We asked our Mothers & More members to share their thoughts and stories and use our Mothers Day Diaper Drive Campaign as their inspiration. Their stories will make you smile, laugh and so much more.
This blog comes from Nell Reid of the Mothers & More South Oange/Maplewood chapter. Nell shares her own struggles as a first-time mom and how someone in her life made a big difference. It has inspired her own desire to help other young mothers because after all, we mothers are in it together.
In It Together
As a full-time mother of a two-year old, I have some gripes. I have no “me” time. My son, Theo has always been a cat-napper as well as an early riser. I’ve read so many sleep books with opposing advice that my head spins just trying to come up with a new plan for tackling nap and bedtime schedules. My brain is so scattered these days I don’t remember how to focus. I haven’t completed a book for enjoyment in over two years. I still feel somewhat self-conscious when people ask me what I do for a living. I can’t seem to get a consistent workout routine underway and I really want to lose those last five pounds of baby weight! I have also completely neglected my blog, as I can’t seem to muster up the mental energy to write anymore.
I assume many mothers have similar gripes (right?), but you know what? I am not going to write about that stuff right now.
When I was approached to do a post this month, I was asked to use the Mother’s Day Diaper Drive Campaign as inspiration. When you think about the countless mothers who can’t afford to keep their children in clean diapers, all this other stuff seems rather petty and unimportant. But despite differences in financial situations and levels of support, what ties all of us together as moms is that being a mother is so freaking hard. Amazing… but hard. I’d take a guess that every single new mother faces some sort of challenge and needs to ask for help at one point. Some need help affording necessities like diapers, clothing and formula. Some need help battling post-partum depression. I needed help with breastfeeding.
I always considered myself to be maternal and I looked forward to becoming a mother my entire life. I also had size D-cup boobs, which I assumed would be perfect for nursing my future little babes. I mean – that’s their purpose in life – right? But from the very beginning in the hospital, I had issues. Theo wouldn’t latch. My milk wasn’t coming in. Breastfeeding was so important to me. I was distraught when the doctors pushed me to give Theo formula.
The troubles continued when we left the hospital. Theo wasn’t gaining his birth weight back. I scanned countless books and articles online about feeding positions and potential reasons for our issues. I sought out the support of several different lactation consultants. We discovered Theo had a minor tongue-tie and after much stress-out deliberation we had his frenulum clipped. It helped a little, but we weren’t in the clear. He still wasn’t “efficiently transferring”. He was a “lazy nurser”. I was encouraged to feed him formula through a supplemental nursing system. When I pumped I’d be lucky to get an ounce or two. I took Goat’s Rue and Fenugreek. I lived on Kellymom.com. My nipples KILLED but I didn’t want to give up. I seriously had never felt so exhausted, defeated, and vulnerable in my entire life. I never anticipated it being so hard.
Then I met with a super kind, optimistic lactation consultant. She was so easy-going and sweet. She told me we were getting it she didn’t think I needed a supplemental nursing system. She was my cheerleader. Her confidence in me made me feel hopeful and more relaxed. My meeting with her was the turning point and I eventually made it through the breastfeeding storm. I ended up nursing Theo until he was twenty-two months old. Then one day he pretty much stopped on his own, just the way I had hoped it would end.
For me, the newborn stage was not sweet and loving and fun. It was confusing and hard and painful (physically, emotionally and mentally). I’m so grateful for the support I received during that time. Needing and receiving that sort of help had a profound impact on me. I now feel a connection and understanding with all mothers. When I look at a new mother, I am filled with a desire to nurture her. For no matter what our situation or how much strength we project to the outside world, being a mother is beyond hard and at one point or another, we all need some help.
Nell is a full-time mom and a first-time homeowner. She just recently transplanted from Brooklyn, NY to Maplewood, NJ where she lives with her husband and her 2-year-old son. She is obsessed with cheese, loves to write, travel, take pictures and blog. She is currently trying to figure out how to do all of that while being a full-time mom to a 2-year-old. Her blog is outdated but soon to be reborn as nellsdish.com.
Want to share your own story, essay and more? Mothers & More members are invited to share their blog, essay and write for the website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.