I found this site 2 weeks ago, and since then Ive been in awe of the women who have chosen to tell their stories and show us their pictures. Im honored to be included in this site, along with you amazing women!
My husband I were married in 2003 and immediately started trying to conceive, never guessing that we would have problems. After 18 months of heartbreaking infertility, we finally conceived our daughter with the help of Clomid. Emma Grace was conceived 2 days before my 25th birthday, and born 3 days before my husbands 25th birthday, and she was the best birthday present either of us have ever received.
As soon as we found out we were pregnant I knew that I wanted to have a med free, natural labor and delivery and we chose a wonderful midwife named Nina who was supportive of our plans. My husband and I studied Hypnobirthing at home and practiced the relaxation techniques nightly and looked forward to using them during my labor and delivery.
On the eve of my due date we went to the hospital and I was induced. I labored med free for 7 hours, using Hypnobirthing and having a wonderful labor experience. Unbeknownst to me, my daughters heart rate was dropping steadily with each contraction and it soon became clear that we needed to get her out. I was prepped for a C-section and at a little past 2am our daughter Emma was born. As I heard her cry for the first time my tears started flowing as well (the first tears of our labor and delivery experience for both Mommy and Baby!). I kept looking up at the surgical curtain, waiting to see her beautiful face, but the doctor just whisked her away to the warmer without showing her to me. Ive always regretted that I was the last person in the room to see the little miracle that grew within me.
A few weeks after we got home I began to experience symptoms of depression, and breastfeeding became a nightmare. My nipples were cracked and bleeding, and nursing my daughter made me cry in pain, yet we struggled through the pain (and mastitis with a 102 degree fever) and continue to breastfeed today. I struggled (and continue to struggle) with disappointment about having to have a c-section, and spun into a severe depression that lasted for almost 8 months. I finally took steps to get better (Im taking Zoloft and am seeing a therapist) and am feeling better than I have in years! Im now able to cope with my feelings of loss and disappointment, as well as the feelings of inadequacy I had after my daughter was born.
I have finally come to terms with the fact that a lot of my depression revolved around my feeling like less of a woman due to the problems I had getting pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding. Although absolutely false, for awhile I believed that I was inferior to those who could get pregnant so easily and have a natural, vaginal birth, and those to whom breastfeeding came so easily. Its been difficult for me to accept my body when it seems like my body has failed me numerous times in doing the things that are supposed to come naturally to women. However, I have never been uncomfortable with the physical changes that have occurred from carrying my sweet baby girl. When I was pregnant I adored my curves and even did a belly cast of my 8 ? month pregnant tummy, and I wore clothing to accentuate my round belly. I gained about 30 pounds during my pregnancy and lost it all by 2 months PP. The weight seems to be distributed differently now, though, and my belly is not as firm as it once was, but I have no problems with that. I do, however, have a lot of stretch marks that literally popped up overnight during my 8th and 9th months of pregnancy (and up until then I thought Id get away without having any!). I was uncomfortable with them for a long while, but I never hated them the way I hated my incision scar from the c-section. In my mind, the scar was a reminder of all the ways I failed, and its only been in the last 2 or 3 months that Ive learned to accept the scar as a battle wound of all the things I went through to have my daughter.
My stretch marks and my scar are tattoos eternally marking my passage into motherhood, and I am proud of them. They remind me that I have carried a child within me, and that I survived a traumatizing event and the depression afterwards. Most of all, these marks upon my belly serve to remind me that my body has overcome a lot of physical and emotional changes, and that there is no way I have failed in any capacity. My sweet Emma is living proof of my achievements, and Im so proud that I have brought this wonderful being into existence
Here is my belly, approximately 5 months pregnant. I often played Enyas May It Be to my daughter in the womb, because her Daddy called her his little promise. (The lyrics are A promise lives within you now, and Emma truly was our little promise!