The Boob Group
Body Image and Breastfeeding
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SUNNY GAULT: As mothers, our bodies go through incredible amount of change in a short period of time. We spend about 9 months growing a baby which is amazing in itself. After our babies are born, our bodies create breast milk, the most nutritious food possible to help them grow and keep them healthy. Our bodies are truly amazing and still many of us don’t view them that way. So, what’s the problem and can these negative feelings impact breastfeeding goals?
Today we are talking about body image and breastfeeding. We’re The Boob Group.
SUNNY GAULT: Welcome to The Boob Group. We’re here to support all moms wanting to provide breast milk to their babies. I am Sunny Gault and I’m co-hosting the show today with a few other mammas which you meet in just a second.
So, what do you think of our new show format? We would love to hear from you. You can send us am email or leave a voicemail and all that can be done through our website. If you love The Boob Group as much as we do, then please help us spread the word to other parents; You can leave us a review on iTunes, that’s a great way of other people to find us, it’s super easy to do through the podcast app on the phone if you have an iPhone or through the iTunes app on your desktop and while you’re on iTunes, be sure to subscribe to The Boob Group so you’ll automatically see new episodes when they’re available online.
So let’s go ahead and meet some of the moms that are joining us today. We will learn a little bit more about them before we start our conversation and, Angel, let’s start with you.
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: Hi, everybody, my name is Angel Laketa Moore and I am a wife, I’ve been a wife for 9 years or almost 9 years, I have 3 sons, Marcus who’s 6 and then 2 one-year-old twins who I am currently still nursing. They are not trying to wean at all and I have a YouTube channel called “That Chick Angel TV” as well as a podcast I just started with my husband called “Is this going to cause an argument?”…
SUNNY GAULT: And the answer is Yes to every topic you have on the show. Right?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: Absolutely!
SUNNY GAULT: Courtney, welcome to the show! Tell us a bit about yourself!
COURTNEY STRATON: Hello, my name is Courtney Straton, I am in Kansas City, Missouri, so I’m right in the middle of America. I am a breastfeeding photographer. I do families, portraits, kids, a little bit of everything, but my specialty is in breastfeeding. The name of my company is Stag and Bird Photography, which you will find of Facebook, Instagram, you can pretty much hit me by carrier pigeon and smoke signal. I also have 2 boys, myself.
I have a 5-and-a-half-year-old Eli and an almost 2-year-old Everet that I am nursing and I had really thought that I’d be done by now, but at this point I figure he’ll probably stop it the time he’s in kindergarten and if not, we live pretty close to the school. I’m married to my husband Eric; we have been together … I can’t… this is 2016, we’ve been together 16 years now and we’ve been married for 8 or 9 of those… usually the husbands can’t remember it, but now I can’t remember, it’s long time…
SUNNY GAULT: And also you’re the ambassador for our friends over at Rumina Nursing ware
COURTNEY STRATON: Yes, I am, thank you. I am the ambassador and spokes model for Rumina Nursing ware, which is really an incredible company that does nursing tanks and bras for everyone and if you’re pumping, if you’re nursing, it’s a great company and a great product.
SUNNY GAULT: And then, Nayeli, tell us a bit about yourself.
NAYELI GOMEZ: Hi, I am Nayeli Gomez and I live in the Chicago area. It’s little bit cold, most of the time. I’m still breastfeeding my toddler, he’s 22 months old and speaking of interesting weddings and, well this is not too interesting, I got married when I was 5 months pregnant, so talking about body image topic, fits well into that.
SUNNY GAULT: I get it, I totally get it. All right, and a little bit about myself. So I have 4 kids and my oldest is 5, a boy, and then I have a 3 year-old boy as well; I breastfed both of them and I also have twin girls who are about 2 and a half years old and still breastfeeding the girls. I actually started out . . . they were preemies, they were 35 weekers and so they had a hard time latching at first so I was an exclusive pumper for the first 2 months. Then exclusive breastfed after that and I am still breastfeeding them, which is incredible.
Angel, like your boys, they’re showing no signs of stopping and it looks a lot like National Geographic when they come at me because, you know, they just kind of take over my body and I’m just like Oh-yey. But, yeah, I’m super proud to still breastfeeding and I feel like they are my success story because I did struggle with my boys and everyone said that breastfeeding twins is going to be more difficult and I actually found it to be more easier than my singletons so, yeah I think it’s just a thing of supply-and-demand kind of thing, but yeah, super proud of that.
SUNNY GAULT: All right, so, before we kick off our episode today about body image and breastfeeding, I wanted to introduce you to Ashley Wells. Ashley is the founder of “The Fourth Trimester Bodies” Project. Obviously, body image is huge among women after they have their babies, so I wanted to bring you a project to light to all of our listeners. Can you tell us a bit about “The Fourth Trimester Bodies” Project?
ASHLEY WELLS: Absolutely, so The Fourth Trimester Bodies project is a photo documentary at its core. We travel around the world taking pictures of women sometimes with their babies, sometimes with their children, sometimes just by themselves. We photograph every woman in her underwear, black undies, black bras if they choose, to really have an open dialogue about women’s bodies and what they look like postpartum. We share women’s stories, their births, their journeys through womanhood and motherhood. Altogether, really to just show how many variations of normal are out there and how closely connected we all are in this thing that is motherhood.
SUNNY GAULT: Now, you have an incredible back story to this. Your personal story just says so much as to why you created this project. Can you tell us a little about that?
ASHLEY WELLS: Sure, absolutely! So, I’m a lifelong photographer, it’s been my career. I run a pinup and boudoir studio in Chicago and in the midst of that work I went through a second pregnancy. My first, I have a 10-year-old son as well, but it was through my most recent pregnancy that my life changed very drastically. I learnt that I was pregnant with identical twin girls and very soon after that, they were dying. Through that pregnancy, we faced many complications.
I had an in-utero surgery to try to correct the twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome that was killing my girls and unfortunately, my daughter Aurora passed away as a result. And I then went to labor and delivered my girls in an emergency caesarean at 24 weeks gestation. And the route that followed that dealing with grief and the loss of my daughter and not knowing if Nova was going to survive and we had a long acute journey.
I had a hard physical recovery after all that my body had been through in such a short time. I really felt like my worth as a woman and mother had been somewhat shattered. I went into that pregnancy feeling like a superstar. I was more fit than I have ever been, I was doing yoga every day, was really happy and excited about being pregnant again and then all of that swept away like I have failed as a woman and a mother. My body hadn’t been able to keep the girls alive and hadn’t been able to protect them. I hadn’t been able to give birth how I wanted to.
My healing wasn’t what I wanted to. I had to have a Caesarean revision that had to heal open for months on end and dealing with those body horrors and internal dialogue that suddenly became so negative was really, really difficult, but the beauty of it was that it showed me how much women struggle, that the dialogue that I was having, was something that wasn’t unique to me, I wasn’t alone and other women were repeating the same words to themselves every day, and that’s when I decided to change it.
So I took a photo of myself and my surviving daughter Nova just a couple of months after she came home from the NICU and I put in on social media and asked people to join me in this journey of telling their stories and showing themselves so that we could shatter those stigmas and really just create a positive dialogue around post-partum woman.
SUNNY GAULT: A lot of women that a listening at this and maybe wondering, okay, I’m in, how do I get involved, how do I support something like this. So what are some of the different ways that listeners can learn more about the project and even participate?
ASHLEY WELLS: Absolutely, so the easiest way to get involved is online, both on our website and on our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, Twitter) are all of our photos. We worked with 15000 women to date, in the past 3 years and all of their photos and stories live in our online galleries. So you can dive in and get yourself up to speed there. For women who want to participate themselves, we are still touring worldwide through January 2017. So you can see our tour schedule on our website as well and come see us in all the cities.
We are also hosting conferences, one day events in Portland, Chicago, in Boston this year, where women can come and spend the day with us, as well as other women in the body positive and post-partum support movements, just a day of body positivity and connectivity. Our first book is out! Women can pick that up and read there as well. We have several other things in the works as we transition into what the next year will bring for us. That’s that, that’s the most straightforward way. Visit us online and go from there.
SUNNY GAULT: I know that you did a shoot too with our friends from Rumina. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
ASHLEY WELLS: We were thrilled to work with Rumina. We had the joy of sourcing moms, real moms, not models to shoot their new product line in our Chicago studio. It was really great to shoot with women who are moms for a product that is for moms and it makes sense to have women that are using the product to be the ones photographed in it to use online. We were really excited for them to start rolling out that new line and collection.
SUNNY GAULT: I love it! It’s such a great concept! That impact that you’re having with women, just has to be huge; it’s so moving and inspirational. On behalf of all moms, thank you so much for everything that you do.
SUNNY GAULT: All right, so today we are talking about body image and breastfeeding. It can be very difficult to overcome body image issues, so I have a disclaimer here, off the top. Our goal is not to say “yes, you have a body image issue, let’s fix it in a 30-minute podcast”, it’s not going to happen, right? But what we can do is be there to support other moms who are breastfeeding and even pumping for their babies and just to say, “hey, we’ve been through this too” and just show a little bit of empathy. That’s what we are trying to do, is help any moms that are maybe struggling with body image to say we have been there, we have done that and it may still even be there and going through it right now
So, most of these questions that we have were to open it up and if you have personal experience with it, just shout it out. One of the things I want to establish from the beginning is, and you don’t have to share these numbers with me, but if you think of it like a scale of 1 to 10, think about it, just in your head and every one that is kind of listening just play along a little bit. How would you rate your pre-pregnancy body on a scale of 1 to 10 and then how does that compare in your mind to your body while you’re breastfeeding? If you have a couple of numbers in your head, is on 1 on one end of the scale and 1 on the other?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: Yeah, they’re in two different countries. Pretty much. I don’t even think they’re related. My pre-pregnancy body, I won’t say you know what been in my post-pregnancy body looking back at my pre-pregnancy body I’d put it at a 10. Now, when I was over there, I would have never said that. I wasn’t walking around like a supermodel, so now compared to then; I was one “hot tamale”. So now, if I’m on a bad day, like today, I’d put myself on a 5; on a good day, 6 and a half, 7 probably.
SUNNY GAULT: Courtney, what about you?
COURTNEY STRATON: I kind of feel the same. When I was a pretty young mom, I was 23 or 24 when I first got pregnant and, man, I still looked good! I didn’t think I looked very good then, but I don’t know if you guys have seen this meme, I don’t know what they are called. But they say “I wish I was as fat as I was when I thought I was fat”, I thought I looked terrible then and now I’m like “Gess, Court…” But you know what, I had a really hard time after I had my first and then I started doing fitness competitions, body building, I did everything I could to get down and be as tiny as I could be and as fit.
The second time around I was more about being happy and I have learnt, maybe with age comes a little wisdom or I’m too tired to care anymore. I am a lot more comfortable in my body now then I was then. A few kids and a lot of pounds later, I actually fell like I look okay. It usually it depends on the lighting, we say good lighting helps. Overall, I have learnt to be more content. There are days when I look in the mirror and am not super pleased and I feel like there is lots of room for improvement, but generally speaking, I’m doing okay.
SUNNY GAULT: Good, good. And Nayeli, how do you rate yourself overall? Is there a bit of discrepancy between your pre-pregnancy body and your nursing body?
NAYELI GOMEZ: You know, I can relate so much to Courtney, because I also thought that I was not fit, I had a little more meat than I wanted to and then I look back and I say “What was I thinking? I look just fine!” My post-pregnancy body, you know, it was bad, I am very tiny so everything that I put on it shows!
SUNNY GAULT: We think about our negative feelings. My situation is very similar to yours, guys. When I look back at my photos, I thought I had a weight issue there and I didn’t know how drastically your body can change, so I’m right there with you guys. When we have these negative feelings, I would like to take a quick poll here. Is it specifically from weight gain, is that what pops into your head or is it more that “My breasts looked more perky” or “Now I have a C-section scar” or “Now I have stretch marks”? How would you classify that?
NAYELI GOMEZ: For me, it’s the C-section scars. Oh my God! I still struggling with it. My daughter is 22 months old and I cannot get over it. I need therapy; I need to talk to someone about this because I cannot get over it. I cannot even look at it. I am currently struggling with it. It’s so funny because I was actually looking forward to the stretch marks, everybody makes a deal out of it and I was hoping, I wasn’t hoping but I knew I was going to get them and I did get it. No stretch marks but that scar its killing me.
SUNNY GAULT: Angel, what about you?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: I would say my tummy, very specifically my tummy, because you know with twins because you have been pregnant with twins as well. They stretch your stomach out, so much. So, I’m trying to get my skin to go back to where it’s supposed to go. So Right now I have a bit of what we call in my family “dun lap”. My stomach “dun lapped” over my pants.
There are days that I’m very proud of my stomach because it doesn’t look like I gave birth to twins, but because I know where I would like it to be and it is not there, the skin is kind of loose. I feel like there is still enough elasticity that it might go back. It is not that like I need to be walking around like Britney Spears with my stomach all out, like I don’t where plan on going with my stomach out.
COURTNEY STRATON: I have a little bit of the overall weight gain issue and also the saggy skin. I have enough that fills out the saggy, but it doesn’t just sag I mean it kind of pops out. I still feel like I look like I’m about 3 or 4 months pregnant. It’s kind of something that I just deal with. What really bothers me is when I wear a tank top only because axillary breast tissue on my armpits.
I have like fatty armpits and that is something that bothers me. So, it kind of depends what I’m wearing and what I’m doing. As far as the pressure coming from myself or outside pressure, it varies. It really depends on where I am going and what I am doing. Typically, it’s myself and how I’m feeling about myself that particular day.
SUNNY GAULT: You know, we did on our sister show Twin Talks, we did an episode about diastasis recti. I know that you don’t have to be a twin mom to experience diastasis recti. So, for people who haven’t heard of this before, it’s basically the separation that occurs in your stomach area and, to Courtney’s point, when you feel like you’re 3 or 4 months pregnant constantly, because I’m in your boat Courtney. What I equated to is like having a little girl belly, little pop belly.
Whereas for most of my adult female life, I felt like I had a little gut, where I could separate my upper stomach from the bottom and it didn’t look like a pregnancy belly, it just looked like I needed to loose some weight, let’s be honest.
But ever since having my twins, I’ve had this little girl belly and it is driving me crazy. Then we did this whole episode on diastasis recti and I learnt that this was the issue that I am personally struggling with. A lot of women do and it’s never actually diagnosed. But there are exercises you can do to help strengthen that muscle and it’s just from stretching. A lot of twin moms get it because obviously carrying 2 babies and may stretch a bit more, depending how long you carry your babies for.
But that is a common body image issue that more and more women are talking about, which I think is good. It’s something that I am definitely struggling with. So if you want more information, I’ll make sure that we link to it on the episode’s page for this episode so that you guys can learn more about it.
Anything that you guys like better about your body now that you’re breastfeeding? I know, I have heard I’m a pretty busty girl, I have heard that maybe woman maybe Nayeli to your point here about been tiny. Do you like the fact that when you’re breastfeeding, your breasts gets more full and bigger. They talk about nature’s own breast enhancement. Where there any positives that came out of it for you Nayeli?
NAYELI GOMEZ: I did mention I was tiny, but I’m a very heavy and chesty woman. However, it leads me to a very good point. I was so self-conscious of being so big, because again I was tiny yet my chest was really big. I grew up very self conscious. This started developing in my early teen. So I grew up very insecure. I would hunch down, I would always cross my arms, wear a sweater and the summer time even here in Chicago and because I was so self conscious and I hated my boobs, I hated them. Clothes wouldn’t fit because the rest of my body was so small.
Breastfeeding turned that around for me because I finally saw the purpose of my breasts. And now I love them, it’s a beautiful relationship now because I can see what they are for. My daughter recently she is growing up bilingual so she is speaking very little English, here and there, and the other morning she woke up and she touched my boob and she said: “Mommy, I like it!”And to me that was the cherry on the cake. It was beautiful. So that’s my story with body image struggles.
SUNNY GAULT: That is awesome. So, Angel and Courtney, anything that you like better about your body now that you are a nursing mom?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: I never had, I wasn’t in your world. I was a small chested woman, so that is like one of the things I look forward to when I know I’m pregnant. I am like “Oh, I’m going to have boobs for at least a year!” and it makes me more proportioned. So, even though I sometimes I have like I really struggle with how I look, when I dress up with my post-baby body and I shut it down, I say it. The boobs are popping, the butt is going, I have something pinching in my way, even though maybe when I’m staying naked in front of the mirror, I ask what has happened to my body. But when I dress this body up, I am so excited about it. Nature’s breast boob job is the best, I love it.
SUNNY GAULT: Courtney, what about you?
COURTNEY STRATON: I just kind of tolerated all. I had really, really great boobs. Then I had a couple of babies. I nursed one for 9 months and we’re going in 2 years with this one. You know, I’m thankful for Rumina tops, they’re so make them look all right. Otherwise, I have to like carry them over my shoulder when I go somewhere. I don’t really think that I love anything more. I just feel like maybe I am more accepting.
SUNNG GAULT: That leads into my next question. Is your perception of your body and actually Angel you touched on this a little bit when you dress it up you know you feel a little better. So would you say your overall perception of your body changes frequently or do you pretty much feel the same way about your body, no matter what? I think I know Angel’s answer, right? It has something to do with like the clothes you wear and how you’re presenting yourself. Right, Angel?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: Absolutely, it changes. If I’m the gym, I feel like I’m the best looking thing in there because I know what my body’s been through. I know half of those people have not been through there, so I’m like I am a beast, I don’t care if I have this baby gut. I pushed out 2 babies, absolutely, I’m amazing. And then there are other days, when I’m with my other little actress friend, that they’re the size of 2 pigs and I’m like “oh my God!”.
So it fluctuates rapidly, frequently and I understand that. I feel like it’s the nature of being a woman in this society, that some days you can feel really great about what you’ve done and what your body can do and other days you’re judging it with something superficial. I accepted that. It changes.
SUNNY GAULT: Nayeli, what about you?
NAYELI GOMEZ: It goes the same way, up and down. There are days and times when I feel like “oh my God, what I did, I gave birth to this child and my body can do so much” and I feel so empowered and there are other days that I just feel like “oh God…”, I need to focus back on me getting healthier and fit, but it also depends on the context of course.
SUNNY GAULT: We’re going to take a quick break and when we come back we’re going to discuss how having negative body images of ourselves can impact all areas of our lives, including our ability to accomplish our breastfeeding goals. We’ll be right back!
SUNNY GAULT: Welcome back! We’ve been talking about body image and breastfeeding and how we have a tendency to focus on the negatives. Sometimes we have little peaks of skinny dressed up and feeling a little bit better about ourselves or perhaps when we’re working out and feeling that our bodies are amazing and we’ve done some really incredible things with it. But it sounds like we’re kind of going up and down with this.
So I want to focus on the negative – because that’s what we always do. When you’re in that mindset, when you are just thinking negative thoughts about your body image, how has that impacted your breastfeeding relationship? Or has it? Angel, what do you think?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: You know what, I feel like it is a shame, but the negative images that I have make me want to continue to breastfeed because I figured if I’m not happy with my body, at least it can do something good in positive. If I’m not feeling like the size that I want to be or I’m just comparing myself too much, me breastfeeding gives my body purpose and it allows me to take myself out of that mode.
It’s as pitiful as it sounds. All your negativity is helping you breastfeed. It does kind of I guess center me to be like your body is more than this thing that you present for the world to judge or for me to judge. It’s actually giving life and nourishment to two little boys. So that’s the way the negativity has actually pushed me to something positive in my mind.
SUNNY GAULT: I love that you said that, because I’m kind of the same way. I always wanted to accomplish something. So if I’m filling my head with negativity or something I want to make sure that something positive has to come out of this. I’m really glad you’ve said that. I’ve heard to a lot of women wanting to, when they have these negative images and a lot of times it comes back to wanting to loose general baby weight after you had a baby, you know, we hear that breastfeeding allows you to loose that weight faster, so I know a lot of women push through because thinking that it’s going to help them loose that baby weight faster.
I feel like we got to address that. From your own personal experiences, because every woman is different, everybody is different. Did breastfeeding help you, do you think loose the baby weight faster? Nayeli?
NAYELI GOMEZ: Oh yes, it was amazing! After 3 months I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I was always hungry and I would eat 3 plates of whatever. My husband would sit down and eat his plate and I would eat three times that, literally. I was always hungry and eating, eating, eating. I actually didn’t like it because I was always hungry and I was always busy.
I was working and I would need to stop everything that I was doing because I was starving. I was really, really skinny and I did not like that. Believe it or not I did not like that. You know it took a toll in my body. I started getting week too, physically I could see, so I needed to step it up with a diet, like increasing my food intake. But I went back to my pre-pregnancy body just after 3 months because of breastfeeding.
SUNNY GAULT: That's awesome! Courtney, how was your experience with that?
COURTNEY STRATON: Honestly I thought with my oldest Eli, that breastfeeding was helping me to loose weight. But I had also after I was about 6 weeks post-partum started really heavy dieting and exercise. So I wasn't attributing so much of my loss to being nursing. And then when I had stopped nursing at 9 months I had already been significantly lower than I was pre-pregnancy with him.
But then, when I stopped nursing, I started dropping weight very quickly again and it was like my body was holding on to these calories and storing the fat to help with the milk production. This time I have been ready for that and I feel like when I stop nursing it will also allow my metabolism maybe kick up a bit and be able to loose a bit more. At least, that's what I am telling myself.
Maybe the first time around, each pregnancy is different and each child nursing is different. Maybe the first time around it did help a bit, but this time I think it's almost been a hindrance. It has taken a lot to loose anything. I think I'm a couple of pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight now but truthfully I don't really worry about it too much. It is what it is.
SUNNY GAULT: And Angel how about your go as far as breastfeeding is concerned? Did it help you loose the weight, especially with the twins? How did that work?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: I would say that with my first one I didn't really see it and didn't care that much, but with the twins, I was definitely dropping weight, but was counteracting that because I ate like a pack of wild boars. I could not stop eating. My husband is 6ft 4in 240lbs and I could out eat him without blinking. I think I would have seen more weight loss had I not eaten that much.
And I really gave myself permission. I was not judging myself. I was like "yeah, you go back up there and get some more help, you're keeping 2 babies alive”. Now that I have reeled that in and I’m not longer doing that. I’ve been shedding weight like crazy her lately. I definitely attribute a lot of that to breastfeeding.
SUNNY GAULT: To Courtney's point, I'm kind of in your boat Courtney with you know in breastfeeding my twins for almost 2 years and I did not do that with my boys, my singletons. So, with my boys it was only about 6 months that I nursed my boys. I kind of feeling like I'm comparing apples to oranges because you know I breastfed my twins a lot longer than my boys and I just feel like it's really difficult to loose the weight.
I think part of it is because I'm still really hungry, too. My girls are toddlers now, it's not like they have to breastfeed every 2 hours or whatever, but my body is still making a lot of milk for 2 babies and I just feel like I'm constantly hungry to. It's just taking a while for this weight to come off.
Am I doing everything I should be doing? If I really wanted, really, really was dedicated to loosing the weight, am I doing everything I should be doing? No, I'm not, because I'm a mom and there are other priorities, which we've all kind of touched on. I feel like breastfeeding helped initially, but now I feel like it's a hindrance. Go ahead, Courtney!
COURTNEY STRATON: Well I was going to say when you started transitioning towards solids and Angel kind of mention that, did you noticed a change at all? Because for me, once Everet started moving into solids and we did baby-led weaning with food. Once he had started really going to more solids I actually had noticed that I had dropped a few pounds. Maybe I was not trying that much, I’m not sure. To me, the science behind that says it would go the opposite. Maybe I am just not having to eat as much and burn as many calories to produce the milk and I'm overeating could be part of it.
SUNNY GAULT: I don't know if I noticed anything. Angel, did you notice anything when transitioning to solids?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: I noticed it, but I was eating a lot just out of habit and not actual hunger. I've developed a habit of "blowed up your plate". So I had to literally break up that habit. It is not like because I was like if I'm hungry, I'm going to eat, I’m not starving myself I am not going to do something like that. But I noticed I would stop being hungry a lot earlier into the meal than I was prior to them eating solid, if that made sense. I had to check-in with myself, because if not I would have kept eating the same portion amount out of habit, more than my body actually needing all the calorie intake that I was having before.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes, that makes sense to me. We just get into habits of doing things, too. It's just about breaking a habit. So, I think we touched on this a little bit earlier, but I want to go back. So at least for Angel and Courtney, because Nayeli you only have one child, right?
NAYELI GOMEZ: Yes.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay, So with Angel and Courtney, how did your body image change with each subsequent child? Courtney, I think you touched on this a bit earlier, but how would you sum that up?
C.S. I think it's just kind of more general acceptance and learning well. You know your body, for me, it grew babies 41 weeks, so I had almost 10 pound babies both times around. So with that came along a lot of the extra weight. I gained a lot more than just 10 pounds. The first time I had a really hard time with it because I wanted to continue to be, not necessarily continued to be but I wanted to go to where I felt that I looked great and I thought that I needed the kind of the validation, to be a good mother that I had to look like I looked great that was part of it.
After the second one, I kind of learnt that there are a lot more important things in just how I looked, to be a good mom and to be a good wife. The second time, we had secondary infertility and we had some miscarriages and losses. Along that I kind of figured out what was important to me and having a six-pack wasn't necessarily important to me. But feeling good and been able to play with my boys was more important.
So, as far my particular body image, it was just more of acceptance and learning to kind of not necessarily to love how I look, but just tolerate it. I don't need to dislike how I look every day. I can be okay with how I look on a day to day basis.
SUNNY GAULT: Absolutely! Angel, how was your experience between your first and then your twins?
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: With my first, after I had my singleton, little Marcus, I had sever body image issues. Like I would probably given myself a 2 back then like it was really a struggle. When we decided to get pregnant the second time, I went into that pregnancy completely different. Like I was extremely healthy doing it, granted I ate a lot but I was in the gym all the way up until I was almost like 8 months pregnant with the twins. Lifting weights and running. I was beasting in the gym. I was like "you're going to stay healthy, you are going to keep your body where you want it", it may not be like you know obviously I won’t try to have an over bust figure while I was pregnant. I was like I am going to remain healthy and I am going to listen to my body.
After having the twins I was a lot more accepting of where my body was. I felt a lot better about where my body was. Even though I left the hospital obviously still looking pregnant because that was a huge think. When I had the first one and I left the hospital still looking pregnant I was still confused. I was like what is happening in my life right now. I do not understand what is happening. Now again even though I do have bad days on my good days, really no one can touch me. I feel so good about myself and where my body is on my good days.
The person that I was after I had my first son and the person who I was after I had my twin boys, I don't even know if they are related. As far as in the way I have used myself because I was determined. One of the reasons why it took us so long to decide to get pregnant again because I did not want to go through that again. I didn’t want to go through me psyching myself into feeling okay about myself and I was just like I don’t want to have to do that again. Going into it, that was a big thing I was like you are going to change who you feel about your body and you are going to also make it not be so hard for you to feel good about your body.
So, I purposely made decision that was going to make me feel good about myself, feel good about where I was at. Even though I have bad days, I am just proud of what my body did. I get to [inaudible] two little kids, so I get the comment of “You had twins? Yes, I did thank you, thank you so much!!” I fed myself up to that comment all the time. It’s completely different and I was glad I was completely realistic about it and I wasn’t like you have to be superwoman, you have to feel good about yourself all the time. I was like “No, I need to set myself up to feel good” and quit trying to pretend this is some imaginary thing that happens to women. It is something that is real and so if you want to feel good about yourselves, set yourself up to feel good about yourself. That’s how I kind of went into it with the twins.
SUNNY GAULT: I think that’s such a great attitude to have. I love that you even set yourself up to get compliments! Because I think we need to hear that! I don’t see anything wrong to setting yourself up for a compliment. We don’t hear it enough.
ANGEL LAKETA MOORE: I had a little two-two at their birthday and I had just a little upper abdominal that was the part that is together, my upper abdominal showing. Everybody was like I can’t believe you had twins a year ago. I am like “Thank you!! Thank you so much.”
SUNNY GAULT: Thank you so much for being with us today and for being so honest and open. I know this is a difficult conversation to have. But hopefully a lot of mammas listening are going to benefit from this. So if you are a member of The Boob Group Club be sure to check out the bonus content for this episode. We are going to be discussing expectations when it comes to body image. So is it better to go into this situation with a low expectation or should you set the bar maybe not super high but a little higher for yourself. We will talk about that a little more in just a bit. For more information about our Boob Group Club visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com
SUNNY GAULT: So before we wrap up our show today we do have one of all listeners who submitted a question for one of our lactation consultant that answers questions on the show. This is what she says this comes from Willow.
“I nurse my daughter for 15 months and at that time I learn that I was pregnant with my son and my daughter later weaned. I nurse my son for 1 year and he weaned after that time as well. So that was over 2 years ago and so on one side my bad side which never produce much milk, I have had an inverted nipple and what appears to be milk leaking over the past 2 years. I have gone to the doctor and even had a Mammogram from time to time because it appears that it could be a clogged duct. Is it normal to still be producing milk after 2 years of non nursing or should I seek a second opinion from a different physician”.
Thanks so much Willow.
Michelle Stulberger: This is Michelle Stulberger, I am an IBCLC with Metropolitan breastfeeding located in the DC area. Hi Willow what a great question? Generally I have to weaning you can expect your milk production to stop within a couple of week. however according to the experts “small amount of milk are commonly expressed for weeks, months or years, from women who have previously been pregnant or lactating”.
So the amount should be small and not spontaneously flowing. My questions you would be whether the milk is the milk that you’re expressing or are you actually leaking. I am glad you followed up with your physician and it sounds they are making sure to conduct the appropriate test. But I will always feel free to check back with them if it continues especially if you find you are getting clogged duct.
One step that you can take to help prevent the clogged duct is to take Soy Lecithin which is a supplement that reduces the stickiness of milk. This can be found over the counter and taken as directed. thanks for your question and I hope things get better.
SUNNY GAULT: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
Thanks for listening to The Boob Group. Your judgment free breastfeeding resource.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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