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Breasts are sexualised at every turn. They bounce up and down reality television shows and pageants (granted, more often than not, the ones we see don't move), adorn magazine covers, sell lingerie to make bedroom fantasies come true and yet are still publicly rejected, shamed, and bullied when openly exposed in their most natural of states. I often wonder how we made it to the overly advertised earth of the 21st century and still can't publicly display our babies' favourite place to grab a quick snack.
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We're not your traditional family; we're married, we have a son through surrogacy. Family is very important to us, because we fight to be recognized and accepted in everyday life. When our son was born, our birth photo had gone viral. We received a lot of attention, both positive and negative, and recently politicians in Europe are using our photo to make a case against surrogacy and against LGBT families. But to us, family is about love.
Are we enough as moms? Are we doing a good enough job? Are our kids missing out? The list goes on and on my friends. Why do we do this to ourselves? Our kids love us. Unconditionally. They love us when we are at our best, but they love us just the same when we're not.
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It is like a marriage. You will fall in and out of love from time to time but you stay devoted to them. You will have periods where you don't talk much, or talk enough. You will lose yourself, you will lose touch. But true friends don't drift away during those lulls. In true friendships you let resentments melt, and find ways to show kindness, you help each other find your path again. Most importantly, you make a time and space to hang out with them for the purpose of simply hanging out with them.
The truth is, no one prepared me for any of this. Yes, I read about postpartum depression and I read about the sleepless nights, but no one told me that these fears and worries are common and can happen to anyone. I thought I'd be in the clear, and thought I was a bad mother because I was scared. But so many mothers feel the way I did; they just don't talk about it.
We all have dirty little secrets. You know, the kind that you would be mortified if anyone were ever to find out. Most people's deepest secrets are well kept. My parenting secrets are not. I have an autistic son with no filter and he ensures that no secret is safe in our house.
Each week, I sit in my office counselling couples and consulting with them about loss. Loss of the idea that they will have a biological child. By the time couples come in to see me for counselling, often they have been trying unsuccessfully, for years, to conceive a biological child.
Adele noticed changes in her youngest son, Aidan, who was only 14 months at the time. The changes she noticed were: he completely stopped talking; he would not respond to his name; had many night terrors; made no eye contact and he would get much more frustrated.
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My husband, Mike and I met through mutual friends and were together for seven years before we got married. The two of us never thought that our wedding vows would be put to the test early in our life together. At the age of 22, Mike was diagnosed with Wilson disease.
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When my husband and I moved into a place of our own, we knew that we wanted to share our lives with a furry family member. We decided that adopting a cat would be the best option for us. We adopted our cat, Lily (6 years old), from a humane society in 2009 and she instantly brought great joy to us. As soon as we got the news of a baby entering our lives, we knew we had to start early in teaching Lily that a new family member will be joining us. Here's how we did it.
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The emotional distress started to make me feel sick all the time and it came to the point that I just couldn't continue like this anymore. I decided that my first step to healing was to talk to people who have experienced the same type of loss, and by doing this it helped me realize that everything I was feeling was normal.
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It's daunting to be responsible for another life. But it's also selfish... to pass on one's DNA. To have someone who looks up to you. To feel the pride and joy that comes with the pain and tears. Some say that parenthood is the most selfless of "loves" one experiences in one's life. In our case, it wasn't selflessness that drove us to the decision. We chose parenthood because we wanted something out of it.
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As I was preparing myself for my maternity leave, all I could focus on was bringing this new life into the world. I did not want to think about all the changes that were happening at my workplace and did not want to overthink the changes happening in my workplace. Why would I invest that extra energy elsewhere when I needed it for my baby? Besides I was going on maternity leave so I had to come back, right? Well, not quite.
When a friend says postpartum depression is normal, I get disappointed. When a psychologist says postpartum depression is normal, I get worried. When a New York Times best selling author and former U.S. congressional candidate with hundreds of thousands of followers says that postpartum depression is normal, I get livid.