Fierce Mama Feature: Bridget Caldwell

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Larken is a name meaning fierce and was chosen out of the recognition that motherhood is beautiful, but it isn’t always easy. Larken presents #fiercemama, a series dedicated to spotlighting the many fierce mamas out there and shining an honest light on both the beautiful and challenging motherhood moments.

We had the opportunity to connect with Bridget, an incredible mom to one year old, Hazel. Though breastfeeding did not come easy to Bridget, she just celebrated one full year of nursing her daughter Hazel, and selflessly, has also been pumping breastmilk for a foster child. Read on to hear more about Bridget’s breastfeeding journey, advice for new moms and how she quickly raised her hand to help a family she barely knew.

TELL US A little bit about you and your family.

For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted was to be a mother. Hazel was SO planned, and it took us 6 months of careful planning and trying to conceive. She is an absolute firecracker and cannot be made to do anything she doesn’t want to (no surprise that she was a week late). She is the sweetest, most loving angel who loves giving hugs and kisses! She walked early just before 10 months and is Miss Independent!

What has your nursing and pumping journey been like?

Oh man, it’s been a roller coaster. It was extremely difficult at first. We had a heck of a time perfecting her latch and finding the right positions for us. I honestly never thought we would get the hang of it. Once I went back to work, I also dealt with a dip in my supply and have worked tirelessly to produce enough milk and keep up with my growing girl! Pumping is something I am still learning to enjoy! It is hard work making milk but it is SO worth it! 

Tell us how you began pumping for a foster child and what that experience has been like.

It was really so unexpected! An old college friend-of-a-friend randomly messaged me on Facebook one day. Honestly, initially I thought she was going to try to sell me something but as I kept reading, she was reaching out to see if I knew anyone or could personally donate milk for her foster daughter. I knew immediately that I wanted to help! Since then, we have struck up a much closer friendship! I honestly feel so privileged to help nourish another little angel!

What advice do you wish someone told you about becoming a mom?

Don’t forget to take care of you! Becoming a mother is the most amazing, awesome honor and responsibility, but it is easy to lose yourself to your new identity as mama. It doesn’t have to be anything big, even if it’s just a 10 minute shower or a walk around the block. It’s good to have some alone time! 

Also, postpartum is a lot harder than anyone tells you. The bleeding, the hormones, the breastfeeding. Give yourself some grace! It’s ok to cry and feel overwhelmed! 

Tell us about a time when motherhood was particularly challenging for you.

Actually just this last weekend we had our first trip to the ER. It was absolutely horrible, and I don’t know that I will ever stop blaming myself for what happened. Mom guilt is SO real and although you may sometimes know you’re being irrational and that not everything is your fault, that does not make you feel any less bad.

What are you most proud of as a mother?

Gosh, it’s hard to pick just one. I am proud of the human Hazel is becoming. She is strong, independent, and fearless. She is sweet, kind, and playful. She has the most personality I have every seen in a child her age!

I am proud of myself, proud that I pushed through the really tough times of breastfeeding and have made it a whole year with no end in sight!

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