Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thank You, Amalah

My favorite mommyblogger, Amalah, writes the advice column on the parenting website AlphaMom. Amalah always does an amazing job of putting difficult issues into perspective, while reminding us that laughter is almost always the best medicine. She has a week by week pregnancy calendar that is spot on and hilarious. And it was Amalah who finally convinced me and APL that cloth diapering was not actually all that scary (and now if you ask me what I think about cloth diapering, I will gladly rant about how awesome I think it is. But, in fairness to you, I'll wait until you ask!) In any event, I've come to value Amalah's stories and advice when it comes to many mommy-related topics.

I had never written to an advice column before, but when my joint pain started to return and I found myself thinking in circles about whether or not to keep breastfeeding I decided: what the heck, let's give it a try. So I sent Amalah an email requesting advice about my situation. I didn't know whether or not she would respond or even what I expected her to say - especially since I knew from reading her blog that she doesn't have any personal experience with RA (or other autoimmune issues for that matter.) But I figured that there must be other moms out there who were forced to stop breastfeeding to take care of their own health, and I thought Amalah might have some general advice for us.

And she did. Amalah published her response to my question on Wednesday - which was really perfect timing after my discouraging rheumatologist appointment on Tuesday. It was also the same day that OZL turned 12 weeks old, and I realized that I have already made it twice as far with the breastfeeding as I thought I would when I originally wrote to her for advice.

The whole column was really uplifting and full of great advice. Here is my favorite bit:
Try as hard as you can to not view every day of nursing as potentially “one of the last,” but as a major, awesome accomplishment. Don’t let the inevitable weaning dominate your thoughts and keep you from enjoying the days you have. 
This is excellent advice. I must admit that recently I've been dwelling so much on the inevitable end of our nursing time that I haven't really been savoring what we have together now. I need to do that. I need to look down at my baby boy and commit those moments to memory - the feel of his soft skin, his tiny quiet sounds, the contended look on his face. I want to remember those moments forever and if I keep focusing on "the end" I'll miss out.

Aside from offering uplifting words and excellent advice, there's another reason that Amalah's column about RA and breastfeeding is totally amazing. During my pregnancy, I spent a lot of time researching the issue, only to come up mostly empty. There just isn't a lot of good information out there. Anywhere. When I realized that resources were few and far between, I scoured the internet looking for personal stories from mamas who had come before me. I knew I couldn't be alone in wanting (needing) this information. I knew there must be other RA mamas out there who might have some pertinent advice - or at the very least help me feel less overwhelmed and alone. In all my searching I managed to find one or two blogs that contained breastfeeding stories from fellow RA mamas. A couple more RA mamas have contacted me through this blog. But, still, the personal stories were also few and far between.

But in just three days, the comments on Amalah's column already contain more stories from fellow RA/autoimmune mamas than I managed to find in nine months of pregnancy-induced crazy research. It's truly amazing. There's a wealth of advice and support blooming on the thread - like a little community for us to realize that we aren't really alone. And, since AlphaMom is a pretty well-known parenting website, hopefully the mamas who come after us will have an easier time finding the information and support they need.

So thank you so much, Amalah, for responding to my letter. Your words mean more to me than you could ever possibly know. And you've done something really amazing for the arthritis/autoimmune community.

1 comment:

SLOCoaster said...

I have a smile on my face. Loved reading your post today.