Happy May, mamas! May is the month of mamas and at MLM Brand we're celebrating all month long by supporting, connecting and uplifting mamas in our community. This week's #MamaNextDoor is Raequael Patterson is a mama of three and lives with her family in Maryland. She's an entrepreneur and an experienced pumping mama who recently weaned her youngest baby. She shares her journey as an exclusive pumping mamas to help others get pumped about life after the pump! Raequael proudly states, "Pumping IS breastfeeding and "Your worth is not measured in ounces", mama, and we couldn't agree more!
Tell us a bit about yourself before you became a mother, and how did you change after becoming a mother?
Before I became a mother I was a career woman, dedicated to positioning myself for success by furthering my education in my field of study. When I became pregnant with my first son, my entire life shifted, not in the sense that I wasn't dedicated to my career progression but it wasn't a priority anymore, my baby was.
Early on, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, I scheduled lactation classes and thought I did all the things that would help me with a successful breastfeeding journey. All of my efforts came to a screeching halt when my water broke in Target at 34 weeks pregnant and I was rushed to the ER to have my son. Thirty + hours later there he was, the nurses swept him away and took him to the NICU and advised me that I would have to pump and so began my journey as a pumping mama. I tried everything to have him latch but realized that pumping was the way that I would breastfeed and how I became an exclusive pumper. If I could share anything with a new mama about pumping, I'd let them know that Pumping IS Breastfeeding and that "Their Worth is not measured in Ounces".
What does your absolute dream version of motherhood look like?
My absolute dream version of motherhood is one that consists of support. Support for moms who are trying their best and may not get it right every time. Support for moms that want to learn but don't know the questions to ask. Support for the frustrated mom. Just overall support!
What societal or cultural messages about motherhood frustrate you and how would you like to see them changed?
The judgement that moms get when they say they need a break is often times so infuriating. Being a mom is a lot and so often misunderstood. There are so many components to motherhood and it is not one size fits all. We all have different things we can and can't do, different triggers, and different styles and that needs to be embraced by society.
How do you take care of yourself?
TARGET is my jam and where I find peace. I also like to read and renovate my home. I find that when I am doing one of these things I feel like it's all about me and that makes me happy and brings about some fulfillment.
How do you deal with mom guilt?
I express how I feel to some of the moms I know understand. Mom Guilt is so real but I champion it by having open and honest conversations about it.
What’s a topic related to motherhood, or life after becoming a mother, that you wish we talked about more?
I wish people talked about the fourth trimester more and how it's part of the motherhood journey. There is an awareness about it brewing but i wish that it was talked about more so that mamas wouldn't feel so isolated.