A crash course in 7 weeks; lesson 1

“Start as you mean to go on.”

Or “Start with the end in sight.”

My little man turned seven months in June, four days before my return to school day. I had hoped to wean him unto solid meals by this time. I wasn’t expecting him to be able to eat three whole meals, but I had hoped for some sort of day time meal routine at the very least. I had high expectations of my breastmilk expression skills reality, however begged to differ. This leads me to my lessons from week one:

Go into every endeavour with positive energy. Contrary to my usual disposition when faced with a new challenge (which is often apprehension masked in negativity), I returned to school  filled with positive energy. I presume this positivity was a result of my past accomplishments in school prior to going on maternity leave. 

Be positive but have a contingency plan. Being able to get back into study as planned increased myself confidence. It felt like I had a firmer grip on my life and the plans ahead. However, I had no contingency plan with respect to how baby would be fed if the milk I expressed wasn’t enough. At first I had a milk stash in the freezer but it was  quickly depleted by the end of week one. Though baby was having pureed fruit, as well, I was still worried. 

Being relaxed and having breakfast helps with milk production. I have not made the previous statement based on any scientific authority. However, drawing from my personal experience, I found having a good breakfast anytime before 11am not only helped increase my milk production but also the thickness of the expressed milk. I also found having a nap or just some rest or warm bath helped increase milk production. 

Be positive, but be observant; watch your words. It often very tempting to ‘over share’ or to stretch ourselves beyond limit, or to overtly identify with everyone when we come into a new environment. While in certain cases nothing negative comes of this experience, under different circumstances an unhealthy working trend might be established. Often times it comes back to bite us in the butt. Be on your best behaviour, but ensure to be you. (will throw more light on this in week four)

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From 10-20minutes of pumping on a good day for us.

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Woman to woman

Informed choices not sponsored choices

celebrating strengths, supporting weaknesses

Nurture and nature, fostering the bonds from womb to world

There are no divides save the ones we refuse to own.

Woman to woman, mother to mother

A vibrant story of many lines, a common theme of ‘baby and mother first’ at it’s core

Things fall apart when the core starts to unravel.

I hold you close, you hold me dear,

We uphold the facts for all to see.

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Happy breastfeeding week

360 degrees

I set my love to flight, I gave it wings to fly,

I set my love to flight, it came back battered and bruised

I set my love to flight, I found myself aglow.

tltweek125

Photo by Erik Witsoe via Unsplash

About the title: when we love, well they say it comes back to us.


Written for Sonya’s three line tales week 125.

Chivalry and his buddy gender (1)

The MacGregor brides,
Sophie’s heart
The Hawk and the jewel.
As sure as the dawn.

I spent most of my teenage years reading books like those listed above. Pages filled with vibrant descriptions of tall, dark and handsome men causing red hues to rise in the hearts and faces of maidens, mine included. Scenes of majestic horses galloping through bloody fields, guided by strong muscle ribbing arms, arms that will through the pages learn to cradle and caress another tenderly.
I also watched a lot of movies, My fair lady, Odyssey, Gone with the wind, North and South, Oscar, Sinbad, and the seven seas, Gladiator, etc. Movies with similar themes to the above novels. Together (the books and the movies) would transport me to eras gone by, to a time when life wasn’t so complicated and courtesy/manners were things to aspire to, not weaknesses. However, they would also carry out a more sublime form of social conditioning.

Good/real men became symbols of salvation (people who put others first), confidence and a certain allure of mystique which enabled them to make sound decisions. Good/strong women, on the other hand, were considered as calm, demure, wily (for positive outcomes), emotionally attuned, strength wasn’t necessarily good or bad. Then we had the atypical individuals who due to nature or nurture did not fit these profiles, but would through the course of the movie/book find themselves and would ultimately align in some way with the above.

Chivalry was a major theme of such stories. I found it endearing, as I believe it showed how humans regardless of era, societal norms and culture, acknowledged the innate human need to be heard by another.

Chivalry (noun):
​a. Very polite, honest, and kind behavior, especially by men towards women
​b. The system of behavior followed by knights in the medieval period of history, that put a high value on honor, kindness, and courage. (Cambridge dictionary).

Should we get rid of chivalry? Is the act something to be frowned up? Is chivalry anti-feminism? Is saving women and children first, anti-feminism? Is chivalry against gender equality? I do not know if there is a straightforward answer to these questions. However, I do think the following:

1.Feminism isn’t about the oppressed subduing the oppressor.
2.Feminism is about giving everyone male or female (who wants it) a sit, a corner, an angle on issues that interests and affects them.
3.Feminism is about treating everyone with dignity, kindness and having the courage to stand for what is true, what is right and what is just.
4.Feminism is ensuring that you can be you and I can be me within confines that harm no one, including the individual in question.
5.Feminism isn’t about erasing our differences, creating a unisex environment and blurring every line of divide.
6.Feminism is allowing a man to be as masculine as he desires provided it does not harm another or break the law. It’s allowing a woman to be as feminine as she desires, provided it harms no one or breaks the law.

Eliminating the use of pink or blue for girls and boys respectively, or shop aisles designated for different gender or buying only unisex toys or clothes are in my opinion distractions from the wider debate. Bringing up your children to view human life from conception to old age as sacred, teaching them life skills irrespective of gender, effective communication skills and equipping them with the tools to be resilient and attuned to their emotion is far more valuable.

The following quote is often used to discuss the value of education across the world especially in third world countries: “If you educate a woman, you educate a family, if you educate a girl, you educate the future.” Queen Rania of Jordan. Is the quote true or reflective of reality? Should we discard of this quote? If you answered yes and no respectively to the afore questions, then it is safe to say that women and children should still be saved first in the face of crisis. It is important to remember that those who are physically vulnerable are often prioritized before other groups such as children and women. Equally important is the ability and right of a woman to say, ‘don’t worry about me, let me help out first’. This has been known to happen and until you are in those conditions please do not make statements that can have damaging consequences. Perhaps we could say children and their caregivers first.

The new school of thought that propagates the destruction of all traditional guidelines or beliefs is worrisome. ‘Out with the old and in with the new’, sadly I find the new to often be half-thought arguments, centred on indulgent premises, rather than a holistic approach. (Take a look at Brexit, at Trump and climate change or gun law) I stand to be corrected if my thoughts are ill-founded.

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Reach for the sun honey, it doesn’t know your gender.

Having said the above, I must admit that there are things which still need to be re-evaluated; including the view of marriage in different gender circles. Women are taught to view it as an achievement, while men view it as an entrapment. Women approach it as a child would a kinder egg surprise, men approach it as a child would a fist pointed in their face from a dark shadow. It is no surprise that both end up having a tumultuous time in the first few years. Marriage is only an achievement if you both acknowledge and respect the time, energy and resources the other has pledged to you. I don’t think we ever deserve people, we earn people. We earn their affections, their respect, their allegiance. Our prices/ values both emotional and economic change as we grow older, for some, it becomes cheaper and for others, it becomes more expensive.

There will always be issues for every human era to tackle. In a bid to effect change we must not turn situational solutions into lifelong rules. In the same manner, we must not be afraid to tackle the status quo. Through it all we shouldn’t be hasty to pledge allegiance, loyalty is still an admirable and faith building trait.

Baby wearing

I carry you next to me,

I hold you dear.

I carry you next to me,

I hope you know I care.

I carry you on my back,

I wrap you up tight.

I carry you on my back,

I shield you from preying sights.

I carry you next to me, 

I pray for wings of hope.

I carry you next to me,

I will my strength to take us home.

I carry you next to me,

The world around us to explore in safety.

Silenced

She gave her consent/ I am not entirely sure about this, could you give me a minute?

Did you at any point get a verbal consent?/ He won’t let me think, he kept shoving the advantages and signature page at me.

Your honour by signing the document, she said yes./ I thought if I signed he would leave me alone and my katie would sort it out later.

tltweek121


Written for Sonya’s Three line tales and Daily prompt Juxtapose.

Photo by Julian Lozano

Floaty dreams

Recruitment exercise for Happy-Ever daily star 2018

Company motto: assumption never produces bestsellers, at best they make tabloids.

Candidates requirements:

  • Long hair(extensions are acceptable)
  • Healthy weight and lifestyle
  • Single or divorced (without children)
  • Related to at least one crazy, bitter or cynical individual
  • Well spoken
  • Good carriage and public conduct.
  • Have very connected friends.

Essentials:

  • Must be productive/hard-working
  • Must be involved in charitable causes (with possibly a history of doing so from a young age)
  • Must be assertive (necessary for dealing with impromptu press appearances)
  • Must be adaptable to change
  • Humorous and good natured.

Due to recent events the company also advices that you acquire or get involved in one or two other special skills/activities not listed above. For example: global exploration, nature studies etc.

It is said that to do the same thing and hope to excel is folly, please be guided.

Our recruitment process is gruelling, do expect the unexpected and the possibility of a non-favourable outcome.

Assumption: the belief that you have all the details on any experience when viewing from a distance. It is to attempt to replicate the same experience without having full disclosure of the facts. 

                                                      

Photographer: Yui Mok

Organisation: Press Association.

Source: www.msn.com

N.B: happy married life H and M xxx

 

 

Armed with information.

“There’s no room for vacuum in life,

the minute it’s created, something regardless of how minute or ill fitting gravitates to occupy it.”

On the 15th of May 2018, the following question was discussed on the Wright Stuff; ‘Should breastfeeding be taught in schools’. According to the programme, the Royal college of Paediatrics has advocated for this line of action in response to the United Kingdoms low breastfeeding rates. My first reaction was to give this topic  a wide berth, however, certain events led to a rethink.

 One, I looked back at my first breastfeeding journey; to the reactions, advice and support I received from both family and friends. I remember my mother’s advice to feed  baby L1 some ‘pap’, a local pudding similar to custard. I recall her enthusiasm to support my desire to exclusively breastfeed for six months. I do not believe my mother breastfed any of her children for six months. However, she witnessed my sister and sister-in-law go through the process (EBF) and decided it was the best for babies. I also remember the text and Facebook  messages from BAMBIS in those first crucial six weeks post delivery. These varied inputs inoculated my senses against the need to abruptly switch to alternate baby foods. They formed the foundation for my second breastfeeding journey to thrive, which unlike my first has proved slightly challenging.

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Secondly, I recall a chat with a friend who just had a baby, and as we talked I realised the growing possibility of breastfeeding rates slipping down the slope in Nigeria. Should this occur it would partly be attributed to these factors:

  1. An increase in the number of working mothers especially first time mothers.
  2. A poor/ non-existent maternity leave policy.
  3. An influence from African/Nigerian women living abroad.
  4. A changing climate from a previous existing community lifestyle, where mothers often had an overflow of relatives at hand to help, to isolated lifestyles, where every helping hand is paid for and often not very reliable.
  5. A lack of information to help the modern day woman understand her body and baby in the changing social and economic climate.

The final push came by way of comments made in response to the question: ‘should breastfeeding be taught in schools?’. Many people were of the opinion that teaching breastfeeding at school would/could lead to the following: 

  • Deeply embarrassing moments for students.
  • Information overload.
  • Oversexualization of the students.
  • Pressurising of students to choose one method of feeding over another.

Under certain circumstances these opinions might be valid, however, I find them lacking authenticity based on the following:

  • Children are said to learn through play; every child  including those living in third world countries plays with a doll and feeding bottle at some point during  their childhood. This is slowly assimilated. Most children grow up without seeing anyone breastfeed, if they’re fortunate they would only ever encounter the topic for 10- 15 minutes at an antenatal class. At this point, the idea of the breast as an asexual organ with biologic function seems antiquated, like dinosaurs, a reminder of past barbaric practices. 
  • According to the government children will be taught safe and healthy relationship from the age of four. At this point I imagine it would be safe to let children know that as higher mammals we are also equipped to feed our young ones just like whales, dolphins and other animals do. From the age of 11, students will be taught sex and relationship education; which covers sexuality, sexual health and reproduction. The breasts I believe would be mentioned in these classes, I see no reason why one of it’s functions should not be discussed. 
  • We live in the era of patient centred care. A major aspect of PCC is arming patients with adequate information. Thus, teaching students about breastfeeding, making it an open discussion, should be considered an advantage and not pressure.

The only pressure an informed individual faces, is the courage to standby their choice.

To acknowledge the possibility that their options might not be the next persons ideal.

In my opinion, the drive to increase breastfeeding rates across the world, isn’t a drive to shame certain mothers, neither is it a drive to run businesses to a halt. It’s a drive to sustain our planet. We hope to reduce waste production, energy depletion etc, as a popular slogan says, ‘every little helps’, breastfeeding is one of such ‘little’ that would help achieve those goals in the long run. Arm yourself with the right information long before baby comes, seek help and support, drown out the noise and keep your babies health at the centre of all your choices.

 

Ebbing and flowing

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Colour me black, colour me white; colour me yellow with sprinkles of pink.

Colour me bright with an array of sparkles

It taints not the grey within, Eeyore has nothing on me,  I smile, bright as the sun.

tltweek119

Take two: 

Beyond the mount the gods arise to the sound of Cilo and her sisters,

Soaking in nectar, sipping ambrosia, they summon the stars to adorn their paths, like light through a prism they shine in glory.

Olympus, I long for thee, let me feast on thy beauty alone.

Take three:

We shall build a tower up to the gods, we shall adorn the towers brightly, the gods shall smile in delight.

Nay, we shall cover it in ashes, the gods shall bark and rave.

Aye, we shall cover them in both, the gods shall applaud our wisdom, for such is the tide  of life they bid  us live.


Written for Sonya’s three line tales week 119.

Middle picture by Oneisha Lee.