The lovely Lorraine Neil, Henry (2) and Juniper (4 months). Lorraine says that becoming a mom is sometimes a shock to your system. Going from being only responsible to yourself to having this person who is wholly dependent on her was more jarring than she ever imagined. You just change so much. Lorraine's pregnancies were low risk but she had hyperemises gravidarum throughout. From 6 weeks on she kept getting sicker and sicker and couldn't eat or drink. She ended up in the hospital for dehydration for numerous occasions and was very scary. She was in Okinawa where her husband was stationed during Henry's pregnancy and it was difficult feeling stuck without options other than the medical care she could receive on the island.
She had wonderful natural births with each of her children and both of their arrivals went well. She says the one thing she remembers most is the feeling of that hot, wet baby being put on your chest for the first time and looking at you so new.
Lorraine says that no one ever told her breastfeeding could be hard and she had no idea it could be until she went into with Henry and realized it was so hard. She struggled and Henry was very slow to grow so she stopped nursing at 5 months. At 9 months he was diagnosed with a lip tie but no one had ever checked for it and she hadn't been able to access a lactation consultant. There was one LC on the island but she was affiliated with WIC and because her family didn't qualify for the program she was turned away even after begging to be seen.
It was disheartening but she gained so much knowledge during the time she attempted to breastfeed and says that even though she was formula feeding she supported other women during their struggles and has been able to help so many other women breastfeed. Because of that she's been able to nurse Juniper with no problem, that knowledge really transferred over for her.
Lorraine says she is completely and utterly insecure. She has had body image issues her whole life and doesn't feel that she looks like other women. She struggles with what society deems a "normal" body shape. She says we grow up thinking our worth is our looks and it's so detrimental. She grew up with good, strong women who gave her a foundation of self-worth but she picked up social stigma along the way and wakes up every day hating her body, even more so after kids. She's tired of that mentality however and wants to change it, she wants her daughter to know she's more than how she looks.
Lorraine struggles postpartum depression and says she has seen therapists who she's convinced she is Suzy Homemaker. In reality, however, she struggles and every minute of every day she has to remind herself to keep herself together. Parenting often feels like a battle I'm consistently losing. Her husband keeps her put together but still she feel like she's drowning and muddling through. She says, "I hope it won't always be this way. I love my kids to the moon and back and hopefully through the darkness they can feel that.
My truth about being a Mom is this: It doesn't come naturally to all of us and the stigma that it should hangs so heavily over our heads. I need other moms to know that being maternal isn't always engrained in our DNA and that's OK. We have to fight for it, earn it. It takes time and practice."