The things she carries

Leaving the house as a first time mama was intimidating!  Not only was I not used to having another human completely depending on me – but I had to figure out how to get around while having everything I could possibly need to take care of my little one.  This meant having a car seat in my car, a stroller or carrier to hold my little one once I got to my destination, and then having everything on hand in case anything from a blow out to a fever happened!  There is an art to packing diaper bags – you want to be prepared for anything, but you also can’t carry the entire nursery room with you.  So, a few Punk Mamas have shared what is in their diaper bags to help any new mamas out there get a better sense of what to plan on toting around!


(Pictured above) “Wipes (we use the same wipes for everything), burp cloth, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, lip balm, dirty diaper bags, size two diapers, size four diapers, two cups with water, change of clothes for baby, changing pad, wallet.  Usually I have some snacks in there, too.”  – Erika B., mama to three: 5yo, 2yo, and 2mos.


(Pictured above) “A friend made this for me years ago, and it became my main diaper bag.  I use a backpack too, but this bag is special to me.  It doesn’t leak when I forget to close something tight enough, it’s roomy, matches my wardrobe, and there’s no way to mix it with someone else’s.  Extra outfits for both kids, boogie wipes, butt wipes, burp towel, size four and size one diapers, scented plastic bags, and cream.”  – Amelia P. M., mama to two.

(Pictured above) “Diaper holder with mat, three diapers and Honest Co. wipes, extra clothes, sticky place mats (we use them at restaurant and stick them right on the table for him so he can eat food right off the surface and to clean up you just peel it right off!), Augie and Lola pouches with snacks, Tylenol, one book, one toy, face wipes, boogie wipes, sanitizer, sunblock, panty liner, tampon, and chapstick!  Before leaving the house I may throw in a hoodie depending on the temperature and also a sippy cup with water.”  – Sarah C., mama to a one: 15mos.

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(Pictured left) “We have changing pad, wipes, diapers, extra clothes with light jacket in case it’s chilly, light blanket, small umbrella because weather in SoFla is crazy! Boogies wipes, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, small trash bags for diapers if were not by a trash can, portable charger for our cell phones, toys, lotion, sunscreen, teether, burp cloths/bibs, snacks and a spoon, and a bag with small first aid kit and Tylenol/thermometer.” – Laura T., mama to one: 8mos.

“My bag’s pretty minimal!  We use a backpack.  We don’t go out much yet; we pack diapers, wipes, changing pad, change of clothes, two flannel blankets, pacifier, spare nipple shield, burp cloth – I think that’s it!”  “UPDATE!  Mine grew since last post: diapers, wipes, Sani-wipes, hand sanitizer, changing pad, plastic bag for dirty whatever, soft blanket, burp cloth, winter hat, spring hat, car seat toy add ons, paci, nipple shield, Muslin swaddle for cover up if needed, 2 changes of clothes (one outfit and one sleeper).” – Ashley P., mama to one: 2mos.

“Never used one!  Sometimes I had extra pants in the car and wipes just in case, but never carried any kind of baby supplies in a bag or anything like that.  I’m a weirdo and we didn’t do diapers. [Elimination communication]” – Brooke A., mama to two.

(Pictured above) “I don’t even have a diaper bag!  I carry a medium sized Vera Bradley quilted tote.  I really should get a properdiaper bag and wet bag set.  I parcel all of her solid food out into small glass mason jars.  It’s easy to pack, easy to hold and easy to clean.” – Sarah H., mama to one: 9mos.

“I don’t really carry one!  Just throw diapers, water, a change of clothes and a credit card into a bag!  Good to go!”  – Esther M., mama to two.

17342983_567082996123_2620762598037064153_n(Pictured right) “Diapers, wipes, extra clothes (the one time I forgot to bring extra ones she shit all over everything 🙃) toys, nail clippers because you never know when you’ll need them, bottle if we’re out for a long period of time, then I have stuff for me! Tea tree cream because I wash my hands so much they get so dry, snacks, phone charger!  It’s usually a lot more organized.” – Cailah M., mama to one.

“Cloth diapers, a dirty diaper bag, a teether, wipes, hand sanitizer, a spit up rag, and 2 extra outfits.” – Melissa K., mama to one.

“So happy my girl is five and we now leave the house with a thermos and my wallet.”  – Elisabeth N. W., mama to one; 5yo.

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Dear Diary: My 1st Trimester

Punk Mama Ashley M. has just passed into her second trimester and has shared her first trimester diary with us!  We look forward to future installments from her as her pregnancy progresses and she meets her little one!

December 15th, 2016 – Approximate conception.

January 8th, 2017 – Here’s the thing, if you’re going to pee on a pregnancy test, you’ve really got to commit the next 5 minutes of your life to that stick.  I don’t think that most people would have this problem but to no surprise – I peed on the stick and then just forgot about it and got into the bath.  My husband came in to ask me about how it had gone and before he had finished his question, he saw the stick.  Just like that, positive, and he knew before me.

January 9th, 2017 – No matter how you’re feeling it’s best you call and schedule an appointment right away.  I am horrible at facing anything head on and this was no exception.  After about three hours I gathered up enough courage and called to schedule the appointment.  I cried a bunch because I was so nervous but also because this was probably the most important phone call I have made in my 28 years of life – at least that’s how it felt.  It’s better to bite the bullet than to have it just lingering around weighing heavy on your shoulders.  But, I couldn’t get to the doctors for two and a half weeks!  What the heck?!  How on earth was I supposed to survive the next two weeks?  I’ll tell you how, with about 30 pregnancy tests and a gallon of ice cream.  There isn’t much you can do, so even if it seems hard just try to push it to the back of your mind and distract yourself.  Take your vitamins, eat well, and rest rest rest.  All I want to do these days is sleep – I’m serious.  I have dreams about sleeping.  So, just take a deep breath and roll with it.

Today I decided which prenatal vitamins to buy, with the help of my friend, Google.  Oh, ye olde faithful Google – a double edged sword.  Take this, don’t eat that, you might be dying, that’s not normal, “statistics”.  It was there in the Target vitamin aisle that I had my first pregnancy break down.  I think this is normal and expected, and to be honest it helped relieve some of the pressure that I could feel building up.  I came to, gathered my vitamins, wiped my tears and continued in to the depths of my Target black hole.

January 27th, 2017: 6 weeks & 1 day – I was so emotional while scheduling my first appointment that I am lucky I was even able to take down the date let alone what was going to happen.  I showed up prepared to pee in yet another cup but that’s about it.  That was the easy part!  They asked questions about how I had been feeling, my family history, my medical history – just general stuff.  Morning sickness?  Nope!  None!  I’ve just felt tired but other than that, great!  (Boy, I am seriously regretting how amped up I was about that – I was pretty much asking for it.)  However, I was not prepared whatsoever about what happened next.  The nurse explained to me that I just needed to get an ultrasound done to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be and then I could be on my way.  Sure!  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  I walked into the room and the tech informed me that it was going to an internal exam.  WOOF.  When I say that I was not prepared, I mean it.  Ultrasound?  Isn’t that supposed to be OUTSIDE of the body?  I hadn’t taken a shower in at least a day and the last time I had done any grooming I got bored half way through and quit.  I was in no shape for a stranger to be poking around in my nether regions.  Here’s the deal, the instrument looks horrifying and you may not be groomed to your liking, but once you get past this and you see the heartbeat – it. is. WORTH IT.  My husband and I high fived and right there, in that moment (maybe only for that moment), I didn’t have any other cares in the world.

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 January 28th, 2017: 6 weeks & 2 days – …and then “morning” sickness hit except it wasn’t morning and I was asleep.  I shot out of bed at about 12:30 am and darted to the bathroom, barely making it.  Up came dinner, actually it seemed that everything I had ever eaten was coming up.  I felt better after about 45 minutes and I went back to sleep.  Since then, morning sickness rears its ugly head a few hours before bedtime, so when I start to feel it begin, I stop everything and just lay still in bed with no screens, not much sound, and just pet snuggles.  This seems to be helping but who knows what will happen tomorrow?

January 29th, 2017: …and everyday since… – Morning sickness is a strange beast – kind of like that John Green quote from The Fault in Our Stars?  “I fell in love (got sick) the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”  I mean it was just slow building and then quick explosion – didn’t matter where I was.  In the shower, at Target, driving my car.  E. V. E. R. Y. W. H. E. R. E.  Morning sickness does not discriminate.  I suffer from chronic rhinitis which is hell, but apparently there is also pregnancy rhinitis that just amplifies chronic rhinitis so I spend a lot of time thinking about how I may just drown in my own mucus.  Great, just how I always wanted to go; put it on my tombstone: “Ashley Brown, death by snot.”  Oh, and I had a pretty serious reaction to lemonade – my throat got itchy, I swelled up, it was hell.  And everything these days tastes like metal – doesn’t matter what I eat or when I eat it, it just feels like I am just sucking on metal flavored cough drops constantly.

February 16th, 2017: 9 weeks – Second baby appointment!  I showered this time and did some grooming – didn’t shave my legs though so it wasn’t very well thought out.  This appointment lasted TWO HOURS AND THIRTY ONE MINUTES!  WHAT THE HECK?!  And I was alone because I thought it was going to be a quick in and out.  If I had a dollar for every time that I was wrong or regretted something during an appointment, I would have approximately ten dollars at this point.  I peed in a cup, they checked my sugars, we went through a detailed family history, the doctor filled me in on all of the great tests that I would have to have done and THEN she informed me that she needed to perform a PAP.  UGH THE WORST.  It passed quickly as she tried to talk to me about my job.  But I just cried.  Being a woman is great 98.1% of the time – I am going to say that 1.99% of the time that being a woman sucks (see previous sentences about being at the doctor’s office and getting an unexpected PAP while pregnant).  I reminded myself that this is her job, it’s normal to her, and there’s not much that she hasn’t seen – I am sure.

February 24th, 2017: 10 weeks & 1 day – “My first pregnancy meltdown, what a FUN TIME!” …said pretty much no one.  Steve took too long to help me out with something (he actually took about three seconds so I don’t know what happened here) and I took this as a sign that he hated me and didn’t want to have a baby.  I cried, I told him he was the WORST PERSON THAT I HAVE EVER MET and then I just got in the car and left him in Hanover, PA (about a half an hour away from home).  When I say that I cried, that’s putting it lightly – I cried, I screamed, I turned my phone off, and then got mad when I turned it back on two minutes later and there wasn’t a single missed message (HOW DARE HE!).  After about twenty minutes and a phone call that let me know he had a ride home, I calmed down.  I met him and his ride halfway to pick him up to head home.  And he had snacks for me.  Pregnancy hormones are no joke.  Disclaimer: My husband is a saint.

March 8th, 2017: 11 weeks & 6 days – One final first trimester to-do left!  Bloodwork – holy cow!  This lady took NINE TUBES OF BLOOD.  N. I. N. E.  You can’t drink during pregnancy but I’ll tell you what – getting nine tubes of blood drawn feels like drinking an entire box of wine.  Woof.  Glad that’s over with.  (Yes, I know that there will be more in the future, but shhh… we don’t need to think about that right now.)

The first trimester has come and gone; three months down and six to go.  Overall, it was by no means a walk in the park, but it wasn’t awful either.  If the remainder of my pregnancy goes this way, I won’t be mad, I’ll just continue to be shocked and surprised by my body and my doctor appointments.  I still don’t really feel pregnant, just oddly ill.  I look forward to the developing connection with my body, my baby, and the world outside.

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Shawna’s birth story

Punk Mama Shawna S. has shared her birth story with us.  While she had a traumatic birth, she went on to have a successful breastfeeding journey with her son.  We hope that by sharing her story, a mother out there reading this will be better equipped to navigate maternity healthcare options, find support for their traumatic birth, and/or  feel less alone in motherhood.

Sharing this kind of makes me want to puke.  You are going to read information that will probably make you say, “WHOA, TMI.”  But here’s a “motherhood dare” for you: be raw, be fucking real.  If you feel cheated, say so.  Don’t let the bastards get you down just because your truth hurts their ears or because people don’t get what the big deal is.  To start, during my pregnancy, I felt like a powerful goddess.  As a parent, I feel that way too.  My birth experience was not as empowering.

Punk mama Shawna pregnant with Zephyr in a blue gown in the snow

Whimsy Wishes Photography

 

“Tomorrow is Earth Day, so I kind of hope the baby arrives tomorrow.”  The midwife smiled.  “You are 1cm dilated.  Want me to sweep your membranes?”  I felt a pinch and said so – she just said things are “sensitive.”  I confidently answered that, no, I didn’t want my membranes swept, that I wanted labor to start on its own.  The midwife smiled again and said, “Okay, well let’s see how this goes.”

I am having a dream about my dead friend and he just keeps repeating, “I just want you to know that everything is going to be okay.”  I keep questioning him, he avoids answering.  I wake up.

It’s 3:30am and I think I may have actually just wet my pants.  I walk over to the bathroom and I realize that the wetness is not urine.  I call for Ryan who springs out of bed wondering exactly what we need to do next.  Oh god, the bags are already packed, but is the dog ready?  Is she going to be okay while I’m gone?  She needs to go to the bathroom.  Let’s try to get her to go twice before we leave.

I have slept maybe three hours.  I make the call to the midwife and tell her the situation; I’m pretty sure my water broke.  She was sleeping, I can tell.  She says that I’m probably wrong, to wait for two hours and see if I soak through enough pads and then call her back.  So I soak through one pad in 15 minutes and tell her that I know what is going on.  She says she wants me to come into the hospital because my water broke and now I’m more prone to infection.  I trust her, so I reluctantly accept coming into the hospital, even though hospitals scare me and I had planned to labor at home for a while.  I kiss my dog about a thousand times and promise her someone will be back for her.

As we walk out to the car, there are coyotes howling and owls hooting.  It is the most beautiful, fierce calling I have ever heard.  I text everyone to tell them what was going on.  We are driving through a dense fog; the contractions are getting stronger.  Is it going to be an Earth Day Birthday?  We arrive and I start furiously sneaking granola bars because they keep telling me I’m not allowed to eat solids, although I was told I could eat during labor.  I am tired and hungry.  I’m starting to get really agitated because the nurse who I despise is here and she won’t stop talking to me, and I just want her to shut the fuck up.  My mom is here and so is my best friend.  We are all sitting and talking – making jokes.  They are buffering that nurse and her stupid questions and I appreciate it more than I can express.  I walk around for a bit, but it is overwhelming for me to walk through the hospital corridors.  This place is so cold.

The midwife convinces me to go through with getting the IV, even though I didn’t want one.  I can’t really process anything right now.  The annoying nurse tries four times to get an IV in my wrist and finally the midwife just does it because she can tell I’m about to lose my cool.  My midwife finally gets another nurse to take the place of the one who is pissing me off.  Her name is Helen and she talks very softly and she looks like my friend Zayne’s mom; I like her instantly.  I sit on the ball for a little while.  People are piling in the waiting room to support me and everyone tells me so.  I hang out in the shower for a while, but the nurses and midwife want me to get back on the bed and be monitored.  This was not how it was supposed to be.  I want to stay in the shower because the water relaxes me and I feel better in there.  Every time they monitor the baby, nothing is wrong.  “Why can’t I stay in the shower?”  No answer.  My sister is in the room intermittently; I like having her there.  She makes me feel stronger.

Every time the midwife checks me, she tells me she isn’t “impressed,” that things are not progressing.  I start to feel nervous.  We have talked about all of my fears regarding hospitals and unnecessary medical interventions – she told me that she would never intervene in the birth process unless totally necessary.  She had told me that I would not need a doula because she would be with me the entire time.  I trust her.  I trust her, right?

“Still not impressed.”  She comes back and tells me that she thinks I should take Stadol so that I can relax.  I start to cry.  I don’t want medication.  She asks me why I’m crying and what I think I know about Stadol that would make me not want to take it.  I can’t remember, but I know I don’t want it.  She looks me straight in the face and says, “If you don’t take this Stadol to relax, I’m afraid you’re going to end up with a C-section.” I trust her.  She knows my fears and promised me safety, so why would she pressure me?  I ask what is going to happen with this medication, and they tell me it will help me sleep.  I trust them.  They give me the Stadol and my vision starts to change.  My eyes feel like they are darting back and forth.  I am managing contractions from outerspace.  I cannot relax.  I am trapped in my own brain.  Ryan is sitting beside me.  I tell him I have to close my eyes because something isn’t right.

They have started Pitocin because the baby hasn’t progressed enough for their liking and they want to get things moving.  The contractions are getting harsh and I am still not progressing to where they want me to be.  I keep hearing “C-section,” “C-section” instead of what they are really saying.  I tell them that if they want me to relax, I think I am going to need an epidural because the Pitocin contractions are the worst thing I have ever felt.  I am crying hysterically because I don’t want this medication, but I also don’t want to end up with a C-section and I’m scared.  At this point, I’m having tremors and no one tells me it is normal.  No one.  I am scared to death.  “What are these tremors?”  Why is everyone ignoring me when I ask that?

I did all of this research about the birth process and I am scared because no one knows what I want and I feel like I don’t know how to ask for it anymore.  Everyone is looking at me to make a decision.  The anesthesiologist comes in and he is the kindest person I have ever met in a hospital setting.  He explains the whole process to me, treats Ryan with respect, and says he will be back to check on me.  After the epidural, Ryan goes to get food and my best friend, Anderson, sits with me while I sleep.  I wake up and they check me again.  I have progressed much more.  10cm dilated!  This time the midwife is impressed.  Maybe the epidural was appropriate for this situation.  I feel a little more positive with them not bothering me about my lack of progression.  They increase the Pitocin even though I tell them that I am starting to be able to feel again.  Anesthetic never works long for me.  I have told her this before.

I think it is evening at this point, I have not been counting the hours and my room has no windows.  I don’t know if the sun is shining or the sky is dark.  Pitocin contractions are the worst thing in the world.  I feel like my hips crack open every time the contractions surge in.  I have a fever at this point and after drawing my blood for what seems like the 50th time, they tell me I have an infection.  I beg them to let me dose myself with another epidural because something feels stuck and that I am having a lot of pain just in one area.  The midwife looks at me in a concerned way but doesn’t say whether or not I can.  She just kind of ignores the question.  I don’t want to do it if it is going to cause me problems, so I stop asking because no one is actually giving me an answer.

I am writhing.  I keep feeling like I need to push, but although I am 10cm dilated, the baby has not moved down.  The next time I ask to dose myself again, she tells me I can and it anesthetizes everything but the one area that feels like my hip bone is breaking.  I am pushing and nothing is happening.  The midwife has her hands inside of me, pushing her full weight down on my vagina to try to “help it along” and it feels like she is tearing me in half.  The baby still hasn’t moved down, so I’m not sure why her doing this is helping me.  It hurts so much.  This is not the birth experience I wanted.  I know that, in this moment when she keeps telling me not to make noise through my contractions.  I feel silenced.  The baby is stuck, I think.

Finally, exasperated and exhausted with hardly any sleep and no nourishment, I give up.  I cry and apologize to everyone that will listen, that this is not what I want, but I think I am going to have to have a C-section.  Everyone looks at me like I am giving up, that I can keep doing this, but my mom gets down right to my face and looks me in the eye.  She explains again what this would mean and I do my best to sound as rational as possible in making this decision so that people will know that I mean what I am saying.  My mom advocates for me by turning to them to confirm that I am done.  The mood in the room gets quiet.  I feel so sad, but I am ready to meet my baby.

The surgeon who is to do my c-section has a cold expression and explains things to me between contractions.  I sign whatever waiver and they take me to surgery.  The nursing team is kind, although they all seem to be annoyed with one another.  The anesthesiologist is back and he’s talking me through everything.  The surgeon starts cutting before she asks if I can feel the area she’s about to slice.  The anesthesiologist quickly asks me if I have any feeling.  His eyes look concerned.  I tell him that I don’t.  They realize they left Ryan out of the room after the anesthesiologist asks the surgeon and staff why he isn’t there.  Ryan walks in to see them already cutting into me and makes his way over to me.  As he is sitting next to me, he sees blood splashing off of the table onto the floor.  I have oxygen tubes in my nose and I’m focusing on that and the kind eyes of the anesthesiologist.  “What will his name be?”  “Zephyr.”  Zephyr Ronan.

The cry that shoots through that room as Zephyr comes earth side is a sound I know will ring in my ears forever.  His strawberry blonde hair, his poor bruised head from being stuck against my pelvis, his puffy little baby body.  The most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life is right here, lying across my chest and I grew him inside of me.  They take him for evaluation and I love the pediatrician who is there to evaluate him.  He asks me if I want him circumcised, I say no, and he says, “Good, it’s just cosmetic anyway.”

They take me for evaluation because I have some extra blood loss, but fortunately, it is nothing to be alarmed about.  The midwife jokes with me, “You redheads just bleed extra.”  Hilarious.  Thanks for the joke.  I want to see my baby.  I keep smiling as the nurse is wheeling me down the hall, “I want to try breastfeeding him right away so we can establish a good relationship.”  The nurse just nods her head, “Well, we’ll see after the doctor finishes looking him over.”  I am puzzled by the statement, but I am so excited to see him.

They bring him in, swaddled in a blanket and I can’t stop staring at him.  The pediatrician comes down and looks very sorry.  Because of some of the things Zephyr is doing with his face, they are concerned about him having a stroke while he was stuck against my pelvis while I was pushing for so many hours.  My heart is sinking.  My baby may have had a stroke?  What will that mean?  A million questions are on my mind and I can’t find the words to ask any of them.  “When you take him up to York Hospital, can he be brought back to Gettysburg?”  The doctor hangs his head a little and says, “No, unfortunately he would have to stay up at the NICU.”  I start crying again.  Zephyr should be evaluated if they think this happened but I don’t want him to go alone.  I reluctantly agree, but I tell Ryan he has to go to York with our baby.  He is nodding the entire time.  He calls his brother to take him to York because the staff informs us that Ryan cannot ride with the baby, that it is a liability.  I beg to be taken to York Hospital with my baby and they decline, over and over again.  I am trying to hold onto this precious baby before they take him away from me.  He opens his eyes just a bit to look at me and then falls asleep.

I don’t get a chance to nurse my baby for the first time because the NICU transport team storms in.  The lady who is the one in charge, or so it seems, is pushy and rude.  She hands me this tote bag with a onesie in it that nearly sends me into a rage when I read it.  It is a plain white onesie with the words, “My First Ride” and a helicopter on it.  I instantly want to punch her teeth out of her head.  What kind of fucking stupid onesie is this to give a new mother with a baby heading to the NICU?  She tells me they are going to give the baby formula.  I tell them I would prefer to pump colostrum, that the baby’s blood sugar was fine, that his belly doesn’t even hold that much liquid yet.  She then looks at me strangely and says, “If his sugar drops, we will have to hook him up to an IV with sugar water, you don’t want us to have to hurt him more, do you?”  Of course not.  But what kind of mindfuck is that?  HURT HIM MORE?!?!  I tell them I am going to pump and send milk to the NICU.  She blows off everything I am saying.

She takes my baby and holds him out to me like she is holding a pretend doll and says, “Kiss your baby, it’s time to go.”  They put him in a clear, plastic box and I just stare.  When he is finally out of the room, I begin sobbing about wanting to be with my baby.  Ryan holds me and tells me how much he loves me, about how awesome I did, and all I can think is how badly I failed.  That I should have pushed harder to be taken with him.

My friend Anna is there and she talks me through everything.  We talk about the entire situation, and she makes me feel better.  I refuse to sleep.  I get the phone call that my child did not have a stroke and that he seems perfectly fine, but he is a lazy eater, so they want to keep him until he will eat at least 1oz in a sitting.  I become furious, he does not need to consume that much in a sitting.  I tell Ryan to advocate for our son and he does the best he can.

I ask the nurses at Gettysburg for help because I need to start pumping.  The nurse comes in and tosses the items on the bed and says, “It isn’t difficult to figure out.”  She mentions a breastfeeding app.  I want to mention that she’s an idiot.  But I figure it out because I am determined that they will not take this away from me.  And I pump.  Ryan takes the milk to the baby.  I am determined to get out tomorrow because now I am watching my infant child lay in a box via laptop.  I am crying and hardly eating this shitty hospital meal.  We have been separated by a hospital that goes out of its way to promote kangaroo care and I think about how horrible it is that they would separate a mother and child if the child is not ill.  I am obsessed with this laptop.  My baby is so beautiful and perfect.

I walk and walk and walk so that I can show them I am better.  They are shocked because I just had major abdominal surgery and I am walking like I have no pain at all.  I do not want to be here.  When I am finally discharged less than 24 hours after my C-section, I have to have a leg bag because I still cannot urinate on my own.  The surgeon who is discharging me doesn’t seem concerned about risks and she signs off on my paperwork without mentioning much of anything.  My husband drives me to York where my mom and stepdad meet us.  They wheel me into the NICU and in that plastic container is my sweet baby.  I can’t stop crying when I see him.  He’s swaddled in the blanket and I can’t believe that we are here.

I feel like I abandoned him to this place and now he is a prisoner until they say he can go home.  My stepdad tries to take a family picture and I’m crying so I say no.  There really isn’t a happy “coming home” picture of us.  I never knew it was possible to love someone so much.  We go home at midnight and come back at 6am.  I am there all day and he is finally nursing.  I don’t have any support with it because the nurses are busy – I’m just doing it.  I’m determined.  I’m still pumping so that they will stop feeding him formula during the times that I am away.  This child is so beautiful.  The rest of the time is a blur because all I am focused on is establishing our breastfeeding relationship.

The doctor who evaluates him on the day he gets to go home is matter-of-fact and personable.  I like him immediately.  He tells us we get to go home and I want to hug him. My baby is fine, there was never anything wrong with him, just some bruising and swelling.  We go home and jump into a routine of naps, snuggles, and nursing.  I am so, so in love.

Side note, it turns out that the reason I felt like I couldn’t urinate while I was at the hospital was because I had a UTI from them catheterizing me so many times during labor.  Awesome, thanks for all of the fond memories.

image012

It makes me sad to say that we were failed by the medical system, as so many women are.  Especially when my particular experience involves a medical group that I am employed by.  To say that I am thankful for my child’s health and my own healthy outcome is an understatement, but that shouldn’t even need to be mentioned.  I am writing about my birth experience because it was real and it happened.  It happens regularly where providers neglect to treat the patient like they are worthy of an explanation, like the process isn’t just as important as the outcome, or like the clock always has a significant place in the birthing experience. Additionally, the lack of education in terms of establishing a breastfeeding relationship is astounding and we owe more to our mothers who want to have successful breastfeeding relationships with their children.

As a result of this failure, I have met some amazing women who have been through similar circumstances and who have filled an immense gap in my life with empowerment and love.  I am part of a small family of women who meet monthly to support each other and the resounding effects of traumatic birth experiences.  If you have experienced birth trauma, I highly suggest finding a support group of some kind and go tell your story.  It has been the biggest blessing, especially on those days where I find images coming to me and the rage I feel is almost uncontrollable.  I try not to focus on this, but I feel like if I wouldn’t have gotten back in the bed each time they asked me, it is possible that Zephyr wouldn’t have stayed stuck. But it is all maybes and what-ifs now.  He’s here and we have such a strong bond.

Shawna breastfeeding Zephyr near a creek in the woods

Blooming Wild Photography

This experience has helped me grow as a parent, believe it or not. I am now also a very conscientious parent – constantly checking myself to make sure that I don’t let the shadow of my birth experience overthrow my belief in giving my child the freedom and autonomy to explore this world without a helicopter parent.  The most important thing is finding a way to bring light into a world with so much darkness.  My son is going to be two on April 23rd this year and he is a constant reminder of what beautiful things can grow from chaos.

Punk Mamas had a few follow up questions for Shawna – we wanted to know what she would have done differently, how to find support after a traumatic birth, and how to navigate breastfeeding when healthcare providers aren’t offering the support you need.  Here are her responses:

What would you do differently if you have the opportunity?

I would absolutely hire a doula.  My family and husband were wonderful, but they don’t understand unnecessary interventions and ultimately could not help me advocate for myself adequately.  If I would have had a doula, I would have felt more comfortable laboring at home a bit longer, which would have allowed me to relax.  I never actually wanted a hospital birth because hospitals give me anxiety, but Zephyr was an unplanned pregnancy and we did not have the money to have a homebirth at that time.

The reason I chose Gettysburg hospital was because I thought those midwives had my back.  What it turned out to be was that all but one of them were entirely misleading in how they would assist and support me through the birthing process.  Next time, I do not have a choice but to go to a hospital that is VBAC-friendly, but I will be much more prone to questioning my provider and ensuring that we have a good, understanding relationship surrounding what I would like to aim for in terms of a birth process.  I didn’t feel like I needed to do that the first time around because I was assured that they wanted the same things for me.  I would also choose a hospital that offers a NICU because the pain of knowing that you are in a place 30 miles away, crying for your child while he is in another place crying for you is just too much.

Where did you find a support group for your traumatic birth experience?

The group that I am a part of requires attendance to an in-person meeting before joining the Facebook group.  I discovered them through a local resource for parents and children called Om Baby Center in Camp Hill, which is where I took my cloth diaper and breastfeeding education classes.  If you live in the south central Pennsylvania area and struggle with birth trauma, I would be happy to support you in finding an outlet and circle of women to help you navigate your feelings.  I would say the internet is the best place to search to find what is right for you.  If you don’t see something in your area, look into starting your own group.  It is a lot of work, but we need educated, compassionate individuals to help support families through these distressing experiences.

Punk Mamas has selected a few online resources regarding traumatic birth as a research starting point:

Improving Birth‘s mission is to Inform, Support, Engage and Empower Consumers, Community Leaders and Providers with Tools to Improve Birth.

Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth (PATTCh) is a collective of birth and mental health experts dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth.

Solace for Mothers is an organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic.

What about navigating breastfeeding on your own, were there any books, groups, websites, or apps that you would recommend to anyone not receiving the support they need from healthcare providers?

I was the first person in my family to breastfeed their child successfully, so my family really had no clue how to encourage or support me.  I was so thankful that I had taken a breastfeeding education class through Om Baby Center because it gave me the confidence to call the nurses out on their misinformation.  I felt equipped with knowledge to start out strong, which was so imperative to my success.

After Zephyr was born, I found myself reading Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, which just continued to help me feel empowered.  With random moments of panic or concern, I found myself online with the (local) Harrisburg/Mechanicsburg Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook, which is a large group of mamas in the Harrisburg area who have been or are all on their own breastfeeding journey.  That group was an invaluable resource for me when parental anxieties started to knock me down and I am so grateful to have found them.  Another great resource that I recommend to all breastfeeding mothers is Kelly Mom because it provides answers and reassurance to just about every wall you could possibly meet in your breastfeeding journey.

Shawna S. can be reached via e-mail at ssheely113@gmail.com

Sarah’s birth story

Reading birth stories was a big part of preparing myself for the birth of my son.  The openness and honesty in each one helped me understand the process, let go of expectations, and boost my confidence.  I hope sharing my own experience will help others in the same way.

My son was due on November 21st, but I was convinced throughout the pregnancy that he would arrive early.  I believed this because I had originally been given a due date of two weeks earlier, so I figured he’d be born somewhere between the original due date and the “new” due date.  On November 20th I found myself at a doctor’s appointment, still pregnant.  At this 40 week appointment, the OBGYN started discussing plans for the following week which would involve an ultrasound and a potential induction.  I let her know that I wanted to wait as long as possible before inducing, because I was set on having the most natural labor possible, and she said we could discuss further next week.  My due date came and went.

I went to bed around 10pm on the 22nd, and a little after midnight I woke for one of my many nightly potty breaks and noticed I had lost my mucus plug in the toilet.  I insisted my husband look at it to confirm it was a mucus plug and he suggested I call my doula.  She told me on the phone, “losing a mucus plug means the baby is coming soon!  It could be hours or it could be days.  Just rest up and be patient!”  I went back to bed, with my husband, and we began talking about how exciting it was that we were that much closer to meeting our baby.  About 15 minutes after losing my mucus plug, and while lying in bed with my husband, I sneezed the biggest sneeze and felt a rush of fluid shoot out of me!  I yelled in surprise that my water broke and ran to the bathroom to clean up as my husband cleaned the bed.  We were both laughing hysterically at the fact that a sneeze broke my water (and drenched the bed)!  I immediately started getting contractions that were about 5-6 minutes apart so I called my doula back to let her know.  She suggested I rest and follow up with her when the contractions got closer and harder.  My husband and I decided to sleep downstairs on the (dry!) couches and he held my hand through each contraction that night.  Our doula came over in the morning and assisted with labor with the help of a birthing ball and warm baths.  It was 1pm on the 23rd when we decided it was time to go to the hospital.

The nurse pushing me from the emergency room entrance to the maternity ward likely set a record for speed; my hair was blowing in the wind and my husband and our doula were barely keeping up.  The hospital staff was not happy that I waited so long to come in – they had wanted me in immediately after my water broke.  I was 6cm dilated, so after being monitored I labored in the tub, shower (my favorite!), standing up, sitting on a birthing ball, lying on my side with a peanut, etc.  I eventually had to labor hooked up to the monitor because my son was having an irregular heartbeat.  When I hit around 30 hours of laboring the midwife on duty began asking me if I had the urge to push, which I kept replying, “no, but I feel a lot of pressure.”  After the same question a few more times, they decided to have me start pushing anyway since I was 10cm dilated.  I pushed for two hours and NOTHING happened.  I also suffered from horrible indigestion.  My husband ate Chipotle and one of the nurses told him he should brush his teeth because the smell of a burrito may make me sick, but the first moment I caught a whiff of his hot, minty toothpaste breath, I got sick and everyone scrambled to get me one of those blue hospital puke bags!  After that, most pushes were followed up with me losing more of the honey sticks, crackers, apple juice, and peanut butter that I had in my stomach from all of my snacking during labor.  They gave me oral medicine to help with it, but it didn’t work.  My doula and midwife would later tell me they never saw anything like it!  The midwife, who seemed very impatient, told me that the baby was stuck in my pelvic bone and that I would need a C-section, so she called in the on-call doctor.

The doctor came in and checked me and told me she was going to prep me for the C-section for a multiple reasons: 1) because the baby was stuck due to my body being so tense from a long labor, 2) because the baby’s heartbeat was irregular, 3) because my water had been broken for over 24 hours and the baby was at risk for infection, and 4) because my contractions were slowing down.  I was exhausted at this point and honestly, while a C-section was not what I wanted or planned for, having an end in sight sounded marvelous; I was ready to meet my boy!  Since I had not had any pain medication up until this point, my doula had an idea.  She spoke up and asked the doctor if I could get an epidural, take a nap, and try pushing again rather than jump right in to a C-section.  If our doula hadn’t of been there, my husband and I would have never known to to propose this idea!  The doctor agreed that we could try, so I dropped my plans of going all natural and got an epidural, pitocin, and an intravenous heartburn medication, and took the best two hour nap that I had ever had.  While I was waiting for my epidural, I finally understood what the midwife meant by “pushing contractions,” however, at this point my energy was zapped and I felt so defeated.

During my best nap ever, there was a shift change and the midwife I absolutely loved and wanted for my son’s birth came in with a doctor I hadn’t met before.  When I woke up the doctor checked me and said I could try pushing again, but if there wasn’t progress he wouldn’t be able to use the vacuum on me and would need to do a C-section.  I could tell by his tone he was doubtful I would be successful with a vaginal birth.  Once he left the room, the midwife said “psssh…you got this!” and I was eager to start trying again!  I pushed for the next two hours and watched with a mirror and saw that I was finally progressing!  Using a mirror was SO helpful for me because it allowed me to see what I was actually doing with each push.  Seeing the top of my son’s head was the best encouragement and motivation!  In between pushing, the hospital staff and I discussed the best pizza in the area and it was shocking to me how much more comfortable I was pushing this time around – was it the staff change or the epidural?!  My midwife was also very engaged in delivering this baby – in addition to pulling on the bar while I pushed, I also spent many contractions doing “tug-o-war” with my midwife and a bedsheet.  My doula was great support though all of the pushing and helped remind me which areas I should focus on pushing from, and she would squeeze pressure points in my hands to (I assume) help alleviate pain.  My husband was steady with the ice chips and a cold rag on my head.  While I finally saw my baby’s entire head in the mirror, I was ecstatic, and one push later I delivered his whole body and he was immediately placed on my chest.  He nursed right away and we waited until his cord stopped pulsing and before it was cut by my husband, who was told by the nurse it was “like cutting a piece of chicken.”  We cried together while we looked our screaming boy over and fell in love with him as he held our fingers with his little hands!  After the initial inspection of the “damage” down there, I was told I had a 3rd degree tear and received extensive stitching; however, the doctor later let me know it was actually a 2nd degree tear that was on the cusp of being 3rd degree.  I was also told I had “very bad bruising” since my baby was stuck for such a long time.

Atticus was exactly 8 pounds and 20 inches at birth, and labor lasted a total of 36 hours of labor.  His irregular heartbeat cleared up within two days and we were able to take him home on Thanksgiving day!  My recovery took a little longer, but that is a whole other story!

Andrea’s maternity shoots

Punk Mama Andrea M. is expecting her first baby in April and was kind enough to share her story surrounding her beautiful and powerful maternity shoots on the blog.  As this blog was created to be a collaborative space, we look forward to hearing from other Punk Mamas in the future!

 
My very first thought after having a positive pregnancy test was, “Oh man, I cannot wait to get maternity photos done!”  My secret baby Pinterest board was jam-packed full of reference maternity photos long before we ever even announced.  So, once we received the good news, I immediately asked two photographers that I used for previous photo shoots – one of them even took our announcement photos. The process of having maternity photos done has been one of the highlights of my pregnancy, and I’m excited to share it with you today!

maternity announcement with paper scrolls in eggs

Photo Credit: Charles Martin

I am no stranger to the camera; I have modeled on and off for most of my life; paid, trade, and for fun.  Needless to say, maternity photos were a personal and exciting way for me to celebrate my pregnancy.  I chose to do two separate maternity shoots: an outdoor-woodsy type shoot, and a natural, more intimate studio shoot.  I had so many ideas and styles of maternity photos that I loved that provided great reference material.  I knew I needed Valerie Leatherman of Bunker Hill, WV to take my outdoor photos, and Charles (Chuck) Martin of Glen Burnie, MD to do my studio set.

While I had done dozens upon dozens of photo shoots before these, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for this experience.  Pre-pregnancy, I would pride myself on being able to naturally transition from pose to pose.  But while being pregnant, a giant, growing, and moving belly can get in the way and change things a bit!  I found that I couldn’t quite move or position my body in the ways that I wanted to and was used to.  Even when I thought I was posing exactly how I wanted, I would see the photos and notice a very natural but completely unflattering fold of skin, and have to completely reevaluate my posing game plan – not that a natural look is a bad thing, I was just going for something more polished.  Surprisingly, the day before my first shoot (the outdoor set) I had a lot of anxiety because I had never done anything like this before.  I reached out to some fellow Punk Mamas for advice, and Amber kindly shared with me a couple of infographics with flattering posing suggestions. Candyfield’s Photography’s Pregnancy and Maternity Photography Guide was an invaluable resource when learning which poses would best show off my baby bump while still looking flattering.

Surprisingly, my wardrobe selection may have been one of the most taxing parts of the process.  I worried so much about picking the “perfect” dresses, getting it in the right size (which is nearly impossible to do when pregnant and ordering online!), and then learning to pose my body in each outfit.  For my outdoor shoot, I looked for dresses that portrayed an aura of nature, elegance, purity, and power – like a goddess.  I wanted to make sure that I looked and felt beautiful in it, and if I could wear it again, than that would be a bonus!  I shopped online for a couple of options, which was a real hit or miss experience for me.  I ordered one gown that I absolutely loved, but it ended up being way too small aka I couldn’t fit my arms and my boobs in at the same time.  My last minute option was to head to the mall, and I surprisingly found a few options there.  Selecting items to wear for my studio shoot was much easier.  Since the studio shoot was going to be more simple and intimate, I was able to wear lingerie, delivery robes, and comfortable sweaters.

I had decided to do my maternity photo shoots around 28-30 weeks pregnant, that way I would be visibly pregnant but not physically miserable or uncomfortably large.  I am due in late April, so this meant that my photo shoots would need to be scheduled for February.  And yes, my outdoor shoot was before Maryland’s rare and unusual February heatwave!  The day of my outdoor shoot ended up being around 40 degrees, but with the wind chill it felt well under 30 degrees!  I was freezing and I think it shows on my face.  But I also think I look fierce and powerful, so I love how they turned out.

My studio shoot was amazing and I was able to work with a talented group of people.  Chuck has done tons of studio shoots for me as well as head shots for my makeup clients (Beauts by Dre).  His lovely girlfriend Beth always tags along to help with posing and essentially is an extra set of eyes – she was my saving grace in this shoot as I was much more exposed and intimately posed.  One thing I experienced as a result of these photos was the strong reactions they elicited.  I received incredible responses from all – strangers, friends, and family.  But I also received some very negative responses from some family about my studio shoot for it being “too revealing.”  This was certainly not the first time I’ve gotten comments on how revealing or risqué a shoot I’ve done was, but it was definitely disappointing because I put a ton of work into making sure it was very tasteful, natural, elegant, and celebratory of the life I am nurturing.  To be honest, disappointing is an understatement, I was very upset and hurt by it and had waves of strong emotions that ranged between wanting to cancel my baby shower to vowing to never leave my house again.  Hormones had nothing to do with this…HA!  I did end up removing the studio photos that I shared on Facebook to avoid any further negative comments on them, but I still post them on Instagram and in “safe spaces.”  While these maternity photos were not everyone’s cup-o-tea, I am so pleased with how they turned out as well and I so happy that there are people out there that love these images as much as I do.  In fact, my boyfriend’s reaction to my maternity photos may have been one of my favorite parts of this experience – his support and positive reactions made this experience that much more incredible.

When looking back on these images, I will remember what an intense and emotional process it was – a perfect reflection of pregnancy.  There were moments that were difficult and taxing for me physically (the wind chill), and it was also draining on me mentally (dealing with unnecessary criticism from family members).  Not to mention, the pressure I put on myself to have the perfect maternity photos to remember this beautiful period in my life.  When I look back at these photos, I will remember the roller coaster ride they took me on, just as my pregnancy has.  Every bump in the road, and every hiccup, means I am that much closer to the beauty that waits at the end.

If there is a “moral of the story” in this ridiculously long blog post, it is that maternity photos are personal, beautiful, and raw, and something every expecting mama should do if the opportunity arises.  If I had the chance again, I would do it exactly the same and wouldn’t change a single thing.  Do it for you and do it in a way that reflects this passing moment in your life.  I love every single image that was taken, even the more unflattering ones that emanate honesty and sacrifice and love.  Doing a maternity shoot, let alone two, was such an amazing and empowering experience for me and I’ve never felt more beautiful or strong as a woman.

 

 

Books we love

We have put together a list of a few books regarding pregnancy and parenting that we love and recommend to all you mothers or soon-to-be mothers.  We hope they are as helpful to you as they were to us!

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

51yzwwbhthl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Reading this was like talking to a friend who calmly just shugs and explains things how they are – so simple, so matter-of-fact.  The biggest thing that I got out of this book was that there are two mindsets for raising a baby – your baby can adapt to your lifestyle (French) or you can adapt to baby’s lifestyle (American).  Raising children is TOUGH, and there is no perfect way to raise ALL babies, but some of the ideas in this book worked well for my family, so I recommend it to others, as it may spark some inspiration! – Sarah C.

Cherish the First Six Weeks: A Plan that Creates Calm, Confident Parents and a Happy, Secure Baby

51mxnlqpyyl-_sx325_bo1204203200_I have recommended this book to all my friends who have had babies since me as I credit this book to my son being great with a schedule and being a great sleeper during night hours!  However, few friends have had the same success, so it is important to remember that a baby’s sleep schedule is part nature and part nurture.  After I had my son, I would read one chapter a week, corresponding with my son’s age.  It helped me understand where he was developmentally, how his needs may change from week to week, and also what a “normal” schedule could look like.  If you are driven by schedules and are having a baby soon, check this book out! – Sarah C.

The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost

51uww7o098l-_sx318_bo1204203200_[This book] completely changed the way I treated my second baby.  It’s written by an American lady who in the 70s lived with an Indian tribe in South America where babies never cried, toddlers never tantrumed.  My baby never cried, but he has had one or two tantrums as a toddler.  The key is 24/7 contact with another human for the first 6 to 9 months of life.  It’s pretty amazing. – Brooke A.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

unknownLove the positive birth stories mixed with straightforward medical and physiological information.  This book really helped me get into a good mindset for a natural birth.– Leah J.

This book was just what I needed in the months leading up to the birth of my first son as I was very nervous about labor.  Reading this book gave me the BIGGEST boost of confidence.  The first half is solely dedicated to sharing women’s childbirth stories and focuses on all the positive and empowering aspects of childbirth.  I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes at some of the stories because the births were just SO pleasurable, but it was nice to take in birth stores that weren’t just focused on the worst pain of your life (as often seen in movies). – Sarah C.

My Mother Wears Combat Boots

61-nepeynrl-_sx329_bo1204203200_I tried looking to traditional traditional sources for what to expect as I progress but they were all falling flat and just making more more anxious. This book, the authors voice is exactly what I needed.  She’s relatable – she speaks about things almost candidly, and she’s knowledgeable.  I’m not quite finished yet but I already can’t wait to re-read it.  This book also made me feel a lot more comfortable about the life that I live and how I’m expecting to raise my children.  It’s really great to have someone to look up to that I can relate to. – Ashley M.

Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay: And Other Things I had to Learn as a New Mom

41wim1bl5gl-_sx313_bo1204203200_This book (written by a comedian) was hilarious, and really helped alleviate some of the anxiety I was experiencing leading up to my due date.  It’s a healthy dose of real-talk and sarcasm, which I thoroughly appreciated, especially when I was eyeballs deep in all the other “what to expect” type books! – Jenn P.

The Year After Childbirth: Surviving and Enjoying the First Year of Motherhood

41wivylcf-l-_sx326_bo1204203200_She’s one of my favorites in the birth world and while the book starts off a little bit early Ina-esque, it becomes more informational.  Overall, I would say it addresses the emotional aspects of the transition to motherhood. – Jennifer D.

 

A letter for my sister


To my sister, 

Last May when I was visiting Mom in Iowa you called to let us know you were diagnosed with breast cancer. I was shocked, and hurt, and I felt helpless living 3,000 miles away. If you were close I could drive you to appointments; I could help clean the house; I could watch your sons for you. I wanted to “be there for you” but that wasn’t physically possible, so I sent you a few packages full of various items: a scarf, a book, peppermint tea, ginger chews, and pink items that said “survivor” and “fight.” Oh yeah, and I sent a pizza, too. I am so glad your twin was nearby, because I knew you would receive nothing but the best support from her. This was one of the first times in my adult life I really ached being apart from family. 

I shared your story in the Punk Mama Facebook group that I am a part of, and it was reassuring to hear their kind words and stories of their loved ones’ battles with cancer. I occasionally provided them with updates on how you were doing and where you were at in your treatment – like when your double mastectomy was a success; the day you and Dad shaved your heads together; the day you finished chemotherapy; and finally two days ago when you finished radiation therapy and completed your treatment! These women were rooting for you through it all. 

 The very week you received your diagnosis, I began posting monthly reminders to the group to encourage them to do self breast exams. It was such a simple thing to do that had the potential for a big impact. And as a group, they listened – they “liked” the post, they left comments, a couple founds lumps in the process which they pursued (all fine!), and others shared the post on their own Facebook feeds…and then their friends shared the post…and so on. 

I can’t imagine having cancer can ever be chalked up to something positive, but the awareness that your experience has created is something really special, and maybe one day, it will mean a woman won’t need to go through those hellish months of treatment you had to endure this past year – maybe your story will be the reason they live. So thank you for sharing your story and being open, and thank you for the positivity you somehow managed to keep up throughout. Thank you.

Love, your sister 

Mommy MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses that are available to anyone, and are taught by top professors at leading universities all over the world.  MOOCs are ideal for anyone who needs to learn on their own schedule; whether one wants to dip your toes into a field of interest, or just wants to learn new things.  The classes often consist of weekly lectures, readings, discussions, and quizzes, but you can complete them as you see fit based on your schedule.  Most MOOCs also offer the opportunity to earn a certificate – but this option usually runs around $50 and means that you MUST keep up with the weekly schedule and submit all assignments and pass all quizzes (again, the certificate cost is optional).  There are a lot of great MOOCs pertaining to pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, child growth and development, etc., and we imagine these MOOCs will be especially useful to anyone who is or is interested in becoming a midwife assistant, doula, lactation consultant, mother, childcare provider, etc.  If anyone takes a course from the list below and would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below – we would love to hear from you!

MOOCs:

Babies in Mind: Why the Parent’s Mind Matters

Caring for Vulnerable Children

Child Nutrition and Cooking

Childbirth: A Global Perspective 

Childhood in the Digital Age

Children’s Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Education for All: Disability, Diversity, and Inclusion

Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life

First Aid for Babies and Children

Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: From Evidence to Action

Infant Nutrition: From Breastfeeding to Baby’s First Solids

The Lottery of Birth

Making Babies in the 21st Century

Midwifery

Positive Behavior Support for Young Children

Preventing Childhood Obesity: An Early Start to Healthy Living

MOOC Websites:

Coursera 

edX

FutureLearn

Open 2 Study

If you know of any others that should be included in this list, please leave your suggestion below in a comment!

Raising kids in the era of Trump: Articles

Young girl at Women's March (2017) holding a sign she made that reads "kindness matters"

Keira Relph, age 6 – Women’s March 2017

If you’re wondering how to talk to your children about the current POTUS, wondering what you can do to foster an interest in activism, or want to teach your children to be kind to all humans, then welcome to the club.  Below is a list of articles and blog posts regarding raising kids in the era of Trump, compiled for you by your friendly Punk Mamas!

This is the first page in a series of resources aimed at providing information and resources for raising kids in the era of Trump.  Stay tuned for a list of children’s books, which will be coming soon!

Advice from psychologists on raising kids well in Trump’s America; Huffington Post

Be the heroes our children need in the Trump era; The Tennessean

Calling Obama ‘one of the best parenting examples,’ dad offers child rearing tips for the Trump era; The Blaze

How to talk to kids about hatred and hostility in the Trump era; Slate

I’m Terrified of Raising a Boy in Trump’s America

In Trump era, monkey see, monkey do isn’t child’s play; Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law

My view: Parenting with privilege in the era of Trump; Deseret News

Parenting in the era of Trump; San Francisco Chronicle

Parenting in the Trump era: How to prepare your child for racial and ethnic violence without ruining their innocence; Dr. Candice M.D. 

Raising kids in a Donald Trump era; Valley Stream Mom

Seven strategies for raising confident girls in the Trump era; Mashable

Talk honestly with children about race in the Donald Trump era; U.S. News 

Teaching out children to think critically in the Trump era; American Institute for Learning and Human Development

What happens to my children’s identity now?; Independent

Wise advice from Brené Brown on talking with our kids about political rhetoric; Chicago Now

I’m sure this list will grow, so check back soon!  And if we left a good source off the list, please share it with us in a comment below!

 

Hello and welcome


Hello and welcome to Punk Mamas!

Punk Mamas started in early 2016 as “a private Facebook group where punk mamas can openly discuss pregnancy, childbirth, raising children, and motherhood!”  Started as a small group of mothers within the hardcore scene, it has now become a group of 500 punk women in all stages of motherhood sharing encouraging stories and supporting one another.  There are mothers on the west coast, east coast, overseas and everywhere in between; women trying to conceive, pregnant, first-time mothers, step-mothers, adoptive mothers – ALL mothers; those who stay home, those who are lawyers, teachers, librarians, tattoo artists, doulas, and everything in between.  This diverse group has been a blessing for many who needed someone to turn with their pregnancy, parenting, and motherhood questions, a place to share those small parenting victories, or a place to let off a little steam in this crazy world.

With hopes of reaching and helping a larger audience, Punk Mamas will now expand as a collaborative blog.  We are not sure how this will play out yet, but are hopeful Punk Mamas will come forward with their specific stories and their tried-and-true advice to share.  If there is one thing that Punk Mamas have learned from the Facebook group, it is that there are a million different ways to be a good mother, and we hope this blog reflects that.  There will be plenty of conflicting stories, so please keep in mind that we are all doing the best we can with the information and resources that we have as individuals; there is more than one “right” way to raise happy and healthy children!  We hope others can find our stories inspiring, humorous, educational, and thought-provoking, but more than anything, we want you mamas out there to know that you are NOT alone in your journey!

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