Being a mom is easy

I feel like lately my new feeds and blog readers are full of post about how hard new motherhood is, or how it will get better, or how proud of myself I should be for “making it through” the 1st year. I just read a post about how a mom thinks she’s not very good at this motherhood thing and how she needs a life boat…

While I understand that being a mom and adjusting to motherthood is hard for some people I think we need some stories out there about how it’s not. I think the I internet is getting flooded with the negative. The hard stuff. Stories that poor preggo ladies must be scared to death of. It’s like new mamahood is some kind of crazy train that your can’t get off of. I had someone today tell me that they’re excited when the weekend is over so they can drop their kid off at daycare since they’re so exhausting on the weekend.

I’m seriously not here to judge. I know everyone’s situation is different and everyone’s babies are different and I guess what I’m going for here is a post that can get out on the internet about how easy being a mom is. How amazing. How the 1st year hasn’t been hard at all. And I don’t want to have to apologize for having an “easy” baby or feel “lucky” or be worried that #2 is going to be a terror. 

Being a mom is the most natural thing in the world to me. Yes, it was sad when Garrity had reflux issues, and I was tired on days she wouldn’t nap but it wasn’t this doom and gloom story I feel like I’ve been reading lately. The hardest part of it all? Leaving her when I went back to work and still the hardest part of my day is when I drop her off at daycare. But the best part of my day is walking through her classroom door and seeing her eyes light up when she sees her mama.

I read something yesterday that was a post to working moms from a stay at home mom and it said something about how I shouldn’t worry if I’m “enough” for my daughter because I work. Man oh man did that light a fire under me. Not once has it ever crossed my mind that I’m not enough for my daughter. And it shouldn’t cross any new mom or new dad’s mind.

All you new moms or soon to be moms…i just want to tell you not to be scared about this parenthood thing. Don’t believe everything you read. You will likely have some tougher than other days but more often than not you will get to experience the most amazing days, the most joyful days, the funniest days, the happiest days…

So don’t believe everything you read (especially Dr Google, he can scare the crap out of you). Instead trust your gut, listen to your heart and pour all the love you have into that little baby of yours. 

Garlic Oil & Breast milk

I am totally that hippie mom.

I grew up in Olympia, WA which is home to the Evergreen State College.  Evergreen doesn’t give grades and in general, the entire student population is stereotyped as folks who don’t shower, wear Birkenstocks and support all things ecological.  Throughout my entire childhood we referred to those students as “greeners” and generally thought of them as weirdos.

Well my friends, I feel like you can’t escape your roots because I have totally embraced mine.

My daughter had goopy eyes at daycare yesterday and if you have goopy eyes and they have to wipe the goop twice in an hour you’re booted from daycare.  When I got the 1st call from them about the goop I raced over to pick her up.  Yes, her eyes were goopy but I’d seen it before.  Likely from her cold and the snot draining out her eyes.   Poor girl.

Her eyes continued to be goopy that night so we put some breast milk in them before bed.  And super proud mama moment, it was my husband who remembered to put the milk in there.  I think my hippie ways have rubbed off on him.  Breast milk is this magic cure-all that can seriously solve anything, even eye goop.  Besides the breast milk in her eyes, we’re also putting garlic oil in her ears.  At her 1 year check-up the dr noticed there was some fluid in her ears but not enough to warrant antibiotics so we use drops of garlic oil a few times a day and that is suppose to clear it up (it’s worked all but once on her ears).

This morning when she woke up her eyes were glued shut with goop :( and I knew there was no way I could get away with sending her to school so Chris and I each worked half of a day to take care of her.  He took her to the dr this morning who confirmed it was not pink eye but rather bronchiolitis which is a viral illness and one we can’t really do anything about.  Dr said that the best thing we could have done was the breast milk!  We also have to continue with the garlic oil, humidifier and essential oil diffuser (PS we go to an integrated pediatric clinic – mixing western and eastern medicine). I also gave her some cough syrup with elderberry in it and some warm water with honey (with her vitamin c powder for iron absorption and immune support).  And to top it all off she gets a shot of liquid iron because she’s a little anemic.

I totally meant to go somewhere else with this post.  But whatever… to bring it back to my initial talk about Olympia…I remember being over at my friend Anna’s house when I was younger – Anna’s family was a typical “greener” family – they cared about the environment (how dare they) and they ate Adam’s all natural PB and had Annies Mac & cheese instead of the blue box.  I remember thinking Anna’s family was so weird!!  Poor kid couldn’t even have Kraft.

Well Anna’s mom, wherever you are – joke’s on me.  My pantry now looks like yours did and I love Adam’s PB.  I’m sure if I would have asked you if you had garlic oil or elderberry syrup you would have pulled some out for me.  And now I’ll learn what it’s like to be you.  I’m sure your daughter cringed at some of your weird hippie things and I know that’s how it’s going to be with me and my daughter…I just hope I’m not having to tip her over and drop garlic in her ears when she’s 20!!!

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Mom’s out there -what’s your favorite natural sickness remedy?

The long way home – Gearhart, Pacific City, Dundee

Like I mentioned earlier, we decided to take the long way home from the beach on Sunday.  It was such nice weather and we really had no plans so we thought, why not?  We left Gearhart around noon and drove on Highway 101 through little towns I can’t quite remember the names of but the big one was Manzanita.  I’d never been there before but it was so cute.  I definitely want to go spend some time there this summer.  From there we kept going through Tillamook before stopping at Pacific City.  I hadn’t been there since September of 2014 when I was preggo with G!

It was packed there.  I’ve never seen the parking lot by the Pelican Pub so packed.  We had to park across the street and walk down to the beach.  We took some obligatory photos and then headed to the Pelican for a beer.  We started out outside but it was pretty windy where we were standing so we decided to head in to finish our beers.  Note to mamas, – Pelican has a fantastic stand alone bathroom/changing station that could probably also be used to pump.

On our way out of town Chris stopped at Twist to have some Pliney the Elder (hard to find beer) while I hung out with G in the car since minors weren’t allowed inside.  After that, we headed home through wine country and it was gorgeous.  Our friends recently moved to Dundee so we stopped by their house at 5 for a tour and then we headed to dinner at Red Hills Market.  We wanted to try the new brewery there but it also doesn’t allow minors.  Another note – great separate bathroom/changing table at Red Hills.

We didn’t end up getting home until about 8 so it was definitely a long day but G did great, never cried in the car and was perfect during all of our stops.  The only thing we sort of messed up was her food.  We’d packed sandwhiches for us to eat in the car but didn’t have much for her so the poor girl ended up just eating slices of cheese until we grabbed her a yogurt in Pacific City.  We got her a sample platter of turkey, apples and cheese at Red Hills but she just wasn’t feeling it.

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Anyway, great weekend and great little local road trip.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to spend a day exploring the coast on a nice day.

What about you – favorite road trip? 

My baby turned 1

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My baby girl turned 1 on Friday and we went over to Gearhart to celebrate.  We had a fantastic party and an amazing weekend. I have many stories to share but we just got home and we’re trying to wind down before work tomorrow.  It was such a nice day that we decided to take the long way home and drive from Gearhart, through Manzanita to Pacific City where we grabbed a drink and then to Dundee where we met some friends for dinner before heading home.

I hope you all had great weekends.  Tell me something fun that you did.

 

On my way to work yesterday

I pumped my boobs while talking on a conference call to Europe while drinking my breakfast smoothie while driving my daughter to daycare.  And then once I dropped her off at daycare (walking in bra-less since I had just barely unhooked from the pump) I got back into my car, drove to the parking garage, parked on the 3rd floor, put my bra and top back on (I’m sure that was a show for anyone walking by) walked down to the entrance, checked out a bike, shoved my pump bag in the basket with my backpack on my back, biked to my building, locked the bike up outside and walked the two floors to my desk where I put my pumped milk and pump parts in my mini fridge before finally opening up my computer.

I left my house at 8am and sat down at my desk at 8:45.

And then I worked until 5:30 when I got back on a bike, biked back to the garage, drove home, walked in the door at 6, started making dinner, ate dinner, gave my daughter a bath, put her to bed, did some stuff, pumped, went to bed and then woke up at 2am and found her covered in puke.

I am so tired right now.  So tired.

Another funny story – on Monday, my boobs were extra full and G choked on my milk while nursing and then didn’t want to nurse anymore so my boobs were seriously huge.  I pumped on the way to work and thought I’d be good for a couple hours but then at a morning meeting my left boob hurt so bad so I basically felt myself up (I’m sure I’m making a great impression on my new teammate) and found a huge lump aka clogged duct.

I excused myself and then spent the next 15 minutes in the bathroom squeezing my boob into the toilet.  But I didn’t quite go in there.  Instead the milk went everywhere. The wall, the floor, the toilet seat, the paper dispenser.

And then I came back and told the aforementioned co-worker all about it.

Oh the life of a working mom.

What about you out there.  What’s the craziest place you’ve ever pumped.

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Mondays are hard

Mondays have always been hard.  You have a great weekend and then you have to go back to work.  Back to reality.  I didn’t get my food prep done so I did it tonight which meant no time to workout.  And then because it was Monday but mostly because it was there and delicious, I ate multiple slices of G’s birthday cake….kissing my goal of being back at my pre-preggo weight by Friday goodbye.

But Mondays are exponentially harder when you have a baby.  I hate having to drop her off at daycare in the morning.  Kills me to have to leave her.  To have to go from having her 24 non-stop hours to getting her for 3 waking ones before she goes to bed.  I get sad just even putting those words on “paper.”  We were ready earlier than normal and since Chris and I carpooled today we left the house about 20 minute before I would have had it just been me.  Traffic was nutty and we probably would have gotten to work the same time as if we had left 20 minutes later.  This spurned a conversation about what time we should leave our house and Chris said he gets anxious to get to work so he just wanted to get on the road.  He said there’s so much to do and he wants to get after it.  That he would get to work at 6am if he could, just to get work done.  A logical answer for most people I’m sure.  Meanwhile I said I’d much rather take those 20 minutes at home and play with G.  That to me, I’m not anxious to get to work.  I dread it because it means my time with her is over.   That I want to soak up every possible moment at home with her.   I should clarify that once I’m actually at work it’s not bad.  I like my job. I just don’t like that doing it means I have to leave her.

Where am I going with this?  I don’t know really.  I just know that Monday’s make me sad.  Or maybe they make me especially sad when we have great weekends.  We went on our first family hike at Eagle Creek and Punchbowl falls.  We had a family date night.  We went out to dinner all 3 nights.  The weather was fantastic.  We took G’s 1st year photos.  She’s almost one and I’m getting extra sentimental.

When I picked her up today she didn’t see me walk in.  I was watching her play with some toys off to the side of the room.  She was happy.  She likes being at daycare.  That’s what I have to keep reminding myself.  And I’m just a few buildings down from her.  But I just wish on gorgeous days like today I could steal her away and smother her with kisses.  And play on the swings and take a million pictures.  And listen to her laugh for hours and hours.

But we made it through.  And we went on a family walk.  And the sky was pink.  And then we had dinner and we spent an extra long time nursing before bed.  I probably could have put her down sooner but as I rocked her to sleep, and she snuggled up in my arms I just couldn’t put her down.  This Monday that I was dreading, I didn’t want to end.

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Day in the life of a working mom with an almost 1 year old

5:30 G wakes up. Go into room and nurse her. Try to lay her back down and she cries. Bring her into our bed. Notice it’s 5:45. Lay back down in bed, set my alarm for 6:30. Fall asleep and Chris’ alarm goes off at 6. He reminds me he’s leaving early and I need to get into the shower now. Stumble in, so tired!

6:30. All dressed, teeth brushed,  I’m just about to start drying my hair. I had my outfit planned out but my jeans were too big (yay for weight-loss) so I has to find something else. Chris comes in. G wakes up as soon as he walks into the closet.  I go lay back down and nurse her and try to get her to sleep. She lays quietly for about 5 min and Then is up. This is an hour earlier than normal!

Bring her into our closet and let her play with a balloon while I dry my hair. Thankfully today she occupies herself with the balloon and wandering around the bathroom while I finish drying (straightening) it. Chris is in the kitchen doing stuff and she starts to have a meltdown so I sit her on the counter while I do my makeup. Chris comes in and takes her to get dressed while I do my makeup and flat iron my hair.

He brings her back in and says goodbye. It’s not even 7! This never happens. I don’t want to take her to daycare this early because she’ll be there too long. Play around in my closet and try to figure out outfits for her 1 yr pictures.

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It’s now 7. Take her into her room to try to put her back down. Nurse for a few seconds. She’s cuddly on my lap. Lay her down in her crib. She screams. Pick her back up and take her into the kitchen to play.

7:12. Set her on the floor so I can get stuff down. Meltdown in kitchen. I have to hold her and do everything one handed. Make her bottles. Make my smoothie. Get the dog in the garage. Put her in her car seat. Go to the bathroom. Load all the bags into the car. Come back and get her.

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In car at 7:45

Got to daycare at 8:15. G was asleep. Read emails until 8:19 to see if she’d wake up. Tried to take her in in her seat but she woke up. Took her in, filled out chart, put away bottles, sat her down for breakfast.

Done at 8:25. Walk back to car and park in parking garage. Shuttle comes at 8:24 or 8:48 so looks like I’m walking.

Leave garage at 8:34. Arrive to my desk at 8:45.

Talk to co-worker about work stuff until 10.

10-12: meetings

12:05-12:20: pump

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Work until 2, eating lunch at my desk.  Head downstairs to for my next meeting but he was 15 min so I kill time on my phone. He shows up, we meet until 2:40.

Back to my desk to work until 3:12. Walk across campus to my car. Drive to a different building for a meeting at 3:30.

Meeting until 4. Grabbed a spot to work and ran into an old co-worker. Chatted with him for a bit. Conference call from 4:30-5. Chris was picking up G but called me from the daycare at 5 because I forgot her car seat. Drove over to daycare. Met him, loaded her up in my car.

Home by 5:30. Took G in. Nursed her and brought her back into the kitchen. 5:45-6:15, played around with her. She has started full-on walking so we toddled around the house. Started dinner at 6:15. Easy. Made some penne to add to leftover chicken parm from last night. G started getting crabby so put her in her high chair while I finished up. Chris cleaned up the kitchen. We switched and I finished feeding her while he finished dinner. 6:30ish we all sat down to eat. 6:45 I played with G on the floor while Chris cleaned up.

7-7:15 Chris left to go watch the Beav game with a friend. G and I face timed with my mom.

7:15 got G ready for bed. Nursed her. Laid her in her crib.

7:30 into the kitchen. Should have done something productive like worked out or washed bottles but instead I sat at the counter and caught up on blogs and social media while eating half a pan of brownies

8:25 finally pulled it together.  Put the rest of the brownies in a container so I would be less tempted to eat them.  Cleaned up her toys and washed bottle and pump parts.  Moved some fresh milk into freezer bags.  Washed more bottles.  Thought about taking a bath.  I really want to but I don’t like doing it when Chris isn’t here in case she starts crying while I’m soaking.  Waste more time texting with a friend, uploading photos on Instagram.

9:15: Sit down at the computer and write this post. Mess around with my blog for a bit.  I just switched themes and I need to do so much on here to make it look nice but I don’t have time.

9:45.  Hit publish and then go pump.  Chris will likely get home by 10 and then we’ll probably watch a show and will be in bed by 11.  Crossing my fingers that G sleeps though the night.

Repeat.

Top 20 Newborn essentials

A friend of mine recently announced she was expecting twins!! and asked for some advice for her registry.  It made me realize that I’d never actually pulled together my baby-must haves.  The things that have been absolutely essential both when G was a little, tiny infant to today when we’re still using most of these things.  This was so fun to do, that I’m also working on one specific to breastfeeding/pumping since we’re 11 months in and still going strong.  More to come on that later.

1. Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad.  The Grey version is only available at Giggle.  Other colors available on “>Amazon. This might be my #1 item.  It is amazing.  All the poop and pee of messy diaper changes just wipe right off.  I remember thinking this was a hefty price-tag for just a changing pad but it is seriously worth every penny.

2.Triple Paste Diaper Cream.  I’ve tried a lot of diaper creams (including natural brands and coconut oil) and this stuff is the best, hands down.  It gets a 1 rating from EWG so I feel pretty good about it.

3.  The Miracle Swaddle Blanket.  The only swaddle G could not escape from.  Looks a little confusing at first but super easy once you figure it out.

4. Burp Rags.  You will go through a ton of these so don’t get fancy.  We used these cloth diapers and they’re still going strong a year in.

5. Honest Company Lotion.  The only lotion I’ve been able to find and like with a 0 rating on EWG. 

6. Honest Company Shampoo.  The only shampoo we use.  It has a 1 rating on EWG.

7.  Honest Company Wipes.  The only wipes we’ll use.  I even bring them to daycare and make them use these instead of the provided ones.  I’m a stickler for chemicals and these get a 0 rating on EWG.  Please, please, please do research here.  Most of the wipes out there, even the ones that are called “natural” are not.

8.  A chair that rocks and reclines.  The store that I got ours went out of business but mine looks similar to this.  I went back and forth on whether or not we needed a recliner and I am so glad we went that route.  I have spent many nights and naps in her nursery sleeping in that chair and I would die if it didn’t recline back.

9. Solly Baby Wrap.  I didn’t get my Solly until G was 3 months old but I wish I’d known about it sooner.  It’s very similar to a Moby but much lighter and has less fabric so you’re not totally overwhelmed trying to wrap it around it.  The owner seems like someone I’d want to hang out with too.  Follow her on Instagram for adorable pictures and wrap-wearing tips.

10.  Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddle blankets. We have quite a few of these and they are perfect for any occasion.  Great to wrap in a swaddle, use as a nursing cover, toss over the carseat, lay on the ground… you need a few of these.

11.  Motorola Video Monitor.  One of the best tips we got was to get 2 cameras for our monitor.  This way, you can mount one in the nursery and then the other can be moved around – either just to another room in the house or when you spend the night somewhere else.  Ours is an exclusive at Babies R Us and we love it.

12. Little Lamb Swing.  I was obsessed with the Mama-Roo swing and wanted that one until we got this one for free from some friends (who’d used it for 3 kiddos).  This is where she hung out every night during her witching hour and took most of her naps in the beginning.  And when she eventually did try the Mama-Roo she hated it.  Glad we didn’t spend the money there.

13.  Rock and Play. This is our other most important item.  G slept in this every night until she was around 5 months.  She had reflux and this was the only way she could sleep thanks to the incline.  It was super portable too which made weekend trips to the beach easier.  We even rented one of these in Hawaii it was so crucial.

14. Petunia Picklebottom Boxy Backpack.  I had multiple girlfriends recommend this one to me.  They said you MUST have a diaper bag that’s also a backpack.  You’ll need both hands for the baby and don’t want to be fussy around with someone on your arm. They were right.  This bag has been so convenient.  At first, I didn’t think it could fit that much since it seems narrow but this thing is a beast.  I also love the detachable changing pad on the front.

15. Cuticle clippers Cutting baby nails is hard! At the very beginning I’d use a nail file and just file them down and then I switched to cuticle clippers.  Her hands were just too small for the regular clippers and these are perfect.

16. Sleeptime tunes on Pandora.  Not really something you have to register for but we went this route instead of any noise machine.  Most of the tunes on here are from the Rockabye baby collection where it’s regular tunes from a ton of artists but as lullabies.  I really enjoy listening to this station too.  Only bummer is that they tend to repeat things so I basically know every song by heart that comes on now.

17. Circo washcloths. We have a lot of different washcloth’s for G but these are by far my favorite because they are so thin.  For me, I love a good thick washcloth but for her I hate them.  The thinner the better.  I never even registered for these, a friend got them for me at my shower and I’ve never looked back.

18. Dr. Brown’s Glass Bottles. Since I was nursing her, we didn’t use a ton of bottles while I was on maternity leave so when we did give her a bottle we used Dr. Brown’s plastic ones.  However, once she went to daycare and got most of her milk out of a bottle I switched to glass.  I am totally freaked out by plastic even if it says BPA free.  I’m convinced its all the chemicals in plastic that are giving people cancer.  G has done great with glass and can even hold them herself.  We bought the silicon sleeve to go over them but they were annoying so we quit. We’ve only had one break on us and that was when the shelf they were on in the fridge collapsed and dropped a ton of things onto the floor so I’d chalk that up to a random anomaly.

19.  Wubbanub! We hands down could not live without this thing.  We have two, this one and a lion.  They’re slightly weighted and the point of them is to help the binky stay on the baby when the baby is little but now G just loves the thing as a security type thing. After a year the thing is still going strong (although is a little stinky).

20.  Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive. I’ve tried Huggies, Honest Company, Luvs, Target brand and Pampers and love, love, love Pampers (I wanted to love Honest but I just didn’t).  G has never gotten a rash, never leaked through, and had very few blowouts.

Other notable items:

The Bob Revolution Stroller

Chicco KeyFit 30

Amazon Prime

Any other must-haves I missed?

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Hands free pumping with Freemie. This is genius.

Um, I feel like I just discovered a gold mine.  Have you heard about Freemie?  A hands-free pumping system using cups that go in your bra instead of the traditional funnel/bottle thing?  I’m dying right now.  I have been pumping for 11 months.  11 months!  And am just now hearing about this.  I have pumped every day in a little room at work where I’ve had to strip down to get all harnessed up with my pump and bottles.  I’ve also pumped in cars many, many times and let me tell you that that is totally awkward.  I don’t know how many passing drivers I may have flashed during the process.

But now we have Freemie which looks incredible.  You put the cups in your bra and pump into the cup and each cup can hold 8oz.  Basically you can pump with your clothes on and no one knows.  Do you know how helpful this would have been? 

I’m trying to cut down my pumping to once a day at work so I’ve actually been pumping on the way to work to try and shift around my pumping schedule. It’s so awkward to get myself unhooked and put back together.  I’m just waiting for the day when I pull into the daycare parking lot and see another parent as I’m whipping out a bottle of milk off my nipples.  It’s too hard to get my regular bra back on (after getting out of my pumping bra) so I’ve been walking into daycare braless and then putting my bra back on once I get to my office parking lot.  I’m sure the person parked next to me today was wondering why I was stripped down to a tanktop and pulling my blouse over my head.

Needless to say I wish I had these for the past year.  They would have been so much more convenient than my current set up.  I’m so bummed right now thinking about how much better my pumping relationship could have been.  For any of you mama’s out there getting ready to pump I highly recommend looking into this.  It sounds like they can connect to a Medela Pump in Style Advanced (my favorite pump) too.  At least I know about them now and will definitely be checking them out when baby number 2 rolls around.

PS I was not compensated at all for this post.  I just read about Freemie and did research on my own. 

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Across Women's Lives: Announcement + Revenge Porn

I am so excited to announce that I have been chosen by She Knows Media and Public Radio International to participate in their groundbreaking journalism project.

The purpose of Across Women’s Lives is to prompt meaningful conversation about women…stories about women and girls changing their lives and ours.

These are stories about women’s rights and issues concerning health, education, wealth, economic development and combating climate change. (Today, only about 24% of all news subjects talk about women in any way, and only six percent of news stories highlight gender in/equality.)

I will be blogging about these topics from now until next December and I’m so excited to be a part of this movement.  I have always been a huge supporter of women’s issues and have become even more passionate about them since becoming a mom and having a daughter.  Not to mention I feel a little bit like Mackenzie from Newsroom and like I’m actually putting my degree in Communication to good use :)

Go here to learn more about the movement.  You’re also encouraged to participate by using #womenslives hastag to promote your own coverage of women’s lives.

And today, I also wanted to share one of the Across Women’s Lives articles talking about women and online threats.  For any of you who followed my personal blog you will know that my family was the subject of identity theft.  Photos of us, including my daughter were stolen and used to create a fake Facebook page using my images with some other person’s life.  It was horrible.  It’s the most violating, disgusting feeling.  I’m still completely sick about the whole thing.  And while Facebook immediately took down the page, I was not able to get any additional information about this person or even reach a live FB employee to discuss the situation with.  While I know I was the person who put my photos online, I wish I had more power to protect myself. 

Thankfully Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) has introduced legislation to combat online revenge porn in the next few months. Currently the 1st Amendment limits the range of options available to victims of this online bullying and this legislation seeks to make this a criminal charge.  Now, I know technically I wasn’t a victim of revenge porn… my photos weren’t inappropriate or spun into the internet by an angry ex boyfriend but my online privacy was still violated and I didn’t have a whole lot of options to defend myself. 

I can only hope that with the passage of this legislation, further legislation making online victimization criminal will help prevent anyone having to go through the same situation that I did.

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