Pumping

5 Must-Know Tips for Exclusive Pumping While Traveling

TIPS FOR PUMPING WHILE TRAVELING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Adapted from an original post written as a guest post for Belibea (not sponsored, but because their nursing cami saved me on a daily basis and I want everyone to have that.) This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from any purchases you make from the links. To skip right to the FREE DOWNLOAD pumping while traveling checklist, click here!

How to breastpump while traveling

BEING PREPARED FOR PUMPING WHILE TRAVELING OVER THE HOLIDAYS

So the holidays are upon us and you’re making lists and filling your calendar and probably feeling a mix of excitement and overwhelm.

If you’re traveling, that’s an added layer.

Pumping?That’s an added layer.

If you’re PUMPING AND TRAVELING, woo girl buckle up. Okay, I’m kind of kidding, but also I know it can be a mental, emotional, and physical strain and I want to help you be best prepared.

When you feel extra stress or lack of routine and schedule, your milk supply can be compromised during this time. I want to help you ensure that you can both enjoy the holidays with your baby and family and maintain your feeding goals and health.

RELATED: Amazon Pumping Shopping List

KEEP STRESS LOW, THE SCHEDULE CONSISTENT, AND THE BAG PACKED.

When considering holiday travel, there are a few factors to think about. How are your emotions and stress levels during travel and extra activities? What logistics do you need to think about beforehand to ensure you have the gear and space you need?

The following tips will help you to prepare for and enjoy the season so that you can focus on making memories with your baby and family.

5 TIPS FOR PUMPING WHILE TRAVELING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

1. TALK WITH THE HOST PRIOR TO THE EVENT TO DISCUSS WHERE YOU CAB PUMP.

Knowing that there is a quiet, private space for you to pump will allow both you and your host to be prepared. If you want privacy, communicate that and ask that your host have a room accessible. Discussing this beforehand can take away the awkward conversation in the moment (hey can you pass the turkey AND my boobs are about to explode!) and give you peace of mind and less stress entering the gathering.

2. DRESS FOR EASY PUMPING.

Belibea Pumping and nursing nourish cami

RELATED: Easier Exclusive Pumping

Save time and stress by dressing with your pumping in mind. The Belibea Nourish Tank allows you to have a comfy stylish undershirt while also making nursing or pumping very accessible. I had two of these tanks throughout my year of pumping and basically wore one every time I went out of the house and knew I would need to pump. No thinking about the “double shirt’ method or strapping a pumping bra on awkwardly. EASY. (You can use CHELS20 for 20% off any Belibea purchase. Wohoo! You’re going to want to wear this baby everyday!)

3. HAVE A PLAN FOR MILK STORAGE.

Again, this is a good conversation to have with your host beforehand.

Is there a refrigerated space you can store your milk during your visit?

If you will be staying in a hotel, ensure that a minifridge will be provided in your room.

You also want to consider long car rides or plane rides. If you are traveling by plane, make sure you know your rights for traveling with breastmilk.  For any long ride (plane, car, train) be sure to have means to keep your milk cool and follow milk storage guidelines.

4. WRITE OUT YOUR SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

This is a balance, and no one is going to do it perfectly (have grace momma), but doing your best to stick to your schedule without letting it stress you out, can be vital to supply and routine for both you and baby. The schedule tells your body when and what to produce and helps maintain your milk supply. Skipping feeds or pumps can lead to clogged ducts and possibly mastitis- which is not how you want to enjoy your holidays! Write out your schedule beforehand and plan for when you will “sneak away” to pump. Perhaps you won’t need to have privacy, but hey, it might be nice to get a few minutes to yourself.

RELATED: Online Exclusive Pumping Course

5. MAKE A CHECKLIST OF ALL THE GEAR YOU WILL NEED AND DOUBLE-CHECK IT BEFORE LEAVING HOME.

Write it out (or print it out) and double-check before you leave! Many of these items are things you may be using day-to-day so it can be hard to pre-pack everything. Double-check the list before leaving home so that you won’t need any middle-of-the-night store runs during your trip!

Pumping checklist for traveling

HERE ARE PUMPING PACKING LIST IDEAS TO GET YOUR LIST STARTED:

Download this checklist for FREE here!

Car adaptor: Allows you to plug your electric pump in so you can pump in the car

Battery Pack: If you don’t have a battery-powered pump like the Spectra S1 or Medela Freestyle, you can use a battery pack to make your pump portable (I used this for my Medela Pump in Style and Spectra S2)!

Breast pads: There will probably be a time your feed/pump is delayed and you want to preserve your shirt!

Sterilizer bags: This makes it quick and easy to sterilize pump parts and bottles

Quick clean wipes: Especially helping during travel- these wipes give you a way to clean your gear without soap and water

Easy feeding system: The Kiinde system allows you to skip milk transfer and quickly go from pump to feed.

Bottle cleaner and soap: For when you get the chance to do a good scrub on your pump parts and bottles!

Nursing tank: The Belibea Nourish Cami is my go to because it’s so easy (and extra cozy!)

Cool/heat packs: In cases of engorgement or the need to help milk flow, these little tools are so helpful!

Cooler bag: For when you’re traveling and not able to refrigerate, cooler bag to the rescue!

Nipple cream: Because we have to take care of the girls!

Milk bags: Easily cool and store

Cover: If you prefer privacy, might as well make it stylish.

Pump: Don’t forget your pump!  It can be helpful to have a manual on hand even if you regularly directly nurse- sometimes babies don’t eat as much during travel and visiting and you still need to get that milk out!

Hand sanitizer: For when the soap and water aren’t available but you need to keep those hands clean!

Download this free checklist here so you can put it on your door and double-check before heading out!


Free download checklist for pumping moms

So sister, you can do this. The biggest work is in making sure you get everything packed up and on the go with you and then communicating your need to step away. Enjoy those breaks, sneak some extra apple pie with you, and shoot me a message to say hello while you’re pumping over the holidays (Don’t worry, I don’t think it’s weird if you message me while your boobs are being milked. I’m cool with that.)

Happy Traveling!

RELATED: Sex After Baby

Postpartum Stories

Infertility Journey: Wishing to be Postpartum

OUR INFERTILITY JOURNEY CONTINUES

Infertility Journey Acronyms:
2WW, AMH, BBT, BFN, BFP, B/W, CM, CD, DPO, ENDO, FET, FP, FSH, HSG, IUI, IVF, LAP, LH, LMP, OPK, PCO, RE, SA, TTC

Each acronym serves a purpose in our fertility journey. Owner and operator of Fertility Warrior Podcast, Robyn Birkin, once said on her podcast, “Not everyone tries to get pregnant. If you don’t know these acronyms (she listed a long list like the one above), then pregnancy happened to you. If you know these acronyms, you too have tried to conceive.” This quote has stuck with me for the 464 days that we have been TTC.

A question many people ask married couples is, “When will you start trying to have kids?” I too have asked people this question in the past. Now that I have been TTC, my perspective has shifted, I don’t ask this question anymore. The word “trying” implies if you aren’t pregnant then you’re not trying or not trying hard enough. Trying gets to my core. I am trying more at conceiving a child than I have at anything in my entire life; school, work, career. Without the end result of a pregnancy to show for, people assume that we aren’t trying…that word.

dealing with infertility but i’ve dreamt of being a mom for a long time

MY LIFELONG DREAM OF BEING A MOM

Since I was a little girl, I imagined being a mom, mommy, momma. Little did I realize, that dream wasn’t as easily attainable as I had always imagined. Being the oldest of 5, I was always a helper with my siblings, a babysitter, and naturally grew up with motherly-like tendencies. From a young age, family, friends, and strangers would comment on how natural motherhood would come to me.

Those comments are now gut-wrenching. It’s so difficult to hear how good you’ll be at something that you want more than anything else you’ve ever wanted before. Something that you are going through emotional, physical, and spiritual roller coasters to figure out the steps to achieve a positive pregnancy test. Deep down I know that people- family and friends- people aware of our fertility difficulties and people not aware, mean well and it is their perspective. However, I wish society didn’t put the filters and ideas into people’s minds to comment about such personal instances.

I wish society didn’t put the filters and ideas into people’s minds to comment about such personal instances.

RELATED: Infertility and Vanishing Twin

WHAT IS THE INFERTILITY JOURNEY TO ME?

The infertility journey is:

  • Hard

  • Sad

  • Test after test, month after month…BFN (big fat negative)

  • Knowing your cervical mucus

  • Timed intercourse

  • Smiling through the silent pain

  • Hearing about oops pregnancy announcements and cringing

  • Attending a baby shower for another person that isn’t yourself

  • Facing your fear of needles for acupuncture

  • Addressing your fear of needles for weekly B/W (blood work)

  • Facing your fear of needles for ovulation-inducing injections

  • Changing your diet to decrease the possible internal inflammation

  • Reading blog after blog about other woman’s fertility stories

  • Journaling about gratitude, seeking the positives, when each day you are hurting inside more than the yesterday

  • Seeing a naturopath while working with a fertility clinic (whole-body wellness and approaches)

  • Taking vitamins upon vitamins to fill any possible gaps

  • Crying at any given moment

  • Mood swings

  • Talking to insurance on a weekly basis to ensure appointments and medications will be covered

  • Paying out of pocket for specialty drugs

  • Excluding yourself from social gatherings to avoid the talk of babies

  • Excluding yourself from family members who continue to say “just relax and it’ll happen”

  • Listening to pregnant women complain about how long 40 weeks of being pregnant is (we’re at 464 days TTC)

  • Being bloated from the hormones; looking pregnant but not actually pregnant

  • Intensely irritable

  • Situationally depressing

  • Sitting in silence with your partner

  • Long embraces

  • Hand holding

  • Pictures throughout the journey with staged smiles

  • Not fair

    RELATED: Infertility and Postpartum with Chronic Illness

getting infertility treatment shots

WAITING THROUGH INFERTILITY: NOT YET POSTPARTUM

I’m not yet postpartum. When I listen to women sharing about their postpartum experience, I connect with them on various levels. Although I have not carried a child in my body, I have various symptoms that women going through postpartum have. I often wonder what my emotional and physical self will do when we do become pregnant, initially and during pregnancy. Will my emotional stance be elated because I finally have a pregnancy, or will I continue on this struggling journey as we embark on a whole new path; pregnancy and motherhood?

Until then we will continue TTC through our Infertility Journey .

story of infertility pinterest

Supporting Someone Through Birth Tragedy

Do you know someone who has suffered stillbirth, miscarriage or another tragic birth event? Check out this Psychology Today article from Margaret M. Quinland, Ph.D., and Bethany Johnson MPhil, M.A. on Tips for Supporting Parents and Caregivers in Crisis.

RELATED: Preventing Postpartum Depression (Ecourse)
Women who struggle with conception and/or pregnancy and birth complications have preexisting factors that can contribute to postpartum depression. If this is you, you can be proactive with this course.

Postpartum Stories

Infertility, Vanishing Twin and Postpartum

POSTPARTUM AFTER INFERTILITY AND VANISHING TWIN LOSS

Emily shares her experience being pregnant with twins, having a vanishing twin, and then birth and postpartum all following her struggle with infertility.

newborn baby after vanishing twin syndrome

Providing free content is a priority at Postpartum Together. This page may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we may receive a commission for your purchase. Don’t worry, we only promote things we believe in because we love you!

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US SOME BACKGROUND TO YOUR STORY- TTC (TRYING TO CONCEIVE) TO NOW.

Hello! I’m Emily. I’m a 33-year-old graphic designer and live in California with my husband, our two dogs, and our baby boy who is about to turn one. My journey through infertility to becoming a mom is not typical, and for that reason, I get nervous sharing it publicly. I know so many “born mothers” who fight the infertility battle for years, losing babies and hope. That’s not me. But I did experience infertility. My story is real and I’m honored to have the chance to share it.

My husband and I spent 12 years together without children. Some of those years, the childfree life was a willful choice (I got married when I was practically a baby myself) and some of those years, it wasn’t. There were seasons of trying and seasons, like during graduate school, when having a child was the furthest thing from my mind. After grad school, I settled into my career and got ready for the next chapter of my life…and it never came. I was pretty embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed. All I could think about was all those times I had flaunted my carefree life in front of my friends who had children. Karma…she is a bitch.

Seeking Infertility  Help

After trying consistently for two years, my husband and I decided to seek some help. We went through fertility testing and got the diagnosis that nobody with infertility wants to hear….”unexplained.” We had a wonderful fertility doctor who created a protocol with increasing intervention. I’m incredibly lucky that just three months after starting fertility treatments, on St. Patrick’s Day 2018, a doctor got me pregnant (seriously, that’s my favorite infertility joke).

I conceived twins, the biggest shock of my life. Unfortunately, a twin pregnancy can often make women incredibly sick and I was one of those lucky few. I did not experience the dreaded hyperemesis gravidarum that some women suffer from, but I did end up in the hospital once and spent many of those early days sicker than I ever thought possible. Sadly, around the time I was released from the fertility clinic and put under the care of my OB/GYN, I found out that “Baby B” hadn’t survived. They call it “vanishing twin syndrome.” I’m a very practical person and took heart in the fact that my doctor seemed concerned about my ability to successfully carry twins. “Baby A”, my son Finn, was healthy and strong in utero and stayed that way when he came into the world on December 4, after a 48 hour labor that included 6 hours of pushing 🙂

RELATED: Postpartum after Stillbirth

HOW DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR YEARS WITH FERTILITY TREATMENTS CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR PREGNANCY EXPERIENCE?

Infertility Grief

Infertility robbed me of that “moment” of finding out I was pregnant. When I took the test, my first thought was “No, that’s just the hormones from the shots still in my system.” I didn’t believe I was expecting until I got the results back from my doctor nearly a week later.

Vanishing Twin Grief

Then, because of the vanishing twin, I was left with some unpleasant side effects – extreme nausea and vomiting for the duration of my pregnancy and a higher than average down-syndrome risk, just for example. So practically speaking, fertility treatments gave me twins, which caused me to have some atypical experiences.

Postpartum and Lack of Space for Grief

Because of all it took for me to conceive my son, I felt like I should avoid feeling sorry for myself, never complain, and soldier on, which I did. This proved to be both good and bad. It was good, in that I do believe in “mind over matter” and I think a positive attitude is important. But it was also bad because people around me had no idea what I actually needed, how sick I really was, and seemed to have high expectations of me and my abilities. I thought if I talked about my symptoms, people close to me would remind me that at least I had gotten pregnant and I didn’t want that reminder. I knew how lucky I was, but I also knew that I felt like shit for nearly nine months.

RELATED: Emotions of Postpartum

Mixed feelings getting pregnant after infertility

WHAT DID YOU KNOW ABOUT POSTPARTUM PRIOR TO YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE?

Women, at least in my circles, love to share their horror stories about the wasteland their bodies became postpartum, so that is basically all I knew. I knew about the endless weeks of bleeding, the tearing, and stitches, the raw nipples, etc. I did not, however, know about the night sweats…would have been nice if someone had told me about THAT, haha!

WHAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT YOUR POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE?

So many things surprised me! I was surprised by how good I felt right away. My nausea ended as soon my son was out and food tasted good again! Additionally, I had retained pounds and pounds of water and that started disappearing immediately. And in the days following his delivery, I realized that I didn’t like being pregnant, even though I was so grateful to have been able to conceive and so in awe and respectful of my body for being able to do what it did.

Maternal Instinct

I was also surprised at how much love and maternal instinct I felt immediately. Many women don’t talk about that part, but taking care of a newborn was straight-up magic for me. I had an aversion to the idea of breastfeeding before my baby was born, but after, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to want to feed him.

Breastfeeding

And on that note, I was surprised at how difficult breastfeeding turned out to be. I did not go into it naively – I had family and friends who dumped ALL the dirty secrets on me – but I thought that, in time, my son and I would figure it out. We weren’t able to, despite having amazing support, and I started exclusively pumping for him. Now, almost a year postpartum, I’m surprised at myself that I’m still pumping.

Postpartum Anxiety

I was surprised when I had postpartum anxiety more than four months after having my son. I thought postpartum mental health issues happened within the first few weeks, and I thought they happened to women who had spouses who went back to work (mine stayed at home for the first 9 months of our son’s life). But when I returned to work, my anxiety became almost crippling. I still battle that demon now at 11 months postpartum.

Postpartum Community

Lastly, I wasn’t prepared for how much I would need other women. I’ve never had a large circle of friends, nor felt like I needed much more human interaction than my experiences with my coworkers and my husband. But after having my baby, I sought out the company of other mothers and, in turn, women I had never considered befriending welcomed me into their lives with dinners, gifts, support, advice, and love.

RELATED: Relationships After Baby (Ecourse)

WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE REALIZED ABOUT POSTPARTUM AFTER INFERTILITY TREATMENTS?

Just because a woman has success with fertility treatments, doesn’t erase the experience she went through. Nothing will ever take away the memories of sticking myself with needles and crying over negative pregnancy tests. My identity as “infertile” didn’t end when my son was born. Many times when I’m rocking my son, I think of my fellow infertile sisters whose arms are empty and my heart breaks for them.

HOW DID OTHERS RESPOND TO YOUR POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE?

I felt very lucky to have a solid local support system who responded favorably. My husband was an unrivaled supporter (no joke, he did EVERY night time feeding while I pumped) and my friends showed up with food and love.

My workplace was wonderful, allowing me to flex my leave, and, when I returned to work, outfitting my office so I could pump there. They even supported me when I had to bring my son into the office from time to time.

I come from a very large family and, unfortunately, I didn’t feel support from them. My mother has nine children (of which I’m the youngest) and my sisters and sisters-in-law have collectively birthed nearly 50 babies. I felt like their attitude was “We’ve been there, done that, survived it, and you will too.” Definitely not what a new mom needs.

RELATED: Postpartum Resources for Moms

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAID/DID THAT WERE HURTFUL? (EVEN IF WELL INTENTIONED)

Someone very close to me said “After all the work you did to get him here, you’re going to leave him and go back to work?” That comment hurt.

I also don’t appreciate when people ask me when my son is going to get a sibling. Besides it being none of yo damn business, I’m also not sure I can actually have any more children. I may not even want to go through that experience again.

I WISH FOLKS WOULD STOP COMMENTING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S REPRODUCTION.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS PEOPLE SAID/DID THAT WERE MOST HELPFUL IN A DIFFICULT TIME?

A few months after my son was born, after I went back to work and when my postpartum anxiety was at its worst, my sister-in-law had Door Dash delivered to me dinner one night. Another night, a friend randomly brought me take-out. Their gestures were more than having a hot meal to eat. It meant somebody could see me, knew I was having a hard season, and cared enough about me to lighten my burden for a minute.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

I know it’s easy for me to say now, but I wish I hadn’t felt so much shame surrounding my infertility diagnosis and subsequent treatments. If I could go back, I’d tell myself how brave I was to seek answers and help, how fearless I was to stick myself with needles full of hormones, and how strong I was when I walked back into my doctor’s office to start again after failures. I think infertility needs to be destigmatized. It’s not a woman crying and clutching her bum ovaries in the baby section at Target. Infertility is a fighter, getting knocked down over and over again, but getting back up every single time.

IN CASE YOU’RE FIGHTING THAT FIGHT AND NOBODY HAS SAID IT TO YOU, LET ME: YOU ARE BRAVE, FEARLESS, AND STRONG. HOLD ONTO YOUR HOPE, SISTER.

pinterest vanishing twin

This series, Postpartum Narratives, aims to bring awareness, normalization, and understanding to different postpartum experiences. No two postpartum experiences are the same, and as a society, we cannot have one view of what postpartum is or should be.

By sharing stories, we diversify our own understanding and can then advocate for better support and resources for each person and space that affects a postpartum family- the home, the workplace, the medical field, social constructs, etc. if you have a postpartum narrative you would like considered for contribution, please contact me here.

Do you know someone who has suffered stillbirth, miscarriage or another tragic birth event? Check out this Psychology Today article from Margaret M. Quinland, Ph.D., and Bethany Johnson MPhil, M.A. on Tips for Supporting Parents and Caregivers in Crisis.

Postpartum

The Quest to be More than a Mom

LOSING AND FINDING YOUR IDENTITY AS A MOM

“Mom” is an incredible title. It brings us new experiences, new love, new ways to see the world, and life. This brings out parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed. It connects us to a bigger picture. Mom is a title we don’t take lightly because it is a privilege. But as women, there is more than mom.

mom looking at herself in the mirror feeling lost as a new mother

Providing free content is a priority at Postpartum Together. This page may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we may receive a commission for your purchase. Don’t worry, we only promote things we believe in because we love you!

I’M A MOM, BUT WHO ELSE AM I?

Women can easily feel lost in this identity shift and wonder where the “woman” behind mom has gone.

An informal survey on my personal Instagram page showed that 92% of respondents said they struggle with the identity shift.

How Women Describe Identity as a Mom

Here’s what women responded when asked about their struggle of identity after becoming a mom:

  • I felt completely lost

  • I didn’t have a personal identity (as a new mom)

  • It felt like my sole purpose was to keep the tiny human alive

  • No clue who I am or what I like

  • I’m so isolated

  • Torn inside- it’s a tug of war

  • Grief over what was lost

  • Seemed like I didn’t matter anymore

  • Shame and curiosity about the difference in me

  • I am a mom…and not even a good enough one

There are different ways women can deal with this identity shift, I believe you can use this time of transition to be empowered, inspired, and become truer to yourself than ever. 

Dealing with Identity as a New Mom

You don’t have to bottle up resentment.
Don’t have to fully lose all aspects of yourself to be absorbed in the role of “mom.”
You don’t have to live in the pressure of what a “good” mom is and looks like. (Spoiler alert: A good mom looks like a mom being true to HERSELF in serving and loving herself and her family.)

RELATED: Things You Shouldn’t Say to a New Mom

REASONS WHY YOUR IDENTITY CAN SLIP AWAY AFTER BABY

There are numerous factors that contribute to the identity transition after the baby. These are things many women face, so don’t feel alone. The goal is not to AVOID these factors, but to acknowledge them, understand them, and when the time is right… move past them.

Brain Neuroplasticity

Your brain is literally rewiring itself. During pregnancy and postpartum, the brain’s neuroplasticity is in a great transition- very similar to adolescence. Dr Alexandra Sacks calls this time “Matrescence

Body

Loss of autonomy of your body mixed with a changed physical body that may feel foreign to you

Time

Being constantly needed by another person and lacking time for yourself, hobbies, friends, etc.

Finances

Budget changes, lack of maternity/paternity leave pay. Less money perhaps means less opportunities for “YOU” things

Emotions

Emotions are highly impacted by hormones and new and changing circumstances. In postpartum, hormones are fluctuating greatly and you are experiencing both new and changing circumstances. This flux of emotions can be exhausting and confusing.

Thoughts/Mental space

You may find your thoughts are taken up by mundane daily tasks mixed with how to do all of the new things to provide for a baby.

Relationships – Partner

The connection, communication, and relationship roles you knew pre-baby have shifted. Pair this with body image, lack of time, lack of sleep, and compounding stress, and a changed relationship can impact the identity of the new mom.

RELATED: Back in the Sack: Guide to Postpartum Sex

Relationships- Friends

Friends want to see/hold the baby, conversations are usually about kids, social experiences and expectations change, some friendships fade and new ones emerge leaving you wondering where you fit.

Purpose

Perhaps you have changes in your work situation leaving you feeling a lack of purpose outside of the home. You may have less time for hobbies/volunteering. While you may thrive on the purpose of taking care of a child, this isn’t the case for all women. You may also have a difficult time with it.

Outside Pressure

Our culture has an unspoken “Supermom” pressure you can feel from all sides. You may feel a loss of your own identity as you feel wrapped up in being the “right” kind of mom.

“I long for “old me” because we don’t know/understand who this changed “me” is yet.”

— POSTPARTUM TOGETHER PARTICIPANT

how do i find myself as a mom

TENSION BETWEEN THE “NEW” ME AND THE “OLD” ME

There are few times when so much of your identity and self transitions overnight like it does in the transition to motherhood. You know other women are facing it. You know there are a number of factors that contribute to this. There are also a number of ways it can manifest. You are frustrated that you don’t feel “at home” with yourself. It is confusing because you’re not even sure what you like anymore. You’re lost in the day to day shuffle.

WAYS IDENTITY FRUSTRATION MAY MANIFEST:

  • Bitterness/resentment towards a partner who seems to have fewer limitations and changes.
    Do you ever feel yourself welling up with bitterness? Are you playing out conversations in your head about how much your life has changed but your partner’s has not? Are you possibly feeling resentment towards the baby who has turned your whole world upside down? (I know, it feels unspeakable and so we are ashamed to admit this feeling, but honestly many women feel this way sometimes.)

  • Increased comparison to others
    Have you found yourself thinking “If I’m mom, why aren’t I THIS kind/good of mom”? Do you find yourself scrolling social media comparing yourself- your body, your daily habits, your house, etc.? Are you experiencing negative thoughts towards yourself and other women as a defense

  • Feeling apathetic
    Are you wondering why you can’t get excited about anything? Trying to figure out if it’s just the pure exhaustion of being a new mom or something else? Are you afraid to take a step because you’re not sure it’s the right one or if it’s really “you”?

  • Obsession with talking about/caring for the child(ren) Have you found yourself starting every conversation with talk of the baby? Do you quickly change the topic from you to the baby instead? Do you do extra things to busy yourself with caring for the child(ren) so that you aren’t leaving space and time for yourself? Are you in full immersion of “mom” because that’s the identity you know how to be right now?

    RELATED: Communicating With Your Partner After Baby
    RELATED: Relationships After Baby (Course)

Want to Feel More than Mom- You Are Not Alone

Chances are you’ve answered “YES” to some of these questions.
It is:
Nothing to be ashamed of.
Nothing to avoid.
Something to notice. Consider. Think through. Peel back the layers.

It’s a chance to recognize and commit some space to reclaim time and energy for YOU again.
An opportunity to not harness frustration and resentment, but to see it and “bless and release” to free yourself up from the heavy weight.
It’s a chance to be intentional about your postpartum space and transition and connect with other women in a similar space.

WAYS TO FIND YOUR IDENTITY AFTER BABY

Reconnecting with and reclaiming a personal identity after a baby looks different for everyone. Two worlds collide as you bring the YOU that you have been and introduce the role of mother. Every dynamic shifts. While you might feel alone in this, remember most women transitioning into motherhood feel it too. You aren’t alone.

If you’ve read my blog before or follow me on social media, you know that I don’t believe in “How-To” articles. I don’t believe in telling you that X, Y, or Z is going to fix what you’re facing. I don’t believe there are ANY one-size-fits-all methods to motherhood, marriage after baby or postpartum identity shifts. However, there are suggestions that you can try on for size. You may try one and it’s a good fit. You may try 3 or 4 before you find something that really feels right for you.

Here are ways you can try reconnecting with yourself after baby to find the “Me Beyond Baby.”

  • Daily self-check-in: This could be mentally, a white board, a check box on the fridge, a journal, etc. Think of a system that works for you to remind yourself to stop and do a mental and emotional check in through the chaos of the day.

  • Alarm for time just for yourself: Set an alarm on your phone for 2-4 times throughout the day. When it goes off, take a few moments to reconnect with yourself. Do something you enjoy (listen to a favorite song and dance, do some yoga stretches, read a page of a book)

  • Notes/talk to text/voice memos to yourself when driving or walking: Use your phone for good. “Write” yourself a letter via talk to text or voice memos. Make it a letter telling yourself about who you are, things you enjoy, goals you have

And a few more to keep you going….

  • Take purposeful time off of social media: Social media can be a bitch who whispers lies into your ear. Don’t let it overtake you. Take purposeful time away and replace it with something more life giving for yourself

  • GET OUT (And figure out where there’s childcare if needed!): Maybe this is work, maybe it’s a pottery group, maybe it’s a running group or workout class, maybe it’s another way to get out by yourself but JUST GET OUT and be part of the bigger world. Motherhood can be a bubble sometimes. (Note: I fully believe that for a few weeks after baby, you shouldn’t push yourself to get out. Recover and rest.)

  • Visualize yourself as a new “birthed” person and giving her space: With every baby born, so is a mother. Visualize your birth into motherhood with space to grieve what is gone and welcome what is new.

  • Tell your story: Your birth story. Your “this is how today is going” story. Whatever. Talk about it- don’t feel pressure to always be 100% supermom.

  • Leave “mommy” groups that make you feel like shit: Honestly, leave any space (online or in person) that makes you feel like shit.

Redefine Your Thinking to be More than Mom

Listen, sister. You might have to practice thinking. Yes, you’ve thought for your entire life, but with so much new, you need to give yourself space to practice thinking, feeling, experiencing. Try different approaches. Be graceful about imperfections.

The transition to motherhood can be lonely, but momma you’re not alone. The feelings you’re feeling- other women feel it too, even if it’s not talked about much.

If you’re a new(ish) mom or expecting, check out the Postpartum Together groups. These quarterly small groups provide a place for you to go into the raw, authentic and often taboo aspects of postpartum with the safety of a small group of women going through the same things.

find my identity as a mom