I headed out to Oklahoma City and man was I in for a surprise! This city has the kind of hometown feel that made me want to pack up my family and move there right away – if I could only bring the San Diego weather along with me!
I arrived midday and was picked up by my host, Jillian of Lettering Express, and sponsor of our annual t-shirt fundraiser. We headed back to her shop where her nursling was also being cared for, and I had a chance to see our #idtNBF16 t-shirts being printed. It was very cool to make this connection to something that I have worked so hard to create and I take pride in the quality of their company’s products and their efficiency.
She is a young breastfeeding mama of one chunky-loving baby, so of course I have decided to make this a long-term partnership to get all of the #NBFmamas their pledge t-shirts. Once she clocked out and everyone headed home she took a moment to nurse her baby boy, then we loaded up her car and headed to her house, where I stayed for the weekend.
If you love big green trees, lots of grass, vintage homes, and that old town feel then you will love Oklahoma City! However, I was told while I was there, “just wait five minutes and the weather will change!” It poured rain as we were planning to all meetup at a local family event, so we moved under a patio cover at a restaurant called Fassler Hall and had some delicious dinner. Afterward, we headed home to enjoy some wine while we caught up on the details for the following day.
Then next morning I was greeted by a local midwife and last-minute mentorship participant, Margarett Scott. After our talk at the shop the previous day it was obvious that she would benefit from my mentorship class about starting your own passion project and it would be great practice for me to teach as well. I am proud to say that we successfully launched her project, 1000 Births, which aims to bring awareness to trauma and shame in the birth community.
That evening I got down to business with putting together all of Goodie Bags for our mini session mamas and even got some cute tiny bags for the group session mamas to make it easier to pre-package the yummy session snacks provided by Bessie’s Best Lactation Cookies. It took a few hours and plenty of wine, but the result was totally worth it! To my surprise, I received a late-night video call from my 30-month-old nursling from San Diego as I was getting ready for bed. He wanted to show me his new motorcycle that his dad bought for him. I was sad as we hung up because he refused to blow me a kiss. I am sure that he was missing his mama milk and warm snuggles. 🙁
The big day was finally here! I slept in, and it felt great. I needed all of the rest I could get before tackling a 4+ hour group session with a nice size group of local mamas and breastfeeding supporters. Before the session started, I was blessed with the opportunity to photograph a Prairie Band Potawatomi, mother of four, in front of a culturally appropriate mural for her mini session in traditional dress. Here is her story:
Unfortunately, some of our Oklahoma City Participants were unable to attend the meetup and group session event due to family emergencies and sickness. I must say, however, that I was taken by surprise when breastfeeding mother and 1st grade school teacher, Sarah Carp, offered up her mini session to sponsor three local moms to participate in her place! This is her story:
“I am a single mom of two. With my first son I wasn’t able to breastfeed due lack of support and him having a milk protein allergy. Now this time around with my almost 23 month old it was a challenge but we are still going strong. From latching problems in the beginning to working full-time. My son suffers from a lot of medical problems. He has a colon that doesn’t function properly, allergic to dairy and rice, dysrhtymia, and seizures. Breastfeeding is so much more than food to my son it also provides comfort and a feeling of security. I will let him self wean when he is ready.” – Sarah
And only a few days before flying out to OKC another registered mama, Kristyna Cleek – who is studying for the IBLCE – was also forced to pull out of the event due to a family emergency also offered to sponsor another local breastfeeding mama to take her place. This is her story:
“My daughter was born perfect, 8 days past her due date. Labor was difficult, 40 hours long, and exhausted us both. When she was born, she was interested in nursing, but had a hard time latching. After six days of constant nursing, and very battered nipples, we perfected our latch and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Nursing has evolved as she has grown- it’s gone from contented sleepy-nursing to boisterous “adventure nursing” as she’s become more aware of the big world around her. She and I have loved the bonding, cuddles, and closeness nursing brings us. It’s been my life’s greatest joy to nurse our beautiful, happy, loving daughter. She is the light in our lives and I’m looking forward to every minute more of our nursing relationship.” -Kristyna
Thank you Sarah & Kristyna for supporting the #NBFtour in OKC!
Funny story…this beautiful woman below is an amazing Oklahoma City midwife who I connected with immediately after arriving. She was wearing her Birth Without Fear shirt and I was wearing my Milk Mama shirt. We hit it off and talked FOREVER about how we also need to normalize birth (coming soon)! She decided to register for my mentorship class and be photographed to support the tour. I helped her to focus her ideas into a relatable cause that she can identify with and will also help her to push for change in the birth community.
“After a life threatening pregnancy and c-section, I became a homebirth midwife. Over the course of almost 30 years I have assisted over one thousand births.” Appropriately, her project name is 1000 Births and it is brought to you by Heaven Sent Births.
We popped into a nearby coffee shop and I snapped this lovely candid image of this mama who arrived after the first group image above.
Special shout out to the Thrive Mama Collective for allowing us to use their space to stay cool and hydrated!
Right behind their beautiful shop was our next location; it was incredibly vibrant!! Some of the older babes were no longer interested in nursing, but hey, that’s totally normal! 😉