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Confidence Is Underrated

Two weeks ago I sat in a WIC class surrounded by approximately ten mothers and one mother-to-be. The leader of the class asked the mothers who were still breastfeeding.

I immediately reminisced about my first visit to that very class when I sat determined to breastfeed for a year and one mother sitting in front of me turned to me and said, “Oh, honey, if you’re like me you won’t make it past two weeks. It hurts too much! Naw, that’s not for me!” 

Honestly, I’m not still breastfeeding my daughter who weaned herself just two months prior to the class. . . but I lied. No other mothers in the room raised their hands when we were asked who was still breastfeeding and I wanted to show the mama-to-be that it is possible to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. I raised my hand and said I was still breastfeeding my 16-month-old daughter. The leader asked what I liked about breastfeeding. The question caught me off-guard and I stammered something about not having to get up in the middle of the night to prepare bottles while my daughter waited, crying. If I’d had more time to prepare, this is what I would have shared with the class.

There was certainly a learning curve, and it wasn’t always comfortable, but breastfeeding has fulfilled the lives of my daughter, me, and my husband more than I could have ever imagined.

The gifts that breastfeeding gave my daughter are obvious. Breastmilk was gentle on her stomach, unlike formula. Breastmilk comforted her when she felt poorly. Breastmilk sustained her and helped her grow. Breastmilk kept her healthy and protected her from the germs I brought home from work.

Breastfeeding gave me sweet, beautiful times to cuddle my daughter and look into her beautiful eyes. It gave me time to slow down, stop, and enjoy her company. It taught me patience and perseverance. It gave me a greater sense of purpose. It gave me something about which I could be passionate. Breastfeeding gave me a sense of accomplishment that I’d never known – after all, not only did I help my beautiful girl grow in my belly, but I also helped her grow once she met the world for the first time.

I would have never guessed that our breastfeeding relationship could have been a gift for my husband as well. After I told him the benefits of it he was on-board. He was able to see my commitment to our daughter. He was able to see a mother nurture her babe in every sense of the word. He was also able to gain his protective, father-bear instincts when it came to defending us and our choice to breastfeed.

Little did I know when I made the decision to breastfeed that it would be the best decision I’ve ever made.

More importantly?  

Breastfeeding helped me learn my body and trust it. . . and gave me confidence in myself.


Truth Box

I have the Truth Box application on my MySpace profile. I believe I'm going to be deleting my MySpace account in a couple of weeks, but first I wanted to memorialize some of the things that were said about me. 

- April Rocks!
- The most beautiful soul I know, I love you:)
- I think you are the most beautiful, amazing woman EVER! Love ya!
- to know you is to love you, to love you is to respect you, to respect you is to be your friend, to be your friend is the greatest privilege i have had in life. SM.
- you will be an amazing mommy :) *hugs*...
- One of the most beautiful people I know, I love her:)
How could I have not saved those? 

***Edited 12/09/10 to include these:

- I adore your smile and your strength as a mother, and one day I hope I can be just as good of a mother as you are to your sweet little one! Your growth is amazing to watch (well on facebook and blogging at least)! You are one of those inspirational women people (like me) like to surround themselves with!
- You are one of the most intelligent, level-headed people I know. You are also caring, beautiful, and a wonderful mother to your adorable daughter. You are genuine and stand up for what you believe in. You are patient and kind-hearted. Definitely one of my favorite people, even if we've never met in person! :o)
- someone I don't know very well and never met in person...I was friends with her hubby years ago. Im glad I made her my friend on here though because she seems to be a really great person and Mom to the cutest little babygirl ever! Shes always got good advice for me too :)
- you are the most open minded and caring person I know. You introduced me to so much, and undoubtedly I would not be the person I am today without you. I love that we can agree to disagree and still respect each other. You are an awesome mommy and wife. You rock! 
- I miss you!!! You are one gorgeous, funny, and amazing mom. And we REALLY need to get together more often! 
- you're a good friend from school seems like u r doing well in life and seem to still be a great and caring person 
- the one that's always outside when there's parties and all the text messagings...nice to know i have a friend even tho we never really hang out!
- I have only met you in person a couple of times. I think you are attractive, and you have a warm positive energy that makes you a pleasure to hang around with. I hope your life gives back to you all the love you put into it.


No, I Have No

No, I have no money 
for you today.
It's all spent.
It's all gone away.
There are doctors bills, groceries,
and rent to pay.
You'll get your funds. . . 
but I'm afraid not today.

No, I have no time
to give you, my friend.
I'm not sure where the day flew - 
we've seen its end.
Yesterday's gone, today's gone, 
tomorrow's spoken for before it begins.
Yes, I will see you, when it becomes convenient for all.
Seems right now not speaking remains the trend.

No, I have no sanity
to retain for myself.
I can't balance this all. 
I need some more help.
But how can I ask for anything
when I can't share the wealth?
I'll exist over here.
Just with them. And myself.


Many Questions

I think we’ve become paranoid.  I hope we’ve become paranoid.

It seems like no matter where we look, there is always another reference to autism.  A boy I used to babysit is high on the autism spectrum.  There are commercials for autism awareness, charities . . . one of our favorite shows, Parenthood, portrays a couple raising a teenage daughter and an autistic son.  I’m resenting so much autism awareness. 

Does that make me terrible? 

I’m resenting autism awareness because now I look at my daughter every day and wonder if she’s showing signs.

We had thought that Tori had said two words around 11 months old, but she hasn’t said them since.  Language regression can be a major red flag.  I think, however, that Josh and I have talked about it and decided that we only thought she was saying those words.  Maybe she was just making sounds but had yet to make the connection.  Regardless, here she is at over 15 months old and she has yet to say anything.  Instead she points and grunts at everything.

To be fair, I didn’t talk until nearly two years old . . . and until I did talk, my means of communication was pointing and grunting.  So . . . maybe that can be explained away.

But she’s also making repetitive movements.  She obsessively rocks and bounces her back against the back of the couch.  I do mean obsessively.  Sometimes her rocking becomes quite intense.  I looked at some videos of autistic children stimming – and in some of them I saw the same movements my beautiful daughter makes.  That makes me more concerned than anything, I suppose. 

Last Thursday Josh and I took Tori to her 15-month appointment.  We were certainly hoping that doc would listen to our concerns and then say, “Oh, you’re fine!  Kids do that.”  Instead he furrowed his brow.  He used the words “red flags”.  He referred us to TEIS – Tennessee Early Intervention System.  We’re supposed to get a call from them sometime this week so that they can do an in-home assessment on Tori. 

For now I’m trying to remind myself that autism, a spectrum disorder, can be really mild.  There are a lot of autistic people on the lower-end that are more than high functioning – they are intelligent, wonderful, delightful people to be around.  I’m trying to remind myself that early intervention is key – that autism, when diagnosed and treated early, can be a bump in the road but nothing more.

I’m also trying to remind myself that I’m likely paranoid from all the images I’m seeing in regards to autism.


When talking to yourself, what language do you use?

I haven’t been feeling so great about myself, folks.  I’m frankly quite disappointed.  Throughout the majority of my pregnancy with Tori, I was “all belly” and hardly gained any weight anywhere else on my body.  By the end of the pregnancy I had convinced myself that within 60-90 days of having my daughter I would be back to my pre-pregnancy size.  We’re now almost 13 months past my daughter’s birth and I weigh almost five pounds more than I did at the end of my pregnancy – that’s after joining a gym three months ago and having little success with my diet and exercise plan.

I am still determined to lose the weight, but as the days stretch on and my progress gets slower I can’t seem to focus on anything but the negative.  My internal voice hasn’t been kind lately, and that’s just self-destructive.  All these thoughts will do is make me more miserable and set me up for failure.  I need to snap out of this and find a new perspective.  I know I’m not the only one.

Let’s find the reasons for wanting to do this and change our language. 

I need to gain more energy so I can play with Tori.  I need to lose weight so that my body is healthier and can deal with the stress under which I put it.  Most importantly, I need to start living a healthier lifestyle so that my daughter has the opportunity to grow up with an example of how to care for herself in today’s hurried and often half-assed culture.

Those are the items on which I need to focus.  Those are the words that will get me to my goal.  Self-destructive language will only slow me down.

So how do you speak to yourself?  Do you tell yourself that you can reach your goals because you'd like to be better to yourself?  Or do you tell yourself that you'll never get what you desire because you're too < insert self-depreciating word here > to do it? 

Let's try to be better for ourselves.  We owe it to our families, our friends, our children . . . but most importantly, we deserve to be treated better. 


What do you want to know?

You see people post "Ask me one question, and I'll answer you honestly" on their Facebook or MySpace statuses. I've never posted that status myself but I've always been curious as to what kinds of questions I would get. I recently saw this put into blog format and I thought it was pretty neat, so . . .

Ask me one question. Any question. It can be a science question, a personal question, or an inquiry about my opinion about whatever topic. (Honestly I could use some more blog fodder.)

You can ask it here in comments, you can email me, or you can post it in the reply section of my Facebook post.

I look forward to receiving your questions!