As we "graduate" the first class of Bravado bloggers I am taken not only by what we have accomplished in terms of sharing our experiences and voices – but also how much we have all evolved since last year. When I first pitched the idea of the Breastfeeding Diaries, I proposed that it would chronicle the ins and outs of motherhood through the lens of breastfeeding. I wanted to incorporate my personal experience, as a mother whose thoughts about and goals for breastfeeding changed as my relationship with my daughter grew and also my voice as an editor who has, written so much about and within the breastfeeding space.
I knew and believed passionately that by following new moms from pregnancy into the first year of their baby's life, we would see their perspectives change, their confidence increase and their situations evolve. And that these uniquely candid insights would help other new moms. I also hoped that by keeping a written record of their experience that it would encourage them to persevere through the long days and even longer nights. I also hoped it would help them rewrite their goals as they met them. I'm thrilled that this all came true!
But what else happened, the part I did not anticipate, moves me even more. Together, we created a community of care, support and nurturance. Through the Breastfeeding Diaries, we connected mothers (and fathers) together around the central theme of breastfeeding and gave them the canvas on which on paint their own, unique stories both as individuals and also as part of a larger whole.
This stunning reality brings me great pride. And also, leaves me very excited to meet the next "class" of bloggers. And so, before we say goodbye – let’s take a look at where we have journeyed together.
Mona was our second-time mom. She was also our working mom and pumping mom. But to me, Mona was "the funny one." I always looked forward to editing her posts because they made me laugh, as I hope they did for you! Ironically, though her blog was about staying balanced while pumping at work, she had to stop writing for us sooner than she planned. Between her demanding full-time job, pumping, her family, something had to give and it ended up being her contribution to the Diaries. I'm happy to say that she seems to be doing well! Her son TJ recently turned one! Keep up with her always funny yet poignant tales at kirida.com.
I have known Nancy through a mother's group I started when her son Ben and my daughter Anya were newborns. Most of the moms in the group were breastfeeding but Nancy had not been able to. I saw the regret in her face whenever she pulled out a bottle when the rest of us were able to pull out a boob. When she had her daughter Allegra, I hoped she would have more success and she did to some extent. When I learned she was pregnant with her third child shortly after the Diaries had launched, I knew that I would have to bring her on board in order to share her story, whether or not she was able to breastfeed this third time. Though she struggled in the beginning with low milk supply, and still does to a small extent, Nancy has triumphed! Her son Skylar is now eight months old and as they say, "breastfeeding like a champ." Not only has she been only to meet her milestones of three, then six months, and plan for 12 months and beyond, I think this success has made Nancy a happier and more confident mother. Keep up with Nancy on twitter at twitter.com/nancy_horn.
Following Sarah's Diary, you could tell that she lives for her son Sammy, even before she met him. You know how with some women, you can tell that they are born to be mothers? That everything they've done in their lives has been preparing them for motherhood and building up to this point? That's how I felt as I got to know Sarah. For her, breastfeeding is not simply about nutrition but one part of how she mothers her child holistically.
Of all of our moms, Jenn was the least confident that she would enjoy breastfeeding. Her decision to breastfeed was based chiefly on the money she would save, but breastfeeding became so much more for her. The early days were very challenging for her but she ended up loving it so much that she reached her 6-month goal and has commited to breastfeed through the end of her daughter's first year. I have a feeling that she will be nursing well into Lil J's second year and possibly even her third! Jenn feels that she has gained so much from her Breastfeeding Diary that she will continue her posts about breastfeeding Lil J on her blog, babymakingmachine.blogspot.com.
For Abbie, a farmer's daughter, breastfeeding her son Joshua made perfect sense because it was how she, a working mom, could provide the ultimate nutrition for him even when she couldn't be with him physically. Though like most moms, she had a love-hate relationship with her pump, the act of expressing her milk for Joshua kept them connected. Now that he has turned one and can have cow's milk, she has decided to retire the pump but will continue to nurse him when they are together. Abbie will continue writing her Diary, updating us monthly on what it's like to be a mom of a nursing toddler. You can follow her blog farmersdaughterct.wordpress.com where she writes about living simply and sustainably.
Stay tuned to be introduced to our next class of Breastfeeding Diary bloggers!