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Erin is the brains and words behind MyBeautifulBlunder.com and mother to three healthy, vibrant girls. If you take a look through her a raw, up-close-and-personal stories about her journey through IVF you'll notice a honesty and authenticity in her experience. She brings a strong, encouraging, vulnerable voice to what she's been through to make other women feel less, well, alone. We had a chance to speak with Erin about her journey through IVF, the loss and heartbreak but also her newfound perspective on motherhood, breastfeeding, and beyond.
I didn’t share or talk about my fertility issues, struggles or losses for almost 8 years. Not talking was affecting my mental health, my marriage and my relationships with others. I also felt very alone and isolated and I thought, there must be someone I could connect with and even help by opening up. So one day I wrote it all down in a blog. I wrote for weeks until a friend of mine suggested for me to create an IG account and share there so that more people could see my story. So I did. The amount of community and support I found was incredible. This allowed me to continue to want to share and open up even more. There weren’t many people sharing everything and I wanted to make sure those who weren’t sharing know that they weren’t alone.
Oh it absolutely has. It’s made me more self aware. I have become so in tune with my own feelings, my own needs and desires. Mainly because I also fell into a deep rut after my twins were born. My marriage was failing and I was doing 0 for me. SO I had to find my voice again, for myself and for my girls. Once I did it changed me and it reminded me that I wanted to set the stage for my girls and I wanted them to see me happy. And while being a mom has made me the most selfless version of myself, its also made me realize it’s ok to still be a little selfish. I’ve also become more empathetic. Motherhood is hard and not one person has the same experience. I’ve realized everyone has a right to mother the way they see fit and unless you’ve walked in that persons’ shoes, there is no room for judgement. So I continuously offer support and understanding rather than “advice” and judgement.
With the twins I had a lot of milk. My body knew I was producing for two. So much so that I produced enough to stop pumping at 6 months (for a hernia repair surgery) and have enough milk for the two of them for another 3 months. With my rainbow baby, Eriela, I had the same production. I knew I was blessed with a good supply so I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to keep it up. Having gone through it before, I knew this would just be a short period of my life and pumping 6x a day wasn’t going to be forever. I breast fed her but by month 5 we were solely giving her breast milk through her bottle (and still are at 8 and a half months).
I think, for me, it was important. I have been through so much that I wanted to experience it all with her. But honestly breastfeeding was hard. I have 10 year old twins and was missing out on a lot with them because of my time spent feeding. So between my frustration and then the fact that Eriela started to prefer the bottle by 4 months, I decided I needed to exclusively pump to keep my sanity in check. And honestly, we are ALL much happier about it.
It has saved me! We have taken a few trips and I was so nervous to have to pump in the car, or on the airplane with her on my lap. But having the willow pump really helped me do this with ease. It really is a game changer if you are on the go or if you like to move around AT ALL when you’re pumping. As I mentioned, I have twins who are 10 who really need my presence in different ways. The willow pump has allowed me to be there for them and not worry about pumping or not pumping. I’m actually still pumping twice a day and I know I’ve been able to go this long because of the convenience of the pump.
Give yourself grace! Honestly it’s all a learning game! I mean you are all of a sudden supposed to care for this human who you’ve just met and know nothing about! It’s a lot.
Best: Your mental health comes first! Applies to anything and everything but circling back to breastfeeding and pumping. If its stressing you out, it’s not worth it! You have to do what you think you need.
Worst: Eat cilantro to get pregnant (but yes I tried it for weeks, still nothing).
Customer service is amazing, use them! I had questions left and right and every time I reached out I had the absolute best experience. Also you can pump anywhere, be proud of that!
If you could give your former postpartum self any advice (words of wisdom or encouragement) what would they be? I would say be patient with myself. I would say time moves so quickly and I would say don’t fight anything that society thinks you should be fighting for. Fight for the moments that make you feel happy and whole. I would say, take the shower, ask for help, pee in peace and eat!! These aren’t luxuries, these are things that make you human, and no matter what, you are still human. Also, you are doing a great job.
Learn more about Erin's journey at mybeautifulblunder or follow her on Instagram.
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