breasrfeeding support

Divine Mother Amy { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Advocate

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of July Session 1 }

{ Amy }

Advocate

“It’s been a wild ride. I started with twins. They were born 8 weeks premature, emergency C-section, preeclampsia, I almost died… It was crazy. And then they were fine!

I breastfed them. No one believed I could do it until I did it.

Then I had my next son. That was also a wild ride. It was a very traumatic birth and we thought we were done.  And then my big surprise!”

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“At that point we discovered that I had a bleeding disorder. It was a very high risk pregnancy. But he ended up being my easiest delivery. A picture perfect birth. He came so fast we didn’t have time to get in the water. But of course he has been the hardest child… but he was my fourth so I knew we were going to get through it.

I’m trying to live day to day. It’s belly laughs, dirty hands and feet, water balloons, ninjas…

The more kids you have the faster they grow up.”

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“I was so determined with my first. They were going to be fine, they were going to be great. I wanted them to reach their milestones early; roockie mom mistake. With this one I didn’t even want to put him on the ground…

It’s seeing them become people.

It’s also that you grow up faster. You’ve been there. You have matured as a mother and it’s not your first rodeo.”

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I have a sense of responsibility. Knowing that I have this knowledge. I have a responsibility to share it.

After the twins were born I was doing my masters degree and got involved with Mom2mom. It was actually something that happened with my mentor that made me really angry and I had to write a letter. That’s how I started advocating for other women. I thought, if I have to advocate for myself, I will do it for other women too.

I’m now the executive director of Mom2Mom Global. We have so many people wanting to start new chapters.

Everyone is uncertain. You just never know. You think you got it. With my fourth I thought, preemie twins…I got this! Then he had colic, dairy issues, all kinds of stuff. My husband and I were like, wow, this is worse than twins.”

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Amy also followed up with an incredible article she’s written to be published in Return to Mago blog in August 2015.

Something we touched upon via email but not during our interview is the loss of her womb. Amy recently had a hysterectomy, due to medical reasons. “It’s a journey for me to find my new center.  This has been a time of tremendous growth and accepting of new responsibility in completing the life cycle of Maiden, Mother, Crone.”

I wanted to share an except of her work, and can’t wait to see her complete article published soon. Pure poetry, Amy.

For four days more, as the days begin to shorten in the thirty-fifth year of my life, I will bleed my last moon blood. I will wonder at the mystery of it, of our bodies, of the moon, of the Great Mother and the cycles that constantly regenerate our lives and our world. I will meditate. I will engage in rituals of caring for myself. I will enjoy the gifts of my relationships, of the beauty around me, of the permeability between energetic planes. I will do the work laid out for me on my new path with renewed vigor and the confidence that comes from being a Crone and knowing that somehow, all the resources I need are already there, I only need to call them.

-Amy Smolinski. Excerpt from a personal essay to be published in Return To Mago in August, 2015

Thank you so much Amy for participating and being a part of this project. Thank you for sharing yourself and your beautiful energy with fellow women.

Repeat after me,

I am an amazing woman.

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

The light within me is divine.

If you are looking for breastfeeding support in the local KMC area, please check out the Mom2mom website and FB. If you are not local, as Amy mentioned, new chapters are starting up, more info here.

Amy participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of July Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in this series please consider subscribing to our blog and following our FB page.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Danielle { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Choosing Your Path as a Mother

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 2 }

{ Danielle }

Choosing Your Path as a Mother

I asked Danielle about her high point and low point within her motherhood journey. Her answer as simple.

“The low point is easy, lack of sleep… We are now just getting enough sleep that I feel  ok again… I was a working mom for a long time. The high point was becoming a stay at home mom.”

When I asked her to expand on why she felt this way, she explained how she had been taught to pursue a career and hadn’t given much value to motherhood. Not until she became a mother herself. She expands in an email she sent me after the interview and I will leave you here with her incredible words.

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“The message I received when I was growing up was that girls can do anything they want to do — especially if it was something that was traditionally dominated by men. In many respects, the message I absorbed was that traditionally masculine activities were somehow better than traditionally feminine activities — a career was better than motherhood, hard science was better than arts, playing sports was better than dancing. Without even realizing it, I soaked this in and it subconsciously affected all my choices in life. I chose to play a lot of sports as a kid – soccer, softball and basketball – and loved it. I chose to major in physics and math. I chose to join the Air Force. I could do anything the boys could do. All this time, I was adamant that I wasn’t going to have children. I didn’t see the value in it. The message I had internalized was that having a career, and especially a technical career, was better or more important than being a mother.”

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“Now two births, two miscarriages and a 15-year career later, I have completely reversed that belief. I am proud and grateful for my time as a physics student, active duty Air Force officer, reservist and engineer, but I now believe these activities pale in comparison to the miracles that are reserved only for women. My mothering journey has led me to realize the gift that is my female body — the gifts of my hormonal cycle, of pregnancy and birth, of breastfeeding, and of continuing the human species. These are special gifts to be honored. I no longer aspire to do what men can do. I feel blessed to be able to do what women can do.

The high point of my mothering journey thus far has been becoming a stay at home mom. I worked two jobs (as an engineer and an Air Force reservist) until my daughter was 3.5 and my son was over 1. Gathering the courage to leave my career behind was a huge struggle for me, an act of willpower of overcoming all the subconscious beliefs I collected over the years. It was hard to do. It was necessary. It was beautiful.”

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“I could see my daughter falling apart as I worked. It got to the point where her separation anxiety was such that I could not get up from the dinner table to get a glass of water from the open kitchen without her melting down. Becoming a stay at home mom has allowed me to mother my children in a completely different way than I could when I was working full time. We are more connected as I am more physically present. My children bring so much joy to daily life and I am blessed to be here to experience it with them. I feel so grateful for the magical opportunity to stay home with my children. It has forced me to grow and change to become an even better mother and person and to know and value myself as a woman more. My children have been my light leading me into peace and joy.”

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“It took a hard journey of uncovering my truths for me to come into this place of awareness. These photographs hold within them significant meaning for me. They are a visual representation of both my struggle and the beautiful place my journey has thus far brought me to. They are a milestone marking how far I have come. For me, these photographs honor the miracle of my female body, honor my bond with my children, and illuminate the value of motherhood. For that, I thank you.”

Danielle, thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey as a mother and human. I completely agree with your sentiment. It’s not about working vs SAHM. It’s about the message that we receive in this society that puts so much more value on what are considered “masculine” activities while also putting down the “feminine”. This is why women’s voices are needed. This is what this project is about. Giving back motherhood and being a woman the value and respect it so equally deserves.

Repeat after me,

I am an amazing woman.

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

The light within me is divine.

Danielle participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of July Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in this series please consider subscribing to our blog and following our FB page.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Alisha { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Support & Supply

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 2 }

{ Alisha }

Support & Supply

“Growing up I didn’t  think I wanted to be a mom. I didn’t want to have kids. I wanted to adopt and then one day it’s like a switch went off.

Make babies!”

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“With him I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding. He was tongue tied and I have flat inverted nipples. Right off the bat we were supplementing with formula. But after about a month I decided I had had enough and we put the formula away. We’ve been breast feeding ever since.

I had to fight to get a supply. My milk didn’t want to come in because his latch was bad.”

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“She was born and her latch was perfect. But a few days after coming home I got mastitis. I think it was the tandem nursing, I was engorged for weeks.”

“I’m actually just getting over mastitis again.”

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“In this area there is so much support. I remember with my first I would call my best friend every night crying. All I wanted to do was feed my baby and I couldn’t make my body do it.

I was able to see a specialist who was very helpful figuring out the tongue tie, but I feel even more support here.”

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“They are my life. Everything I do is for them. Maybe I need to make more time for me, but I’m away from them 8 hours a day for work. The time I have with them, is for them.”

Alisha, thank you so much for coming in and sharing yourself with us. You are such an incredibly strong mother. I loved hearing about your determination to breastfeed and I’m so happy you found the help and support you needed to achieve your goals. You are totally amazing!

Repeat after me,

I am an amazing woman.

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

The light within me is divine.

Alisha participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of July Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in this series please consider subscribing to our blog and following our FB page.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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The Divine Mothers of July Session 1 { Motherhood Photo+Interviews }

A sneak peak into the images captured for Divine-Mothering’s Photo+Interview Series, July 8th 2015.

“We had a full studio for this session as an influx of toddlers and preschoolers filled up the room. They brought so much energy and joy and definitely stole some of the spot light, but I often look at my images and like to think that my photographs often capture more than an individual. They don’t focus on one subject or another, but rather they capture a bond, a connection.” -Photographer Liliana Taboas from Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

Divine Mother { Colleen }

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Divine Mother { Alisha }

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Divine Mother { Danielle }

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Divine Mother { Amy }

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{ #GoddessesInTheStudio }

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Thank you, ladies, for participating! I always feel so full of love and energy after each session, thank you so much for sharing yourself with Divine-Mothering and the world! <3 <3 <3

I will be blogging about each of their mini sessions in the coming week and I absolutely can’t wait to share more.

If you are interested in the photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, please visit her website here.

If you are interested in participating in one of the Motherhood Photo+Interview Events, check out our FB Page and click Events.

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Divine Mother Michele { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Breastfeeding Goals

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 2 }

{ Michele }

Breastfeeding Goals

Michele was incredibly fun to work with, so full of energy and laughter. She was very excited to share her breastfeeding accomplishments with her third child.

“She’s the longest I’ve breastfed; 5 1/2 months. I’m really proud.”

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“My other two I only breastfed until 8 and 12 weeks. This one, she wouldn’t take the bottle until 4 months! My goal is 6 months.”

I had to laugh when she told me “I think it helped that I had mastitis with her, so I needed to keep breastfeeding.” What a way to make lemonade out of lemons!

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“I got more help with the 3rd child. Before I had no one guiding me or helping me with the latch. I feel I lot more confident too, maybe it’s the age… You learn and gain experience as a mother.

With my first I wasn’t too confident. I didn’t have help, with this child I’ve had so much support and encouragement with breastfeeding.

She’s an easy quiet baby.”

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When I asked her how she felt about continuing her breastfeeding journey, she was pretty honest. “I’m not sure what will happen whens he gets teeth!” A common fear for those who haven’t nursed a toothy infant. But from personal experience I can assure you all, it’s fine… And they don’t bite… Much…

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Oh, Michele, it was such a pleasure to work with you! I loved your energy and your little one is gorgeous. Congratulations on achieving your breastfeeding goals, I’m so happy to hear that you have received support and encouragement which often is the key factor for a successful journey. You are a lucky woman!

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Michele participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 2, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Heather { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Support Matters

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Heather }

Support Matters

I am so thankful Heather came to me to share her amazing breastfeeding support story with me. The stories of breastfeeding mothers are so varied when people see serene images of mothers nursing their young, it simplifies the story a bit. It must be so easy for her. She feels so confident. She must have had no issue. She must love breastfeeding. But women who have breastfed know better.

When I asked Heather about her journey I was pleased to hear how having the right support made all the difference.

“I was very hesitant about breastfeeding. I didn’t want to do it.

My husband is a nurse and he convinced me that I had to at least give it a try.

You have to try, he told me over and over.”

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“I was surprised at how naturally it came for us. It’s probably the most natural thing I’ve ever done. So my goal was 6 months.

Making it to 11 months for me is amazing.

I want to make it to 12 months and then I’m done.”

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“I’m so thankful to my husband for encouraging me to breastfeed.

I thought… If someone like me can decide to try it, anyone could.”

The most common complaint I have personally heard from mothers when it comes to nursing their children long term is the lack of support. Wether it be from their spouse, their family or in laws, once the support drops, many mothers start to doubt themselves and their choices. This leads, unfortunately, for many women to turn way from breastfeeding sooner then intended.

It was refreshing, however, to hear quite the opposite story for Heather! What an amazing partner you have.

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“I wanted to be a part of this.

I was prior enlisted for 10 years, and now being a mother, I have to learn to slow down.

I want to live in the moment.”

Heather, thank you so much for sharing a little of yourself with us. Your story is heart warming and I love that you wanted to dedicate these images to your husband for his amazing encouragement and support. He sounds truly awesome!

Heather, you are so amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Heather participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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