Monday, September 1, 2014

Leslie Kung is a 30 year old mother of 3 who double majored in English and Philosophy (a million years ago in college), and went on to become a postpartum doula and birth trauma advocate. She also teaches and leads a babywearing group and a birth trauma support group. Interests include tabletop gaming, sewing, writing fiction and poetry, swords, martial arts, belly dancing, reading (from epic high fantasy series to smutty, terrible romance novels), and her three amazing kids.

Musings of a Mama on Labor Day: Kintsukuroi and Discarding Perfection
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 I love stumbling on words from other languages with no English equivalent. Kintsukuroi is the act of using gold to fix something broken, like ceramic cups, bowls, or plates; understanding that it is more beautiful having been broken and repaired. We have no word for this, and no strong cultural theme to this effect. We live in a disposable and replaceable consumer world. If it’s broken, we throw it out and get a new one. (Not all of us, but probably the vast majority of America). I think that living in a consumer culture makes it hard to really connect and be present in our bodies and with our babies and children as we go through the many changes of pregnancy, birth, and mothering. We don’t acknowledge the changes our bodies go through. We don’t see the beauty in each wrinkle, stretch mark, cesarean scar, and grey hair, or find ourselves worthy of care and repair like the Japanese practice of kintsukuroi. Instead, we are taught to be ashamed of our bodies. We are told to hide those tummies, cover up those breasts while they feed our babies, and to diet away our strong fat reserves--the energy our bodies have stored there for a purpose.

We are sold the idea that birth is just something that happens (not something that matters in the long run), and the definition of a perfect baby is one who doesn’t interfere with the life you had before or the life you want to have now. We are sold the idea that we should want a certain body type and that stretch marks should be erased with creams and treatments. We are sold an idea of perfect mothering that looks like hand sewn dresses and pinterest bento box lunches. We are encouraged by the media to think about how to “get our bodies back” soon after birth by losing weight, exercising, even surgery. We are told that stay at home moms are “out of the workforce,” and those who do stay at home are passed over at dinner parties in favor of the lawyer or the dentist. We are expected to bear the rudeness every time your husband’s boss says, “Gosh, it must be nice to stay at home and have all that time.”

This Labor Day, I would like to raise a toast, in a cup laced with gold-filled cracks, to the mothers who toil every day without pay at the hardest job in the world. This toast goes out to the women who labored and birthed their babies; to those who never got to labor and/or birthed through cesarean incisions; to those who lost their little angels; to the mothers at Walmart trying to manage a toddler tantrum and juggle a baby and groceries; to the moms who get off work only to take their second shift at home with the housework and kids; to the adoptive moms struggling with attachment disorder and ‘are you the nanny’ remarks; to the new mom struggling with breastfeeding; to the LGBT moms of the world dealing with ignorance and hatred; and to the mothers out there who think they are broken, who think they are doing it all wrong, who are sure they are screwing up their kids forever. I picture all of us as a huge, smashed tile mosaic, the cracks filled with gold, every single piece a different color, shape, and design.

Everything you think is wrong with you, everything that has happened that made you cry, and every scar you pick up along the way, picture all of these as cracks you put back together with a line of pure, shining gold. The commercials, products and magazines won’t ever tell you this, but you can’t “get your old body back.” There is no turning back time. New science tells us that every pregnancy, viable or not, that a woman experiences leaves her with embryonic stem cells and slightly changed genetic material. These tiny little bits are gifts of love from our babies, and they have been found in the tissues of womens’ hearts experiencing problems and failure, attempting to heal the mothers’ bodies. They have been found in the brain at the site of an aneurysm, and also in cancerous tissues.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go back. I might ache more some days than when I was 20, and my stretch marks have their own stretch marks--but I wouldn’t wish to get my ‘old’ body back. This one has the lasting signs of three beautiful children and old scars of experience and wisdom.

Once you take a piece of paper and crumple it up, even if you smooth it back out with your hand, you can never undo the crinkles as if they had never been. Once the paper is crinkled, the trick is to see it as more beautiful than it was before. The lines of light and shadow add interest. The paper is set apart and unique in all the world. So are you. There are millions of women in the world, but none are YOU. As you change and grow and move forward, you only get better. Your hard work in the world doesn’t seem to ever end, though. That’s because you are a mother, and mothers are the ones who build whole societies. Without mothers, there would be no people.

After my traumatic birth experience, I often felt as if I were shattered. I know there are women out there who have experienced trauma, depression, anxiety, abuse and more. It’s hard to see the good in the bad, especially when you are sitting in the dark dark places of your minds. I know you feel like you are alone in that dark place, but you are NOT alone. Feeling broken, having been injured/cut/hurt...that’s the low point in the long journey. You might not see anyone else walking the same path and struggling uphill at the moment, but if you call out, someone might hear you and wait up. Someone might be able to give you a hand up and walk beside you.
As a wounded new mother, I didn’t know that I would one day appreciate the struggles I have come through, and how they have helped me grow and change and ultimately to reach out and help others. As a new mom of one child after a horrible birth experience, I also didn’t know that things could get worse. I experienced my first true post partum depression for the first time shortly after my third child was born. It was bad enough that my husband and a friend took me to the ER, and I was admitted to the hospital for three days. More cracks to fill with gold.

Labor day is to celebrate laborers and workers. So take a few moments to celebrate yourselves, mothers. Breathe in, and breathe out. Let yourself be imperfect and beautiful. Love yourself, and know you’re not alone. Maybe you earn a paycheck, maybe you don’t--but mothers are the ones who work no matter what, even when they are so ill that they can only crawl from the bed to the toilet. They usually don’t get holidays off, bonus pay, or compensation for their duties. The strength of their backs and arms are what create and hold together families, and families are the fabric of society, like beautiful and varied patches on a large quilt. Or like kintsukuroi.


Over $550 in prizes!!
Hosted by
Our Awesome Co-Hosts are:
A Special Thanks to all the blogs
helping to promote this giveaway!
Our Great Sponsors:
There will be 3 winners.
Grand Prize Package
Retail Value = $221
Package of  two bluapples
Squeasy Snacker
Newman's Own Organics Hi-Protein Pretzels Newman's Own Organics Berry Blend Newman's Own Organics Chocolate Chip Cookies Newman's Own Organics Olive Oil
Block Island Organics spf15 & sunburn relief
Little Sun Solar Lamp
Skin Nourishing Oil
$50 Gift Certificate for
$25 Gift Certificate for Miriam's Earthen Cookware
1st Prize Package
Retail Value = $177
Package of  two bluapples
Squeasy Snacker
$25 gift certificate Glass Dharma
Newman's Own Organics Hi-Protein Pretzels Newman's Own Organics Berry Blend Newman's Own Organics Chocolate Chip Cookies Newman's Own Organics Olive Oil
$25 gift certificate Natural Way Organics
32oz No More Bugs! concentrate
Spray Bottle for Dilution - No More Bugs!
3.4oz Bottle for Mixing and Travel - No More Bugs!
Retap Bottle
2nd Prize Package
Retail Value = $163
Package of  two bluapples
Squeasy Snacker
Newman's Own Organics Hi-Protein Pretzels Newman's Own Organics Berry Blend Newman's Own Organics Chocolate Chip Cookies Newman's Own Organics Olive Oil
woobamboo toothbrush
Colortime recycled tote and markers
Old Wives Tale hair treatment
Faucet Face - choice of 1 bottle
Wild Veggie Apron, 2 product coupons
Fit-Fresh Lunch on the Go Container Set
Fit-Fresh Salad Shaker
I want you to be introduced to our great sponsors.
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Glass Dharma makes these beautiful glass straws!
There are more different straws, stop over to read my review HERE.
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Block Island Organics has this wonderful sunscreen and sunburn relief.
Check out my review about how much I liked their products HERE.
I learned so much from Faucet Face and absolutely love these bottles.
Stop over HERE and see if you learn anything.
Mia Mariu has this wonderful skin nourishing oil.
They have lots more my review is HERE.
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Next is Colortime Crafts and Markers.
This is a recycled tote just one of their many items, see my review HERE.
They have some coupons good until the end of this contest (9/30/14)
15for30C will save you 15%
FRSH11W will get you free shipping
Bluapple has this wonderful product that will save you money. See what I thought about this great new product HERE.
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WooBamboo is serious about being green! See what you think about my review HERE.
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Eartheasy has so many great products.
Check out my review HERE.
Use GYF10 for 10%OFF any Little Sun purchase from now until December 31st, 2014.
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Squeasy Gear makes this great product.
Look over HERE for my review.
They have given us the below coupon for online orders.
Enter SQUEASY20 at checkout for 20% off.
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Retap makes these beautiful glass bottles.
Check out what I learn HERE.
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See what I say about this company HERE.
Natural Way Organics
Please see my review HERE.
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They created a coupon just for people who enter this giveaway.
Use code Green me! to save $5.00!
Coupon expires at the end of this giveaway.
Wild Veggie
Berry Blend - new
Newman's Own Organics
You can see my review HERE.
Miriams Earthen Cookware
Review coming soon
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Old Wives Tale
Review will be coming soon!

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See review HERE.
On to this awesome giveaway.
The giveaway will run from September 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST and is open to US residents, ages 18 and older.  Entries will be verified.  Winners will be notified via email (consider adding las930 at charter dot net to your safe list) – winners will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize or another winner will be selected.
Laura from Michigan Saving and More received products from these sponsors to facilitate her reviews, no other compensation was received. All participating blogs promoting this giveaway are not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This giveaway is in no way associated with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
 Not too long ago, an event on Facebook called Empowered Birth Awareness Week came across my newsfeed. It's a global, annual event that lasts from September 1st-8th bringing awareness to empowering birth. The event page explains, "The purpose of Empowered Birth Awareness Week is to grow the paradigm of empowered birth every year by flooding the public with our vision, definitions, ideas, images, stories and more about empowered birth choices."  This event is allied with, The Trust Birth Initiative, and ICAN. I definitely wanted to be part of this event and give us all an opportunity to have more information about what we can do to make birth better as well as support women's and family's rights. I called out to some amazing women I know to personally share a variety of knowledge and experiences as guests here on my blog. I hope that you find the posts to come throughout the week encouraging and beneficial!

I want to take a minute and share with you a bit of my birth story.  First of all, I wonder why birth is feared.  What makes it fearful?  I used to think that it was a fear of pain.  But since I've birthed three times, I've learned that it isn't necessarily the pain.  I've observed that the fear grows with more procedures and tests.  It can become so overwhelming and cause a woman to feel like they have no choice but to succumb to what has been told of them to do.  I felt that way, at least.  During my second pregnancy, I had developed hypertension to the extent that it was poorly managed on medications.  I was always dizzy and sick.  I had no energy.  I had to switch care providers three times in order to receive the "best" care for my condition.  The obstetricians made me feel like I was a guinea pig.  I felt violated and scared.  I didn't know what to do.  The doctor stripped my membranes without my consent during a cervix check at my 38 week appointment. They decided I HAD TO be induced at 39 weeks because there was a trace of protein in my urine. They rushed me to the operating room during the second stage of labor when my baby's heartbeat went down to 40 beats per minute during my contraction.  At that moment, my body took over.  She was right there, it was my second time birthing and I knew my body was pushing her out.  I didn't need a c-section.  I told the anesthesiologist, "I can do it!" And I did.  She came out like a streak of light, saturated in beautiful vernix.  She had a "true knot" in the umbilical cord which they later attributed to her heartrate decelerations during contractions.  I hemorrhaged... They took my baby for three hours while monitoring my bleeding.  They did not offer to bring her to me or take me to her although she was perfectly healthy.  The whole birthing process that I had was difficult, scary and traumatizing. 
Why was there any need for them to intervene so often? It's not fair that this one day of your life, so many joyous feelings can be disabled.  I think doctors should have more studies done to fully recognize when it's necessary to intervene instead of just because they can.  I think women deserve to be able to possess the birth they want to have.  Women should not have to fear birth.  The goal is that birth practices progress, enhance and promote better outcomes. I want to improve birth! 
Do you have a story to share? 


Milkies Milk-Saver
Let NO Breast Milk Go To Waste!
Hosted by: mama pure
Sponsored by: Fairhaven Health
The Milk Makin' Mamas Event is a month long celebration of breastfeeding & pumping product reviews, giveaways, education & inspiration. Be sure to check out all of the giveaways in the event.
For mamas with oversupply or who leak from the non-nursing breast you may go through breastpads like crazy and wonder how much "liquid gold" is being wasted. With Milkies Milk-Saver you can collect every drop of breastmilk that leaks! It is very slim and goes right in your bra cup for a discreet fit. The included travel case makes it easily portable. The Milk-Saver is also free of both BPA and phthalates! To learn more about Milkies Milk-Saver and other fertility, pregnancy & nursing products visit Fairhaven Health and read the full post at mama pure. Latched On Mom also has a review of the Milkies Milk-Saver that you can look at here-
This giveaway is open to the US and will run from 8/31-9/14. Void where prohibited. 
Latched On Mom was not compensated for promoting this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other social media. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this giveaway or the Milk Makin' Mamas Event please contact Laura at
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Herbal Tea Supplement for Lactation Enhancement
Hosted by: mama pure
Sponsored by: NEED Brands
The Milk Makin' Mamas Event is a month long celebration of breastfeeding & pumping product reviews, giveaways, education & inspiration. Be sure to check out all of the giveaways in the event.

Milky! is an herbal tea supplement for lactation enhancement made with mostly organic ingredients and is super easy for on-the-go. Simply drink one 2.5 oz bottle twice per day. There is no remembering to take pills, waiting for tea to brew, or pinching your nose while swallowing an herbal tincture. To learn more about Milky! visit their website and read the full review at mama pure. This giveaway is open to the US and will run from 8/29-9/12. Void where prohibited.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Latched On Mom was not compensated for promoting this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other social media. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this giveaway or the Milk Makin' Mamas Event please contact Laura at
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Bloggers needed to help spread the word about this giveaway!
If you have anything that you want to include in this giveaway please email: las930 at charter dot net.
Total Value:  $300 +
Sponsors so Far: Glass Dharma Block Island Organics Faucet Face Mia Mariu's blu apple $50 GC
Total Value: $230
There will be 3 winners.
1st prize Glass Dharma $25 gift certificate Block Island Organics - 1 each of spf15 & sunburn rel Faucet Face - choice of 1 bottle Mia Mariu's Skin Nourishing Oil
Little Sun Solar Lamp
Squeasy Snacker
2nd prize Colortime recycled tote and markers 1 set of 2 Blu Apples
Squeasy Snacker
3rd Prize 1 set of 2 Blu Apples
Squeasy Snacker
I will give 2 free links with posting of this Bloggers Opportunity HERE.

Monday, August 25, 2014
The new Molded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads by Baby NiP from Nursing Bra Express are contoured to fit perfectly around your breast and are made of high quality cotton, making them wonderfully absorbent. They are very comfortable and will help with any leaks that you encounter.  
You can read my full review of the Baby NiP pads here-
To cap off National Breastfeeding Month, I'm hosting a giveaway for one lucky reader to receive a brand new package of these from Nursing Bra Express!  All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below.
Open to US & Canada. For those 18 years of age and older, unless prohibited by law.  Giveaway will run until 9/1/14 at 12 am CST.  Giveaway draw is ran by thru the rafflecopter form. The winner will be announced on this post, as well as emailed.  You will have 48 hours to respond, or I will draw a new winner.
 Latched On Mom did not receive payment for the review which was given.  All opinions are my own, written by me.  I have no affiliation to the company, unless otherwise stated. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media.
Let's work together! Latched On Mom Review & Giveaway Policy HERE.

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