Colostrum harvesting is something many new mothers don’t know about. Can you share your opinion and experience with that as a mother?
I’ll be honest, I had to google what that meant before realizing — I did this! Near the end of my pregnancy, I was very ready to induce labour and it was recommended that a breast pump be used to assist in bringing on contractions. When doing this, I expressed colostrum, which I stored and froze. What’s amazing about this is that after birth, our daughter developed jaundice and that colostrum combined with sunlight was a huge reason we avoided being admitted into hospital! So all in all, it was helpful. But I would caution you to talk to your health care provider before trying colostrum harvesting because pumping really did bring on labour for me.
After pregnancy, many women struggle with embracing their new body. Do you have any tips to help mothers regain their confidence?
I think oftentimes, and almost always, women will struggle with a postpartum body. It’s new, it’s foreign, and it’s uncomfortable. Not to mention, you’re bleeding, you’re stitched up, you’re not sleeping, and you’re probably being pooped, puked, or peed on — not our finest moments. Confidence is often sought after as this feeling you reach and achieve. The reality is that it’s showing up. Yes, you look different. You are different. Don’t sideline yourself from living your own life and enjoying the best parts of it because you’re now changed.
Despite the importance of the topic, postpartum recovery is often not discussed due to many women feeling ashamed or embarrassed. What can women expect when recovering from childbirth?
I had forgotten what an event postpartum healing is, but what’s neat about it is that it gets better every day. Invest in some quality toilet paper, disposable postpartum undies, pads, a peri bottle (it’s like a water squirter), and some pad-cicles. It’s also really important to remember not to do too much. We set up stations for me to sit, nurse, and eat without much movement. You need to heal, and you can’t rush that.
Your children range in age from infants to teenagers. How does your parenting style change with each of your children?
It ranges from child to child. I always find it fascinating that we’re somehow going into parenthood expecting that we’re one style of parent and that this style will apply to them all. The reality is that they’re all entirely different human beings who require different needs to be tended to. It’s about relationship building and confidence building and, as I’ve learned the most, listening to their needs. For a teenager, that’s probably offloading about school, while for a baby it’s likely crying for food (because she has no words yet).
What’s one piece of advice you’d like every first-time mother to know?
That you get to define this. You want to go back to work? Amazing. Want to stay home? Amazing. Love or hate mom groups? That’s fine. Nursing not working out or not for you? Good news, there’s formula. Need a night out? Go! Just want to stay in more? Yes! This is your journey. Others will project their own, but make sure you’re checking in with yourself to make sure you’re making the most of this experience for you, too. And for what it’s worth — your kids don’t see you for your rolls, cellulite, and stretch marks. They see you showing up. So when it gets tough, in a new body, remember that in all the eyes you fear are watching, there’s at least one set that is just watching you.