Author: Amy Brewer

lessons from nursing the bloom foundation

Memorable Lessons from Nursing

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Let me start by saying this, nursing is hard! Not always, but at times it feels like this tiny, adorable human hates you for no reason. I mean hello, my body is MAKING WARM HOMEMADE MEALS, all I want is a little appreciation for that hard work. Sometimes Talula would be so hungry that she wouldn’t nurse… because she was too hungry. The irony is not lost on me and I wasn’t prepared for rejection from a person I made. However, there’s nothing more satisfying than when she would finally stay latched on and eat her fill of milk, even sweeter when she would toss a smile my way. If I could bottle up that feeling of sweet sweet relief then I’d be a damn bajillionaire. 

*Lesson: You may not always feel appreciated, but you need to try and find ways to appreciate what you’re doing. 

**Other Lesson: I appreciate you, you badass goddess who created life. 

Oh and I learned that falling asleep while eating isn’t just for the wildly inebriated, it’s also for babies (the term “milk drunk” is making WAY more sense to me now, why was I so slow to pick up on that??). These beautiful little boob suckers won’t always stay awake while eating and you need to get creative to keep them awake. I’m talking stripping them down to a diaper, getting a damp cloth on their back, tickling their feet, making annoying noises… whatever works. Oh and the fun part? Those tricks won’t work when they’re older and falling asleep on the boob after fighting a nap all day. Instead, those same tricks will piss them off even more and make nursing an even bigger struggle in those moments. Get creative ladies and gents! Now that Talula is 10 months I find that she likes playing with drawstrings from a hood and it doesn’t distract her too much that she stops eating. Give it a try, maybe your child is secretly a cat too!

The sleepy baby crisis is strong in those first few weeks!! And honestly, nobody really told me about how OFTEN it would happen that baby would fall asleep with my nipple still in her little mouth. They told me about “milk drunk”, they just didn’t emphasize how it’ll happen before the meal time is over and several times in one feeding. Why is this not in the manual? Hahahahaha jk, there is no manual for these real-life tamagotchis. But I promise that I’m telling it to you straight: they will fall asleep and you’ll try to wake them, sometimes it’ll work and other times it won’t. They will not starve in that moment. Just try and soak in that itty-bitty baby cuddle. & take a selfie while you’re at it! Who cares if you think you look like what you imagined you at 70 would look like… take the damn picture and don’t put it on social media. Duh. 

*The Lesson: Just gotta roll with the punches, even if that means holding your baby in front of an open refrigerator to wake them up enough to nurse (don’t you dare judge me). 

*Other Lesson: Take more pictures with YOU in them.

But you know what else I learned from nursing? I really loved it despite the challenges, rejection, and exhaustion. I found that the bond we built and the cuddles I enjoyed overpowered all the other hard stuff. All the yummy good moments honestly make me easily forget about the really hard times when I would just sit in silent tears thinking “why won’t she eat?” or when I got so angry I punched a wall (I said NOT to judge) because I couldn’t stop her tears, or mine for that matter. 

And if I wasn’t able to breastfeed, then what? Easy: I’d give formula because FED IS BEST and my baby was happy with a full belly, no matter what it was full with. 

*Lesson: Were you even reading? FED. IS. BEST.

I love you, I support you, your body is an amazing vessel that deserves to be celebrated.

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how to teach friends how to deal with your ppd

3 Ways To Teach Others How To Deal With Your Postpartum Mood Disorder

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Ok, so you have someone in your life who doesn’t understand what you’re going through… or maybe a bunch of someones?

How do you get them to understand? You teach them. I’m a teacher and if I have a student who doesn’t know how to accurately cite research using MLA parenthetical notation (please keep reading, I’ll stop nerding out after this analogy, I promise) then I need to teach it to them. This instance with your partner, in-laws, parents, friends, co-workers – fill-in-the-blank – is no different: it’s a teachable moment.

What I have learned while getting treatment is that majority of women suffering from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD– the real name since it can start during pregnancy) are helpers. We are teachers, nurses, doctors, therapists, etc.… we help others. We tend to put others’ needs before our own and calling someone out for their insensitivity can go against this need to “help.”  However, having someone in your life who is making your healing process more difficult won’t help anyone or anything, including your relationship with that person.

So, how do you “teach” someone about what you’re going through? That’s entirely up to you and it may be different based on who the person is that needs an education, but these 3 ideas may get you started:

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  • Talk. It seems simple, but sometimes talking is anything but simple. Figure out your words ahead of time and then schedule a sit down to discuss your feelings in a safe place. You may even want to write down your thoughts first so you can figure out the major points you want to make. When it comes to matters of the heart, it can be easy to ramble. Try and stay true to your big issues or points and avoid language that would make whoever you are speaking with feel attacked (“I feel a lot less anxious when visitors wash their hands before touching the baby” versus “I’m asking you to wash your hands, which is a simple request, but you continue to not do it”).
  • Ask. Ask someone to do the talking for you. Communicate with your speaker what you would like to be said, but make sure that you trust this person and they have enough knowledge of the situation to adequately respond to any questions the non-understanding party may have.
    • My husband took this role and it made me less anxious than having to do it myself (because I KNEW I would cry if I had to do it myself). BUT, I had to really hold back asking him incessant questions like: How did they take it? Were they upset? Do they think I’m crazy? Do they get it?
  • Educate. Politely send them *up-to-date* literature about PMAD so that they can learn on their own. You can print articles to give them or you can send them links via email, text, or social media.
    • This is a great hands-off approach that would allow the other party to process the information on their own time and in their own space. We all know people who would somehow turn a friendly and open discussion into them being attacked ::eye roll:: This is the way I would handle that kind of person – they can bitch and moan privately and once they put on their big-boy/girl pants then you can one day have a discussion together. You may also want to include in your message that you aren’t ready to talk about it in person at this point, but thought it would help them to better understand what you’re going through in the meantime. That way they don’t see the literature as an opportunity to get their two cents in because, guess what, it’s not about them.

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What if they are not teachable at all?

What if you tried any/all of these tactics and nothing worked?

What if being around this person continues to trigger your symptoms?

My advice is, and this is going to be harsh, to just say “fuck them” and move on. If they aren’t aiding in your recovery then perhaps they need to take a backseat to your needs and you can return to them once you are healed. Because guess what? You WILL heal. And just like you, your relationship with that person can be healed too.

I love you. I see you. You’re doing a great job.

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator 0=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=””][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”2493″ img_size=”full” style=”vc_box_shadow_3d”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text 0=””]Amy Brewer

Amy is married to her best friend, a mom to a wonderful baby girl, & a pet-mom to two cats and a dog. She enjoys watching Netflix, drinking wine, & laughing at her own jokes (she may even have chuckled as she wrote this).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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