultrasound, already knowing what he was. I told the tech and, shocked, he confirmed it. I didn't feel anything. Maybe numb, was the right feeling? I knew, with each consecutive pregnancy, my chances were getting slimmer and slimmer. Statistic wise, and - well my husband came from 3 boys. As did his dad. And his dad before him. It would have to be a major fluke, with nature greatly on my side, to get that daughter I always dreamed of.
I try my best, not to feel guilty over my feelings that surround this. As I already said, it is not my children themselves, that bring on the Gender Disappointment feelings - it is the mourning of something that will never be. I believe that all feelings are valid, and it is up to ourselves to process those as best we can. Sometimes, it takes days, other times - years. I am not ungrateful for being fortunate enough to carry healthy, term, thriving children - so please, do not think that.
As women, from an early age, we all (mostly) envision how our life will look. Our prince charming of a husband, the wedding, our children - the white picket fence home. We play to these roles, and let our imaginations run as wild and free as they can. But, the truth is, life is not like that. Our imaginations, needs and wants are not always correct and going to work out how we want. Disappointment, in life, happens on many levels and it not just on what our child's gender may be. It is an emotion and feeling, that sometimes feels gross, and uncomfortable.
And it is okay, to feel that.
It is okay, to wish you had something you didn't - because let's face, everyone wishes they had something others have. It's human nature.
It's okay to love your current children, while mourning the child you will never have.
Do not let anyone ever tell you that your feelings are not valid. Ever. Whatever it is you are feeling, is okay and normal, and you will work through those feelings at your own pace. If you find you are struggling - reach out. You are not alone. There is always someone out there going through something similar to you.
Please, when you see someone with all one gender - actually any children at all - do not assume what they want. Maybe we are trying for that other gender, maybe we aren't - but that is our families choice.
Most care providers, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggest and encourage women to breastfeed. You and your baby are unique, and the decision is up to you. This insight into breastfeeding can help give you the information you may need, to make a decision that will benefit you and your baby.
There is something so intimate and beautiful in those quiet moments of breastfeeding, with your new babe. Developing a feeding relationship, with your newborn, can be full of emotional and physical ups and downs in the early days, especially as a first time mom. Seeking out and advocating for the proper supports, though, can make a difference between success or struggle.
There are so many benefits, for mother and child, when it comes to breastfeeding. Not only can your body provide nourishment and protection, for your baby, it can for you as well. There have been several studies that have shown it reduces ovarian and breast cancer. Post delivery, the oxytocin that is released when nursing will help your uterus contract and shrink back down to size quicker than those mothers who do not breastfeed. Exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) shows there has been success in being able to naturally space your children, due to the natural birth control you body experiences. Psychologically, it gives mothers a greater sense of empowerment in being able to sustain their child's needs.
For babies, breastfeeding provides immune support, which is crucial in their early days when they have not yet developed one. It reduces their risk of SIDS, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Breastfeeding also helps babies learn to self regulate their food intake, which has been shown to reduce childhood obesity. The skin to skin bond, you create, also helps your child feel more secure and confident in you as their care provider and reduces stress for you both.
The link between breastfeeding and society, is also large. Not only do breastfed babies tend to be sick less often, thus minimizing the health care system, parents are also able to take less sick days to tend to their ill children. It also helps reduce waste and pollution by not requiring packaging, shipping and disposal of bottles, liners, and cans of formula. Financially, the formula industry in sales and marketing of their products, is a multi billion dollar industry. With breastfeeding, we can substantially cut that number down and create more WHO compliant locations.
Don't delaying that bond and connection, with your babe. As soon as possible, post delivery, start skin to skin and practicing your latching with baby. Give yourself patience and space, while you learn to work with one another. Breastfeeding is like a dance - you both need to learn the steps to success. As you head home, make sure you have items in your home to encourage this. Be it a cozy corner with snacks, a water bottle and Netflix or your bed. Having quick and close access to items so you are able to sit, and nurse, is important.
Breastfeeding might seem lonely and individual, but it is not and you do not have to go about it alone. In the past, women learned proper techniques from their mothers, grandmothers, and sisters. They had a support system to lean on, to help them succeed. Reach out to your friends and family, who have children and have gone through this journey, and ask for guidance should you need it. Social media is also full of many amazing support groups, for women, to ask questions and connect with like minded mothers. Locally, we have Vernon Breastfeeding Cafe and Breastfeeding Mothers of the Shuswap.
Making sure you are adapting your diet, to your breastfeeding needs, is also crucial. You will be burning 200-500 calories, while nursing, so making sure your nutrition intake reflects that will help with your supply. Don't fill your calorie gap with empty foods - stock your pantry and fridge with wholesome and healthy foods to snack on while sitting in your nursing chair. Preparing freezer meals, can also help with this, and make for easy and quick meals in the early postpartum days.
If you find you are struggling with breastfeeding - reach out. Do not give into the fear that you are not doing a good enough job, or not producing enough milk. If your baby is outputting the appropriate amount of diapers for their age, you are giving them enough. There are many supports available for women, and many ways to go about making sure your child gets breast milk. Be it a SNS sytem, pumping and bottles, or doner milk - insuring your child has that 'liquid gold' is possible with some hard work and support.
We must increase awareness and education in order to support a healthier future for the good of humanity to ensure that all children, irrespective of their gender, whether they are from a rich country or a poor one, can get the best possible start in life and start from a very even basis. It is everyone's responsibility to create and educate our population as a whole. Acceptance is key, knowledge is power. Together we can create a safe and educational environment so that all mothers who choose to breastfeed, can with success.
In conjunction with the Shuswap Children's Association, we are pleased to be hosting MILK: The Film in the Spring of 2017. Stayed tuned to our Facebook, for an announcement of a date and time.
Resources for support, information and help:
International Lacation Consultant Association
Le Leche League International
Benaroch, Roy MD. (2015, December 13) Breastfeeding Benefits. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#5
Filmblanc (2017) MILK Educational Program. Retrieved from: http://www.milkhood.com/programs
Rusch, Elizabeth (2017) 5 Simple Steps to Breastfeeding Success. Retrieved from: https://www.fitpregnancy.com/baby/breastfeeding/five-simple-steps-breastfeeding-success
Unknown (2016, June 16) Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Enviroment and Society. Retrieved from: http://www.tensteps.org/benefits-of-breastfeeding-for-the-environment-society.shtml
Kayla is a mom to three sons, wife, and doula. She works within the Shuswap/Okanagan Region providing mothers and their families with a whealth of knowledge and support in all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and beyond.