My name is Sharisse Lopez, but I go by Shary for the sake of simplicity. I was born and raised in Florida and although I’ve tried to escape it, nowhere else feels quite like home. Growing up, my mother breastfed my sister and I for as long as she could often hiding to pump while working two jobs. Being motherly was kind of built-in through witnessing her dedication and sacrifice. I wanted babies ever since I was old enough to understand and I was envious of anyone who had one.
I was told at sixteen that I could never have children because of my severe endometriosis. However, in April of 2007 I saw that little blip on the ultrasound. That tiny miracle saved my life. Being pregnant and giving birth to Gaia gave me motivation I did not know I had. My experience with her through pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting has given me so much to look forward to.
After Gaia was born I became a birth junkie. I focused my massage practice on prenatal and labor massage and became a certified infant massage instructor. During one of my many certification classes as a massage therapist someone said I should just become a doula, so I did. I supported women in childbirth and worked as a birth assistant in a freestanding birth center for a year or so. I then decided that without proper support or childcare my dream to do birth work would have to wait. So I returned to traditional schooling and am currently enrolled in an institute of higher education. I obtained my A.A. in 2012 and I am currently working on my Bachelor’s in Education.
Hutch and I got engaged in February of 2012. We had planned to marry in October, but life had better plans. In March of 2013 we welcomed our son into the world via home birth.
My breastfeeding relationship with my son is a lot easier than it was with my daughter. Gaia and I battled a plethora of breastfeeding issues. It started with a bad latch, which led to cracked nipples, which led to thrush. The pain associated with thrush made me fear breastfeeding and I developed clogged ducts and mastitis. My thrush was persistent and I tried pumping only to struggle with it. I developed milk blisters and struggled with supply. Out of desperation I attempted to supplement only to discover that Gaia would not take a bottle. Through months of research and trial an error I found the perfect handful of supplements and a routine that kept the thrush at bay. It wasn’t until 4 months old that my daughter and I could finally just enjoy each other. I breastfed her until she was nearly two years old.My son, Anders, and I have it easy. Though we still managed to get cracked nipples and thrush, as a seasoned mama I was able to nip it in the bud right away. Going from one to two kids is hard, but having previous knowledge of common threats to a breastfeeding relationship is quite beneficial. One new hurdle for me is dairy intolerance. I’ve been dairy-free since April and my life without cheese is a hard one.
I try to co-sleep, cloth diaper, and wear all my babies. At first it was only natural parenting, but more recently it has become all about natural living as a whole. “Back to basics” is my motto. I am not perfect and I don’t claim to know everything, but you can read more about my life and my family’s journey to a happier life on my personal blog: Atta Mama. I am also on various social networking websites. My most frequented are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.