My Journey Through Postpartum Depression and How to Seek Help for Yourself

It was nights like last night that used to leave me lying in bed the next morning thinking about what their lives would be like if I just didn’t wake up anymore.  Who would be first to find me? My husband?  One of my kids? Should I write a note just in case?  What would it say?

I hadn’t thought about actually killing myself but I do remember fantasizing about no longer being a burden on anyone.  It was about four months after the birth of my daughter that I started daydreaming about how I’d die.  I would create these long drawn out scenarios of myself driving off the freeway or into oncoming traffic making sure my side of the car got most of the impact so my daughter would be safest in her car seat behind the passenger seat.  These types of fantasies didn’t happen too frequently and I could easily dismiss them because they would take too much energy on my part to actually see them through.

The fantasy that did haunt me the most was simply not waking up anymore.  Not as a result of taking too many pills or anything serious because we never have anything that strong in the house anyhow.  But I would imagine willing myself to stop breathing or maybe having a stroke or heart attack.  Something completely unlikely yet every time I fantasized about it I created it with more and more detail.

One night I was nursing my daughter as we were falling asleep.  I had been fighting a gnarly stomach bug and I was completely wiped.  Once she was asleep I began trembling.  I was freezing so I asked my husband to pile another blanket on.  When I continued shaking I asked for another blanket.  I remember the weight from all the blankets but I couldn’t stop shaking and it seemed to just get worse.  It must have been late April, early May but I was so cold and shaking so fiercely I felt like I was seizing.  I couldn’t speak because my teeth were chattering uncontrollably.  I just remember thinking “move your tongue, don’t choke on it”.  I remember remaining conscious throughout the whole episode and wondering why I wasn’t passing out.  Then I thought, what if I don’t wake up after this is over.  Had I finally willed this to happen?

After a while the paramedics came into my bedroom.  I don’t remember who called or when but by then I could feel the trembling starting to let up.  I could hear the firemen asking me questions but I can’t remember what they said or what I answered back.  I just remember asking where the baby was.

They checked my vitals and told me I was likely dehydrated because of the stomach bug. They asked if I wanted to be transported to the hospital or if I wanted to go on my own for IV fluid. The shaking was almost gone completely so I decided I’d go on my own after I fed the baby.

It’s still hard to admit, and I live with deep guilt about it every day, but that night part of me hoped it was something more serious. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had wished severe harm on myself. It was with that realization that I finally admitted to myself something was wrong.

Like a lot of parents, many of my memories have been erased or become cloudy due to lack of sleep or just being replaced by new memories.  But there are those few days in our lives that we remember so clearly we could easily relive them over again if we wanted to.

Like the day my daughter was born.  I remember being in labor and calmly walking out of our house to the car to head to the hospital.  Walking through the parking garage I was becoming anxious but excited.  I remember settling in to our room and looking at the incubator to my right in disbelief that she would be there soon.  I remember the dull pressure from each contraction coming through despite my epidural and then feeling her little head coming through so easily after just 3 simple pushes and being placed right on my chest.  All of it and so much more, clear as day and like a dream you don’t want to wake up from.

Pushing her older brother out took much longer and being my first baby we struggled a bit in the first few weeks with feeding and sleeping.  But once we got into a routine he was the easiest baby.  I never felt tired with him.  I never experienced that new mom exhaustion.  I always say he tricked me into having another baby because when my daughter came she quickly knocked me on my ass.

By the time my daughter was six months old, I was surviving each day with only 3-4 hours of frequently interrupted sleep per night and sporadic naps when I could fit them in while also chasing after a two-year old.  I was running on fumes but told myself it’s only temporary.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I probably would’ve done things completely differently.  I never co-slept with my two older kids because I didn’t know anything about it.  I was heavily convinced by “them” that it was dangerous and that I’d never get them out of my bed and all that other bullshit people say to scare new parents.  And I fell for it.  Hard.  If only I had let her sleep close by.  We both would’ve gotten so much more rest and I would’ve been able to understand her better.  I carry an immense amount of guilt about that now that it brings me to tears each and every time I think about it.

Along with the complete and total exhaustion I was eating like shit. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was picking fights with my husband partly because I was so angry and frustrated and depressed all the time. And partly because I thought if he leaves me then we’ll have to share custody and I’ll be able to get a break. I was a complete. Fucking. Mess.

A few months after the uncontrollable trembling episode, I was sitting on the sofa nursing my daughter who was a few weeks shy of turning one.  All of a sudden I begin to feel an immense pain in my chest like someone had just punched me, hard.  Then I started to feel as if my ribs were being crushed inward.  I couldn’t breathe right and I was starting to panic.  I told my husband and we both wondered “Is this heart attack?”  He took the baby and I got up to walk around.  Of course it’s not a heart attack, right?  The pressure began to subside after a few minutes but the next day I made an appointment with a cardiologist just to be safe.

When I arrived at the cardiologist’s they ran the usual tests: checked vitals, EKG, pulse-ox, etc.  When the doctor came in to see me he told me all my tests were normal but he wanted me to describe what had happened again.  I had my daughter with me and I was nursing her as I told him about the chest pain.  After I was finished he asked me about my daughter.  He asked how old she was, how often she feeds, how she sleeps at night.  I thought it was strange that he asked so much about her.  I just wanted to know what was wrong with me, not talk about my kids.  Until finally, he asked me how I was sleeping, how I was eating, how I was feeling.  THIS threw me.  I could feel the hugest lump coming up in my throat.  I fought hard to keep it down but I cracked.  I broke down in this man’s office, part exhaustion, part relief, partly because that was probably the first time someone had noticed I was completely falling apart.  He told me I likely experienced a panic attack and that if I didn’t start getting some rest and good food in I’d likely experience them again.

I had allowed myself to suffer in silence and alone.  I didn’t allow myself to outwardly show signs that I was hurting because I foolishly gave higher priority to appearing that I had my shit together, and believe me, it worked.  I very often was asked how I managed to do everything I did with my kids, how I wasn’t completely exhausted all the time, how I always looked so put together despite two small kids.  That’s how sick I was.  I was mentally and physically breaking down but there was no way I would let anyone know what I was going through.  How FUCKED is that?

In fact, it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally let anyone know what I went through.  I don’t know that my husband fully realized what I was going through although he patiently bore the brunt of my emotional ups and downs.

As I started to share my story with friends and family members, I started to realize that not only was I not alone in going through postpartum depression, I was also not alone in hiding it.  But why? Why were we so ashamed? Why were we choosing to suffer, and some suffer greatly, instead of seeking help?


According to Postpartum Support International, 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads suffer from postpartum depression and “15 to 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety.”  Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are indiscriminate and can happen to anyone regardless of age, socioeconomic background or birth experience.  While we more commonly use the term “postpartum depression”, there are several perinatal mood and anxiety disorders people may experience such as anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum (PPA), pregnancy or postpartum OCD (PPOCD), postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PPTSD), bipolar mood disorder, and postpartum psychosis (PPP).  If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from any of these perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, would like more information or would like to find a provider near you, visit Postpartum Support International for local resource information and services.

So if as many as 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression, why are we all doing so in silence?  Now, while I could go off on a tangent about the societal pressures placed on women and parents these days, I’ll spare you and simply say SHARE YOUR STORY.

If you suspect you or someone you love may be suffering from some form of perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, ask yourself these questions from Postpartum Support International:

  • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
  • Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
  • Do you feel anxious or panicky?
  • Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
  • Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
  • Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
  • Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?

If you’re experiencing any one or more of these symptoms it may be helpful to seek help and share your experience with someone you trust.

I was worried that after the birth of my third baby I would fall back into postpartum depression especially since my husband was deployed for the first seven months of his life and even missed his birth by 7 days.  But my recovery with my third was the smoothest transition to date so I was definitely not prepared for the emotional eruption that followed the quick, easy and fulfilling birth center birth of my fourth baby.  I’m 18 months postpartum with him and can honestly say I finally feel like the fog is lifting.  I can more clearly complete goals and meet deadlines I set for myself.  I have fewer episodes of uncontrollable rage (rage was something new with this PPD and I hated every second of it).  And I can actually feel myself enjoying my kids again where before I too easily drowned them out.

For me, it was helpful to talk about what I was feeling with friends and other moms, something I never thought I’d do.  If I’m being completely honest, it still made me a little uncomfortable to hear myself saying it out loud but I told myself to lean into that discomfort for the sake of my well-being.  I was just telling my husband the other night that despite how hard things may have been for us at times we’ve always been so lucky, so blessed.  And, we are.  I’m so thankful that I work in a profession that allows me access to resources that just happen to be close friends of mine as well.  Not everyone has that, in fact, very few do.

While it’s helpful to put together a list of postpartum resources during pregnancy, it isn’t too late to do so after baby is born.  If you need help locating resources, try contacting local doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, labor and delivery nursing staff, midwives, or obstetricians.  Any and all of these can be valuable resources and starting points to get you the help you need.


I always suggest that partners be hyper-vigilant the first few days and weeks after baby is born and to pay attention to what their recently postpartumed loved one is and and is not doing.  For example:

  • Are they eating regularly and actually finishing a meal?
  • They’re likely tired with a newborn, but are they finding some time to get some sleep? Are you as the partner encouraging and facilitating the opportunity for them to sleep?
  • When is the last time they showered or wanted to shower?
  • Have you noticed they’re having difficulty concentrating or clearly answering a question?
  • Do they seem unusually quiet or do other aspects of their personality seem off?

Postpartum Support International offers these suggestions:

• Reassure her: this is not her fault; she is not alone; she will get better.
• Encourage her to talk about her feelings and listen without judgment.
• Help with housework before she asks you.
• Encourage her to take time for herself. Breaks are a necessity; fatigue is a major contributing factor to worsening symptoms.
• Don’t expect her to be super-housewife just because she’s home all day.
• Be realistic about what time you’ll be home, and come home on time.
• Help her reach out to others for support and treatment.
• Schedule some dates with her and work together to find a babysitter.
• Offer simple affection and physical comfort, but be patient if she is not up for sex. It’s normal for her to have a low sex drive with depression, and rest and recovery will help to bring it back.

Everyone’s postpartum journey is different but it’s important to know you’re not alone.  Reach out to friends, family members, online or in person support groups, and professional help.  It not only takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to nurture and heal your postpartum and parenting journey.

If you think this article can help someone you know, please share and let them know it’s ok to not be ok and they’re not alone.

All that remains…

 October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month so I felt it appropriate to share my story to help raise awareness and to help families struggling with loss find a sense of peace. We are not alone in our grief and we stand together in our healing.

My husband Matt and I became pregnant with our fourth baby back in May and miscarried at the beginning of August.  I was eleven and a half weeks along in my pregnancy.  We waited before telling all our family and friends (something we never really did before) so only our immediate family members and very close friends were even aware of our pregnancy and loss.  Losing our baby has been the most difficult experience of our lives and while the wound has healed the scar remains.  

This is our story.

All That Remains…

My pregnancy with my fourth baby was uneventful and exciting.  I had just become a certified Hypnobabies instructor and I was looking forward to not only teaching the course to expectant moms but being a student once again.  Using the hypnosis techniques and cues with my third pregnancy was amazing.  I felt so connected to my baby and I couldn’t wait to experience that again with my fourth pregnancy.

I felt so confident in my body’s ability to nurture my growing baby that I let nature do what it needed to do.  I waited to see a midwife because we were between insurance carriers and I really felt no rush.  I felt great.  I was tired for a few weeks in the beginning  and had very little nausea but by about week 8 I was feeling great.  Almost like I wasn’t pregnant at all.  I felt lucky and excited and soon we started telling our family and close friends.

3 days into my twelfth week of pregnancy I noticed a tiny clot when I wiped.  I still felt fine and figured I would pay attention to any other signs if they came up.  I went to the restroom again and noticed a little more pink.  Of course I started my early pregnancy Googling and was slightly reassured when I found out a little spotting was pretty normal early in pregnancy especially after a night of intimacy which it had been. My family and I made a trip to the grocery store and as we were walking through the aisles I felt more discharge.  I went to the restroom only to find it was closed for cleaning.  I told my husband Matt we should hurry home so I could keep a closer eye on the situation.  I texted my midwife I used with my third pregnancy and she reassuringly told me to take it easy and get some rest.  We hurried home, put groceries away and got ready for bed.

On my last trip to the restroom I noticed more blood.  I tried to stay calm but I was very scared.  I wasn’t sure if we should go to the hospital.  I didn’t want to go for fear of hearing a doctor confirm my fear.  We decided to stay home and hoped and prayed the bleeding would subside by morning.

Matt left for work at about 6:15 the next morning.  He gave me a kiss goodbye and told me to keep him updated so he could come home in case I needed to go to the hospital.  He left and I couldn’t fall back asleep.  I hadn’t slept very well that night because I was cramping.  I’d wake up and practice my hypnosis cues to calm myself down and minimize the pain.  But it was morning now, and I knew I had to face this.  I went to the restroom at about 7:00 a.m. and the blood was undeniable.  It was heavy and bright red.  I called Matt and told him to come home.  We needed to go to the hospital.

I texted my mom to come over to stay with the kids while we went to the hospital and she rushed right over.  I was scared and crying.  Matt wasn’t home yet but he wouldn’t be long.  I stood in front of my closet knowing I needed to find something to wear but the cramping was making it hard to focus.  Then, I felt it.  My water broke.  I remembered the feeling because I felt the same surprising burst with my oldest and youngest babies.  Only this time it felt almost violent.

I was scared and ran to the bathroom because I could feel my baby slipping out.  I called out for my mom and told her he was coming out.  I was sobbing.  What I had feared all night was too real. Too real and painful. My body impulsively pushed my baby out despite my protests.  I cried to my mom “The baby came out! It came out!”  She tried to be reassuring and said it may still be inside and told me to go lay down.  Matt arrived to find me sobbing on the toilet.  My children stood around me as I cried asking what was wrong.  All I could think to say was the baby was sick.  He picked me up and took me to our bedroom to get dressed and go to the hospital but I knew my baby was gone.  My mother stayed in the bathroom.  I knew what she was doing even if I didn’t want to wrap my head around it.  Then she called for my husband.  I paused for a second trying to decide if I could take the step into the hallway to face them.  I had to.  I stepped out of my bedroom and saw my husband’s face after seeing his tiny baby.  I bolted for the bathroom to see it myself.  My mother begged me not to but I just had to see my baby. He was small, much too small for over 11 weeks.  I knew something was wrong.  I was hysterical.  Inconsolable.  Empty.

We went to the hospital where they drew blood then performed an ultrasound.  The doctors and nurses were so compassionate and caring.  I was grateful for them.  I wondered how many women they must see go through this.  Before we were discharged the Physician’s Assistant came in one last time to give me the blood and ultrasound results.  I wasn’t surprised by either.  She referred me to an obstetrician and gave me a brief description of what I could expect in the next few days.  Then as she stepped out of our room she said, “I’m sorry for your loss”.  There it was.  The first audible recognition of what happened.  We lost our baby.

We came home and the next few days were a blur.  I couldn’t distinguish what happened from one day to the next.  I remembered my baby and wondered very briefly what my mom had done with it.  I wanted to know and didn’t want to know at the same time.  What would I do with it?  Could I bring myself to see it again?  I couldn’t say what day it was that Matt told me my mom and mother in law had kept it for me.  They had wrapped it up and placed it in a tin box which they placed in our deep freezer.  I think we were all at a loss for what to do but I’m so grateful they did this.

The baby stayed there for a few days.  My mind couldn’t complete a thought as far as what to do with it.  I considered planting it with a tree or flower in our yard but the thought of possibly moving into another house and leaving it behind or the plant dying was too much to bear.  I needed another option.

I asked my mother in law to call funeral homes to see if they could cremate the baby even as tiny as it was.  Unfortunately because of how small and underdeveloped it was I wouldn’t get much if anything back.

I remembered going to the restroom in the hospital right before we left .  As I was sitting there I felt my body pass a large lump into the toilet bowl.  I knew it must have been the placenta.  I thought how I wished I had been as brave as my mom and reached in to take it out but seeing all the blood was too hard to deal with.  It was too raw a reminder of what had happened.  I wished I kept it because I could have had it preserved the way some mothers choose to when they encapsulate their placentas.  Then it hit me.  Maybe I could find someone to preserve my baby like a placenta.  But who would do it?  Do people do this?  Would it be too morbid a request?  Am I crazy for thinking this?

I remembered a doula/midwife named Pati Garcia I had met a few weeks back and feeling some kind of connection to her.  We had only said maybe a few words of hello and goodbye but there was something about her in her “Partera” baseball cap that spoke to me.  I had contacted her before for my resource list for my Hypnobabies students but we had never met or spoken.  I looked for her website to see if she did placenta encapsulation and was relieved to see she did.  But would she be willing to do it?  I sent her an email with my request.  She soon replied for me to text her and after a few messages and a phone call she agreed to help.  We decided to meet later that same day.

I was nervous about telling Matt about what I had decided to do with the baby.  I wasn’t sure how it would be received.  I should’ve known he would be completely supportive.  He thought it was a great idea (even if he didn’t fully understand it).  We dropped the kids off with my mom and headed to Pati’s.

Her apartment was just as I imagined. Cozy, earthy, smelling of incense, and what looked like a square scarf hanging on the wall with a large drawing of the female genitalia in the center.  She very politely asked us to remove our shoes and invited us in.  We hugged as we said hello and I couldn’t help but break down in her embrace.  All I could think was I hope this would bring me the peace I needed.  Pati invited us to have a seat and we talked about what we were hoping to get from this process.  I honestly wasn’t sure.  I just knew I wasn’t ready to let go of the baby and keeping it in the freezer felt wrong.  I hoped this would feel right.

She went into her kitchen to get a few things ready.  She came back with some sage and a lighter.  She told us she would start by smudging us.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what that meant.  I had never experienced a smudge or even heard that word before. As she lit the sage and the ribbon of smoke swirled around it I found myself fully accepting the experience.  I stood there with my arms out inhaling the herby smoke and closed my eyes to let myself go into a state of hypnosis.  I wanted this experience to go deep into my subconscious so I could recall it when I needed the memory of it.  She then smudged my husband.  Again he amazed me.  He was so receptive and supportive.  It was obvious that his pain and loss were in need of an outlet and some relief.

We then followed her into her kitchen where she had prepared her dehydrator.  I held the small tin box my baby lied within.  I knew we would have to take it out but I froze at the thought of opening the box.  Then Matt took the box and started opening the bags the baby was sealed in.  This was the first time I would be seeing the baby again since the morning I had birthed this tiny being.  And tiny it was.  I remembered the baby looking pinker with the beginnings of what would eventually be an eye.  When I saw it again it scared me a little.  It was darker.  I turned the tiny flesh over to find the eye to make sure I hadn’t imagined it.  I saw it and just held it in my hand.  I cupped my tiny baby in my hands and prayed.  For what, I don’t know.  I just prayed.  I gave thanks for having this little life growing inside of me even if it had been for a brief time.  I could faintly hear Pati’s voice telling me to release the baby’s spirit into the world until it was ready to come back to me.  Then I placed it on the tray of the dehydrator.  She grabbed a bottle of Agua de Florida and anointed my head, hands and feet as well as my husband’s.  The scent was powerful and precious.  It was such a humbling experience to know I was handing my baby over to a woman who had recently experienced her own pregnancy loss and was treating my tiny baby with such a great deal of honor and respect.

I think Pati was surprised at how small the baby actually was.  I knew the baby must have passed weeks before.  It was far too small.  Perhaps if I had gone to a midwife sooner I would have learned of the baby’s passing.  But what would I have done then?  What would the midwife have wanted me to do?  While the experience of losing my baby has been devastating I’m grateful for how it happened.  My body let go of my baby when it was ready.  And now my spirit, with Pati’s help, could do the same.

She returned my baby’s remains to me the following day in a small clear box wrapped in a gold gossamer bag.  I looked at the little flecks floating around and sticking to the walls of the clear box and felt at ease.  Now I could keep my baby.  Not as a novelty but as a memorial.  To the pregnancy, to my baby, to the pain, to the deeper connection between my husband and myself, and to Pati.

Pati and I sat and talked for a few minutes about the baby and how in her experience a baby at the gestational age of 11 weeks is more definitively formed.  She confirmed my suspicion that the baby must have passed weeks earlier.  I told her about an article I had read a few months earlier about how women often blame themselves for their miscarriages and how having read it allowed me to release any guilt I may have had.  Miscarriages are as common as pregnancy and birth.  They don’t happen because we overexerted ourselves or we fought too much with our husbands or yelled too much at our kids.  They don’t happen because we were too negative or ate something a book told us we weren’t supposed to.  I couldn’t have prevented losing my baby.  I took care of myself and my growing baby.  But somewhere along the line, nature decided the baby wasn’t ready for the world.  And I accept that.  I don’t blame myself or anyone else.  I wouldn’t change a thing about my pregnancy prior to losing my baby.  My body did what it could for this baby but the ingredients weren’t all there.

So I gave my baby’s spirit back to the world in hopes that we will meet again one day.  I will keep my baby’s remains for as long as my spirit needs to hold onto them.  I will heal a little more with every passing day and some days will be harder than others but they will always get better.  Pain may be inevitable but life is a gift.  I’m grateful for my children’s laughter and their tears. For my husband’s unconditional love and unfaltering support and our disagreements.  For my family who would drop anything to be by my side.  And for friends who will always listen and never judge.

For now, all that remains is a family as it should be with three wild children, two patient parents and an angel looking over us all.  We will eventually have our fourth baby and it will grow and I will feel it kicking and turning inside me.  And life will be as it should.  I am not incomplete, nor do I feel a void.  My baby’s spirit is with me, and I will always have proof.


What’s with all the stuff??

When I became pregnant for the first time, I was a frequent peruser and consumer at all the big baby stores and websites.  I would comb the aisles admiring all the stuff that promised to make mothering so much easier for my baby and I.  I read up on all the reviews of best monitors, feeding pillows, recliners, nursing pads, bottles, diapers, wipes, car seats, high chairs…. well, you get it as I’m sure you’ve been there.  I signed up for all the baby update emails and would swipe every pregnancy magazine from my OB’s office (I figured if I got busted I would blame it on pregnancy brain, oopsy!).  I read all the recommended reading for expecting women (and then some) .  Needless to say, I felt like a wealth of information by the time baby came.  I knew the in’s and out’s of every baby product I’d purchased or was given and was ready to use all this great life-changing stuff.  Life was going to be a breeze.  How did moms ever live without all this stuff anyway?

Then the big day came. We followed the checklist that told us what stuff to pack for the hospital stay.  I made sure to take my breastfeeding pillow with me to the hospital since it was going to be a lifesaver when it came to nursing comfortably. I had my perfect baby boy and the time came for my first attempt to breastfeed my baby on my handy dandy feeding pillow.  I grabbed my teeny 6 lb. 4 oz. baby boy and plopped him on.  Ahhhh, life is good…. until it’s not.  This thing sucked!  He was falling through and I was totally uncomfortable.  What the hell? The nurse came in and shoved more pillows in around me than I could count.  To prop him, to prop me, to relieve my back, to rest my arm.  It was insane! Not to mention discouraging as hell.  I told myself it was just a learning process and we’d get the hang of using the pillow (P.S. we didn’t, I have a love/hate relationship with that thing but somehow I managed to nurse him until 19 months).

Fast forward through fails and successes of various monitors, strollers, pumps (oh those damn breast pumps), spoons, bath tubs, foods, bibs (again, you get it) and two kids later when I finally realized that all that life-saving/changing stuff is total bullshit.  That feeding pillow is bullshit.  That bathtub thermometer, bullshit.  Bassinette, bullshit. That spoon that changes color to tell you their food is too hot, bullshit.  Sorry video monitor lovers, that’s bullshit.  Wipee warmers, okay not total bullshit ’cause I don’t like cold wipes on my ass either but by principal, bullshit. The diaper pail with that spinny trash bag, TOTAL BULLSHIT!  I seriously saw a pail that was $80.  $80!!!  Oh, that reminds me, changing table? Really?

While all this stuff sounds like it will revolutionize the way you care for your baby, have you ever wondered how mothers without all this stuff care for their babies?  Because, after all, it is possible.  So why do we think we need all the stuff?

When we’re pregnant, all of a sudden our decision-making abilities are questioned.  A lot. We face a continuous outpouring of advice, solicited or not, day in and day out.  We hear what we should and shouldn’t do about EVERYTHING starting the minute we announce our pregnancy. And when we’re faced with so many people questioning our choices we start to doubt ourselves (baby companies know this and thrive on it).  It’s only natural and it happens to even the most strong-minded women. We question our capabilities on just about every aspect of raising and caring for our babies. How will we ever make enough milk to feed our baby without a breast pump? Answer, get a breast pump.  How will we ever get into a comfortable and “ergonomically” correct position to feed our baby? Answer, feeding pillow.  How will we ever change our baby’s diaper without a changing table then wipe their butts with cold wipes and hide any olfactory evidence?  Answers, changing table, warmer and specially designed trash can, err, diaper pail.

These gadgets make a fortune off of unsuspecting and vulnerable new mothers and even some experienced mothers (seriously, it’s an almost 50 billion dollar a year industry).    We don’t want to be perceived as bad mothers for any decision we make regarding our children.  And for some women, people’s opinions can weigh heavily on the choices they make.  So we buy the stuff that’s supposed to help us be better mothers without questioning who’s bottom line it is actually benefiting.

When you stop to think of all the mother/expectant-mother directed industries like formula companies, hospitals, diaper companies, and all those companies that make those gadgets and doohickies, they all present the same expectations to the mother: if you buy/consume our products/services, your baby will be happier/healthier/sleep better/eat better/be more comfortable/develop better which will help mother be happier/ healthier/sleep better/eat better/be more comfortable.  That sounds amazing, right!

So why not get all the stuff if it can potentially help mom and baby?  What’s wrong with that?  The problem with all the stuff is they can create doubt and insecurities in mothers.  For example, a new mother hoping to breastfeed may feel that in order to make a sufficient amount of milk for her baby she will need to use a breast pump.  However, a breast pump can actually create a milk production problem for mom, especially right after birth.  Mom may overproduce at first then become engorged which can lead to extremely uncomfortable feedings, flatter nipples which may make it challenging for baby to latch on to the breast, plugged ducts, mastitis, and may even decrease her milk supply.  Breast pumps are often unnecessary unless mothers need to provide breastmilk for their compromised infants, they’re returning to work or school or if they’re planning to be away from their baby for a period of time.  I would even recommend that mothers speak to their lactation consultants before considering the use of a breast pump.  Yet, mothers often feel a breast pump is something they need in order to be successful at breastfeeding.  In fact, many mothers may experience feelings of failure when the breast pump only draws a small amount of milk from the mother’s breast when in reality the pump is in no way an indicator of how much milk the mother is actually producing.

While gadgets like breast pumps and feeding pillows may sound “convenient”, they can (and often do) create a barrier between the mother’s natural instincts and her child.  Take me for example, with my first baby, I purchased that color changing spoon so I could be sure his food was at the “perfect” temperature for him to eat.  I look back now and ask myself why I didn’t just try it myself!  That spoon, like all that other stuff, created a barrier for me because it created this unrealistic expectation that I had to do everything perfectly for my baby.  He was perfect so I had to do everything I could to meet this perfect standard.  That spoon in its infinite wisdom represented perfection.  What a load of crap.  He’s a baby, and while, yes, we all think our babies are perfect, just like us they’re not perfect.  They have different needs that need to be met differently and we, as their mothers, are perfectly equipped to meet those needs.  Really.

The stuff can breed feelings of failure.  I used to feel like I wasn’t holding my baby correctly when I tried nursing him on the feeding pillow.  He didn’t latch properly and it became painful  He would cry nonstop and I worried that he was hungry (I know now that he was constantly nursing because he was just cluster feeding).  But I honestly thought it was because I was doing something wrong.  I always felt like I was doing something wrong.  The stuff gave me a false sense of security like maybe I had a chance at getting something right because I couldn’t possibly be fooled by a cotton-stuffed C-shaped piece of fabric.  And yet, I was.

Maybe this came with experience (as most things do) but with my second and third babies I just learned to minimize.  I didn’t fill my diaper bag with all that stuff I “needed” in case the baby, I don’t know, spontaneously combusted.  I didn’t use the pillow or color changing spoons.  I didn’t buy those fancy burp towels or shoes for every outfit.  I just did with what I had and you know what, things got much easier.  I also developed a greater sense of security  and confidence in my own instincts.

Letting go of all that stuff taught me to be more aware of my baby’s most basic needs.  I became much more in tune with my kids because I learned to overcome obstacles by going bare bones and just adapting.  I learned that while the stuff may be nice and somewhat useful it really isn’t something my baby or I need.  It is, after all, just stuff.

You know that saying “What would Jesus do”?  Well I often find myself thinking “What would a mother from a small Mexican village do?” or “What would a mother in Africa do?” and that really seems to ground me.  Those mothers aren’t afraid of judgment or feel inadequate as mothers for not having a fancy diaper pail or specific piece of furniture to change their baby’s diapers.  They’re not worried about buying some swaddling blanket that claims to knock your baby out as soon as you wrap them up.  They’re just caring for their babies as best they can and doing an amazing job at it.  It’s inspiring.

Mothers have a deeply rooted and unfailing ability to care for their babies.  We have the abilities to meet all their most basic needs just by being their mothers.  We’re their incubators, their food source, their nurseries, their source of unconditional love, their playground, and their home.  They need little else, as do we.


Welcome!!  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope that this will be a place where women can come for support during pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, and beyond.

I’m 35, a SAHM of three littles ages 7,4, and 2, and I’ve been married almost 15 years to my high school sweetheart.  I can’t say I’ve always had a passion for all things birthy and breastfeeding but I always knew I would be involved in the birth community to some degree (I actually wrote in my senior memory book that I saw myself as an obstetrician helping my sisters deliver their babies).  Well, I’m no OB but my interests have shifted to becoming a midwife within the next few years.  For now I’m a childbirth hypnosis educator and lactavist.

I’ve been breastfeeding for the last 7 years (with a few months break in between each baby) with no clear end in sight.  It was a bumpy road when I started with my oldest baby but I’ve learned many valuable lessons along the way and I continue to learn something new as I continue on this journey of motherhood.

I attribute these lessons to the kind of mother I am today.  I’ve made mistakes (LOTS of them) and figured out what works best for me at this point in my life.  But life evolves and changes and what works today may not work tomorrow. So, I’ll try my best and learn from the changes to adapt as best I can.

I think one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned and that I try to share with other mothers is to trust my own instincts.  I remember back to when my husband and I were planning our wedding.  We met with the chaplain for some pre-marital advice and to go over the ceremony.  I was 20 and my husband was 22 and neither of us had the slightest clue what we were getting ourselves into.  The chaplain sat us down to talk to us about the life we were about to start together and how being open and honest  was going to be key to a successful relationship.  Pretty standard.  Then he told us something that I easily dismissed at the time but have since kept in mind for every decision I make.  He said “Listen to the experts, then do what you want”.  We said thank you, he married us a few weeks later, and off we went to start our lives together.

His words didn’t mean much to me until we started having children 7 years later.  It seems like, as women, when we announce we’re pregnant our intelligence and decision making abilities are no longer credible to the public so every one else becomes an expert.  The “should’s” start flying at us. “You should breastfeed”. “You should sleep train”. “You should let him cry it out”. “You shouldn’t let him cry so much”. Should, should, should!  I used to take people’s advice and “should’s” as judgment.  I thought, why would someone be telling me how I should do things unless I’m doing something wrong?  The “should’ers” really took a toll on my confidence as a mother and I knew I had to change.  I started to do something society makes it so hard for women to do: I started to trust myself.

The “should’ers” are everywhere.  They feed on our insecurities and we encounter them regularly. They’re well-meaning friends and family members.  They’re on TV and the internet. In the grocery store aisles and book stores.  Everyone telling us or selling us the solution to how to be a better parent than we are when the only place we need to look for the solution is within ourselves.  So, trust yourself.  Yes, you’ll make mistakes but you’ll learn from them and do better.  So just listen to the “should’ers” and the experts then do what you want.

I accept that I won’t get everything right and I’ve stopped trying to.  I’m getting it right enough that my kids are well taken care of, deeply loved, and happy.  I’m going to continue hearing the “shoulds” (as you will too) and I’ll take to heart the ones that will teach me something I’m willing to accept.  Over the years it’s become important to me to be at peace with the decisions I make, to fully stand behind those decisions and to surround myself with supportive people.

I’m no expert but I do have one “should” for you.  You should fill your day with love so your mind can be at peace.  You’ve got this.

Love and Peace…..

and more to come