I’ve been wanting to share more about a personal challenge I’ve had the last three years, one that I battled through while breastfeeding my second baby. It has been a very unexpected and personal experience — one that’s taken me a long time to share with our Lactation Link community.
When Cents of Style launched their “Design the Good” t-shirt contest, I knew it was a perfect way to share that story with you. Each of the contest entries are supposed to have a message behind them – mine is something that I’ve held onto through some hard days: Keep Moving Forward.
I am really drawn to Cents of Style not only for their stylish and uplifting apparel, but for their message. Their purpose is to empower women — no matter who they are or what their goals are. I share that same vision with them with our Creating Confident Moms mission statement.
When my second child (a daughter) was six weeks old, and my oldest was 17 months – I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I had just turned 27. Just before the diagnosis we were in a very light and happy stage of life. This was a stark contrast from the many doctors visits, treatments, sick days, sleepless nights, anxious days that followed the diagnosis. This experienced rocked me. I went through three surgeries and six months of chemotherapy. I was able to continue breastfeeding my baby through my surgeries. This is when my interest in providing lactation support turned into a passion.
I was also fortunate enough to be eligible for a clinical trial using immunotherapy through Huntsman Cancer institute. That treatment has worked very well. It was in the middle of all of this that I started Lactation Link. As a previous staff nurse on Labor and Delivery, I was missing that connection with fellow women. I was missing providing education and support to women before, during, and after they welcomed a new baby. I started our community on instagram and I have you to thank for the response, showing us that there is a definite need for lending hands and supportive communities for women. The Lactation Link video classes were released just over a year ago and women have taken them all over the world. It’s been so rewarding to get your emails and hear that the classes have helped you prepare for your little ones and create confidence in motherhood.
As of July of last year (16 months ago), I am disease-free and feeling very optimistic about my future health. I would say this has been my biggest challenge to date. We all have challenges; some are more apparent at certain times – but you can never judge a book by its cover. We don’t walk around with signs on our foreheads that say what we’re going through. I am so blessed with the immense family and community support me and my family received during treatment. It made me think about what my priorities are and really focus on that. It made me grateful for the simple things! I think as women we feel pressure to “do-it-all” perfectly. I’m working on being okay with doing a few things really well and letting the rest go!
The ‘Keep Moving Forward’ tee was designed with all of us in mind. We all have and will challenges – it’s inevitable. Some days will be great, others not so great. The most important thing is to ‘Keep Moving Forward’ through it all – learning, experiencing, and empowering others. My cancer has come back twice in three years. Each time it reared its ugly head I had a choice: curl into a ball and wait, or keep moving forward! That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard and I didn’t have bad days. But I chose to KEEP MOVING FORWARD, regardless of the outcome. I actually started my business during chemotherapy. I found that connecting with and helping other women was healing for me. We all face those choices in our individual challenges, quit or keep moving forward. A portion of the sales will go to Cancer Research (Huntsman Cancer Institute). Use code ‘DTG1’ for 50% off through 11/15 only! $16.95.
I would love to hear about your personal experiences! Purchase the Keep Moving Forward tee (use promo code ‘DTG1’ for 50% off through 11/15), share a picture on instagram — and tag us @lactationlink, using the hashtags #lactationlink and #keepmovingforward. I would love to connect with you and we will share our favorites!
I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.
Thanks for coming by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC