The Beauty in Breastfeeding

Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted the most adorable photo of her newborn daughter breastfeeding. It was completely tasteful and displayed such a genuine love between a mother and her little girl.  There is nothing quite like those first few days after delivery when you and your new baby are trying to figure one another out and simply enjoying the little moments together.  Sadly, though, a few hours after that lovely picture was posted, it was abruptly taken down.

It would seem that some individual on this new mama’s friend list reported the image as “nudity” and Facebook saw fit to remove it.  I’m here to tell you, there was nothing inappropriate about this picture.  This makes me wonder though…why are people so ignorant?

As a breastfeeding mama, myself, I am so insulted by the constant negativity that is still hurled at us. As many years that women have been doing this, one would think that we would be more accustomed to the idea.  How is it possible that people are still so revolted by a mother wanting to do something that’s completely natural for her child?  Do they not understand the extensive number of benefits that come from breastfeeding?  Can they not comprehend what a sweet bond a mother can develop with her baby through such a simple action?

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with formula feeding.  Most of the women in my family have formula fed their children, and we’ve all turned out just fine.  But if formula is so widely accepted, why does there have to be such a stigma to breastfeeding?

bf

I was on Facebook one day and noticed a post containing an article about the many reasons a breastfeeding mom should learn to just cover up.  The individual who posted the article was in complete agreement, and seemed appalled by the idea of a mother nursing their child without a cover.  Okay fine, have your opinion, but here’s the irony, my darling readers.  Over half of this individual’s Facebook photos consisted of them wearing low-cut tops that put her boobs on full display.  Riddle me this…what’s the difference?

How is it okay for a woman to walk around with her boobs hanging out for fun, but when a nursing mother accidentally flashes you, it becomes a scandalous affair?  Personally, I don’t feel comfortable nursing in public without a cover, but that’s simply because I’m a modest individual.  If you’re brave enough to do it, though, go for it, because let me tell you…covers are a bitch!  A wiggly baby does not quite understand that they have to eat with a giant piece of material over their face because you don’t want to risk seeing our boobs.

So can’t we just let it go?  Deciding to breastfeed is something to be proud of.  Despite what a lot of people may think, it’s not very easy.  It can be tiring, painful and a bit of a time suck; but I, personally, wouldn’t have it any other way.  Nursing my little girl, is one of the highlights of my day.  For a moment, even if only briefly, it gives me the chance to slow down and just focus on her sweet face.  The fact that I can provide such a beautiful thing for her makes me feel so strong and happy.

Every mother should do what they feel is best for their child, and our job as individuals is not to judge them, but to support them in their efforts.  Whether you’re a mother, a sister, a friend, or just a member of the general public, learn to raise one another up instead of knocking each other down.

Have a wonderful week, Everyone!

Can Chrissy Teigen Be My Spirit Animal?

Chrissy Teigen = Genius

I’m going to be completely honest…I don’t really know that much about Chrissy Teigen.  In fact, I can probably list on one hand the number of things that I know about her.  Let’s give it a shot.

  • She’s married to John Legend.
  • She’s gorgeous.
  • Her Instagram feed cracks me up on a regular basis.
  • I’m pretty sure she co-hosts a show about lip syncing.

There, four things, that’s about the extent of what I know about this woman.  As of this past Friday, however, I can add one more…apparently, she’s a genius.

A Facebook friend of mine posted an article last Friday that was called, “Chrissy Teigen Nails Why You Should Never Ask a Woman Why She Doesn’t Have Kids.” Intrigued, I opened it up and started reading.  It was discussing a recent interview in which she broached the topic of married (or unmarried) women constantly being questioned as to when, and if, they plan on having children.  In the article, Chrissy opened up about her own struggles with infertility.  Here’s a quote from the interview that really puts things into perspective:

“Anytime somebody asks me if I’m going to have kids, I’m like, ‘One day, you’re going to ask that to the wrong girl who’s really struggling, and it’s going to be really hurtful to them.”

Before I discuss this any further, let me say this.  I’m one hundred percent guilty of asking this question.  I don’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend that I don’t, or haven’t.  I feel as though the topic of children has just become a conversation piece in our society.  If someone gets married, people feel as though the next natural step is children, therefore, it often doesn’t feel like overstepping boundaries when we bring the subject up. Unfortunately, we act as though we all have license to this information, when in reality it is an extremely personal area that we all need to stay out of.

After my husband and I got married, the subject of children was brought up instantaneously.  And I mean that quite literally.  As we made our way around the reception room to greet the guests at our wedding, you wouldn’t believe how many times we were asked when we’d be having a baby.  Come on people!  Let the bride and groom at least have a piece of cake before you bring up their inevitable procreation!

As time went on, the questions came at a more rapid pace.  Each time I was asked, a little more salt was poured into the wound.  Do you want to know why it took my husband and I so long to have a baby?  Because we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  From day one of our marriage, we pretty much knew that IVF was going to be our answer.  We weren’t stupid; the price of in vitro fertilization is astronomical.  We also knew that once we started the process, the process would pretty much own the majority of our time.  It was a huge commitment that we needed to be one hundred percent prepared for.  What I wouldn’t have given to have just gotten pregnant the old-fashioned way without a care in the world.

Please don’t think this is about bashing everyone out there who doesn’t have fertility struggles.  This is not a woe is me, pity party kind of thing.  It’s a respect thing.  Every person’s story is different, and we need to be kind and considerate of any, and all, situations.

So woman to woman (and men too, if you’re reading this), stop asking this unnecessary question!  It is none of our business when someone else is choosing, or not choosing, to have children.  We have no rights to the information, nor do we have the right to an opinion on the subject.  Nobody has any idea what is going on behind the scenes.  And you have no way of knowing how hurtful your myriad of questions can really be.  Whether it’s family, friends or some girl you went to high school with…just don’t ask.  When the women of the world are ready to discuss their reproductive capabilities and decisions, I’m sure they’ll let us know.

While I’m quite positive, Chrissy Teigen was not the first person to have this thought; it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone bringing it up.  Every now and then, we need to be confronted with our tendency to overstep boundaries and be put back in place.  So thank you Ms. Teigen.  Your beautiful honesty reigns supreme.

Dear Mama

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.” – Abraham Lincoln

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So for those of you who don’t know, today is my Mama’s birthday.  In honor of such a special occasion, I’m going to get sappy for a moment.

When I was born, my mom and biological father were still married and happy as clams.  I’ve heard the sweet stories about how he would get her chicken wings for dinner and rub her belly down with cocoa butter each night before bed.  The two of them were so excited for the chance to become parents, and couldn’t wait for my arrival.

Sadly, however, things changed after I was born.  My father was constantly dealing with his own internal demons and addictions that pulled him away from our happy little family of three.  Within a few short months of my birth, it was clear that it would just be my mom and I.  Thankfully, however, the two of us had such a strong support system within our family, and when I was a little less than two, my wonderful step dad entered our life and helped to complete our family once again.

I truly believe that the struggles we went through with my dad, helped to create the most incredible bond between my mom and I.  We were the constant in each others lives from day one.  She has told me before that she often felt as though she had to try harder, or do more because my bio-dad wasn’t around.  Let me say this now, Mama…

You never had to do anything but be yourself.  You are the most beautiful person, and my very best friend.  I cling to our relationship and am forever grateful for the closeness we’ve shared.  Even when I was an annoying teenager who knew more and better, and you probably would have liked to kill me, I still respected and loved you so much it hurt.  I hear some teens scream to their parents how much they hate them when they’re fighting.  Sometimes I couldn’t hardly stand you (wink, wink!) but I remember thinking to myself that I could never use the word hate.  No matter how mad I got, I still recognized how special you were to me.

Now that I have a daughter of my own, I can only hope that she loves me even half as much as I love you. You’ve given me the very best example of the type of mother I long to be.  I yearn for the chance to build the same type of relationship with Hadley that you and I share with each other.  If I succeed, I will truly be the luckiest woman in the world.

So to you, my extraordinary mother, I raise my metaphorical glass of champagne and offer you a wish for the happiest birthday imaginable.  The day of your birth is truly a cause for celebration!  I love you to the moon and back.

Forever and Always,

Your Best Friend

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

So last weekend, this happened…

psl

Ahhh!  The first pumpkin spice latte of the year is always a monumental moment in my life.  It means that summer’s scorching hot days are coming to a close (although it will still be hot as heck!), and that it’s time for me to bust out my multitude of Fall decorations.  So what if there’s no leaves changing color or temperatures that provide brisk autumn days…Florida Fall still counts!

We’ll rock our boots and sweaters, even if they’re accompanied by a sheen of sweat.  We’ll still accessorize with cute scarves and hats.  Slow cookers fill with soups and stews, while our ovens are blessed with casseroles and pie.

Fall is Hocus Pocus, Bath and Body Works candles and pumpkin scented soap.  Just the idea of September, October and November gives me the warm and fuzzies.  This is the time that I start to prepare my recipes for Thanksgiving Day, and plot my plan of attack for Black Friday night.

No doubt about it, this if my favorite time of year.  So grab your loved ones and hit up the first pumpkin festival you can find.  Then go home and eat an abundance of turkey…the glorious Fall season is finally here!

The Difference a Year Can Make

So this past Friday night, my whole family gathered together to help celebrate my Papa’s birthday.  As we sat around, chowing down on pizza and wings, I realized that it had been exactly a year since Ryan and I told my family we were expecting.  What an incredible moment that was!  I was very stealthy, you see.  I disguised the big news as a photo-op!  I told everyone that I wanted to take a family photo and announced that after the count of three they should all say, “Kristen’s pregnant!”  It took a moment for the words to register, but I’ll never forget the excitement I felt once they understood just what I was telling them!

Right when I made the announcement!
Right when I made the announcement!
When they realized what I'd said!
When they realized what I’d said!

This September didn’t just mark the 1-year anniversary of us announcing to my family, though.  We also decided to let Ryan’s family in on our little secret this time last year.  Color us shocked when we realized we were actually the ones in for a surprise!

Each September, the whole Bergeron clan gets together to celebrate all the different birthdays for that month (there’s a lot of them!)  One of the birthdays happens to be Ryan’s dad’s.  We went out and purchased a grandparent’s day card and told Ryan’s mom and dad that it was more of a gift for the two of them and that they should open it together.  When they opened that card and realized we were expecting, the whole family blew up with excitement.  There was so much screaming and laughter it was contagious, until I noticed Ryan’s sister and her husband whispering quietly off to the side.

“Oh no,” I remember thinking.  Were they disappointed?  I knew they’d been trying, and I was so afraid they were upset by our announcement.  I tried to brush my fears away but couldn’t help but feel nervous.

After the excitement calmed down a little, Renee said that they had a gift, too.  When I realized they were handing Ryan and I a bag, along with the other couples in the room, I became suspicious.  Why, you ask?  Because neither Ryan or I have September birthdays!  Before Ryan could even open the bag up, I remember saying, “Oh my gosh!”  I just knew that she was pregnant, too!  Sure enough, we pulled out the most adorable card that said “Our family is growing by two feet!”

At that moment, I’m pretty sure the Bergeron’s may have broken the sound barrier!  We were laughing, shouting and crying like crazy.  Everyone kept looking at Renee and I asking if we’d known…if we’d planned it that way!?! The correct answer is, NO!  We were completely shocked by it all!

cousins

I’ve got to admit…I was a little nervous when I first found out we’d be pregnant together.  Would everyone compare us and our choices?  Would we all compare the babies?  In the end, there was nothing to be scared of. I look back and realize that the timing of everything was the most extraordinary blessing.  It was so comforting to know that I was going through pregnancy with somebody else.  We could bounce ideas and questions back and forth, and were often able to comfort one another through the toughest moments (like when both babies decided to be super overdue…stubborn little things!) And now that the babies are finally here, we have the most amazing time watching them grow together.  These sweet little cousins make our lives so much richer and fun!  I’ll leave you with some shots of these besties looking all cute and stuff!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Splish Splash!

Over Labor Day weekend, our little family of three took a short trip to Orlando.  We had nothing in particular planned, but wanted to spend some good quality time together without the worries of doing dishes or mowing the lawn.  The highlight of our trip…putting our sweet Haddie girl in the pool for the first time!  She absolutely loved it!  We weren’t to sure how she’d handle it, but were pleasantly surprised.  About a month ago, I tried to dip her feet into a different pool and she wasn’t too thrilled.  As soon as her cute, little toes hit the water she screamed out in disgust!  This time though, she started kicking like crazy as soon as we got her into her floaty!  She was looking around, completely mesmerized by this brand new experience.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she was a little disappointed when it was time to take her out!  No doubt about it, this girl is a true blue Florida water baby! Check out a few of the pics that I snapped!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Color Me Shocked…My Jojo Moyes Experience

When it comes to books, I pride myself on the ability to figure them out before I even finish page one.  For that matter, I’ve usually determined what will happen before the books even open. Once in a blue moon, however, I’m wrong (don’t tell my husband!)

Every now and then, I’ll come across a story that’s completely off the cuff.  A novel that goes against the rules of storytelling and gives us something incredibly unique.  Most of the time, these books offer the reader a single moment that will cause their breath to catch in their throats.  The kind of moment that makes you wonder why you’re reading the book at all, and whether throwing the blasphemous thing across the room is the better option.  Except that you can’t, and you realize that this element of surprise kind of makes you love the book even more.

This being said, I present you with my top three “caught off guard” classics:

  1. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn: If you’ve been living under a rock, let me tell you this; when “the moment” happens, you will want to cry, scream and bitch someone out all at once!
  2. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green: Oh John Green, you terrible, wonderful man.  You ruined my life and gave me one of the most beautiful reading experiences all at once. One day in the near future, I fully intend to dedicate an entire post to nothing but singing your praises!

And finally, number 3. The most recent addition to my list:

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122

Within the first few pages of this book, I was completely infatuated.  There was a lightness to Moyes’ writing that pulled at my heart strings.  She has a way of getting to you that you never dreamed possible.

This is the story of Lou Clark, a young girl who’s down on her luck after the diner she’s worked at for years closes down.  With grim employment options, she finds herself working as a caretaker for the wealthy Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who spends his days dwelling on the past.  When Lou first arrives to work for him, it’s truly rough waters.  She spends her days lurking around his home, avoiding him at much as possible.  Will, likewise, spends his days ruefully ignoring her.

In time, though, they develop an unexpected closeness that surprises them both.  Here’s where I’d assumed I’d “figured it out.”  An unconventional love story where both parties help the other to remember the joy and beauty in life, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Yeah, not so much.

Now don’t get me wrong.  They both do help one another to reclaim happiness in their lives, but the journey itself is quite shocking.  There comes a moment in the book where you realize what an idiot you’ve been.  You begin to understand that this is not a puppies and rainbows kind of story.  Believe me when I say that I spent the last 100 pages or so with tears streaming down my face.

If you choose to pick up this book, be prepared for that moment.  I won’t sugar coat anything, it will shatter your heart.  But if you give this book a chance, you’ll see just how moving it really is.  This is the first thing I’ve read in a very long time that pushed me to take a look at myself and evaluate each part of my own beautiful life.  In my opinion, Me Before You isn’t just a book, it’s truly an experience.