Name: Mandy Major
IG: @doulamandy @majorcaredoulas Number of kids and ages: One 5-year-old The most surprising thing about being a first-time mom is the list of things no one told me. In pregnancy, I felt very informed and supported. Then, post-birth, it was literally a free-for-all. That experience—and hearing the stories of so many others who faced the same surprise—propelled me into birth work and continues to fuel my fire to create postpartum change every single day and normalize all the ups, downs and in-betweens of the fourth trimester. Real talk isn’t “spoiling the pregnancy.” It’s supporting parents in a loving, empowering way!
My expectation vs. experience breastfeeding was like a lot of folks, I wanted to breastfeed but rested on an “I’ll figure it out” mindset. My daughter arrived early, just shy of 37 weeks, and we had a big, emotional feeding journey to go on together. She kept losing weight, I kept trying to feed her, and the pressure to switch to formula was intense. Three weeks post-birth I found an IBCLC who changed everything. We started gentle mouth exercises for my daughter to strengthen her jaw muscles, I used a nipple shield, and I committed to a rigorous triple feeding schedule. Day-by-day, we made it work. I breastfed until she was 15 months, but job changes and stress really took a toll on my supply around 8 months postpartum and we needed to supplement with formula. As hard as it was — and it was *hard* — my experience shaped my commitment to birth work, and made me deeply empathetic to a spectrum of feeding experiences. Breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, pumping — I’ve been there too, and I feel it.
The best piece of advice about motherhood is hold space for the “both/and.” New motherhood is living in an almost near-constant state of competing feelings. It is overwhelming joy and overwhelming upheaval. Exhaustion and elation. Fear and fierce love. Self-doubt and determination. You crave space but the minute the baby is asleep you stare at pictures of them. It’s bizarre, but normal. The more we can get away from “either/or” thinking and good mom vs. bad mom, the better we’ll all be.
About Mandy and Major Care: Mandy is a mother on a mission to change how America handles the fourth trimester. After learning first-hand how little we support and inform new parents during postpartum, she left her 10-year career in digital media to dedicate herself to birth work and closing the gap in postpartum care. Today, she is a certified postpartum doula PCD(DONA) and the founder of Major Care™. Mandy holds a MA from Columbia Journalism School, and has written as a perinatal expert for HuffPost, Healthline, Motherly, and other publications.
Major Care recently launched their updated My Fourth App. There's a new postpartum prep toolkit, six full weeks of daily guides, and HIPAA-compliant texting with a diverse team of on-call doulas. Lunnie Hive members can receive one month free of the texting plan by using the code LUNNIE29.