My story is appearing today on Mamalode… I will do my best to update this page with the link today, but frankly, today just really really sucks for me.
I did have two pictures I wanted to share with you.
First is a picture of a gift from the Firefighter I delivered water with around Ground Zero. (I seriously would love to talk to him. Are you him? Do you know him? If so email me at email@example.com)
He said that this Beanie Baby that he said his daughter had given him. He told me to hold on to it and to remember him always. Trust me, I will NEVER FORGET.
Next is a picture of a Rosary that was given to me by a Chaplin at Ground Zero. I am not Catholic, but I have a deep and abiding faith. There is power in it.
I have so much more I want to say, but right now I just can’t. Never Forget those who died. Never Never Never Forget.
Days after 9/11 I traveled to New York to work with the Red Cross and ended up volunteering at Ground Zero.
I can honestly say I was never the same after being there.
On September 11th Mamalode will be featuring my story, but here in the coming days I am going to post some lead up to it.
I often have trouble putting my experiences into words during this worst time of the year.
I want to begin with sharing something that I have kept to myself all these years.
These two rocks were wedged into my shoes when I got home from Ground Zero that day. I have held tightly to them ever since. Other than my family, they are the first thing I would save in a fire.
This is the Second in the series about Breastfeeding in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. As a reminder, this is my Wife’s personal story and she has graciously agreed to let it be shared here. This website is about inclusion and support, and because of that any and all negative comments will not be approved.
In retrospect it seems horrible that we called our Lactation Consultant “The Nipple Nazi” but it isn’t a name we came up with. In fact it was what pretty much everyone in our medium sized town called her. (She probably knew about it and didn’t care, because she was not ashamed of her passion when it came to helping new Mom’s feed their babies.)
Ever since we had brought Asher home, he was unable to latch. We saw our Doctor, various nurses, and Mecalah consulted with her friends who had breastfed. She used spacers on her nipples that made her look like her breast were out of some Sci Fi movie in order to encourage Asher to latch. Mostly, though, she pumped. She pumped and pumped and pumped. Almost every time she pumped she would try to get Asher to eat himself, but he never could get the hang of it.
Since I had no Paternity Leave (which is a topic for another day), I had to return to work rather quickly. Which left her at home to struggle during the day without me there to support her. Let me clarify that I know she didn’t NEED me in order to successfully breastfeed, but having a shoulder to cry on and someone to tell you it is all going to be ok is never a bad thing.
When she told me she had made an appointment with The Nipple Nazi in order to get some help I was kind of freaked out because at this point Mecalah was pretty fragile. To feel like a failure when it came to feeding your child on top of the postpartum hormones that were raging…well I can’t imagine what a fierce internal struggle she was going through. “All I do is pump!” she would cry. “I feel like I’m not even getting to enjoy being a Mom because I am constantly hooked up to the machine.” I lavished her with encouragement but I was getting worried for her. I wanted to her to be able to enjoy these first weeks, not cry through them.
The day of the appointment came and I feel like I prayed all day. My Mom was in town to help with the baby and was going with her, and although I knew she would back up Mecalah, she was also intimidated by the reputation of woman we were going to see.
Mecalah texted me about an hour after her appointment time and told me she couldn’t wait for me to get home and that she was so happy with what happened at the meeting. I knew in my heart that the consultant must have figured out a way to get Asher to latch, after all what else could have lifted my wife’s spirits so much?
I got home and Mecalah was upstairs with Asher, so I rushed in the bedroom. I picked up my son and told my wife to tell me all about it.
“I’m giving up!” she told me.
Huh? What had happened at this meeting? My wife had been so determined to get Asher to latch that she went to see someone called The Nipple Nazi and now she was giving up?
She went on to explain that, although her consultant was unendingly pro-breastfeeding, that she explained there were are some woman that it will just not work for.
I can feel the internet getting up in arms about this. After all this is a pro breastfeeding post during World Breastfeeding Week and I am saying to give up?
No, I am not telling YOU to give up. I am saying that for my wife, after talking to countless medical professionals and consultants and nurses and friends and loved ones and strangers on the internet that, in the end, what was BEST FOR HER was simply to pump for as long as she could.
And that is what she did. And our son is healthy. And happy. And loved.
But, surprisingly, the only people who have made my wife feel like a failure are some of the people who are the most outspoken advocates of breastfeeding. They have told her she didn’t try hard enough. That she should have stuck it out.
To her, they are telling her that she should have sunk deeper into a depression, which is turn would not have bonded her with our son, but driven a wedge between them.
We support breastfeeding moms. We think that you should be able to feed your child anywhere you want without covering up and that no one should bother you.
But we also support the right for Moms to be happy and do what is best for them and their children.
So this week, remember, that you should set aside judgement and celebrate the fact that Women’s bodies are an absolute miracle.
The Pappy and his family support you! Not because you do or do not breastfeed, but because you are a Mom. And that in itself makes you AMAZING!
Recently I have been revisiting some of my old writings. This is from December 2013, when my wife was pregnant with our first child. It moved me. I don’t really remember writing it, but I can remember having all of these emotions. I wasn’t a Pappy yet. But I was on my way.
“Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?”
“Everything is all right,” she said.
2 Kings 4:26
As my wife and I move closer to the birth of our first child, I am gaining a little more perspective on what a gift the sacrifice of Christ Jesus entailed for His Heavenly Father.
My son will make his appearance in this world about nineteen weeks from now. Through ultrasounds we have seen his ten perfect fingers and ten tiny toes. We saw him bring his hand to his mouth and turn flips in his cramped temporary home.
He looks like a mini-version of what he’ll look like when he’s born. All his facial features are formed and hair is growing on his head. He is even acting like a baby and will occasionally suck his thumb or yawn. To me, these things are amazing. He is already smart!
His heartbeat is getting stronger and my wife and I have heard it beat. Even more miraculous are the complex things his body is doing. For example, despite the extremely small size of his bones, his marrow is making blood cells. This may not sound that exciting, but it’s good news. It means that my son is on his way to being able to survive outside the comfort of his Mommie’s belly in this great big world.
I can imagine God looking down on Mary. He is the ultimate ultrasound. Despite the fact that He is the creator of all, or maybe because He is, I envision Him looking at His son, God incarnate, in the womb. Counting the hairs on Christ’s head, all the while already knowing which tree would be crafted into the cross on which this little baby’s short but world changing life would end.
I would spend all day every day staring at my son growing and moving if I could. I am filled with awe and excitement every time my Wife grabs her belly because she can feel him moving.
Like God did, I know my son is going to change the world.
Jesus was the same size once upon a time. So innocent, so fragile, so perfect. Just as He was when He made His trek to the cross. He was a warrior for man-kind. A game changer. An eternity adjuster.
On (or around) April 13th, I will hold Asher Reid Bryant for the first time. He is going to change my game.
Move forward through this Holiday Season knowing that our Lord came to us as a child, grew into manhood, and then made the ultimate sacrifice so that we would live eternally in Him.
Show the world that the birth of Jesus Christ made everything all right. Show them that we have a peace that can only come from Him. Make that peace contagious.
You may not have a kid on the way, or big plans for Christmas, or even feel you have much to be joyful for. I challenge you to change your game as this year comes to a close. Explore how you can change your world and in turn change someone else’s.
Remember the promise: “Everything is all right.”
Not easy, not perfect, and sometimes scary, but no matter what, hold to the truth that one day you will run into the arms of your Savior, sit in His lap, look Him in the eyes, and know at last that it is indeed all right.
This is part one of The Pappy’s series about breastfeeding. This is an important topic that is emotional for my family. I, of course, talked to my wife before sharing our story, but we know we can help others. If you have something you would like to share with my readers about breastfeeding, I encourage you to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As my wife and I prepared for the birth of our first child we didn’t talk a whole lot about breastfeeding beyond the fact that she planned on doing it. Although I made it a point to educate myself as much about birth and what she would go through as I could, I didn’t think too much about breastfeeding. I took for granted that it would be easy for her. I will admit something that in retrospect seems dumb, but I thought because she had big breasts it would be easy for her. I guess in my mind her cup size indicated that she would have tons of milk which would in turn mean that Asher would be able to drink to his hearts content.
Our birth experience was long and emotional but beautiful. We had a Doula who held our hands from start to finish and my wife was a tiger! In the moments after Asher was born I think I forgot that my wife had any vulnerabilities because I had just seen her thrive under what were unimaginably painful circumstances. I was in awe of her and I knew that she could do ANYTHING, so I never thought twice about the moments soon after birth when she would go to nurse our son.
We cleared the room and with our Doula at our side she placed our son to her breast. It was a beautiful moment of bonding between the two of them. Asher, though, didn’t latch. We didn’t worry though, and knew we would try later.
While we were in the hospital my brave wife tried. And tried. And tried.
We asked every nurse, every doctor, our Doula, and lactation consultants. Asher never seemed to be able to latch.
My wife cried a lot when he would try and fail. No fail is totally the wrong word. There was no failure involved. She would cry a lot when he would try and be unable to latch.
She pumped in the hospital and on the way home we stopped and rented a hospital grade pump from a lady referred to as the Nipple Nazi. We were afraid of her fervent commitment to breastfeeding at the time, but in a week or two we would be so very comforted by her encouragement.
Mecalah pumped day and night it seemed, all the while working with our son to try to latch. I spent a lot of time laying next to her on the bed holding our small son while she filled little bags full of milk. I felt kind of useless during this time because I wanted so bad to be able to help her, but aside from breaking down the breast pump and cleaning it, followed by transporting her milk to the freezer I felt powerless. So did she.
Long story short, we tried many things, but Asher never latched.
As I look back, I see many things I did right and some things I could do better. I look forward to sharing both with you.
Yes, I am about to compare fatherhood to a septic tank, but stick with me for a moment because it all meshes together very well in the end.
I love to work in my yard. Now that it is summer I am out there all of the time. We just got a free trampoline off of craigslist and I can’t get my kid off it. Living out here in the middle of nowhere you have to create your own entertainment, and part of how I entertain myself is by working in my yard. My flowers are blooming, the mulch is fresh, and my grass is green.
To the side of one of the two huge trees in my yard, nestled beautifully in the shade, is a large patch of grass that is so thick and lush that it makes the rest of my yard pale in comparison. I love to cut that spot because when it is all the same size and free of clippings I can almost imagine my whole yard looking like that.
As I was cutting my back half acre, I kept pondering that patch of grass. Why is it so green? Why so thick? Then I realized…poop!
Living here in the country we don’t have city sewage, we have septic. Now if you aren’t familiar with a septic system, and I will save you the gory details, but what happens is that your poop sits in a large tank while it is eaten by bacteria, then slowly leaches back in to the earth via your drain field.
That patch of grass is in my drain field.
I know you must be wondering where this is going, and no it has nothing to do with dirty diapers. Parenthood is a drain field. You take all the ickey, annoying, frustrating things about having a small human that depends on you for EVERYTHING, you process it through your experience, time, love, and compassion and pray that it makes the little patch of grass you created thicker, lusher, and happier than all the grass around it.
Like my septic tank, parenting isn’t always pretty. But in the end, something that isn’t always bright and shiney will have a part of creating something beautiful and lasting.