Year #5 – Let the Countdown Begin!

I am eagerly anticipating the countdown to January 25, 2022! On that day I will officially have a five year old! I am a mixed bag of emotions because the day also marks my fifth straight year of breastfeeding. It feels like she was just born and we were struggling to find our breastfeeding rhythm (we had our share of challenges). The calendar says five years but somehow time has paused. My internal clock tells me that we were discharged from the hospital yesterday, however, reality says that I am five years into my motherhood journey. I am excited to report that our breastfeeding challenges no longer exist! My baby and I are truly in sync with no end in sight if she has her way! Stay tuned.

Here are a few of my takeaways. Enjoy and share with a friend! đź’™

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Black Breastfeeding Week 2021

I look forward to this week annually because it is a week to salute Black Breast/Chestfeeding parents. I always eagerly anticipate the unveiling of the theme in the weeks leading up to August 25th. The 2021 theme, The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power, honors Black Breastfeeding and the power of rest as a revolution for our communities (refer to photo). The theme is fitting for the steps required to restore our minds, bodies and communities as we continue to provide nourishment to our little ones.

Last year we were in a different space and the call to action was to revive, restore and reclaim our breastfeeding experiences. I wrote about it extensively here. An entire year has passed, yet systems and outcomes for Black parents and infants remain the same. Black Breastfeeding Week is still needed because racial disparities in breastfeeding rates have yet to be eradicated. We are also still in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic which adds additional complexity to an already complicated dynamic. Two factors—the current reality and our collective need for rest—can exist simultaneously because the work can be exhausting. We are tired!

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May is Maternal Mental Health Month

New and expectant mothers (parents) experience a variety of changes—hormonal changes, physical changes, changes in lifestyle, changes in sleep patterns and changes to the daily routine. Pregnancy and birth can be an exciting time and it may also bring about unexpected mental health concerns. Let’s face it—bringing forth new life is stressful. The love for the newborn does not erase the sleep deprivation, isolation, added responsibilities and the inability to partake in self-care. Talk about an emotional roller coaster that seems never-ending! Unlike a roller coaster at the amusement park, this ride can last well after the first year following birth.

“Maternal mental health disorders typically occur in what is called the perinatal period. This includes the prenatal period, or time that a woman is pregnant, and the postpartum period, which is the first year after the baby has been born.”

Mental Health America
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Three Years and Counting…

“Breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime.”

— Unknown

I am a mother, social worker, therapist and lactation counselor. I never envisioned that lactation would become such a major aspect of my life following the birth of my daughter in 2017. The books I read throughout pregnancy made breastfeeding look relatively easy. By no means did it look comfortable; but it certainly looked relatively easy. Latch the baby on after birth and life goes on. Simple… Simple was not my story but for now I will spare the details. Let’s just say that I focused on one hour at a time in addition to living my life in three-hour increments. We were the little engine that struggled for a variety of reasons.

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Allow Me to Introduce Myself

My name is Salimah (she / her / hers). I am a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and I run Maziwa Tribe. Maziwa Tribe is a safe space that provides breast / chestfeeding support and brings attention to maternal mental health matters. My interest in lactation came following the birth of my daughter in 2017. Stay tuned because I plan to chronicle our journey in a future blog.

I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) specializing in individual, family and group therapy. I have provided counseling in a variety of settings including private practice, in-home, hospital inpatient / outpatient psychiatry, collegiate and various community environments. I work with adolescents, adults and families. Mental health is a career switch from the corporate arena (most thought I was absolutely insane). In my past life I worked as a Packaging Engineer for a number of years with several major consumer products companies. Navigating corporate spaces taught me the importance pursuing my passion and taking charge of my personal happiness. I exited the corporate world almost 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back.

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