Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: How does breastfeeding work?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lactation consultant. I am also not trying to shame mothers who don’t/didn’t and/or can’t/couldn’t breastfeed. I am just sharing information and my experience.

Over the next few weeks, I will be running a series about breastfeeding. It is something that I can’t stop talking about and can’t talk enough about. As many of you know, I am a new mom and my son is exclusively breastfed.

The purpose of this post is to educate you on how breastfeeding works. I think that it is a magical thing to breastfeed and the way the woman’s body works to produce breastmilk, and change to fit the baby’s needs, is incredible. In today’s society, a woman’s breasts are oversexualized and that is not what their purpose is. Our breasts are to nourish our babies, it’s just that over time, they became something sexual and for men to ogle over.

The areola around the nipple, the darker skin, is what babies use to find the nipple. When I am feeding my son, I notice that first he feels my breast against his cheek and then turns his head and finds the nipple himself. There is little effort on my part other than holding my breasts for him since they are quite large. Latching is one deterrent of breastfeeding for many moms. When a baby doesn’t latch properly, it is quite painful and many women think that it is just painful and quit instead of realizing that the baby is just not latching correctly.

I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t hurt because in the beginning it did, a lot. I would pump just to keep from having to nurse. After about a couple of weeks, it’s not painful. That pain is not long lasting. What pushed me to continue was I knew that this was best for my baby. Another kind of pain is when the baby sucks, your uterus contracts and it feels like period cramps. Soon after birth, this pain is unbearable, but as your body heals and your organs return to their homes, the pain goes away.

When the baby sucks, two hormones are released: prolactin, which stimulates milk production and oxytocin, which causes the contraction of the lobules that hold the milk inside. All of that just from the saliva of our baby on our nipple. Our babies tell the milk to come down just be sucking. Isn’t that amazing? This entire process is called the let-down reflex. I know when my son cries, I get a let-down reflex and begin to leak.

Breast milk is then produced as your baby grows, as a response. The saliva from the baby tells your body how much milk the baby needs and what it should consist of. For example, if your baby is sick or getting sick, your baby’s saliva let’s your body know and then you body takes more of your antibodies to produce in the breastmilk in order to give to your baby. Mind blown.

I also found out that in other countries, babies aren’t even given milk first. They’re given other liquids or solids like water, sugar water, or traditional medicines, before being breastfed. I have to do more research as to why they do that because that is mind boggling to think to give a baby anything other than breastmilk. It is called prelactyl feeding, basically before breastfeeding feeding, which is especially dangerous because it can lead to internal diseases of the intestines, as well as diarrhea, dehydration and even death.

I plan to breastfeed my baby for at least a year.

Check back next Monday for the next installment of this series, Benefits and Challenges of Breastfeeding.

For more information on breastfeeding,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding

https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Getting an Abortion

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was devastated. During that time, I was set to move to China and start a new life and career. I had my visa documents and everything. All I was waiting on was my plane ticket. Then I found out I was pregnant. That brought everything to a screeching halt.

I was getting medical checks regularly because you have to be in good health. The doctor kept saying my blood pressure was high and I have never had high blood pressure. I thought maybe because I was stressed and I also didn’t like her. Unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant.

I found out I was pregnant on August 13, 2017. My period was late by a day or two and I just knew I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I laughed it off and took another. It came back positive too. I immediately stopped breathing. I literally felt my heart stop. I wasn’t ready to be a mom nor did I want to be one. I didn’t want kids.

My first stop was to my mother’s house because I was going painting with her and my grandmother that day. I told my mom through my tears and trying to catch my breath. If you know my mom, you know she was hella excited, this being her first grandbaby and all. I also told my brother and stepdad who were there. They were all supportive. Then I told my baby’s father and that’s when things changed.

We agreed upon me getting an abortion because I had life plans and so did he. I was going to fucking China!!! So, I called the abortion clinic and went the next day. I just knew I was doing the right thing until I got there. I won’t mention the clinic but it was small and not very attractive. I waited in the waiting room for what felt like hours.

Once I was called back, I sat in this hallway with a bunch of other women. The woman sitting next to me was telling a woman who was crying that she’ll be fine. She had had several abortions with her boyfriend and she turns out fine every time. That’s when reality set in. Women actually do this to fix what they consider a “mistake”. Some even do it repeatedly with no remorse. At that point I wanted to leave, but I stayed. Something told me to stay.

I looked a few seats down and there was this room I kept seeing women come out of with a nurse. These women were in a daze and could barely walk. That’s when I realized we were by the operating room. We were also by the back door where the women went out of once the abortion was done.

I started to really panic. By that point a nurse called me in to get an ultrasound. They couldn’t find the baby on the screen. I began to breathe hoping that meant those pregnancy tests were wrong. Then they made me take a pre test and blood test. The pee test came back as a light positive and I had to wait 24 hours for the blood test.

After that I went and saw a counselor and she explained to my how the operation worked and how the pill worked. Both options sounded horrific. I was mortified. I made my appointment for two days later, on a Wednesday. I came out and passed this room that was dark and I saw all these women in there. Some curled up, some crying and some sleeping. These women were waiting for their rides to come pick them up. They had already had their procedure. I quickly left the building.

I cried all the rest of that day and that night, into the next morning. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. One thing was for sure. I can’t remember at which moment it was: the woman telling about her numerous abortions, the operating room, the counselor or the room full of post-op women, but I knew I was going to keep my baby. I knew for certain I was not going to go through with the abortion. That morning the clinic called me back to confirm my blood test came back positive for being pregnant.

The morning of when I was supposed to get my procedure, I got a phone call from a school to come and have me interview for a teaching position. I ended up getting an interview and hired the same day. I realize now that had I gone through with the abortion, I wouldn’t have gotten this job. I would also be in China right now. This job was a job I had been wanting: it was a writing position. I was going to be teaching writing and I was happier than anyone could ever know.

I share this story because I know women contemplate abortions every second of every day and I know women who actually go through with them. Either way, both are difficult decisions: either keep or get rid of your baby. Ultimately, my decision to keep my baby was that there are no mistakes. I knew the outcomes of having unprotected sex with no birth control. This baby is not at fault and therefore, having an abortion, was not a solution because being pregnant wasn’t a problem. This was an unplanned planned pregnancy, meaning it wasn’t intentional but I also didn’t try to prevent it.

Now, almost 7 months later, I am in a better, happier place. I have an amazing job, a new car (not fancy though), a new apartment and a bundle of joy who will arrive in April. My child’s father is now on board and excited about having a child. This is a first for the both of us so we will be learning as we go. We have the support of family and friends. Even though I am single mom, the relationship I have with my child’s father is going to make for an awesome coparenting relationship.

Every time I feel my baby kick, I get more and more excited. I’m at the stage in my pregnancy where the baby is moving around a lot and making their little presence known. I know as I get into my third trimester, I will feel the baby kick and move even more. I keep thinking what if I had gone through with the abortion, what my life would be like now. Then I think about how my life is now and I’m happy. I can’t keep living in the what if’s or the past.

Granted, I could’ve still gone to China with my baby, but being a single, FTM in a country that I’ve never been to, that just didn’t seem logical. Plus, here, I have the help of family and friends.

It’s interesting to look back on how I started at the beginning of my pregnancy and how I felt, to now. I feel like I’m a completely different person. I’m already in mommy mode and my baby isn’t even here yet.

If you have a story to share, share it below or feel free to contact me if you want it to be private.

I want to let women know that they are not alone in whatever decisions they make. There is always someone who has been through or is going through the same thing. It may seem scary right now and like it’s not the right time, but everything happens for a reason. I think me getting pregnant and deciding to keep my baby, is going to make me a better woman, someone whom I never thought I could or would be.

So this is my story and I hope that it helps someone else.