You Are Unstoppable

Photo1013What are you struggling with right now? Milk supply? Mastitis? A nursing strike? A biting baby? A horrible mother-in-law? Money problems? An energetic toddler? Sleepless nights? Whatever it is that you are struggling with is small compared to what you have been through.

You are a mother. Does it get any cooler than that? Any braver, any more resilient, any more Badass? From the moment you get pregnant you begin an extraordinary journey. This vessel through which you live life becomes home to another being. Your body, after all of your years alive in it, becomes unfamiliar to you. Almost alien. From morning sickness, the most unique and horrid feeling, to rapid weight gain in the oddest of places. By the third trimester you might struggle to complete even minor tasks. And if you have ever been pregnant in the sweltering heat of summer like I was then you know the feeling of near drowning in… in… I don’t even know what. Air? Sweat? Skin? Your own body? There were times when I literally felt my body had consumed my soul. I was looking up and out from deep inside myself. “Help! I’m drowning! Get me out of here! Or at least spray a hose on me!”

Then there is birth. Ok, back up. There is labor. Your body begins a sequence of events that will occur whether you like it or not, whether you are ready or not, whether you are at the grocery store or the post office. Your body won’t ask you if you are ready because this body that was once familiar, then alien, and now familiar again does not need your help. Well, help would be nice, but here comes baby, ready or not. And no woman, no matter her birth story, no matter who was there, no matter what happened, ever got help from anyone else. You did it yourself. You delivered your baby. YOU did. You breathed, you changed positions, you pushed and you met your baby face to face. A familiar person, a total stranger, a part of you, an extension of your soul.

Photo0985Mothers know a fear that knows no words. When your baby is sick, when you don’t know how to help, when you don’t know what is going to happen. You hold your baby, heart racing, eyes filled with tears. The doctors come in and out, take blood, run tests, and you wait and wait and wait. This agony eats you alive. You hold yourself together, you put your feelings aside as best you can so that you can comfort your crying baby. You stop all routine tasks such as eating and going to bathroom. You remain awake, aware and ready to act to get your baby through this. You will do anything at all. You can move mountains.

Mothers stay up late or give up sleep all together to rock, swing, sing, nurse, and stroke. You might stay in your pajamas for days. You might forgo showering and brushing your teeth, even eating, so that you can meet the needs of your new baby. You do this many times without complaining so that your baby is secure, nurtured and loved. You know that your time with your baby is precious and before you know it will be gone. You snuggle your baby close and never want to let go. You cry at the thought of your baby growing up, moving out or going off to college. You replay painful events over and over in your head and struggle to think straight in the face of such fatigue.

Women transform into new people as mothers. You let go of old habits easily that you had battled for years. You end relationships that should have ended a long time ago. You eat better, you exercise, you think about the long run now because that is how long your baby will need you.

IMG952521You parent gently despite how you were parented. You fight through extreme exhaustion to remain attentive to your baby’s needs. You turn your back to nasty remarks about breastfeeding in public. You bite your tongue in the face of criticism about your parenting choices. You read and learn and open your mind and change your parenting approach based on what you learn. You refuse to become defensive or make excuses for past mistakes. Instead you cry and acknowledge you did what you knew how to do at the time, and you move forward empowered with information. You challenge every aspect of your life to make a better life for your baby.

You have been through all of this and you are going to let some new challenge get you down? Whatever it is that you are going through now doesn’t compare to where you have been. The worries and struggles in your mind are no match for the drive and perseverance in your heart. If you need encouragement you need only look to yourself. You have already overcome intense struggles. You are stronger now than ever before.

You are unstoppable.

Abby Theuring, MSW

About Abby Theuring

Abby Theuring
The Badass Breastfeeder is a mother, writer, social worker, attachment parent, proud breastfeeder and advocate. Her career as a social worker has shown her that gentle and connected parenting is vital for life-long emotional health. You can find her blog at www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheBadassBreastfeeder.

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13 comments

  1. Thank you. I absolutely needed to read this. I have been through the ringer, but have stuck with breastfeeding, luckily, despite many obstacles.

    After a c-section due to a breech baby, I ended up with a severely painful uterine infection, immediately followed by a breast infection. Meanwhile baby had a pretty severe tongue tie that made feeding more painful so finally that was clipped. About 1 month in, I had to get a core-needle breast biopsy done on a worrisome and large lump in my right breast (that was unrelated to breast feeding) just to rule out cancer. Because of the tissue clippings, my breast anatomy was angry; it resulted in 4 clogged ducts, and my milk supply almost completely shuting off for 2 days. (Thank GOD for pumped frozen milk and certain foods like oatmeal that helped it return.) They ruled out cancer thankfully, but the golf ball sized fibroid that is STILL currently right under my areola continues to really hurt every time he eats. My baby gets annoyed eating, because he’s basically eating it. It’s in the way of a good latch at times, which upsets him. Some days I just cry right along with him. Needless to say, I am Absolutely exhausted. He is worth it and I won’t stop. Because we ARE unstoppable, and we rock. Thank you for this reminder, Abby.

  2. Thank you so much, I really needed to read this today. Yesterday I was in a car accident with my 7 week old in the back seat, and have been mentally beating myself up ever since as it was my fault. And then today I woke up with a killer sore throat. Needless to say, I’ve been struggling today with feeling like a not-so-badass mommy. You just reminded me that I most definitely am, as my son is still fed, loved, healthy, as happy. Thank you for that.

  3. Thank you for this!

  4. Amazing article! This is what I truely needed to hear. (: Thank you so much for letting me be apart of your website & blog!

  5. Overall this is a great article; however, there is some misinformation regarding FAM and Natural Family Planning. I am an NFP user and am breastfeeding my second child.

    FAM refers to Fertility Awareness Methods. You can learn about FAM through the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. FAM advocates the use of barrier methods when fertile, but is otherwise similar to NFP.

    NFP refers to methods of Natural Family Planning, which advocate abstinence when fertile. The standard-days method (also called calendar method or rhythm method) is NOT a modern form of NFP. Modern forms do not rely on the calendar, which means they can be used even during breastfeeding amenorrhea. The major types are:

    1. Mucus-Only Methods – a woman observes her cervical mucus signs or sensations to watch for signs of fertility. Examples are the Billings Ovulation Method and the Creighton Model.
    2. Sympto-Thermal Methods – combine the observations of mucus with a daily basal body temperature and/or internal cervix check. This is taught by Northwest Family Services, the Couple to Couple League, and others.
    3. Marquette Model – uses signs from the woman’s body, along with confirmation from a fertility monitor.

    All of these modern types of NFP are very effective if learned with a qualified instructor and practiced properly. I use the Sympto-Thermal Method and am happy with it. Love not having and side-effects for me or my nursing baby.

    I hope that helps! Feel free to email me for more info sandykreps1 at gmail. com

    :)

  6. Your words are so inspirational it’s hard sometimes exspecially when you dot have a ton of support I’ve been breast feeding for 18 months now and latley it seems she wants to bf more than ever and I’m ok with it I mean I get a little frustrated cause I don’t get no personal space anymore between her and her older sister who’s almost 7 it’s a lot to handle alon wih bfing but I’m giving it everything in me to keep goings original goal was a year and though we have long surpassed that we never set a new goal my plan is to allow her too self wean and I’m okay with it but a lot of my family and friends don’t support me and it really takes a tole on your mind I just want ppl to respect my desicions because they are mine to make for me and my baby girl it’s overwhelming this really helped me infact reading your stuff on here and fb is what keeps me goin alot of the time thank you so muh for takin the one to support all of us bfin mommy’s who really need it my only true support is my hubby and he is the best :)

  7. I just love Badass Breastfeeders! I gentle parented and nursed my kids back in the 80s into toddlerhood when it seemed nobody else was and there was no internet to help with support and encouragement like you provide. So thank you for the moms of today with these wonderful resources.

    But more, your post strikes a common thread with me. Unstoppable. My husband of almost 32 years passed away suddenly two years ago. The words, “I’m devastated”, can’t begin to describe the pain of losing him to heaven. He WAS the man behind my natural childbirths, long term nursing and the family bed (thats what we called it back then); he was the one adding a crib mattress on top of orange crates or getting up to lay down with one of the kids who needed someone with skin on. He was the one getting kicked in the gut by the nursing toddler between us and then getting up and going to work the next day. He was the one who bought into my crazy idea of “lets homeschool” and helped out with it every chance he could.

    But more, he was my coach and my cheerleader and my biggest fan. When the world said, “Nobody should be nursing a baby with teeth”, he’d tell me to turn a deaf ear; when we hid the fact that we had the Family Bed, he kept it a secret too; when others thought we were crazy to homeschool, he advocated for me and our kids. He was a wonderful Protector and Provider.

    And now I am alone. I am missing all that encouragement that I grew to know and eventually depend on in life as I traversed new roads of having college kids and releasing them into the world to fly…..to fly AWAY from us! Yes, the goal of parenting as separation. UGH. Didn’t think about that much during those early days thank goodness.

    And fly they did. Three successful adult children who grew up to be loving, caring and kind individuals that can support themselves. We did it! All our gentleness, all our no spanking, all our sleepless nights and nursing a three year old…..all of our selfless giving….and the fruits of our labor is strong in these three adults that we made.

    But the plan was never to go it alone; and yet, that is what I have done these past 27months. How, is beyond me. Only with God and the family and friends that continue to journey with me. But how can that be enough? It’s not. Because within me, I find UNSTOPPABLE. I have been able to draw from our past 31+ years in the front lines of parenting and know that I have what it takes. If I can birth a baby without drugs, I can mourn my loss and grieve and not die myself. If I can parent a newborn with no skills and no instruction, I can parent myself in my loss. If I can nurse a toddler who dances all over my lap while nursing, I can manage the dance of grief. If I can sleep with my kids because of self preservation, then I can sleep alone because that is the only choice there is. If I can homeschool my kids so that they can win college scholarships, I can teach myself how to live without my beloved. If I can release my kids into adulthood so that they can fly far away from me and lead their own lives, I too can find my wings and fly forward to lead my life too. Just so so hard without the force behind my perseverance.

    But truth be told, he is still here. He speaks to my heart regularly and I can often feel his hand on my back, ever so gently, saying, “Lets go, you got this, you’re my girl, always.”

    • Why did you nurse your kids at 3yrs old? Not judging just trying to get information. I thought nursing for one year is what they needed? Also, when did you start them on solid foods?

    • Mjay – I’m sorry for your loss…tears reading your journey…thank you for sharing your love story. Maryjane :)

    • God bless you! I am only just about to be 30 soon, so I can’t even imagine losing someone after being with them for as long as I’ve been alive. You are beyond strong. I know this and I’ve never met you. I’m SO sorry for your loss and I want to tell you that my heart aches for you tonight. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that there is no ” end date” that accompanies grief. But I pray you continue to gain strength day by day and find solace in God. He is awesome, and through Him you ARE unstoppable.

  8. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. It could not have come at a better time. I’m going through a rough spot and your words are helping me get through it. So appreciative.

  9. I just love Badass Breastfeeders! I gentle parented and nursed my kids back in the 80s into toddlerhood when it seemed nobody else was and there was no internet to help with support and encouragement like you provide. So thank you for the moms of today with these wonderful resources.

    But more, your post strikes a common thread with me. Unstoppable. My husband of almost 32 years passed away suddenly two years ago. The words, “I’m devastated”, can’t begin to describe the pain of losing him to heaven. He WAS the man behind my natural childbirths, long term nursing and the family bed (thats what we called it back then); he was the one adding a crib mattress on top of orange crates or getting up to lay down with one of the kids who needed someone with skin on. He was the one getting kicked in the gut by the nursing toddler between us and then getting up and going to work the next day. He was the one who bought into my crazy idea of “lets homeschool” and helped out with it every chance he could.

    But more, he was my coach and my cheerleader and my biggest fan. When the world said, “Nobody should be nursing a baby with teeth”, he’d tell me to turn a deaf ear; when we hid the fact that we had the Family Bed, he kept it a secret too; when others thought we were crazy to homeschool, he advocated for me and our kids. He was a wonderful Protector and Provider.

    And now I am alone. I am missing all that encouragement that I grew to know and eventually depend on in life as I traversed new roads of having college kids and releasing them into the world to fly…..to fly AWAY from us! Yes, the goal of parenting as separation. UGH. Didn’t think about that much during those early days thank goodness.

    And fly they did. Three successful adult children who grew up to be loving, caring and kind individuals that can support themselves. We did it! All our gentleness, all our no spanking, all our sleepless nights and nursing a three year old…..all of our selfless giving….and the fruits of our labor is strong in these three adults that we made.

    But the plan was never to go it alone; and yet, that is what I have done these past 27months. How, is beyond me. Only with God and the family and friends that continue to journey with me. But how can that be enough? It’s not. Because within me, I find UNSTOPPABLE. I have been able to draw from our past 31+ years in the front lines of parenting and know that I have what it takes. If I can birth a baby without drugs, I can mourn my loss and grieve and not die myself. If I can parent a newborn with no skills and no instruction, I can parent myself in my loss. If I can nurse a toddler who dances all over my lap while nursing, I can manage the dance of grief. If I can sleep with my kids because of self preservation, then I can sleep alone because that is the only choice there is. If I can homeschool my kids so that they can win college scholarships, I can teach myself how to live without my beloved. If I can release my kids into adulthood so that they can fly far away from me and lead their own lives, I too can find my wings and fly forward to lead my life too. Just so so hard without the force behind my perseverance.

    But truth be told, he is still here. He speaks to my heart regularly and I can often feel his hand on my back, ever so gently, saying, “Lets go, you got this, you’re my girl, always.”

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