Why I Sometimes Post Breastfeeding Photos

Jul 28, 2014

When I was pregnant the idea of breastfeeding was SO strange to me. The world tells me that my breasts are sexual objects and they should stay that way. Intentional or not, that's the message that young girls receive. Still, I knew all the amazing benefits that accompany breastfeeding, how good it is for your baby, and the cost comparison pretty much had me sold. I knew that I was going to attempt to form a breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. 

We were lucky. She had a great latch even in the beginning and although it took weeks for my nipples to become desensitized and callused enough to nurse without pain, Everly did amazing. As I watched my body nourish my baby I was in awe. What an amazing gift that women have to be able to feed their children with their bodies. Everly was even nursed once by a good friend when I couldn't be there to do it for her. Everly continued to grow and soon I had a fat little baby that loved her mama milk and nursing. 

At about 6 months I started to get that question. You know the one, "When are you going to stop breastfeeding her?" It bothered me. Why were people expecting me to stop feeding my child? Why did they think this beautiful relationship needed to end? I was committed to making it past 12 months. One full year of mama milk. But I was also committed to breastfeeding my daughter as long as she thought we should. That became my answer. When she tells me she's ready to stop. I don't care if you breast or bottle feed your baby. I don't care if you use a cover when breastfeeding or if you do it out in the open. I do care that you feed your child and I trust each mother out there to make the best decision for herself and her baby. I do care that mom and baby are both comfortable when baby is eating. I do care that women's rights aren't violated (which happens far too often).

The reason I like to share pictures occasionally... well there are a few reasons. The first is, my breasts are not sexual objects. They were MADE to feed Everly. That is literally their purpose. They were made for her and I am proud that I'm able to use them that way. I also share pictures so other women know that it's okay to be a little more open about breastfeeding. It's a perfectly natural, normal thing. Every time I breastfeed in public I get a few strange looks. That doesn't stop me. I will always put my daughters needs first and if she needs to eat I feed her. I share pictures because I'm proud of us. Really, I'm proud of Everly. She does all the hard work and she grows beautifully because of it. But mostly I share pictures because breastfeeding is amazing. 

I treasure my breastfeeding relationship with Everly. It has been nothing but magical. I've had some aches, some pains, some sleepless nights because my sick baby only wanted to breastfeed. There are times I realize life would be so much easier if she wasn't quite so dependent on me. And yet we've found a way to always make it work. We've found a way to keep going. I hope she wants to breastfeed for many months to come but I also know that when she decides she's done it will be okay. It will be gone before I'm ready and I know I'll miss it when she's finished. Until then I'm going to soak up every lovely moment of this part of our lives. 

xo Sue

PS. Read more thoughts on breast & bottle feeding babies.

Magic Moon

Jul 24, 2014

Did you see it?
Did you see the Magic Moon?
It was breathtaking.

xo Sue

Body Love

Jul 21, 2014

I know, these photos go against cardinal blog rule #1- always use great photos. But I don't care. 

Today I want to talk about body love. There was a time in my life I would have been SO ashamed of this body. I would have hidden it and made excuses and I definitely wouldn't have put a bikini on this body. Why not? Because it's not perfect.

Growing up I never gave any thought to body image. I was a girl and that's about as far as I'd thought. When I reached middle school I had a few friends who were obsessed with weight. They were constantly "dieting" and always called themselves fat. I was the same size or smaller than them so I made the conclusion that if they were fat then I must be too. The logic of a 13 year old girl. Instead of talking to my mother about it (or anyone) I started to hate my reflection in the mirror. Sure, there were days I thought I was pretty, but for the most part I didn't like the girl looking back at me. I was overly critical of myself and always saw my flaws. Now that I look back at pictures from that time I think WHAT FLAWS? That one tiny zit? I was very hard on myself. And I know that I'm not alone. So many girls and women hate what they see when they look in a mirror. That is SO SAD to me.

My shift came when I was pregnant with Everly. I looked in the mirror and saw my growing belly and I realized it could be another reason to hate myself, or I could LOVE that beautiful belly that was holding my daughter. I chose the latter. It was a conscious choice and one that I had to make every time I looked in the mirror. I didn't always make the right choice, but I did most of the time. When I found out I was having a baby girl I knew I had to be better for her. Everly deserves a mom who loves herself and especially loves her body. She deserves to grow up knowing that she is beautiful no matter what she weighs or how "perfect" she looks.

This body of mine, this after-baby body, is beautiful. I can look at these pictures and point out flaws or I can look at them and think about how strong and powerful that body is. I can do so much. I have so much. And I am grateful for this body. A few extra pounds, a small blemish on my skin, none of that matters. What really matters is that I appreciate this body I have. I appreciate what a gift it is. I want Everly to know that being a woman is a wonderful thing and loving your body can come easily if you just embrace yourself completely.

Flaws, perfection, it's all the same really.

What's Keeping You From Achieving Your Goals?

Jul 20, 2014

It's actually been about 10 days since I saw this post at Delightfully Tacky (one of my very favorite blogs) but it's stuck in my head and I want to write a response to it.

I feel that most of the time I'm pretty good at achieving my goals, or as I refer to them intentions. I try to follow my dreams. But I didn't always do that. The follow through part has been difficult in the past (and sometimes still is). The thing that really changed for me is having a baby. I talk about this a lot, but having a baby changed me in so many ways. I realized I wanted to be better because she deserves better. She deserves a mama who loves herself, takes care of herself, and follows her dreams. She deserves to have a happy, loving mom. 

So to the question at hand... I think the biggest thing that keeps me from achieving my goals is a fear of failure. And it keeps me from setting some goals in the first place. That age old question "What would you do if you knew you would not fail?" sometimes haunts me. I have big, grand plans but I worry that others won't love them as much as I do. I worry that people won't understand and I'll realize I'm living in my own little world. I worry that no matter how hard I work or how much I put myself out there I won't see the result come back to me. I worry that I'll have a lack of abundance. And now with a daughter and a family to think of, it's a little more scary to take a big risk because I'm not the only one affected by it.

Starting my new website was a huge leap for me. I've thought of myself as a healer for a while now but I don't really say it out loud. Does it sound corny? Will people grill me on what that means? Will they judge me when I don't answer the way they want? Will they reject me because they think I'm a little bit crazy? It's tough to put myself out there in the way my heart tells me to. This is not the age of healers, this is the age of pretty clothes and fancy shoes and posting your best pictures on Instagram (guilty). And I love all of those things. But I love wholeness and healing and healthy living. I love good body image and really, I love myself. I love who I am and I'm trying so hard to let the world see the real me.

I'm taking a really amazing course right now through the Sacred Living Movement called I AM Sisterhood and one of the things we've discussed is what we would do if we knew we would not fail. This was mine.

If I knew I would not fail I would open a studio and it would have everything I love. I would teach yoga, Sacred Pregnancy, Beginnings, hold sisterhood circles, and dance lessons. I would practice healing modalities at my studio. I would have books and tea and treats. There would be cozy chairs and pillows and blankets. We would have an art studio where my husband could draw and my daughter could go a little crazy. There would be educational toys for kids and a whole space for my daughter to call her own. There would be massage and a space to meet with doula clients. It would be a place for healing, for learning, for love. Now that I have this space in mind I can envision it all and I'm going to make it a reality one day. I've started to draw up some rough sketches and a small business plan. It's in the very beginning stages of growing but I know that this is where I will end up and I am really looking forward to it. It may be slow, but nothing will keep me from achieving this goal. 

xo Sue

On the Fourth

Jul 19, 2014

I realize this event has passed us by, but these photos are to good not to share. Everly looked so sweet in her bikini (the neighbor girls called it a "kini"). It was just Everly and I for the fourth. We went swimming with our neighbors and had a little barbecue. We played outside a lot and Everly showed off her impressive skills of learning to climb through the dog door. It was a lovely day.

xo Sue

June + July Intentions

Jul 3, 2014

Part of this should have been posted weeks ago. Life has been a bit crazy lately. I know it's always going to be that way but there are times that blogging falls to the side. So much has happened in the past few weeks and I find that I'm still processing feelings as they come. It's been a quiet time in some ways and an incredibly busy time in others. I've been reworking my business plans, expanding some things I do, withdrawing from others, and really figuring out what works for me, my family, and my future. It's been amazing. 

I also feel like the month of June vanished before my eyes. My best friend Jess got married the second weekend in June and now it's July. Since that time I've been doula for 3 births (2 of them with no sleep at all), attended a 2-day Energy Healing Conference (SO interesting... perhaps my thoughts on that will come out a different day), and tried to make sense of this very chaotic life. Aaron has had a few job interviews and we think we're settling on something that's really going to work for him and our future. We're so excited about that. 

I've started a healer's journal, began using herbs and oils for healing, and sought out specific trainings for myself to enhance my journey down this path. I created a brand new website for myself to have one spot to direct all my business through. It's exhausting after a while to keep up with several different places. It's streamlined now and I love it! I've also created several new websites for Sacred Pregnancy and began writing for the Sacred Pregnancy Blog. It's a wonderful whirlwind.

In August Everly and I will be heading on another trip, this time to Canada. We're going to a Sacred Pregnancy + Sacred Doula training retreat. I'm so looking forward to being Sacred Doula certified. It's a program that calls to my soul and I'm ready to answer. Every time I prepare for a birth I exhaust myself making plans and worrying about E when I'm gone, but when it's time to actually go and I get to help these amazing mamas birth their babies my heart is revitalized. This is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.

And now, after a whole lot of rambling... 

Our family photo for May. You've already seen this gem but it's perfect. 

I picked my path in a sense... I've selected a few programs that I'm so excited about to become certified in things that are going to continue to guide my life. Shelly and I finished writing our e-course! Even though the lessons have begun to be posted, it's self-paced and can be joined at any time. We'd love to have more participants in this journey (sign up here!). The creating... it's been more on a personal level (my sisters ditched me and went on vacation) but it's been fantastic. Everly has recently discovered how much she loves coloring and we're making drawings daily! 

The reading of one book per week hasn't worked out. I'm reading A LOT but it's not normal books that I would share here. It's lessons for courses I'm taking, it's notes on topics that are fascinating to me, it's magazines that have so much information and I'm devouring them. I obviously haven't been blogging every week either. Such is life! We're still managing one family photo each month (although June's is awkward!). And I'm definitely loving myself more and finding the things that make my soul happy. For a half-year account, this is looking wonderful. 

Our June family photo... it's awkward. It was taken with my husband's cell phone and it shows! But we have a photo for the month and I'm pretty proud of that. 

June Intentions. I will...
  • Attend the Energy Healing Conference and sign up two women for my upcoming Sacred Pregnancy 2-day Retreat. Originally my intention was one woman. Just one beautiful soul to join me for my retreat. After day one of the conference I'd achieved this so I extended it to one per day. By the end of day two I had my second woman sign up! To me, the conference was a success.
  • Finish my new website. I want a place to send all clients, no matter what they're looking for. It's beautiful! I love it. Seriously, check it out.

July Intentions. I will...
  • Explore the outdoors with Everly. She is a child of Mother Earth. There's nothing she loves more than being outside. Seeing my child's love for the outdoors has given me a new appreciation for it. We going to go on a few hikes, find a lake or two, and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer us. 
  • Find two more women to attend my Sacred Pregnancy 2-day Retreat. I want the beauty of sisterhood to be present at the retreat and I know there are a few more women out there looking for that in their lives. I will find them! 
  • Embrace my reiki training. I'm going to be a reiki practitioner by the end of the month. My mother's day gift from Aaron and Everly was my training. I found the most wonderful woman who facilitates the training and I'm so excited to learn from her. 

If you've made it to the end of this ramble you're amazing. Life is so beautiful and I'm loving every minute. Even the hard times are something to be thankful for. Without them I wouldn't know how good the good times are. This has been a wonderful year so far and I know the second half will be even better. 
xo Sue