Category Archives: Motherhood

10 Ways to Get Your Kids Involved in Activism

Summer of Activism: 10 Ways to Get Your Kids Involved in Advocacy

We tend to think of politics as being for adults. But how do adults become engaged citizens who take part in their community? They start as children, learning from parents about the importance and benefit of volunteering, voting, and understanding the challenges and opportunities in their community. There’s so much that parents can do to raise children to be active community members. In addition, some of the many skills that are learned along the way, include public speaking, networking, teamwork, strategy, and communication. Continue reading

Help for Parents With Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

About IBD Podcast 39 – Help for Parents With Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

How does IBD affect your family? Do you know about the tools and resources that are available to help you on your disease journey? On this episode of About IBD, I talk with the Director of Patient Education and Support at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Catherine Soto, who outlines the many tools the Foundation provides for anyone with IBD, including those made just for parents, kids, and teens. I also spoke with Dr Rajeev Jain, who tells me about a new, one-of-a-kind resource for women with IBD who want to be mothers, called the IBD Parenthood Project. And finally I called upon Brooke Abbott, co-founder of IBD Moms, to talk about her role as a patient in developing the IBD Parenthood Project, and she entertains me with a small rant about social media.

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Top Picks for Breastfeeding Gear

Amber’s Top Picks for Breastfeeding Gear

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d share some of my favorite products that helped me when I was breastfeeding. “Wait,” you ask, “I thought all you needed was a pair of lactating breasts?” Yes, that’s true, you can breastfeed with nothing besides your breasts and your two arms, but let’s not be martyrs. It’s fine to rely on some items to be more comfortable and make the nursing experience more rewarding. After all, we should do whatever we can to make the time breastfeeding as pleasant as possible. To that end, here are the items that I used — and liked — while I was nursing my two children.
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When Miscarriage Happens To You

Girl On A Beach

When is your family “complete”? It’s hard to know what the answer is to that question and in some cases it’s decided for you instead of by you.

Below includes my experience of miscarriage. Please note this includes a frank discussion of pregnancy loss and medical treatment for such, as well as strong language.

I never thought I’d be writing about miscarriage. To tell the truth, I kind of don’t want to do it now. But I’ve come to realize that holding back is harmful to me, and imparts the feeling that my experiences didn’t serve any purpose. Not that everything that happens has a reason or a purpose, but I have the ability to take this part of my life and turn it into something positive.
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My Spectacular Advocacy Fail

Do you ever feel like the one that sticks out? I do, frequently. I've done my best to make the most of bad situations, but when it's my child that is the one who "sticks out," I don't always react in the most rational, thought-out way.

Do you ever feel like the on that sticks out? I do, frequently. I’ve done my best to make the most of bad situations, but when it’s my child that is the one who “sticks out,” I don’t always react in the most rational, thought-out way.

A man approached me at an event, not an IBD-related one, and asked me what everyone was doing. The event was a walk at a local beach and it happened to be for food allergy awareness.

“This is a walk to raise funds and awareness of food allergy.”

“That’s strange,” he said to me, and made a face of disbelief.

“Why is that strange?” I said.

“Because you think it would be cancer or Alzheimer’s or something.” Continue reading

The Best Tweets From The IBDSC Twitter Chat: Pregnancy, Birthing, and Parenting With IBD

On March 9th, the IBD Social Circle held a Twitter chat to discuss pregnancy, birthing, and parenting as an IBD patient. I was the host, and Stephanie Hughes of The Stolen Colon was my co-host. Our featured gastroenterologist was Dr Edward Loftus, Jr of Mayo Clinic. It was a lively chat with lots of great information that I don’t want anyone to miss! Here are some of the best Tweets from the chat!
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There Are No Pictures Of Me

Amber as a baby

Aww. I’m a baby. Why am I holding a football? No idea. This would have been mid-70s, as evidenced by the green velour couch. It was a super comfortable couch, let me tell you. Great for building forts, too.

At the risk of sounding aged and out-of-touch, daily life was much different when I was diagnosed and even 10 years later when I had my j-pouch surgeries. No smart phones. No Internet. No digital photos. Most people didn’t have computers. A lot of people didn’t own cameras.

This is why there are no pictures of me. There are no photos of me battling ulcerative colitis in my hospital bed. No photos of my stoma. My wasted, 89 pound body. The skin peeling off the bottom of my feet. The blood transfusion. The voluminous amounts of gelatin I ate when my body could tolerate nothing else. There are no images of these things. We didn’t take pictures of them, and truthfully I can’t even remember if I owned a camera, or if anyone in my family did. Continue reading

Why I Breastfed My Babies And You Can Too

Anyone who spends, oh, I don’t know, maybe 5 minutes with me will find out that I nursed my two children. I’m pretty much a fanatic about it. As a matter of fact, I looked into becoming a lactation consultant, but I don’t think I would be very good at it. Not because of a lack of knowledge, but because I would probably tell my patients that they should put aside their ridiculous excuses and feed the baby. I’m sure I’d get results, but I probably wouldn’t be in high demand.

Baby Feeding

Nursing a pre-term baby brought challenges, but we made it through. This child never had a bottle.

With the first child I made it until about 15 months, and the second about 18 months. Why is this extraordinary? Because most mothers don’t make it to even 6 months. Oh, everybody tries in the beginning, but most babies are on formula by 6 months (though this statistic is improving). At least most women try. But as Yoda says: Do. Or do not. There is no try.

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