Something just isn't right...

Something’s not right…

 

You’ll hear this phrase repeated, over and over, in so many stories of the moment a new mom realizes she’s feeling more than just the “baby blues.” When she realizes her anxiety is just too much, or her sad is just a bit (or a lot) too sad, her concern about the germs her baby is exposed to is starting to become obsessive. When, after two weeks, things aren’t getting any better, or they’re even getting worse.

Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (which can range from anxiety to depression, obsessive compulsive disorder to bipolar and in the most extreme cases, psychosis) can be all consuming if left untreated. It's not that easy though. Most moms feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment which can lead to isolation for fear that someone will notice. These feelings make her so afraid that she's the only one who isn’t head over heels in love with this magical, crying, life sucking being that she spends every minute of every day with. That she's doing something wrong and that these feelings are somehow her fault.  The motto of Postpartum Support International is "You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well." www.postpartum.net

Did you know that 1 out of every 7 moms is also facing the same feelings? Say that to yourself again, 1 out of every 7 moms. Now let’s put that in perspective. Think for a moment, how many moms do you know? More than you can write down right? How about let’s focus it down a bit, and make a list right now of the first 7 moms of babies under a year old that come to mind. At least one of those moms is most likely suffering from PMAD.

PMAD can look different for every mom. If you’re concerned for a friend, family member spouse or yourself, please reach out for support! Here are some local resources.

Hotlines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Postpartum Support International Warmline (calls answered within 12-24 hours)- 1-800-944-4773

Support Groups:

Various Groups at The Bump & Beyond- Events can be found here https://www.facebook.com/pg/thebumpandbeyond/events

Therapy Groups:

Motherhood Matters- 910-790-9500 https://www.facebook.com/motherhoodmattersnc/

Therapists:

Leslie Black  https://www.betterhelp.com/leslie-york/  www.mindfulmooncounseling.com 910-200-7727
Holianne Ibarra https://www.talkspace.com/room/hollianneibarra

Pediatric Sleep Consultant:

Seaside Sleep Consulting https://www.facebook.com/seasidesleepconsulting/

Postpartum Doula:

Seaside Doula https://www.facebook.com/seasidedoula www.seasidedoula.com

Breastfeeding Support Group:

Mother’s Milk Club NHRMC Mondays and the first Sunday of every month, 11:00-12:15.

Let Me Know If You Need Anything!

Let Me Know If You Need Anything!

Let you know if, IF, I need something? Really? Day or night? Are we being serious here? Yes OF COURSE I’m going to need things! Most of all SLEEP. You know what I can’t do when I haven’t slept? Think of specific things to tell all the well meaning people who superficially offered to help me during this time. If we are being honest, here’s a list of things I’m going to need. Someone who will...

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About!

Today's events reawakened something deep inside my soul. I could not get my fingers to the keyboard fast enough to get this post out! For those of you who are not my personal Facebook friends let me fill you in. I posted a beautiful picture of my toddler nursing. The comments and attacks on the photo from acquaintances would have broken most women. I am not most women. Here are the three things I have to say about it. 

 

 

1. This may seem petty, viewing this from online BUT it couldn't be further from petty. The verbal assault on my picture is EXACTLY why I am so passionate about normalizing breastfeeding. The fact that this is the kind of discrimination and attacks facing women every single day when all they are trying to do is feed their child. Could I feed my child without posting pictures on facebook? Absolutely. BUT I post them to give confidence to that new mom who thinks she can’t leave her house while breastfeeding. I post them for that pregnant mom to be whose entire support system bottle fed and is not supportive of her wanting to breastfeed. For that mom who is absolutely and completely enamored by her new little one who wants to post pictures of them all day long, but is afraid to because all their newborn is doing is breastfeeding. I would take these attacks ALL DAY LONG every single day for the rest of my life if it gives ONE mom the courage to do what she feels is best for her child!

 

 

2.  Days like today are why I’m so glad that the laws are on our side! The state of North Carolina offers protection to the breastfeeding mother allowing her to feed her child anywhere she is otherwise legally allowed to be. ALSO, Facebook is pretty damn awesome and also protects these photos! “Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we're glad to know that it's important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook.” That is what Facebook has to say. You can report the pictures till your fingers turn blue and they will NOT be removed. If it makes you feel better, report away. It gives me a little giggle every time I get a notification!

 

 

3. I will not back down from my parenting choices! It was MY choice to breastfeed my child, my choice to NATURAL TERM breastfeed my child until she decides she’s done. And just like I’m defending my choices until I’m blue in the face, as YOUR Postpartum Doula, I will go to bat for you and defend whichever choices you choose to make for your own child! No one should feel bullied, intimidated or harassed for doing what they feel is best for their own flesh and blood.

 

 

This post may come across a little “I am woman, hear me roar!” But I am. And you will.

 

5 Steps to Appreciating Your Wife

5 Steps to Appreciating Your Wife

There you go. So simple right? Well no, it’s absolutely not simple. Appreciation takes time and effort and selflessness. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Your children deserve an appreciated mother. Your wife deserves an appreciative husband. The husband, yes, also deserves to be appreciated. If you want to know about that, search for it on Pinterest. You’ll find more than enough pins to guide you through that process.

Who Am I and Why Should You Care? Part 1

So, I’m not a blogger. I’m not even a sort of good writer. I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend...but I’m not a blogger. I’m a postpartum doula, a breastfeeding advocate, and a babywearing enthusiast, BUT I’m not a blogger. They, whoever “they” are, tell me that blogging is important. Bare with me here.

First things first, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Courtney, I’m 31 years old, and a married mother of three. To say my husband saved me would be an understatement. You always hear the cliche phrases “He completes me!” or “He’s my better half!” Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. I had no idea what that even meant until I met him. Self discovery happens when you feel comfortable enough to completely let go. Having someone in my corner that wholeheartedly believes in me has created this sort of internal revolution. Revolutions, as we know, are not without pain and struggle.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother, get married, and live in a beautiful house with a white picket fence. What I didn’t know was that my dreams of a corporate job, in a tall building, with a secretary and my name on the door was not truly my dream at all! I flew through my classes in college with ease, graduated with honors and interviewed for the big girl jobs I’d always dreamed about. What did I do? I blew it…. on purpose. Now let me be clear, this wasn’t a conscious decision but in hindsight, it was very clearly on purpose. The purpose however, would take me seven years to realize.

Let’s fast forward through the next seven years. My daughter, Maia, was born in 2008. My husband and I got married and we relocated to Wilmington from Raleigh in 2009. I bounced around between staying home with Maia and my stepson, Kai, and multiple jobs over the years, and I finally settled in as a teacher at the school where my kids attended. “This can work, I can do this.” I felt settled. Settled is never a good thing. I never felt like any job was my career. There’s a certain passion needed to be a teacher. I have that, but not for teaching. I constantly thought, “Where did you go so wrong Courtney? Your financial future and career perspectives were so bright and look at you now. Barely able to pay the bills. You could have had any career you wanted and you blew it!”

And then it happened. Our youngest daughter, Emma, was born. And with her birth came the vision of my true calling. In a frustrated, stress-induced rambling to my husband one day I said, “I just want to help other moms. I want to help with breastfeeding and babywearing. I want to help moms remember to take care of themselves and that they’re still important. I want to help moms by teaching them how to care for their babies and by believing in them until they can believe in themselves! WHY isn’t this a job? Why isn't this my career? WHY can’t I just do what I love and make a living from it?” I’m sure there were some tears and some incoherent babble in there too, but let’s try to focus on the point here, haha. He said “Well, I don’t know if that’s a thing but I’m sure if it is, you need more qualifications than just being a good mom.” But I didn’t give up. I talked to all of my friends and then, on one fateful night, downtown Wilmington after the Christmas Tree Lighting, one of those friends stopped me mid rant. “Courtney, listen to me. You need to be a postpartum doula. Everything you’re describing is exactly what they do!”

Can I just tell you, there is no feeling quite like your soul rejoicing at the sound of all your dreams coming true. As I’ve learned since leaving my teaching job in July to pursue this full time, making your dreams come true is hard work. There have been tears, frustration, and days where I don’t even know what to do to begin to make things happen. But I’m not giving up. Someone very close to me shared a quote with me the other day and I will hold this close to my heart every day that things get tough: “The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”

So here I am, offering my gift, my passion, my services to you as Courtney Gomez, Postpartum Doula and owner of Seaside Doula, LLC.

 

Top 10 Gifts for the Mom Who Won't Tell You What She Wants!

Listen up men! Let’s be honest, buying presents for the lady in your life is STRESSFUL! You spend weeks, months, or, if you’re a procrastinator, days, asking her what she wants only to hear, “I don’t really want anything honey, as long as the kids get their presents, I’m happy!” Which only leaves you thinking “Well, that doesn’t really help me out dear!” We get it. It’s stressful. Honestly though, we can’t usually see past the list for our kids, and if you’re lucky, what we want to get you. That’s why I’m stepping in and speaking up for all the moms out there. Here is my list of top 10 presents that we will absolutely love, even if we didn’t ask for them! In no particular order.

 

 

1. A Day at the Spa.

 

This gift can be as big or as small as you want. It’s really the thought, that it’s important to you that she spends time on herself, that matters. Whether she loves getting her nails done, has been mentioning needing a facial or has commented in passing about wanting a new hairstyle, this gift works for almost every woman in America. This gift doesn’t have to break the bank either. For as little as $40-$50, you can pamper your lady love with a mani/pedi! That’s a manicure and pedicure...fingers and toes.

 

2. Gift Card(s) to Her Favorite Craft or Home Decor Store.

 

I’m pretty sure you’d be hard pressed to find a mom that couldn’t spend hours in Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Home Goods dreaming of all the things she wants to fill her home with! Most of the time though, given some extra cash, she isn’t going to think to go to these types of stores. BUT, given a gift card specifically to these stores, I guarantee you she will be giddy showing you all the fun things she bought!

 

3. Good Hair Products

 

There are two types of women, those who are meticulous about their beauty care products and those who don’t realize they're out of shampoo until they go to grab the bottle in the shower only to get half a drop. Regardless of which one of those she is, splurging on nice hair care products for your lady will be appreciated and probably shock her a little! If she is the meticulous type, chances are you can take a picture of her products and do a quick search online to find similar products she would love. If she’s the "half a drop" type, visit somewhere like ULTA and ask for assistance from a sales person. You should be able to show them a picture of your wife (or girlfriend, I don’t judge) and have them recommend products. Either way, this gift will show you really pay attention!

 

4. Wine and Chocolate

 

Maybe she’s more of a beer and pretzels kind of lady or even liquor and..whatever you eat while drinking liquor? No matter her preferred indulgence, getting her a little after-hours mommies-only gift basket hand picked by you is sure to make her smile! Get her that bottle of her favorite beverage, a nice new glass and a few of her favorite snacks You know the ones. She hides them from the kids and carefully brings them out once she’s SURE they’re asleep? Yes those! Get them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $6 bottle of wine or a $35 bottle of liquor, a $3 chocolate bar or a specialty $15 bag of gourmet pretzels, it’s the thought that counts. Seeing a trend here?

 

5. Voucher for a Dinner/Night Out With Friends

 

This gift is so simple it can be done on Christmas Eve when you realize you forgot to get her something. Write her a nice little note about how you’ll spend the evening with the kids while she goes out and enjoys some adult conversation and actually eating her meal while it’s still hot. Include cash so she doesn’t feel guilty about spending money on herself when the time to go actually comes. You’re guaranteed to get a hug and a “Oh thank you so much honey!” out of this gift!

 

6. A PLANNED Date Night or Weekend Away

 

So with this gift, the key word is PLANNED. The last thing you want to do is add more stress with the present. If you go with this gift, YOU will need to plan out the details. All of them. Don’t tell her you have a great weekend planned then expect her to take care of child care, reservations, scheduling, etc. Done correctly, this gift will sweep her right back off her feet! It can be as simple as a nice dinner out or as elaborate as a weekend away out of town. You guys may get on our nerves with the everyday stresses of life and kids but that doesn’t mean we don’t still adore you and secretly crave escaping real life and running away with you. A few hours or a few days, remembering that we are still more than mom and dad will be the perfect gift!

 

7. Canvas Prints

 

We all have those pictures we’ve been meaning to print for years and just haven’t gotten around to it. All too often, looking into creating one canvas turns into creating ten, which in-turn becomes cost prohibitive. Chances are,  you know of at least one to three that we’ve been dreaming about getting enlarged. Pick one, doesn’t matter how old it is, and get it printed professionally on canvas. Warning, this gift may induce tears.

 

8. Family Portrait Session

 

Yes, we know you hate getting all dressed up and posing with a fake smile on your face for family photos. This is why we don’t push for them as often as we would like. You hear torture, we hear priceless family photos to be loved for generations to come. You think $$$, we think of our grandchildren looking back at their parents when they were little. So, knowing you feel this way, gifting us a family portrait session is the ultimate self sacrifice for our happiness. And we will love you that much more for it!

 

9. Massage

 

A fail safe gift for almost every single mom in the world. Don’t worry about coming across as cheesy, we won’t care. An hour to ourselves, with someone taking care of our aching body is heaven.

 

10. Gift Card to Her Favorite Clothing Store

 

A brand new outfit that isn’t stretched out from a baby pulling on it, covered in spit up/food, or from pre-child era when our bodies were completely different. What a concept! There is something so refreshing about putting on a new outfit that makes us feel like a million bucks!

 

If you really want to blow the holidays out of the park, I suggest combining suggestions 1, 4, 6, 9, and 10. No matter what you choose, showing her you pay attention and that she matters, independently from being a mom, will be all you need to wow her. Happy Holidays!