All posts by Jessica Shortall

About Jessica Shortall

Jessica Shortall is a social entrepreneur who has never done the same thing twice. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer, a non-profit co-founder, a consultant, and the first Director of Giving for TOMS Shoes. She currently runs Texas Competes, the coalition of businesses calling for an LGBT-friendly Lone Star State. She is the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work. Jessica is a frequent writer and speaker on the realities and needs of working parents.

Why the Hell Didn’t I Get a Pospartum Doula?

Before I had my first baby, I had heard the word “doula” thrown around. I’ll be honest that I jumped to some assumptions, and decided without almost any knowledge that a doula wasn’t for me in particular. I knew I was going to have my baby by C-section, for reasons I won’t get into, and I really thought that doulas were basically birth coaches.

It’s only now that I’m immersed in the world of trying to be supportive to other new mothers that I’m kicking myself for not looking into getting help from a postpartum doula, just to have some female community and support for the craziness. So I asked my new friend Emily Skyrm to guest blog about why she loves being a postpartum doula. Emily is the co-founder of Baby Caravan, in NYC, and spends a lot of time supporting new mothers who are heading back to work. My kind of girl. So without further ado…here’s Emily!

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As new mothers we come across so many people who consider themselves “experts.”  The sleep experts, lactation experts, expert postpartum chefs…the list goes on and on.  It’s gotten to a point now that there are so many “experts” in this field that woman are finding it harder and harder to actually trust themselves.

Continue reading Why the Hell Didn’t I Get a Pospartum Doula?

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Huge giveaway! Enter to win more than $530 in breastfeeding + working essentials

In the coming months, I’m teaming up with some of my favorite breastfeeding brands, plus my favorite bloggers, to offer some amazing giveaways to help any working mom-to-be face down her breastfeeding + working demons with more confidence.

Check out the amazing stuff, worth more than $530, that you can win:

Work. Pump. Repeat. giveaway

This thing is awesome. It includes a double electric Ardo breastpump that is so quiet you won’t even have to lie on conference calls, a Nurse Purse pump bag, UpSpring fenugreek + blessed thistle supplements, a SimpleWishes Supermom bra and nursing cover/scraf, a set of Pumpin’ Pal flanges, Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags and breast pads, Ardo microwave steam-clean bags, and a Milk It Kit filled with do-not-disturb door signs and milk labels. And oh yeah – a signed copy of my book. More details on this gear on my website.

So what are you waiting for? The giveaway runs 8/31/15 to 9/3/15, and the winner will be announced on the GroVia Diaper facebook chat night – hosted by yours truly – which runs 9-10 pm eastern time on 9/3/15 on GroVia’s facebook page.

Check it out, share, and enter:

GroVia + Work. Pump. Repeat. working & breastfeeding giveaway

Work. Pump. Repeat. – the book – out September 8!

Work.Pump.Repeat. cover

My book, Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work  is out September 8, 2015, from ABRAMS Books. It’ll be in stores and online all over the damn place, and I am so excited to share this collected wisdom, humor, and support with new working moms. You can pre-order now for very early September delivery:

New on TheBump.com: Why I Support Working Moms Setting (and Adjusting) their Own Breastfeeding Goals

I’m so excited to be blogging over on The Bump, one of the largest online communities for expecting and new moms. My latest: http://blog.thebump.com/2015/05/27/working-mom-breastfeeding-goals/

Sometimes You Just Gotta Wear a Medal at Your Desk

***4/16/15 BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Express Medals TOTALLY gets it and just sent me a 10% off code to share. Really, no excuses left.  http://expressmedals.refr.cc/4SLV364 ***

You guys all know I wrote a book that is coming out in September, because, well, I talk about it a lot. Sorry; I’m super excited. Anyway, this is relevant today because as part of that process, I submitted my book to the Axiom Business Book Awards. I had no idea if it was a big deal or if they would even consider a book about pumping breastmilk to be a “business book,” but I figured, what the hell.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by the folks at Axiom to tell me that Work. Pump. Repeat. had won the silver in the women’s business books category. I was pretty excited, especially since this Axiom thing looks legit. Winners in other categories include Walter Isaacson (the guy who wrote the big Steve Jobs bio) and motivational speaker Tony Robbins. I didn’t think much of it beyond that, though, probably because someone peed or spilled yogurt on me at that moment. And then…

…a big white package arrived in the mail. It included a certificate from Axiom (I am SURE I will remember where I put that thing…crap…) AND a huge silver medal on a blue ribbon. YOU GUYS, THE MEDAL HAS LATIN WORDS ON IT. It’s kinda heavy. This is a LEGIT medal. Also, apparently “laurus lego erudito” means “success through knowledge.”

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I decided on the spot that it had been WAY too long since I’d had my own medal. Like, middle-school-too-long, and that was for making a scale model of a Medieval castle (I had a LOT of friends in middle school). So now my medal lives on my desk, and when I’m having a particularly crappy work day – or, alternately, when I’m having a great day and just did something awesome – I wear my medal.

Continue reading Sometimes You Just Gotta Wear a Medal at Your Desk

Meet a lactation counselor who TOTALLY gets it

 

I have written a lot here (want proof? see posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) about that loud little subset of pro-breastfeeding people (other mothers, lactation professionals, people in the media, etc) who cross the line from “supportive” to “judgy.”  But I also keep saying that the majority of pro-breastfeeding people are normal, kind people who have no desire to make you feel like shit.

I want to introduce you to one of those people. Lina Martin is a certified breastfeeding counselor and doula who Just. Gets. It. For a little restoration of your faith in humanity, read on to hear what she has to say about her approach to supporting women – especially working mothers – and their varied experiences with breastfeeding.

Continue reading Meet a lactation counselor who TOTALLY gets it

Taking Back the Village

Last year, I wrote a post about being kicked out of a so-called breastfeeding support group on Facebook for asking for advice on gently weaning my 13-month-old daughter. It was a sad experience – one that really depressed me about the state of the breastfeeding wars, and about how even our attempts to re-create the village of maternal support can go horribly wrong.

Well, fast-forward almost a year (my baby girl is turning TWO next month!). I discovered this weird spam-esque inbox on my personal facebook account. (If you’re curious, go to your Facebook inbox and look for a tab called “Other”. That’s where messages from people who are not your FB friends end up.) It was a year-old message from a stranger, all about the Great Getting My Ass Kicked Out of a Breastfeeding Group on Facebook. And this message made me SO happy, I just had to share it. This total stranger came and found me on the internet to tell me she supported me and had my back and is part of my village. Oh my God, yes. THIS IS MOTHERHOOD. THIS IS SISTERHOOD. You have to read it.

Continue reading Taking Back the Village

Pre-pub ebook available

Hi all! I am working with the amazing Abrams Books to get Work. Pump. Repeat: How to Survive Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work ready for its big debut in Fall 2015. In the interim, I am continuing to make the pre-publication ebook available, for those expecting and new moms whose back-to-work schedules just can’t wait.

Continue reading Pre-pub ebook available

The Minefield: Bullies, Best Friends, and Well-Intentioned Messengers

NOTE: This is a work-in-progress looooong post that I’m considering as a new first chapter for my book (www.workpumprepeat.com) . I’m posting it here in the spirit of crowd-sourcing. This topic is SO difficult to navigate, and there is no clear answer to what is “good” or “bad” messanging about breastfeeding, for women who are struggling with it. I would really love and appreciate feedback – including critical feedback – about whether this hits the mark, or is way off, or is somewhere in between. THANK YOU!!

You’ve noticed, haven’t you, how it seems like everyone has something to say about breastfeeding?

  • You should do it, for a specific length of time (which varies depending on the particular bully), and you’re a narcissist and unfit mother if you don’t do it.
  • Also, you definitely shouldn’t do it in public, or in a way that interferes with your job in the slightest, or in a manner that asks for any sacrifice, patience, or even just tolerance from any other person on the planet. Otherwise you’re trampy and entitled and a drain on society.
  • You shouldn’t supplement breastmilk with anything, no matter how hellish your emotional or mental state is, or how demanding your job is. Definitely give only breastmilk until your kid is a year old.
  • Once your kid turns one, you must stop breastfeeding immediately, so as not to be an incestuous weirdo. And if you breastfeed beyond when the kid can “ask for it,” you should do prison time.
  • You shouldn’t drink alcohol or caffeine. Also you should only eat organic whole foods; otherwise you’re poisoning your baby.
  • Oh, also: you have to really, really enjoy it, otherwise you’re a broken un-woman who is missing out on the greatest gift of her entire life.

Okay?

 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how the hell to make milk while doing your job, we need to talk a bit about the people and messages you will encounter on this journey of trying to breastfeed and work.

Throughout this book, you will read stories about amazing people who make life easier, saner, less scary, and more welcoming for working women who are breastfeeding. And you’ll read about bullies and jerks in all shapes and stripes, who will try to shame, intimidate, intrude, pressure, and judge.

Continue reading The Minefield: Bullies, Best Friends, and Well-Intentioned Messengers