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Giving birth made me look at my body differently… but in a good way.

From as way back as I can remember, I always had an obsession with my image. Being the daughter of a black woman and a Puerto Rican father, who looked like a Taino Indian, there was a “look” I was suppose to have. Of course, I didn’t create that idea, instead it was implanted in me by my elementary school classmates and random people I met growing up.

I remember being told, quite often, that I couldn’t be hispanic because I wasn’t light skinned. They expected me to be Selena Gomez’s when, mind you, my mother’s skin color is comparable to Denzel Washington’s and my father was darker than her! Sadly, it didn’t stop there. You see, my father had long, straight, black hair and I don’t. So, it became “you can’t be hispanic because your hair is too nappy.” As a seven-year-old, those words knocked bits of my self esteem away.

Fast forward three years later when puberty started. When I was younger, I expected to look a certain way physique-wise. I had been surrounded by voluptuous women my entire life and when little lumps appeared on my chest, I thought I’d be a D cup the very next day. Okay, maybe not the next day but when an entire year had passed and I resorted to stuffing my bra with toilet paper, I knew something was up.

A lot of the other girls in class seemed fully developed and I felt like nothing had changed for me. I’d overhear them talking about how annoying bras were while my bra was really just for show, a placeholder for what could be. I couldn’t understand how I had started puberty earlier than most of my classmates and was now the hare losing the race. The body I dreamed of was just that— a dream.

My teen years weren’t any better. The taller I got the more my weight evened out around my body. Being tall plus having a fast metabolism equaled out to be for one very skinny me. I was embarrassed. How in the world was I still looking like a little girl when I was supposed to be blooming into womanhood? I was pissed off and I was jealous, jealous of every girl that didn’t have my struggle.

I would see other females and pick out the parts of their bodies that I liked and imagined how I’d look with them. I was creating a Dena-Stein monster in my head. Even at seventeen I was sure that I’d still have a chance of looking like everyone else. But puberty was done. My body had missed the train to Voluptuous Vile and I was stuck in a body I did not want.

I was able to give myself some reassurance that my body wasn’t all bad. I had a thing for how I looked in lingerie and by gully I bought so many pairs of matching sexy underwear that I own less actual articles of clothing. But I didn’t care. You could’ve told me to wear bikinis everywhere I went and I would’ve gladly done it. My past boyfriends always complimented me on my pretty underwear and it felt amazing. Really, I should have known it wasn’t the underwear they were excited about.

I was searching for any reason to simply like my body. I was tall and thin and though I started getting praise for it by older women and mothers who just couldn’t lose their baby weight, I hated my body. I didn’t want it. I wanted the body I was so sure I would get once puberty hit. I didn’t get that and I resented every bit of the body I felt I was punished with. I was desperate to feel proud of it but I couldn’t help but loathe it.

I was like a spoiled child not getting what they wanted from the store when there was no promise of getting anything to begin with. I’d throw tantrums in the bathroom when the jeans I had just bought didn’t fit right or my bra didn’t quite hug my barely there girls. As dramatic as I acted, no one truly knew how I felt about my body and I tried really hard not to roll my eyes at comments like, “You’re so lucky! You can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound.” I didn’t feel lucky, I felt plagued.

The grass wasn’t green on my side, in fact it was brown! Sure, I got into a relationship with a guy that loved all of me but he was over 300 lbs and hated his own body. We were an insecure mess but I loved him just as he was and he loved me the same. It’s a strange thing to come across someone the complete opposite as you but they have the same body image crisis. It’s like the universe brought us together to learn from each other or as a joke.

About three years after we got together, I became pregnant with our daughter. After feelings of fright and excitement came thoughts of my perfect body. “All pregnant people gained a ton of weight”, I thought. Finally, I was going to gain weight! I was actually looking forward to that. Imagine my surprise when I found out that’s not how pregnancy worked and even with a bun in the oven, every body is not created equally.

Normally, I weighed 141 pounds the highest my weight got, while pregnant, was 156 pounds. The crazy thing is, I gained 15 pounds but my pants were falling off of me and shirts that were tight around my arms were now loose fitted. No doubt about it, I was upset. The one sure way for me to get child bearing hips didn’t work! My body had the audacity to betray me?! I felt defeated.

After my nine month pity party, labor and delivery went easy enough. It’s funny how at no point during my thirteen hour ordeal did I think about how my body looked. Not when the EMTs wheeled me into the hospital and told me how “lucky” I was to look four months pregnant instead of 39 weeks. Nor was I thinking about my physical appearance when my stomach felt like it was getting ripped apart or when I was in my birthday suit with strangers huddled around me screaming “PUSH.” Oh, no. I just hoped that my body wouldn’t fail me— that it would dig strength from the depths of my soul to help me bring my baby into the world.

As I laid with a tiny person on my chest, I couldn’t help but look at my sagging stomach with no regrets. And when a TV commercial came on for wounded soldiers and then for breast cancer survivors, I couldn’t help but weep. I was holding a life that the body I rejected created. How could I have been so ungrateful? I hadn’t gone through war that left me disabled or gone through a life threatening disease but somehow I had less of an appreciation for my body than the people who did. They were happy that their bodies survived— that they survived. Their bodies mustered up the strength to keep going. I cried and I cried.

When you look at life through insecure glasses, you tend to find every pathetic flaw within yourself. You build this idea that first and foremost you must be good enough for everyone else. You create the assumption that somehow what others think of you is more important than what you think of yourself. From an early age, lies about who I was suppose to be trickled into my mind and created a flood of unnecessary and preventable insecurities. Even on the days that I felt beautiful, I worried about whether or not others would think the same thing.

It took giving birth and being in such an open and exposed state for me to fall so madly in love with every part of me. It didn’t come from a family member, or friend, or even from a significant other. It came from the very body that was no good to me for years. There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes from being released mentally from something that weighed you done all your life. My body impressed me more in those thirteen hours than it did for twenty four years.

I’m not saying that if I woke up with junk in the trunk I wouldn’t be excited. What I am saying is that I love the body I have for what it is now. However it changes, I’ll love it then, too. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to tweak your body here and there: Get some abs, tone up, get a bigger butt(wink wink). I’ve just learned that I have to want it for myself and make sure it’s not some idea someone else tried shoving down my throat because they think God created me jacked up.

I’m unapologetically showing off my thin frame with pride, with the knowledge that it kicks ass. Yes, I am “lucky” to have my body but not because I’m skinny. I’m lucky because it hasn’t failed me— because after all those years of completely hating what I considered a corpse, I realized how valuable it is. I look back now and pity myself. I spent so much of my life incredibly insecure for no reason.

Now, I go out of my way to tell women how beautiful they are. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. I struggled in silence pretending to have all the confidence in the world and if I had genuine compliments instead of sugar coated insults, growing up would have been a lot easier. The truth is, there’s no such thing as the perfect body. As cheesy as it may sound, we are different and that should be celebrated not judged. Heck, if you’re the only one celebrating your body that’s really all that matters. I learned that what I think of myself is far more important than what others think of me. Others might come to that conclusion in some other way but as long as they do, it’s a major win!

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I’m obsessed with watching my kids eat

Growing up, my family struggled a lot. We were poor—not just poor but very poor. I remember one time, the only thing in our stomachs, for five days, was water from the facet. I lost about ten pounds during that time. Food stamps ending our five days of tears, stomach growls, and despair. I think that had to be the hardest time in my mother’s life.

We struggled, yes, but it was never that bad before and thankfully never got that bad again. We were always grarunteed two meals at school so even if we had little at home, we still ate. Unfortunately, those five days were during Christmas break and there was no chance of us getting fed any other way. It was difficult time to say the least.

Now that I’m a mother, the fear of not being able to feed my kids sometimes cripples me. I pinch every penny, I look for the best deals, and I never spend more than I have to. I don’t want to feel the devastation my mother did. I sometimes think her life echoes in mine as I come to the realization that at my age, she too was a single mom of three. Could history repeat itself and cause me to be so down on my luck that I wouldn’t be able to provide such a basic need?

As of now, that hasn’t happened and I find myself cooking and preparing meals with immense glee knowing that my kids won’t go hungry. When I set their plates before them, I see their faces light up and they usually shriek with excitement. “Yummy mommy!”, “I like this food.”, is what I hear from time to time in between bites. It’s like music to my ears and I can’t help but smile.

There are moments after we say grace and they begin eating, that I tune out the world and just stare at them. Their giggles filling the dining room. Conversations about how their day was and what they want to do during the weekend bounce off the walls and invade my observation. “We can do that on Saturday”, would be my reply to their inquiries. I soak up every bit of those times.

There is no better feeling than knowing despite my hardships, my children won’t go without. They know nothing of my struggle and dinner time is a celebration and not a reminder of how bad we really have it. Happiness stretched across their faces is a complete contrast to the days I would cry to my mother telling her I was hungry and she’d tell me, “I know baby”, and hand me a cup of water with a little sugar in it.

I know  what I went through was something that humbled me but that’s not the way I want my kids to grow up. That’s not how I want my kids to become appreciative people.  We all go through some lessons that taught us something and hope to God that our kids don’t have to go through it too. I don’t want the pain of watching my kids starve and I’ve been blessed enough not to have to. So, when I see my children stuffing their messy little faces, sometimes getting food all over the table, I’m thankful knowing that their bowls will be empty for the right reasons.

As always ((Huggs & Love))

 

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It’s been a while

Hello, to you! It’s been such a long time since I’ve written a blog post. Between having a job, raising kids, and dealing with a more-often-than-not difficult ex, I’ve been BUSY! It’s hard coming back to a place I feel so at peace at knowing I was neglecting it.

A lot has happened in the last few months and I’m finally ready to share. I’ll probably break everything down subject or rather struggle by struggle. Things have not been easy but God has blessed me a great deal.

Now, what about you? How have you been?

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The reality of my life as a single mother.

If any of you have read my posts in the past, you’ll know that I left a very bad relationship about 2 years ago. What I never updated you on was that I went back to my ex a year later. Long story short, I was living the exact same hell as before and then some. Surprised? I surely acted  like it was surprising.

So, four months ago I truly decided that I had had enough. I spent the day feeling miserable and down, wondering what kind of life I was living.  My ex’s family had flown up to LIVE with us just a week prior. From the moment they came, I could tell my ex was unhappy. So from him being OKAY and us being in a decent place at the time, the added stress of  having 3 more people in the house got to him. It showed in the way he treated me because as usual he never took his frustrations out on who caused it. And here I was feeling out of place, getting treated like I was a plague to his existence.

I snapped emotionally. I decided that I didn’t want to stay there any longer. I told him I wanted to leave and he told me no. Months before, he had implied that in order for me to leave, I’d have to be dead, so a part of me was afraid to go. He also had my debit card and refused to give it back to me because his money was on it ($19) and told me when I started working I could get it back. I made sure to call my sister in the middle of the drama so if anything happened, someone would know. After realizing that I was telling my sister everything that was happening, he snatched the phone from my ear and left the room.

Guys, there is so much that happened that night that I might just make a video about it. What ended up happening was I packed a weeks worth of clothes for the kids and I, got my cousin to pick us up, and left the apartment around 12am. He was so pissed; if looks could kill, I’d be dead.

There was constant fighting and back and forth after that. Then he’d pretend to be good and act like he was changing only to flip out when I said I was never going back to him. I felt nothing. Plus I had already told all my family members what really happened behind closed doors and if I even thought about going back to him, they wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.

Within a months time, I got a job. It felt like forever! I was blessed to get hired at a daycare so my kids could be there with me. I love my job and honestly the hardest part about it has been getting to and from work. I catch the bus at 7 am but I have to leave the house by 6:35 am in order to make it there in time. Sometimes, if I’m late, I have to carry my daughters the entire 20 minute walk. It might not seem like much but when it’s pitch black outside, you’re carrying around 68 lbs plus their backpacks, and you have to power walk, it’s tiring mentally and physically.

The afternoons aren’t any better. It takes me an hour to get home from work between the bus and walking. It’s a 13 minute drive! Then the sun is so hot some days, I want to pass out. And those are usually the afternoons where I carry my daughters in my arms because I know if I feel weak, hot, and tired then they do too.

It’s not easy. Sometimes I cry and pray and cry and pray because I don’t know what else to do. Each blessing comes with another challenge and I feel so burnt out. I am grateful for everything, it’s just hard trying to keep going when you feel like you have nothing left.

I can say that this experience has shown me that there is a serious need for assistance to help people who have been in my shoes. I hope that I can start some sort of charity to help people get on their feet especially with kids and little to no one to turn to.

The truth is, I’m better off now than I was two months ago. It’s all about progress. Yes, I struggle a lot but it’s only for a shot time. I hope to get a car, more than anything, so that my kids don’t have to go through this. One day!  By the way here’s a Video  of what outside looks like when I head to work.

As always ((HUGGS & LOVE)) and I plan to write more soon!

 

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Now officially a mother of three…and I LOVE it!

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In the hospital waiting on daddy to finish work and me and baby to be discharged.

For anyone that’s read a few of my last post, you’d know that I was having another baby. If you didn’t know, well, now you do. 🤗 My pregnancy was a bit rough but not too bad. When I first found out I was pregnant, my stress level went to an all-time high. I felt guilty. I had a one-year-old and a two-year-old who only had been two for three weeks when I conceived. I wondered how in the world I would be able to give three kids, under 3, all my attention. I did it with two easily but THREE?! I didn’t know if I could handle it…I didn’t know if my older kids could handle it. Would they hate the new baby? Would they feel like I was neglecting them?

I barely accepted that I was pregnant. Why? Because I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think that I would be mother enough for three babies. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before but I couldn’t imagine having the capability to be a super mama of three. Other women had done it and are doing it now, but I never thought I’d be joining them.

Fast forward two Thursdays ago. I’m in pain so bad my vision was failing me. I had to be super mama still. My kids were in my room and I couldn’t let them see me in pain. I comforted them and talked to them, making sure they were okay. I hugged and kissed my little humans because no amount of contractions could stop me from making my kids feel safe.

You have to do things like that. Be strong, even in your most painful moments. Your kids need that from you. I couldn’t believe what I was able to do! All my fears were erased. As much as I wanted to hoot and holler, I sucked it up for my baby girls.

My daugthers were able to be in the delivery room with me. One was sleeping and the other one was watching videos on my phone. Surprisingly, they actually caught on to the fact that their baby brother was no longer in my belly. It’s amazing how smart a then one-year-old(turned 2 two days after her brother was born) and a two-year-old can understand.

I took the first picture you see after my kids and their dad stayed my second and last night at the hospital with me. He had to go to work for two hours that morning. He left around 9am so he could go home and get ready for work at 10:30. As nervous as I was to be alone at the hospital with all three of my kids, I let him leave the girls with me. I got discharged after 12pm and he came for us a little after 1pm. By some miracle all of my kids slept for most of the time I was by myself. Both girls woke up briefly and then went straight back to sleep. Of course my newborn only woke up to eat, or rather, I woke him up.

Honestly, there are certain points in our lives where we are taken over by fear. Sometimes we think we don’t have the strength to live through something or to do something but we do! We just have to believe it. The idea of having three kids under three, petrified me. I was beyond scared but once I had all my kids with me I thought, “Yeeeeeaaah, I can do this!” Encourage yourself and believe you are capable of anything. No matter how difficult you think it might be. You got this! You can do it!

Like always guys, ((HUGGS & LOVE))

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One week after the first picture! 🤗❤️
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I need to write more!

Lately, my brain has been working really hard at not working at all. My desire to do things become squashed by my overactive imagination. I like to write…No, I LOVE to write. That’s why it’s  funny and even strange that I haven’t been writing as much as I use too. I’ve slacked off quite a bit. Okay, a lot.

I don’t know what the heck is wrong with me. I don’t lack ideas, I simply lack will. In January, I wrote my first full book. I’ve been writing books for years but never finished them. I finish them in my head and then don’t want to bother myself with writing it on paper. It feels like I’ve watched a movie then have to watch it again but this time take notes. Anyway, I wrote the book in a week’s time. Whenever my girls napped, I wrote. Sometimes I’d stay up until three in the morning writing. That’s why now I don’t know what’s different. I can’t even write for an hour.

I haven’t even been blogging! My blog is dear to me and it has  given me so much joy but I do find it has taken a backseat to my uninteresting life. I have more time now to write and yet it seems like I have none at all. I begin to write then abandon the entire thing. Once again, not for lack of ideas but lack of will and desire.

I need to get back into the groove of things. Rebuild my romance with writing. I need to express myself and open myself up to feelings outside of my everyday routine of emotions. I guess it’s a reflection of my personal life. I am stressed  and it is depressing. Not like “I need meds depressing” but more of a “cut my a break, life is touch!” I can’t continue like this. I can’t just not write because my life’s a mess. Heck, that’s the best time to write.

I miss it all very much. It’s like a friend you haven’t seen in years but when you meet up, nothing’s changed. As I write, I feel so empowered. It’s amazing what a little self expression can do. Giving up something you love doing is a BIG mistake! You can go a little bonkers. I think that’s why I was in a slump. I didn’t write for a while so I didn’t want to start writing again because I was feeling down but maybe I was feeling down because I wasn’t writing. Make sense?

I needed to get that off my chest. As I write this my daughters are sleeping on my chest. Lol. Just like old times. It feels completely natural to be up late, pouring my heart out as my daughters sleep. It’s 12 am now so I think I’ll join them.

Thanks for reading ((Hugs and Love))

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My creativity is dying to come out again!

Painting I made last month

One thing I had before becoming a mother was my creativity. I would sketch, doodle, sew, all the time. I remember drawing all over my copybooks in class without even realizing it. Art was my first love. I was always able to express myself through it. I never really got over that love and now that I have babies it’s been calling me up more!

It’s not like I completely left my creativity behind but it has taken a backseat to my kids. I yearn for it but most of the time having to take care of a newly 2year-old and 1year-old has taken center stage. I’ve missed sewing, painting, drawing, and writing so much. I get to squeeze in some writing every so often but the deep concentration I need for it only comes at nap time. I have painted within the last month but it’s still not enough. I haven’t sewn anything since my little sister’s prom dress…LAST YEAR!

It’s tough when your head is full of ideas but you just don’t have the will nor enthusiasm to create like you use to. My girls have this thing were they’ll play with no regard for me UNTIL I began to write, or paint. I’m sure there’s a radar somewhere in their body that alerts them. Lol! I feel bad if I don’t show them the attention. I don’t want to to feel like “oh, mommies busy. She’ll just ignore us.” No way! I love when they well…she me love. Sometimes they act like I’m bothering them so when they want to play with me I’m all for it. I have teenagers in babies’ bodies. Haha!

Another Painting I made last month

I see my girls face light up when I bring out the paint and brushes. I haven’t let them paint anything recently; however, my oldest took it upon her to hijack my baby blue paint and open it so she and her little sister could hand paint the coffee table. Fun times. In the, literally, 15 seconds from her taking the paint to me turning around 1/3 of the table was blue! I sense a bit of creativity in them too. Oh, all kids that get their hands on paint smear it around and make a mess? I don’t think so buddy my kids were creating art! Lol…I kid…I kid. Seriously though, I do want to find a way to help them explore their creativity while I explore mine.

I made this last Thursday for my friends mom.

I’m not trying to say being a mommy stopped me from being creative. I stopped myself. Not because I had to but because I wanted to. I love to create things but what I’ve been more interested in creating is memories with my kids. Yes! I know, I’m corny as heck. That’s all honesty though. I am getting back in the groove of things. Slowly, my creativity is being released. Hopefully I can do a whole lot more in the coming months.

Still working on this painting

((Hugs and Love))

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“What’s the hardest part of being a mom?”

‘Couple days ago, my friend asked me “What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?” She’s 21 with no kids but dreams of having some one day. My answer wasn’t what she expected. I said, “The hardest part is worrying…worrying about if they’re safe, about CREEPERS. I worry all the time!” She continued, “Worrying? Is it like when you’re apart?” I told her that me and the girls are 99.9% of the time never apart. I worry in general.

I think everyone expects a mother’s response to a question like that to be something like, “The late nights and crying duet is the hardest part.” I know some women complain of no social life. Sorry, not sorry…I’m not concerned about a social life, my girls are more important than drinks at some club– I don’t even drink. I don’t need a “break” from my mothering duties. I don’t mind late nights because one day I’ll long for them. I don’t mind them crying over me giving them juice instead of milk because I’m not ready for them to be crying over a boy.

My daughters are my world…my life. They’ve given me so much more purpose. I want to give them everything they deserve, and that includes thinking about them now and forever. I don’t just worry about their safety– I worry about the people they’ll become…the impact they’ll have on the world. I know, wondering if my 1year-olds will end world hunger and create peace among all nations is a bit much. I actually care about the type of humans that leave my home.

I worry a whole lot! It keeps me up at night sometimes. Tonight as I gave my girls a bath and watched them splash and kick their feet trying to make bubbles,  I worried. I worried that one day something as simple as a bath won’t make their day. I worried that life won’t bring them bath-time-like-joy. Even in such a precious moment, where my kids were having the time of their lives, I worried. I couldn’t help it.

I have fears beyond my control. My mother was a worrier too. She saved us from potential sexual abuse…abuse that was happening to classmates who begged my to sleep over. My mother never let me and my siblings sleep over to just anyone’s house. In my entire youth I’ve only ever slept by three homes: My grandparents’, my cousin’s(my age), and my mother female friend who had four kids of her own(about 2-3 times that my mother wasn’t present.) I thought she was controlling and killing my childhood but her worrying saved me. Her worrying stopped me from having sex at a young age and being a teen mom like her. Her worrying stop me from running the streets like the other girls, my age, living in the same projects I did. I wondered why she worried to such an extent but then I became a mom and I’m far more paranoid than she ever was. Lol!

Worrying is the hardest part of being a mother. It’s not money, it’s not the crying, it’s not even the tantrums thrown in public. I don’t know what other mothers might say but that’s how I feel. It’s not going to change no matter how old they become either. Like always guys ((Hugs & Love))

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The battle between stay at home moms and working moms.

I believe that most mothers know that there’s some type of unspoken war between moms who stay home with their kids all day and moms who, go out and work. You choose what you want to do depending on what’s best for you and your household. We all have our reasons but some women tend to judge the ones on the other side of the fence.

Selfish! You’re selfish if you leave your child in the care of someone else so you can work. You’re selfish if you don’t get a job to help contribute financially to your child’s upbringing. Take it easy ladies! Even though I’m a SAHM I still try to find work-from-home jobs, not because someone told me to but because I want to. I can understand why both sides make their decisions. I myself wanted both. I can’t judge another mother for doing what she felt she needed to do. If her kids are loved and well-taken cared of, that’s all that matters. MYOB! Lol

Besides being seen as the worse mother in the world, you can also be labled as lazy or a work-aholic that doesn’t love your kids. Listen, once again, different strokes for different folks. Wanting to be at home with your kids doesn’t mean you’re trying to run from working and working doesn’t mean you’re trying to run from your kids. I would love to have a job and make lots of MONEY but that’s not my reality. With two girls, child care would cost more than their monthly expenses in just one week; I’d be working to pay someone to take care of my kids because I’m working to pay them. Get it? Some people can afford that and still have money left over and then some to be able to help pay bills. I mean depending on how low or high your income is you can either get assistance or have enough money to pay for whatever without blinking an eye. It’s all about your life and your needs as a mother and family.

I thought that mothers supported and encouraged each other for the most part. Turns out that just like with any other thing, personal decisions on working or staying home can ruffle a lot of feathers. I was once oblivious to the tension such a topic could create. How can you, not knowing someones background, assume anything based on a mother that works or stays home?

I’d like to hear some thoughts on this. And like always, (Hugs and Love!)

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What no one tells you about breastfeeding boobies!