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spiritual

MILK

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MILK

I grew up watching my mother breastfeed my younger siblings. It was the normal thing to do in our house.  

When I was ten my parents became Foster Parents and within a few years our home was shared with over 200 children.  

A lot of these children were infants. It was unusual for me, as a young impressionable girl who only knew about Breastfeeding, to watch and to help my mother formula feed. But it became a new normal. I embraced it.  

When I had my first son, I knew without a doubt I'd breastfeed him. And I did.  

With our second, things got complicated. It hurt. My son screamed and my nipples bled.  

Thankfully my neighbor and friend was not only a doula but a LLL Leader! Jula the Doula. She was my saving grace. She helped me try different nursing positions. She brought me lanolin for my sore breasts. She also passed no judgment when I supplemented with formula while I gave my nipples a much-needed rest.  

After the scabs healed and I mentally prepared myself, she was there to help. She showed me how to get that proper latch.  

I never had these difficulties with my firstborn.  

Finally my second child was nursing like a champ.  

By the time our third son made his boisterous appearance I was grateful for the hardships and for the advantageous experiences I'd already endured. I was ready for anything. 

I'm thankful for watching my mother nurture not only my biological  siblings but my foster siblings as well. 

If you need assistance with Breastfeeding or want judgment free support, I'm here to be your "Jula the Doula". 

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The Morning After...Mother's Day

The Morning After...Mother's Day

 

Have you ever had one of those dreams where a monster is trying to attack you and your voice is trembling and your punch is beyond weak? You keep trying to scream and hit but the monster keeps ascending no matter what. 

I recently had a similar dream. Except I woke up because my voice got loud. Real loud. 

YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER!

I hollered over and over again, until my husband woke me and held me as I sobbed into his warm body. 

So who was this imposter mother? Why was I still sobbing ten minutes later?

In my dream I confronted this mystery woman. I listed fact after fact the reasoning behind my meloncholy.   How she simply is toxic and harmful to my life. She never shown pride for me. She never had my back. She never will. 

The fear I felt in the pit of my stomach as she ascended toward me was blood curdling. Thinking of it now, it still makes me cringe. It was one of the scariest feelings I've ever felt, asleep or otherwise. 

Why?

Because the monster in my dream IS my mother. 

She once longed for me to arrive. Had a clown themed baby-shower to celebrate me. She once nursed me and sang songs to me. I was wanted. 

But that nightmare I had is my reality. 

She didn't defeat me. I stood up and faced my fear and screamed into it's face with power. With confidence. With pride. 

I am not alone in this. I know there are lots of us motherless mothers. Mother's Day is bittersweet. I'm proud of the mother I've become despite the pitfalls I've endured. I'm saddened that the mother I long for is non-existent. She could never mother the way I need. I have learned through counseling that I have grieved for the loss of her, though she is still alive. I've managed my sorrow with meditation and love. I was taught to mother my children how I wish I was mothered and to not only mother them but to mother myself. If my situation rings true for you too, know that you are incredible. You are special. You are loved. You are wanted. I promise. 

The Joys of Motherhood

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The Joys of Motherhood

This year was our inaugural Mother's Day Essay Contest. I asked for a short essay describing your joys of motherhood. The winner would receive a $50 gift certificate to Jak's Grill, a delicious steakhouse located here in Issaquah.

I read many entries. All of them made me smile, a few brought tears to my eyes! The love you have for your own mothers and the love your children evoke is glorious. Thank you for sharing these with me. I look forward to next year! Happy Mother's Day.

The winner of this year's essay contest is a mother of three; Jill Burk. Her words speak for themselves:

Joys of Motherhood

By: Jill Burk

From my first day as a mother, I was hit with the hard truth that this wasn't going to be all fun and games. I was "gifted" an infant who never slept. Ever. I say "gifted" because in the depths of despair I remember reading that children are gifts from God, and that God will never give you more than you can handle. I don't consider myself a particularly religious person, more of a spiritual type, but it's funny how much more of a relationship I have with God now that I'm a mother. It usually involves me bargaining with him on the toilet, where most of my praying occurs since that is where I can lock the door and have 30 seconds of peace, trying to summon the strength to get through another day. So at age 25, I remember holding this baby and just crying, pleading for him to sleep so that I could get a few precious moments of rest. With days and nights blurring into one another, I remember holding his soft, downy head against my cheek one night and whispering to him how much I loved him, as tears spilled out of my eyes with sheer exhaustion.

For me, these are the moments where I experience the most joys of motherhood. Those moments where you think you will break apart from frustration, where you just want to throw your hands up and say, I'm done with it all, and feel like you want to run away, then you look down and feel a little hand in yours. A hand that is probably sweaty and sticky with who knows what, but that curls itself into yours and a child looking up at you saying, "I love you Mama". Those moments make it all worth it. When the baby you've been rocking for hours finally lets go and drifts off on your shoulder, allowing you a moment to sit down and relax, or when you're potty training your naked toddler and hear a familiar grunt, and leap across all the furniture in your living room like a superhero, in time to catch a little present in your hands before it hits the carpet. Those times where you never thought something was humanly possible, and you were able to accomplish it, most likely while breastfeeding, talking on the phone and cooking dinner at the same time. Those times where you are up the entire night with a sick toddler and nursing an infant thinking to yourself, I just can't go on, but you pour another cup of coffee and keep plodding. Those times where you can hardly recognize the woman you've become, someone who has traded perfect hair and makeup for clothes that have been spit-up on, used as a tissue and as a napkin to wipe messy spaghetti faces. Hair that is thrown up in whatever style that keeps it away from grabby baby fingers.

Those times that you wouldn't trade all of it for the world, because at the end of the day every mother knows there's nothing better than looking at your precious angels, sleeping cozily in their beds, knowing that you successfully made it through another day. Nothing better than curling up in your own amazingly comfortable bed, a bed that you spend far too little time in, telling yourself that if you had the choice, you'd choose motherhood all over again in a heartbeat.

 

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