5 Reflections After Hurricane Harvey, How to Help, and Support for Nursing Moms in Distress
September 1, 2017
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Disclaimer: I live in the 2nd Ward (East End) neighborhood in Houston, near downtown. We experienced street flooding for several days, but no damage to our house or belongings. This article is not meant to devalue the experience facing those who did experience human or property loss due to Harvey. It is a personal reflection of what I have learned or re-learned about hurricanes, my purpose, and our place in this world.

As a native Houstonian, I have this notion that I "know" hurricanes. I understand how they form, their many layers of danger, and how to prepare for them adequately. I know that my hometown is a swamp, and urban sprawl has made flooding more common. And yet, a week after Harvey, I am back at square one. Here are five reflections I have had since Harvey hit Houston.

  1. Adulting Has Never Been More Real To Me - There are countless jokes and memes about the hardships of being an adult. While many are satirical banter - I have never felt the stress of being an adult more than I have the last week. Having to prepare and then live through the worse natural disaster of my lifetime made me realize how much was really at stake. My life, my husband and daughter's lives. My dog. My house. My extended family. My friends. My neighbors. My community. My coworkers. My city.
  2. Don't Get Lost in the Devastation - For the first few days of the storm, local news was our outlet to what was happening around us. It was our way of ensuring we were receiving real news during the storm. The problem is the press will always cover the most devastating parts of the crisis. Rescues, flooding homes, high water, and loss of life became the norm. It was too much. It quickly became overwhelming. I had to censor my consumption of the news. My self-care was reducing unneeded exposure to the devastation. Not because I didn't have empathy for those in need. Instead, I did not want to desensitize myself to the realities of those experiencing real trauma.
  3. 1,000-Year Floods Are a Thing Now - Harvey is now considered a 1,000-year flood. Tropical Storm Allison was a 500-year flood. Allison occurred in 2001. Not exactly 500 or 1,000 years ago. Don't debate me on climate change - EVER.
  4. The Red Cross May be Faux News - The CEO of the Red Cross could not answer how much aid money would go directly to storm victims. I understand non-profits have operating costs, but you have to be able to respond to a question as basic as that. If you can - give local or buy NEEDED items personally. Click HERE for a list of shelters. Click HERE for an explanation of ways to give beyond the Red Cross. I can also personally validate several grassroots efforts: Fozzy's Future Heroes, BLF Foundation, Southeast Texas Strong, and Texas4Texas.
  5. Community Matters - As the recovery continues I have been in awe of the rapid response from my community. College alumni, my church, and my social media family quickly mobilized. Everyone is coming together to get as much need directly to families as possible. It is a beautiful thing to watch among the chaos.

Supplies for Breastfeeding Moms!
I will be receiving several donations for nursing moms soon. They will include manual pumps, milk storage bags, nursing pads, nursing bras, and toddler cups. I will also be receiving informational materials. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from these items, please complete the form below. Once I have the donations in hand, I will follow-up and arrange for delivery. It will take a village to get through this, and I am learning to play my part.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScBb-Lh_X...

Lastly, I want to give special thanks to Evenflo Feeding, Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association, and Infant Feeding Support for Refugee Children for collaboratively making this possible.

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