Mom Friends Postpartum Care Kits: The Hero We Deserve

[Jerry Seinfeld voice]

What’s the deal with babies getting all the stuff?

baby shower gifts

My first born was hella spoiled.

I mean, let’s be real: when it comes to getting that baby out, mom does all the work.

She nurtures it inside of her for nine long months, and when the big day finally arrives, she endures the most painful hours of her life in the form of labour or severe abdominal surgery.

And don’t even get me started on the recovery process.

Guys – this baby thing is no joke. Mom deserves something for her efforts.

Fortunately, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

MOM FRIENDS POSTPARTUM KITS: THE HERO WE DESERVE

Mom Friends Postpartum Kit

Look, I’m all about showering babies with clothes and toys and RESPs, and I am so incredibly grateful for everything that I have been given.

But like the Food Shower, sometimes it’s good to give mom a little extra something. Whether that something is in the form of food or adult diapers – there isn’t a new mom I know who wouldn’t welcome it with open arms.

Speaking of adult diapers, I was fortunate enough to receive the Above & Beyond the Bump Postpartum Care Kit courtesy of Mom Friends, a Canadian company that is working to bust postpartum stigma and increase women’s access to practical information, peer support and postpartum resources.

[Frank Costanza voice]

Finally, a Tucks for the rest of us! (And a bunch of other sweet PP swag, too, so keep reading).

ABOUT MOM FRIENDS

Mom Friends was founded by three Canadian women who know a thing or two about what moms really need after giving birth. They’re moms themselves, so they’re not afraid to tell it like it is: having a baby is serious business, and women need all the support they can get.

Adult diapers? Check.

Cooling pads for your nether regions? Check.

Delicious milk chocolate to snack on while in labour? HELLA CHECK.

They know what’s really going on during that joyous postpartum period, and their kits definitely reflect it.

Don’t believe me?

Keep reading.

The Kits

Mom Friends Postpartum Kits

Currently, Mom Friends offers two postpartum care kits – Beyond the Bump ($65) and Above & Beyond the Bump ($93) – chock full of practical and essential items moms need after delivery. Click here to learn more about them from the official website, or continue reading to see what is in my very own personal kit.

ABOVE & BEYOND THE BUMP

Mom Friends Postpartum Kit

Mom Friends Postpartum Kit

I don’t know about you, but when I pack a suitcase, I fold everything poorly, cram as much as I possibly can into it, zip it up, and say a little prayer. These kits on the other hand, are clearly packaged with expert care. First impressions are everything, and Mom Friends impresses right off the bat.

Unlike me, it’s obvious that this company pays close attention to each and every detail, and that includes everything from the packaging to the products themselves. There is no cramming. There is no praying. Simply a flawless box polished with a delightful bow.

It’s basically a work of art. I almost didn’t want to open it.

Almost.

There’s a reason I’m a writer and not an entrepreneur – but enough about my failed dreams: let’s get to the good stuff.

FOR THE LADYBITS

Mom Friends Postpartum Kit

Mom Friends has mom covered from head to vagina – literally.

Let’s start with the latter.

We all know that for most women, labour means that their ladybits are about to have the worst day of their life.

But it doesn’t have to totally suck.

This kit has everything a woman could possibly want to ease postpartum discomfort “down there”, including:

  • Adult diapers
  • Feminine pads
  • Granny panties
  • Epsom salts
  • Tucks personal cleansing pads
  • Witch Hazel
  • Perineal spray bottle

Why this is awesome: Thanks to Mom Friends, I don’t have to look the 17-year-old Shoppers Drug Mart cashier in the eye when they ring up a sale of bulky, overpriced adult diapers and mondo pads. Also, did you know that Witch Hazel can be applied to a cesarean section scar to reduce pain and swelling? I wish someone had told me that two-and-a-half years ago.

FOR THE BOOBIES

Mom Friends Postpartum Kit

To help mom out on the upper deck, this kit also contains:

  • Lanolin nipple cream
  • Disposable and reusable nursing pads

Why this is awesome: For the breastfeeding mom, there’s no greater joy than not having your expensive nursing bras stained with over-eager breastmilk. I’ll also take no cracked nipples for $100, Alex.

FOR THE MOM

Mom Friends Postpartum Kit

Keeping hydrated and fuelled for what could be a marathon labour is no small task.

And that’s just pre-baby challenges.

After baby comes, mom needs to be taken care of as well – both physically and otherwise. Fear not, Mom Friends once again has you covered. In the Above & Beyond kit, there is also:

  • Lip balm
  • Lactation tea
  • A soap bar
  • Chocolate and energy bars
  • A water bottle
  • Brochure on postpartum depression

Why this is awesome: While I’m tempted to list a thousand reasons why chocolate is bae, I have to give a shout-out to Mom Friends here for not shying away from the fact that postpartum mental health is important AF. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, as many as 20 per cent of new moms experience varying degrees of postpartum depression, so if you plan on bringing a new mom a savory treat when you visit her, don’t forget to also ask her how she’s doing. It may not be as delicious, but it’s a hell of a lot more sweet.

NOT AS UNFIT

As my due date looms, I’m feeling more and more prepared thanks to the incredible support system I have around me.

But many women aren’t as lucky.

If someone you know is expecting, be a friend. Don’t forget about baby, but I urge you to strongly consider a Mom Friends postpartum kit in lieu of a diaper cake and 20 pack of facecloths.

Trust me – a little extra mom love will go a long way.

Mother and newborn

Four weeks to go until I can do this again!

Less Stuff, More Food: Why The Food Shower Is Where It’s At

This past weekend, my aunt threw me a small, intimate baby shower to celebrate my second little boy who is currently roundhouse-kicking his way across my uterus.

Now you may be wondering: but Becca, you don’t seem like the type of humble, agreeable human being who would enjoy such festivities, so what gives?

It’s true.

I don’t particularly like showers of any kind, including – but not limited to – ones that are thrown in my honour. However, due to the past and present generosity of both friends and family, my tiny black heart has managed to grow several sizes.

This weekend was no exception.

The theme of this shower – and by “shower”, I mean “a relaxing, casual afternoon surrounded by close friends and family sipping wine and eating gourmet sandwiches” – was food.

Food: literally the best part of life.

Food: get in my fat, disgusting pregnant belly.

Food: listen, I can’t stop eating … no seriously you guys, I have a problem.

The Food Shower

The Food Shower is hands down, the most brilliant way to help out second-time moms since rich people invented the nanny.

In lieu of gifts, tacky games, and similar standard baby shower fare, guests were instead asked to prepare and bring a meal that could be frozen, so my family wouldn’t have to worry about eating McDonald’s five nights a week cooking immediately after the baby arrives.

No cooking.

No grocery shopping.

No meal prep.

No dishes.

What new parent wouldn’t want that? Screw diaper cakes and games and registries – give me family, friends, and frozen meals any day.

So if you’re planning on throwing a mom-to-be – especially a second, third or fourth time one – a baby shower, consider this alternative to the standard nonsense.

Less stuff, more food.

You literally can’t go wrong.

Especially with a haul like this.

To My Newly Pregnant Friend

Image courtesy of Babycentre.

You’ve been waiting for this for so long, and it’s finally here. It probably doesn’t even feel real at this point.

But holy crap, you’re pregnant!

I couldn’t be happier for you, and I am so thrilled you are joining me on this journey. We’ve been on this adventure together before, and we’ve had many since. There have been ups and downs, but today, everything is up. Everything is good. I want to celebrate and shout it from the rooftops. There are so many things I want to say, and there are some that I know I don’t need to.

I don’t need to tell you how exciting this is.
I know how hard it was for you to get here, to this place. How frustrating this journey was, and how much you had to sacrifice. But it paid off, and nothing can compare to that feeling: the joy of a brand new life, the simple thrill of things finally working out, and the quiet anticipation of the days ahead. Hold onto that excitement, because frankly, you are going to need it.

I don’t need to tell you how scary this is, either.
More than anyone, you know the flood of emotions that comes barrelling in the second that line turns pink. For most women, it’s a moment of pure, utter joy. But for women like us, it’s a little more complicated. After the initial shock, there’s a brief moment of happiness, which quickly melts into fear. Overwhelming, crippling fear. Will it happen again? And will I survive, if it does? Let these feelings in, but don’t let them win. Don’t let them stamp out your joy.

I don’t need to tell you that there are going to be some dark days.
Any pregnant woman will tell you that pregnancy isn’t full of sunshine and rainbows. It’s certainly not “glowing” for many of us, and it can be a long, uphill battle physically and mentally. We both know how easily the mind drifts to dark places during those first few weeks, and I won’t sit here and tell you that it won’t happen again–because it will. It will happen many times. But don’t worry — you’ve got this.

I don’t need to tell you that the darkness doesn’t last.
You’ve been down this road before, and you know just as well as I do that there will be days where you feel like you can’t face anything, or anyone. This darkness will come and go, but I promise you it won’t last. Remember that, when you’re in it. When it seems like it’ll never end, remember that it always does. You’re living proof.

I don’t need to tell you that this is going to test your relationships.
Family and friends can be your rock, but they can also make you feel like you’re sinking. It’s not their fault — often, the people who love us the most are the ones who come up short. Lean on the ones you can trust, and leave out all the rest. They will understand. And if they don’t, that’s on them.

I don’t need to tell you this might also affect your work.
At the end of the day, I know you take pride in your career, and care about doing good work. But this is going to test that. In the coming weeks, you’re going to be exhausted, preoccupied, and most of all, careless. You’re going to be frequently absent for appointments and tests, and the worst part is, you’re going to make mistakes and maybe even fall behind. Just remember to take care of yourself, and do the best you can. It’s all we can ever do.

I don’t need to tell you that nothing is guaranteed.
This one hurts the most to write, because we both know how true it is. I promise that I will never be the friend who tells you to “hang in there,” or “it will be okay,” because I don’t know for sure that it will. Nobody does. I do know, however, that today, you are pregnant. Today is a good day. Hold onto that while you wait for tomorrow to get here.

I don’t need to tell you that I get it.
I get it all–every last hope, fear, frustration and sprinkle of joy peppered in between. If anyone gets exactly what you’re feeling in this very moment, it’s me. So whether you’re scared about a loss of symptoms at 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning, or having trouble deciding on names for your new baby the day I go into labour, know that I will be there to answer the phone. I’ll always be in your corner since you’ve been in mine pretty much since the day we met.

And in a few short months, you’ll have another person to look out for.

Lucky kid.

You’re In Hell

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a long time.

Last year, it was too raw. Too new. It was still difficult for me to find the words, even after a full year had passed.

Today marks two years to the day since the worst day of my life.

Two years ago today, I almost lost my son.

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It started a week prior with enough to make any new parent concerned: a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea. But on February 19, 2015, it became dire. My three-month-old was emaciated, dehydrated and in obvious distress. A decision was made, and an invasive emergency procedure was done to save his life.

He was then immediately transported to the ICU, where the nightmare continued.

The next few days and hours are a blur, but there are few moments that stand out, and always will.

The Video

We alternated nights in the hospital – only one parent could stay overnight at a time. On this particular night, my partner was there and I was home. I wrote about what it was like being at home here.

That night, he took a video of our son minutes before everything changed. I didn’t receive it until the next morning, something I have yet to decide was a blessing or a curse. It showed my baby writhing in pain, eyes sunken and darting around wildly, tubes protruding.

I’ve only ever been able to watch it once.

The PICC Line

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Due to a completely destroyed gut due to a severe milk protein allergy, my son couldn’t receive anything orally. A regular IV wasn’t enough, so he had to be given something called a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line – an extremely invasive intravenous line that enters the body midway up the arm and extends to the superior vena cava (a fun little vein above the diaphragm that has the important job of returning deoxygenated blood to the right atrium of the heart).

This was the only way he could receive the nutrients he needed to keep him alive while his body healed.

The Brain Ultrasound

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I’ve never spoken about this one because I’m still not quite sure it was real. A photo exists, so it must have been.

Later that day, a team of neurologists were brought in to perform an ultrasound on my little boy’s brain. The purpose of this, we were told casually, was to assess whether or not there was adequate blood flow to his brain after the crash that sent him to the ICU hours earlier.

In other words, they were checking to see if he’d had a stroke.

Not much more was said. Instead, watched as they huddled over a portable ultrasound machine, whispering quietly amongst themselves. I don’t think I blinked as I observed them move their tiny wand over his tiny head, for what truly seemed like hours. Maybe days. I don’t know.

They didn’t speak to us, or even acknowledge our presence. They were stoic and mechanical; pointing and writing, whispering and analyzing. They left as quickly as they appeared, and it wasn’t until several days later we were told everything was fine.

You’re in Hell

While everyone around us was sending their love and well-meaning but essentially empty platitudes, there was one person who was brave enough to tell me what this really was, and where we actually were.

“You’re in hell,” she said.

It was strange hearing that at the time, because I was so used to being placated by gentle words. I had grown so accustomed to hearing things like “we’re praying for you”, or “things will get better”, that when I was told that I was I hell, it shook me a little.

But through all the noise, her words spoke the loudest. She was a mom who had been through similar trauma, and she wasn’t afraid to cut through the bullshit. She allowed me to acknowledge that this was a place that no parent ever wanted to be, and it was okay to be angry. It was okay to be scared, and it was okay to admit that for the time being, the darkness wasn’t going anywhere.

But in that moment, I understood that one day, it eventually would. I will always be grateful to her for that.

Two years later

Two years later, you would never know that my truculent little fart machine overcame an almost inconceivable trauma. I often look at him and wonder what life would be like if he weren’t here anymore.

I don’t allow myself to push those thoughts away.

I force myself to think them, because I know what it’s like to teeter on the brink. I don’t speak about my gratitude, because I can’t find the words. I remember hell, because we made it through.

And you will too, if you’re there.

I promise.

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Mommy and the terrible, horrible, no good very sad brain

Somehow, I miraculously dodged the postpartum depression bullet like a ninja wearing a giant diaper-pad after the birth of my son.

I’m not sure how I did it, to be honest.

So many things went wrong those first few months that I should have been thrown into a pit of despair, starting with the unplanned c-section I still get choked up talking about.

Maybe I just didn’t have room for PPD.

Maybe something else was in the way.

Unfortunately, we’re all out of PPD at the moment, but would you like to try the suppressed grief instead?

From the unplanned c-section recovery, to the Great Breastfeeding Battle of 2014, to the most terrifying milk protein allergy hospital ordeal of all time, I still wonder how I came out of that first year relatively unscathed.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, a staggering amount of new mothers aren’t quite so lucky.

As many as 20% of new moms experience varying degrees of PPD, and as many as 80% experience a mild form, known as the “baby blues”. Symptoms include overwhelming sadness, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, sleeplessness and trouble bonding with the baby. If these symptoms persist and are left untreated, this type of depression can last for months, or even years after the baby is born. For the handful of women I have personally known to fight this battle openly, I also know that there are just as many, if not more, who choose to fight behind closed doors.

I happen to know a little about the latter.

When my father died, I shoved it all away. I refused to talk to anyone, and the worst part was that the grief I declined to acknowledge was compounded when I experienced recurrent pregnancy loss a short time later.

So if you’re reading this and you’re going through some pretty heavy stuff – PPD, grief, anxiety or literally anything else – I want you to know that you can reach out to me, anytime. Leave a message below, email me at rebecca@rebeccaford.co, or if you know me in real life, get in touch.

But I also want you to know a couple more things, and I’m not going to go easy on you.

1. You are not brave.
I say this with love, because I know what it’s like trying to do this alone. It won’t work, and it won’t get better, I promise. Fighting alone isn’t you being fearless, it’s you being stubborn. Asking for help takes real courage. Reaching out is brave.

2. Burying your feelings isn’t cute.
I wish I sought help a long time ago, when I needed it the most. Instead of dealing with my feelings in a healthy, adult way, I have always been more comfortable burying them, or burying them at the bottom of a box of wine. As you can imagine, it’s been highly ineffective. I know you may be shocked to hear this, but burying your feelings doesn’t actually allow you to feel anything at all. It masks the pain, and until you feel each loss—I mean really feel it—you will always be stuck in that pit I mentioned earlier. Don’t get stuck there. It’s uglier than you could ever imagine.

Don’t tell me to “get over it” unless you want a drop kick to the back of the head

As I sat in my midwife’s office today wiping away tears that seemingly came out of nowhere, I felt completely humiliated.

It’s been two years. Why can’t you get the hell over it? I scolded myself. Crying in front of complete strangers is easily in the top-three most humiliating things to do in public, next to sneeze-farting and getting your period in a white skirt.

I digress.

We’re just constantly told to “get over it”, and I have no idea whyWe are told this so much that today, I was actually angry at myself for not “getting over” a traumatic birth experience that happened to me two years ago. But feelings aren’t simply something you can turn off, like flipping a light switch, or that time I found out that Johnny Depp hit women.

(You’re dead to me, Johnny).

Bad breakup? Get over it.

Stressed out at work? Get over it.

Simply feeling sad about life? Get over it.

“Get over it” and “move on” are the boilerplate poster children of bad advice, and frankly, I’m sick of hearing them. Believe me, if someone could just “get over it”, they would. No one wants to lie in bed all day with the curtains drawn, wallowing in anger, sadness or grief.

So here’s an idea.

How about instead of asking people, women, moms and everyone in between to “get over it” and “move on”, we say, “Hey, let’s talk about it,” instead?

How about that?


January 25th is Bell Let’s Talk Day, a special day each year designed to bring awareness to mental health issues in Canada. To learn more, click here.

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Great, another mommy blogger

If you’ve clicked on the link to this post, I thank you, from the bottom of my tiny, black heart.

No, truly.

The fact that you have made the conscious effort to read this drivel in lieu of any number of infinitely more interesting activities is a testament to how much you value me as a human being, and — hey, where are you going?

For those of you who are left, welcome. You’ve made it a lot further than most people, mainly those who rolled their eyes/ignored my status as I shamelessly plugged this blog on social media.

So let’s get started.

Why unfit-mom.com?

I know what you’re thinking: Becca, what could unfit-mom.com possibly offer me?

First of all, what makes you think I’m doing this for you? Get over yourself.

I write because I love to write and frankly, this blog may be the only legacy I leave my children.

But if we’re being honest, I feel like a complete failure 99% of the time. Sometimes, I seriously believe that I’m breaking the world record for the number of ways I’m botching parenthood. So if I write anything at all here that makes you feel something, commiserate, laugh, fart, or laugh-fart, it will all be worth it.

In conclusion, I really do hope to see you back here, because frankly, I need the exposure.

And maybe a foot rub, if you’re offering.