Jul 28, 2014

Why I Sometimes Post Breastfeeding Photos

When I was pregnant the idea of breastfeeding was SO strange to me. The world tells me that my breasts are sexual objects and they should stay that way. Intentional or not, that's the message that young girls receive. Still, I knew all the amazing benefits that accompany breastfeeding, how good it is for your baby, and the cost comparison pretty much had me sold. I knew that I was going to attempt to form a breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. 

We were lucky. She had a great latch even in the beginning and although it took weeks for my nipples to become desensitized and callused enough to nurse without pain, Everly did amazing. As I watched my body nourish my baby I was in awe. What an amazing gift that women have to be able to feed their children with their bodies. Everly was even nursed once by a good friend when I couldn't be there to do it for her. Everly continued to grow and soon I had a fat little baby that loved her mama milk and nursing. 

At about 6 months I started to get that question. You know the one, "When are you going to stop breastfeeding her?" It bothered me. Why were people expecting me to stop feeding my child? Why did they think this beautiful relationship needed to end? I was committed to making it past 12 months. One full year of mama milk. But I was also committed to breastfeeding my daughter as long as she thought we should. That became my answer. When she tells me she's ready to stop. I don't care if you breast or bottle feed your baby. I don't care if you use a cover when breastfeeding or if you do it out in the open. I do care that you feed your child and I trust each mother out there to make the best decision for herself and her baby. I do care that mom and baby are both comfortable when baby is eating. I do care that women's rights aren't violated (which happens far too often).

The reason I like to share pictures occasionally... well there are a few reasons. The first is, my breasts are not sexual objects. They were MADE to feed Everly. That is literally their purpose. They were made for her and I am proud that I'm able to use them that way. I also share pictures so other women know that it's okay to be a little more open about breastfeeding. It's a perfectly natural, normal thing. Every time I breastfeed in public I get a few strange looks. That doesn't stop me. I will always put my daughters needs first and if she needs to eat I feed her. I share pictures because I'm proud of us. Really, I'm proud of Everly. She does all the hard work and she grows beautifully because of it. But mostly I share pictures because breastfeeding is amazing. 

I treasure my breastfeeding relationship with Everly. It has been nothing but magical. I've had some aches, some pains, some sleepless nights because my sick baby only wanted to breastfeed. There are times I realize life would be so much easier if she wasn't quite so dependent on me. And yet we've found a way to always make it work. We've found a way to keep going. I hope she wants to breastfeed for many months to come but I also know that when she decides she's done it will be okay. It will be gone before I'm ready and I know I'll miss it when she's finished. Until then I'm going to soak up every lovely moment of this part of our lives. 

xo Sue

PS. Read more thoughts on breast & bottle feeding babies.

Jul 24, 2014

Magic Moon

Did you see it?
Did you see the Magic Moon?
It was breathtaking.

xo Sue

Jul 21, 2014

Body Love

I know, these photos go against cardinal blog rule #1- always use great photos. But I don't care. 

Today I want to talk about body love. There was a time in my life I would have been SO ashamed of this body. I would have hidden it and made excuses and I definitely wouldn't have put a bikini on this body. Why not? Because it's not perfect.

Growing up I never gave any thought to body image. I was a girl and that's about as far as I'd thought. When I reached middle school I had a few friends who were obsessed with weight. They were constantly "dieting" and always called themselves fat. I was the same size or smaller than them so I made the conclusion that if they were fat then I must be too. The logic of a 13 year old girl. Instead of talking to my mother about it (or anyone) I started to hate my reflection in the mirror. Sure, there were days I thought I was pretty, but for the most part I didn't like the girl looking back at me. I was overly critical of myself and always saw my flaws. Now that I look back at pictures from that time I think WHAT FLAWS? That one tiny zit? I was very hard on myself. And I know that I'm not alone. So many girls and women hate what they see when they look in a mirror. That is SO SAD to me.

My shift came when I was pregnant with Everly. I looked in the mirror and saw my growing belly and I realized it could be another reason to hate myself, or I could LOVE that beautiful belly that was holding my daughter. I chose the latter. It was a conscious choice and one that I had to make every time I looked in the mirror. I didn't always make the right choice, but I did most of the time. When I found out I was having a baby girl I knew I had to be better for her. Everly deserves a mom who loves herself and especially loves her body. She deserves to grow up knowing that she is beautiful no matter what she weighs or how "perfect" she looks.

This body of mine, this after-baby body, is beautiful. I can look at these pictures and point out flaws or I can look at them and think about how strong and powerful that body is. I can do so much. I have so much. And I am grateful for this body. A few extra pounds, a small blemish on my skin, none of that matters. What really matters is that I appreciate this body I have. I appreciate what a gift it is. I want Everly to know that being a woman is a wonderful thing and loving your body can come easily if you just embrace yourself completely.

Flaws, perfection, it's all the same really.

Jul 20, 2014

What's Keeping You From Achieving Your Goals?

It's actually been about 10 days since I saw this post at Delightfully Tacky (one of my very favorite blogs) but it's stuck in my head and I want to write a response to it.

I feel that most of the time I'm pretty good at achieving my goals, or as I refer to them intentions. I try to follow my dreams. But I didn't always do that. The follow through part has been difficult in the past (and sometimes still is). The thing that really changed for me is having a baby. I talk about this a lot, but having a baby changed me in so many ways. I realized I wanted to be better because she deserves better. She deserves a mama who loves herself, takes care of herself, and follows her dreams. She deserves to have a happy, loving mom. 

So to the question at hand... I think the biggest thing that keeps me from achieving my goals is a fear of failure. And it keeps me from setting some goals in the first place. That age old question "What would you do if you knew you would not fail?" sometimes haunts me. I have big, grand plans but I worry that others won't love them as much as I do. I worry that people won't understand and I'll realize I'm living in my own little world. I worry that no matter how hard I work or how much I put myself out there I won't see the result come back to me. I worry that I'll have a lack of abundance. And now with a daughter and a family to think of, it's a little more scary to take a big risk because I'm not the only one affected by it.

Starting my new website was a huge leap for me. I've thought of myself as a healer for a while now but I don't really say it out loud. Does it sound corny? Will people grill me on what that means? Will they judge me when I don't answer the way they want? Will they reject me because they think I'm a little bit crazy? It's tough to put myself out there in the way my heart tells me to. This is not the age of healers, this is the age of pretty clothes and fancy shoes and posting your best pictures on Instagram (guilty). And I love all of those things. But I love wholeness and healing and healthy living. I love good body image and really, I love myself. I love who I am and I'm trying so hard to let the world see the real me.

I'm taking a really amazing course right now through the Sacred Living Movement called I AM Sisterhood and one of the things we've discussed is what we would do if we knew we would not fail. This was mine.

If I knew I would not fail I would open a studio and it would have everything I love. I would teach yoga, Sacred Pregnancy, Beginnings, hold sisterhood circles, and dance lessons. I would practice healing modalities at my studio. I would have books and tea and treats. There would be cozy chairs and pillows and blankets. We would have an art studio where my husband could draw and my daughter could go a little crazy. There would be educational toys for kids and a whole space for my daughter to call her own. There would be massage and a space to meet with doula clients. It would be a place for healing, for learning, for love. Now that I have this space in mind I can envision it all and I'm going to make it a reality one day. I've started to draw up some rough sketches and a small business plan. It's in the very beginning stages of growing but I know that this is where I will end up and I am really looking forward to it. It may be slow, but nothing will keep me from achieving this goal. 

xo Sue