Your beautiful body grew and birthed your baby, either through a vaginal birth or belly birth. Showing connection and love to your now solo body can be challenging, especially if your birth experience was not what you had envisioned or traumatic.
If you are suffering from any lingering panic, depression, anger, dissociation, or inability to bond with your family or self, please reach out to a therapist. Contact any doula in your area and they will have a recommendation of one that specializes in birth trauma and postpartum issues.
When trying to reconnect to your body, it can be even more difficult if you are experiencing continued pain. PAIN IS NOT NORMAL. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is not right. Pain, numbness, dryness, random bleeding, tearing, or anything else that is anything other than happy healthy, is not normal. Inability to hold your bladder, sneeze, cough, laugh without peeing; is not normal! Again, a trip to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist will help fix this all up. If you're in the Baltimore, MD area Dr. Samantha Duflo of Indigo Physiotherapy is my favorite.
At the end of your pregnancy journey, a baby, an organ, and a lot of blood came out of your vagina or your belly. Then you're an extra hot mess with your granny panties, milk leaking, squishy self. Reconnecting to your womb as something sexual can seem like an impossible task. We hear so much about self care, but what about self love and self-sex? Wonder if your partner is feeling a loose vagina; go find out for yourself and see they're not. Wonder if the stitches left you altered; grab a mirror and look. Do all of this when you're ready and feel called to reopen this aspect of your body and life.
Exploring your body and your postpartum intimate bits can go a long way towards claiming yourself back from birth and baby. The fabulous Layla Martin released a new guided meditation that is free and takes a whole 5 minutes. It can really help in reconnecting you to your pelvic organs. She calls it her Honey Pot Practice. The amount of warmth and love you can feel flowing through your hands is pure bliss. The triangle position of your hands allows the same benefits of skin-to-skin you had with your newborn. Our bellies can be such a source of negativity and shame in our current body image culture, the simple act of loving skin-to-skin contact can go a long way in feeling better and embracing your soul's new housing. This practice can help relieve pain, increase circulation and therefor healthy moisture, arousal, and pleasure during intimacy.
Your body belongs to you. Love it, embrace it, and visualize it covered in honey.
To conclude the main points:
First and foremost, what is herpes and what are the risks of becoming infected? Genital herpes comes from the sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus largely as either HSV-1 or HSV-2. HSV-1 is typically seen as an oral infection, but can be transferred and cause a genital infection. HSV-2 is typically seen in the genitalia. HSV, when active can cause one or more sores that blister and break taking sometimes over a week to heal. Most people remain asymptomatic or mistake symptoms for another skin condition like acne. Even when no active lesions are present, the person still sheds the virus 10% of the time in consistently asymptomatic people, and 20% of the time in symptomatic people. According to the CDC 11.9% of people are known to be infected with the virus, but 87.4% of people who have the virus never receive a clinical diagnosis(CDC Herpes Facts, 2019). This is largely because the CDC no longer recommends proactively screening for herpes in a standard STD screen. They found that someone diagnosed when not having active symptoms will on average not change their sexual behavior such as wearing a condom or remaining abstinent (CDC Screening, 2019).
Nursing in Public
"I'm sorry, but I have to feed my baby."
"I'm sorry, but my baby is hungry."
"I'm sorry, I forgot my cover."
"I'm sorry, she's almost done."
The quotes go on as to what various women will say when confronted by a stranger, family member, or friend about nursing their baby. There were some social experiment videos recently about a woman and her partner going around nursing in public and seeing people's reactions.
I actually quite dislike these videos, but not for the obvious reason of people's reaction to her nursing. I dislike the videos because of her own reaction to her nursing.
The first thing she does, is apologize. "I'm sorry...." Then when someone says they don't have problem with her nursing, she says "Thank you".
Nursing moms, you have no reason to be sorry, apologetic, or grateful about nursing in public. The initial reaction of apology indicates that you've done something wrong. There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby with the most natural, normal, healthy method that exists.
Nurse how you are comfortable, be that covered or uncovered. I am a huge fan of the two shirt method. I always wear a tank top (plain, non-nursing specific $5 tank top, I'll stretch out and throw away), under a normal shirt. I think this is more discrete than a cover. Most people have no idea I'm nursing, unless they see me get set up for it.
Nurse when your baby wants to nurse. In most states the law protects you. You have the right to nurse however you need, wherever you have the right to be.
I've heard the stories of women being harassed while nursing. Personally, I've been disappointed. I was so looking forward to getting to argue the rights of a nursing mother! I have my rhetoric down. But, the only stranger that has approached me actually complimented me and thanked me for nursing my baby in public.
My family are the ones who have given me the most problems. When expressing that I have no shame about feeding my baby, I was told while maybe I should. How to approach family members is set for a different blog post all together!
Sorry, but I'm not sorry I'm nursing. I am sorry that a stranger is so self involved they think their comfort would be of any importance to you over your baby's. I am sorry that their eyes don't seem to work enough to simply look away. I am sorry that everyone is telling women to breastfeed, and simultaneously telling them to feel shame. I am sorry that the mom who wanted, but wasn't able to breastfeed is now lashing out at other moms who can. I am sorry that men feel breasts belong to them. I am sorry that a sexualized breast can not have more than one function.
There's a lot to feel sorry about in regards to breastfeeding, but nursing your baby in public is not one of them.
Covered or uncovered, shirt pulled up or shirt pulled down, newborn or toddler, Nurse how you are comfortable and don't apologize.
Unsafe practices portrayed in advertising
We took a trip recently, and on the shuttle from the Enterprise rental place to the airport there was this picture. I sat there staring at it, looked at other people staring at the ads, and it occurred to me; this is why parents don't know any better.
Let's review what's wrong:
1. A child should never wear bulky items while secured in a car seat. Even if it appears the straps are tight, the force of an accident will easily compress the item.
Visuals - Crash Test Dummy and Strap Tightness Comparison
2. Straps should be tight to the chest. The tighter, the more the baby stays in a proper position and is secured correctly in the seat. Obviously straps shouldn't be so tight the baby can't breathe.
3. American car seats have a chest clip. This clip should be aligned with the armpits after the seat straps are pulled tight.
4. Although I couldn't say for certain, this child appears small enough, and therefore light enough to still be rear-facing. Many parents switch their children to forward facing far too early in terms of spinal development. The current recommendation is for a child to be rear-facing until "age 2 OR until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat." Many car seats now have height and weight maximums that allow a child to remain rear-facing until they are 6 or 7, which is when most children would meet the weight maximum.
Read more about why your child should be rear facing.
So many times a child gets injured and the parent says "I didn't know any better". Not everyone is a researcher or strives to learn all the newest and safest recommendations. Many people base their actions on what they see, and what they see others do.
Media and advertisement is a huge influence in our culture. They should think about what they are showing and if it adheres to the guidelines, recommendations, and safest practices. People are looking and watching, show the right standards.