Infopost: Reproductive Justice

You are undoubtedly aware of the Reproductive Rights movement, which advocates for access to sex ed, birth control, abortions, and medical care during pregnancy and birth. And those things are absolutely very necessary for the health of individuals as well as for the society which those individuals live in. But those things are all rather limited in the grand scheme of things and as it turns out, we need to recognized the interconnectedness of all things not just through intersectional feminism, but through Reproductive Justice as well.

According to Sister Song, a respected source in the RJ movement since 1997, the Reproductive Justice Movement was named in 1994.

“Indigenous women, women of color, and trans* people have always fought for Reproductive Justice, but the term was invented in 1994. Right before attending the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where the entire world agreed that the individual right to plan your own family must be central to global development, a group of black women gathered in Chicago in June of 1994. They recognized that the women’s rights movement, led by and representing middle class and wealthy white women, could not defend the needs of women of color and other marginalized women and trans* people. We needed to lead our own national movement to uplift the needs of the most marginalized women, families, and communities.” (1)

Many RJ sources quote Audre Lorde when she said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

So what is Reproductive Justice, then? Sister Song defines it as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities (1).”

And what does Reproductive Justice look like? It includes awareness and advocacy not just for the same issues as the Reproductive Rights movement calls for, but also for environmental issues, prison reform, economic justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and it also specifically advocates for the rights of people to have children if they choose – the US in particular has a long and dark history of forced or coerced sterilizations of people of color and disabled folx. So buckle up if you’ve got the spoons for this post, cause it’s gonna be a hard road to walk.

(And please remember, white, cis, straight, abled folx, that when I talk about “spoons” that is not for you in this case. It is your responsibility to learn this history and to share this history among your peers. Marginalized folx already know this and do this.)

Already we recognize that the classism and racism in our culture is toxic and must be eradicated. But it becomes a Reproductive Justice issue when you also acknowledge that without universal, equitable healthcare, many cannot afford it (2). And if one cannot access healthcare, it logically follows that one therefore cannot access birth control, gestational and birth care, cancer and heath screenings, or healthcare for any children one has. Ms. Magazine has a nice little article up that notes how various aspects of economic injustice contribute to a lack of access to healthcare:

  • “women of color are disproportionately segregated into work sectors that are least likely to have access to paid family leave, paid sick leave and protections for pregnant women (2).”
  • “70% of tipped workers are women and they are three times more likely to be in poverty and experience five times the rate of sexual harassment. When the minimum wage goes up to $15, tipped workers will still be left at $5 (2).”
  • “when we talk about domestic abuse, we have to consider the experiences of undocumented people who do not report out of fear of deportation (2).”
  • “At [Planned Parenthood New York City], we see over 64,000 patients every year, many of whom are women of color, low-income and poor, immigrant and undocumented, and young people. Last year, we gave financial assistance to 10,600 patients (2).”

  • We also need to talk about the Hyde Amendment. In 1977, just four years after Roe V Wade, the US backpedaled in the name of “compromise” and “appeasing the Right” and enacted the Hyde Amendment which bars the use of federal funding for most abortions.


    Anyway. Without federal funding, low income folx cannot access most abortions on their own. Which is why we have Planned Parenthood being known for abortions when their original goal was contraception, and the majority of their services are healthcare and cancer screenings.

    But, wait! There’s more!

    “The [Hyde] amendment hinders the ability of all low-income women to terminate a pregnancy and disproportionately affects women of color, but it discriminates against Native women specifically because they are entitled to receive health services from a federal agency (3).”

    I’ll do a post on what intersectionality is at another time, but this is a good example. Many Americans struggle to access healthcare. Women struggle more than men. Women of color more than white women. And, in this respect, at least, Native American women are impacted the most. Where their identities of woman and Indigenous intersect is where they are the most impacted.

    Environmental Justice becomes a Reproductive Justice issue when it interferes with a person’s rights or ability to have and raise (or to not have) a child. This is pretty obvious when you look at the communities struggling during and in the aftermath of major storms like Katrina or Harvey. As global warming continues and storms become more destructive (4) I don’t have to elaborate on how that will affect families, particularly poor families (of which BIPOC make up a disproportionate amount).

    But things like the Flint water crisis are also examples of how Environmental Justice is a fundamental part of Reproductive Justice. Michael Moore reminds us that “you cannot reverse the irreversible brain damage that has been inflicted upon every single child in Flint. The damage is permanent (5).” Furthermore, residents’ reproductive organs may be affected (5). The City of Flint’s website does not have any updates on the situation past last July and this article by a PBS affiliate dated October 2021 notes that “As of June, just over 10,000 pipes have been replaced in Flint and the city’s website says it is in the final stage of replacement, but even still residents struggle to trust that the water is safe to drink (6).”

    If people do not have access to a safe environment in which to raise any children they choose to have, they lack Reproductive Justice. Chernobyl, Fukushima, the BP oil spill in the gulf, the issues with the Cuyahoga River, current and future pipelines, etc…. It’s all included here.

    And a reminder that while these events are global and affect many, many people, it is still BIPOC folx who are affected disproportionately because they are more likely to be living near these places, more likely to live below the poverty line and therefore have fewer options with which to remove themselves. Wealthy white people do not choose to build toxic places near their homes. (Eat the rich, by the way.)

    “Over half (58%) of all women in U.S. prisons are mothers, as are 80% of women in jails, including many who are incarcerated awaiting trial simply because they can’t afford bail (7).”

    When pregnant people are incarcerated, it is still routine within the United States to shackle them during labor and birth despite no evidence that it is necessary. JAAPL notes that “Most incarcerated women are not violent offenders. . . and there are no known escape attempts among inmates who were not restrained during childbirth (8).”

    They also note that “Potential negative health effects of restraints include increased discomfort, limited mobility, increased fall risk, delays in medical assessments during obstetrical emergencies, increased risk of blood clots, interference with normal labor and delivery, and interference with mother–infant bonding (8).”

    And they say that “Currently, 22 states have some legislation restricting the use of shackles during pregnancy, with some of these banning shackling only during active labor and delivery (8).”

    Once the baby is born, they are nearly always separated from their birthing parent in the United States. This is not, it turns out, the global norm. There are only four nations that routinely separate infant and parent: The United States, The Bahamas, Liberia, and Surinam (8).

    The good news is that there are a few prisons in the US that are working to change this. NPR has a really lovely article about this, stating that “Washington Corrections Center for Women is one of at least eight prisons in the country that allows a small number of women who are pregnant and give birth while incarcerated to keep their newborns with them for a limited time (9).” These places aren’t like Orange is the New Black – they are safe and appropriate for babies and toddlers. They are built to be child- and family-oriented and studies have shown that they benefit for the baby and the parent (10).

    Another problem unique to parenting while incarcerated is presented by The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 which intends to get children out of the foster care system and into adoption as soon as possible. While perhaps a noble goal, for parents whose children are in foster care while they serve their time it becomes a risk of losing ones child altogether. If a child is in foster care for fifteen months of the previous two years, parental rights are terminated (8).

    And a quick reminder here that prisons are literally modern slavery, per the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. According to Wikipedia, “While the United States represents about 4.2 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 20 percent of the world’s prisoners.” Putting all of this information together together makes the whole situation look kinda sus tbh.

    BIG trigger warning for this whole section.

    Ah, joy of joys. I’ve saved the most fun subject for last. (That’s sarcasm, this is the least fun subject. Maybe. Maybe they’re all equally horrific. The United States is a flat-out dystopia.)

    Did you know that the Nazis quite literally modeled their eugenics program after the United States? After California, specifically, in fact (11). Yeah. Gross.

    “Beginning in 1909 and continuing for 70 years, California led the country in the number of sterilization procedures performed on men and women, often without their full knowledge and consent. Approximately 20,000 sterilizations took place in state institutions, comprising one-third of the total number performed in the 32 states where such action was legal (11).”

    This was a program that specifically focused on the Disabled community. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough” when a disabled woman whose mother was also disabled was sterilized after having a child (11).

    But they didn’t limit themselves to just Disabled folx, they also sterilized minorities. There are noted examples in Puerto Rico (11), and in Los Angeles among Latina women, many of whom were forced to sign papers in a language they did not speak or read while in active labor (watch the documentary No Más Bebés). Time Magazine notes that in the 1970s, at least 25% of Native American women were sterilized, but the numbers are actually likely higher (12).

    But the worst part is that none of this is ancient history (not that 1979 is ancient history…). A number of incarcerated women were sterilized without lawful consent in California in the first decade of this new millennium (13). And don’t forget that as recently as 2020 it came to light that ICE was sterilizing immigrant women without lawful consent (14).

    Access to good, complete sex ed, and to abortions and birth control, as well as to gestational and birth care are absolutely necessary. But, proportionally, white women deal with these other issues less often. And, historically, we tend to forget (or worse) about others when we are doing activism. Hence, Reproductive Justice was born. Just like how feminism isn’t truly feminism if it’s not intersectional, the fight for reproductive freedom means nothing if we don’t remember to include all of these other aspects of being a human.

    Additionally, we must also remember to include LGBTQIA+ issues in our work – but there has not been research done on, for example, trans fathers in prison (also we need to research that and other niche areas). Remember that queer folx need access to birth control and abortions, too. Remember that some men give birth.

    We must remember that the gestational and childbirth mortality rates in the United States are abysmal. We have twice the birth mortality rate compared to other high-income nations at 17.4 per 100,000 births (15). France is next highest with 8.7 deaths per 100,000 births. New Zealand, Norway, and the Netherlands have 3 or fewer deaths per 100,000 births. But wait, it gets worse! For birthing folx who are Black, the rate in the US is 37.1 deaths per 100,000 births. What, and I want to be very clear here, the FUCK? (15)

    None of us are free, while so many of us cannot access their basic human rights. Take this information and share it and together we can begin to fix this mess we call a society.

    Fellow white folx, please remember: While it is absolutely imperative that we make Reproductive Justice a priority, we must remember that it is not our movement. As allies, we should share information, but never speak over BIPOC or any other marginalized community, particularly in a movement they started.

    If you’ve read this far, you’ve earned a cookie.

    1. “Reproductive Justice.” Sister Song, Sister Song,

    2. Ko, Michele. “Economic Justice Issues Are Reproductive Justice Issues.” Ms. Magazine, Ms. Magazine, 8 Feb. 2019,

    3. Theobald, Brianna. “The Native American Women Who Fought Mass Sterilization.” Time, Time, 5 Dec. 2019,

    4. “Environmental Justice Is Reproductive Justice and Reproductive Justice Is Environmental Justice.” Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood, 1 July 2020,

    5. Pickens, Josie. “#FlintWaterCrisis Is a Reproductive Justice Issue.” Ebony, Ebony, 2 Feb. 2016,

    6. Blakely, Natasha. “Seven Years on: The Flint Water Crisis Has Yet to Conclude.” Great Lakes Now, PBS, 27 Oct. 2021,

    7. Bertram, Wanda, and Wendy Sawyer. “Prisons and Jails Will Separate Millions of Mothers from Their Children in 2021.” Prison Policy Initiative,

    8. Friedman, Susan Hatters, et al. “The Realities of Pregnancy and Mothering While Incarcerated.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 13 May 2020,

    9. Corley, Cheryl. “Programs Help Incarcerated Moms Bond with Their Babies in Prison.” NPR, NPR, 7 Dec. 2018,

    10. Clarke, Matthew. “Benefits of Allowing Prisoners to Raise Babies Born in Prison.” Prison Legal News, Human Rights Defense Center, 3 June 2016,

    11. Ko, Lisa. “Unwanted Sterilization and Eugenics Programs in the United States.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 19 Nov. 2020,

    12. Theobald, Brianna. “The Native American Women Who Fought Mass Sterilization.” Time, Time, 5 Dec. 2019,

    13. Johnson, Corey G. “Female Prison Inmates Sterilized Illegally, California Audit Confirms.” Reveal, 2 July 2015,

    14. Narea, Nicole. “The Outcry over Ice and Hysterectomies, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 15 Sept. 2020,

    15. “Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries.” Commonwealth Fund, 18 Nov. 2020,

    Back again! With another boy! (Anonymous)

    Age: 26
    3 months post partum

    First post here, second post here.

    This is my 3rd time submitting my story, and a lot has changed in the last 5.5 years!

    I had my first son at 19 (now 7) a natural hospital birth, no complications. He was 6lbs 14oz and i breast fed him for 9 months.

    I got pregnant with my second son when my oldest was only 10 months old, i was 21 when i gave birth to him. Another all natural hospital birth, he was 7lbs 14oz and i breast fed him for 1 year, he is now 5.

    My husband and i were done having children, or so we thought. July 31st 2016, i found out we were expecting once more. We were excited and scared, we have our hands full with our 7 and 5 year old boys. But we welcomed the challenge! Instantly this pregnancy was different, i was sick and crampy, so i had an ultrasound done at 7 weeks. The baby had implanted to low and had an abnormal gestational sac, we were given a 50/50 chance of it surviving. So again at 9 weeks we went back, and to our amazement the sac was normal and the baby was growing upward! So i was cleared to have my dream delivery, at a birthing center!

    Everything went smoothly the next few months, i was sick all of the time, but hey, that can happen when you’re pregnant! Then came our 22 week anatomy scan. It was our 3rd son! He looked great, measured perfect, but i had partial placenta previa, which meant my placenta had grown in the lower part of my uterus and was touching my cervix. The dr. Said it was such a mild case he was not concerned, and was certain it would migrate upward as my uterus grew.

    Again smooth sailing until my follow up 28 week ultrasound. My partial placenta previa was now a complete placenta previa and i could no longer have a vaginal delivery. I was put on bed rest and told to look forward to having a csection at 37 weeks. So my placenta went from touching my cervix to completely covering it, i was absolutely devastated!

    Before i had time to even find a regular ob (5 days later), because i could no longer go to the birthing center, i woke up to bleeding and off to the er we went. They were able to stop the bleeding and give my 2 rounds of steroids for the baby. After a 2 day stay in the hospital we went home on even stricter bedrest.

    Then at 30 weeks i was woken up to the sensation of my water breaking, only to discover it was not water at all, it was blood, and i was bleeding out right there in my bed. We drove 10 min to our closest er, where i was airlifted to a hospital with a level 3 nicu. As if i wasn’t scared enough They lost the babies heartbeat in the helicopter and i feared the worst. Once we landed they were able to find his heart beat, faint, but there.

    They rushed me up to L&D to discover not only was i loosing a massive amount of blood and clots, i was contracting every 3 minutes. So they made the decision to do an emergency csection.

    My little boy was born at 30 weeks weighing 3lbs 7oz and 16.5 ” long, he is our little fighter!

    He spent 8 long heart breaking weeks in the nicu. Talk about a Rollercoaster, he was up and Down for the first few weeks.

    We are now 3 months post partum, and i am so blessed he and I both lived, the drs and nurses told us we were very close to not making it.

    So now i carry a scar as a reminder of what we went through. I’m not happy with my stomach, but I’m trying very hard to take it easy on myself. I have good and bad days, i didn’t realize how difficult the recovery from a csection would be.

    God has blessed me with 3 Amazing little boys, so i will try and carry this body with pride!

    1st picture: 29 weeks prego (the last picture i was able to get pregnant)

    2nd and 3rd picture: 3 days post partum

    Pictures 4-7: now, 3 months post partum, including my scar

    Tanner’s Mommy (Chelsi)

    Age- 20
    Number of pregnancies and births- 1
    Age of of your children- 2years

    I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant. I was so terrified, I didnt know what to do. My boyfriend, tanners dad… Was there for me threw everything and still is. When i was 3 months pregnant I told my mom, my parents didn’t take it well. Which was expected. Within the next week I went to my doctor to make sure everything was alright and have a ultrasound. It was me, my boyfriend, and my mom in the room. At first everything looked fine. Just an adorable lil baby. Then the ultrasound tech decided to take one last look… She stopped, started to look at the screen very closely. I immediately knew something was wrong. She told me that she was going to send me to another hospital that could see my baby clearer, because she saw something on his stomach… But she couldn’t see exactly what it was. The next week we had another appointment at the specialist. That week waiting for our appointment to come, was the longest week of my life. I had no idea what could be wrong with my baby. Waiting for my name to be called in the waiting room was the hardest thing… I was so nervous. My boyfriend couldn’t make it because of work. Even though my mom was there, I felt so alone. They took me back into the ultrasound room. When she started, the first thing I looked at was his heart, i saw it beating and was imeadiatly relieved. When the ultrasound was over, the waiting began again. My doctor finally came into the exam room, she was holding a whole bunch of pamphlets, a notebook and a pen. She sat down and said. Your baby has something called Gastroschisis The word was so big.. It was so scary hearing it. I had no idea what that ment. She started drawing on her notebook…. She said Gastroschisis is when a baby is born with the intestines on the outside. It happened because the hole in his abdomen didn’t close all the way. So the intestines come out the hole cause there is room for them to do so. I was speachless. I’ve heard about this on the discovery channel.. I never thought this would happen to me, or my baby. She told me that everything will be alright and that there are doctors in that very hospital that could help him when he was born. I couldn’t figure out why this happened, was it something i did? Was it something i didn’t do? I took my prenatal vitamines like i was sopost to. The doctor told me that they dont know why this happenes, i could have been cause i was so young. Over the next couple weeks till our next appointment all i did was research. Even though Everything that i read was very positive. I was still scared out of my mind. Over the next few months we met with NICU nurses and surgeons. They all told me the same thing.. He was going to be okay. When he was born they would take him and place his lower half in a bag to keep out all the bacteria. Then he would be taken into surgery. They couldn’t know how much of his intestines were out till he was born, so we could only hope that it wasn’t very much. Because if there wasn’t a lot they could do everything they needed to in one surgery and then then let him recover. But if there was a lot out, they would have to put something called a silo around the intestines, so that in time(a few days to a few weeks) the intestines would retract back into his body. I just wanted to do whatever was best for my baby, whatever would make him better so he could have a normal life. We got everything set up, ready for his arrival. My doctor thought it would be best if I was induced, so that we could control when he came so that we could make sure the surgeon and all the nurses would be there. On October 25th, me and my boyfriend left the house at 11:00 on our way to the hospital. The whole car ride there, I didn’t actually believe we were going to have our baby that night. I was strangely calm. We got to the Check in desk, they told me that my doctor actually put me down for midnight the next day. Which was strange, it’s like I knew that was going to happen. They told me to come back at 7:00 am. We then once again started our way back to the hospital. This time was a different story, I knew today was the day that my life would change for ever. I was so scared for my baby. All I wanted to do was keep him with me where I knew he was safe. I got induced shortly after 8:00 am. I was 39 weeks and 5 days. They placed a half of a pill ‘down there’ that was sopost to start contractions… That didn’t work so they placed the other half. Still nothing. They decided to place a vaginal balloon to stretch me so that hopefully that would start contractions. Contractions slowly started to happen, but more that anything I just wanted to sleep, since I didnt get very much sleep the night before, I was very tired. Things started to pick up, I couldnt sleep. They gave me a shot in my hip to help me sleep. Which helped for a minute then i ended up puking my guts out. Since I couldn’t sleep we watched Knocked Up (probably wasn’t the best to watch right before giving birth). Right after the movie ended things started to go really fast. I ended up getting a epidural. A little while later my doctor came in a checked me. I was at 10 centemeters. They took me back into the surgery room, so that i could deliver. 42 minutes later I gave birth to a beautiful 7 pound, 19in baby boy. They held him up to show me then he was taken away. I got to see him an hour after he was born in the NICU. My boyfriend wheeled me in once in saw his bed I immediately broke into tears. When in saw him for the first time, my jaw dropped. He was so beautiful, so perfect. He had a full head of black hair. He had his dad’s nose. They had him sedated. We only had a short time with him before he had to be taken back to surgery. When we left I gave him a kiss on his forehead and told him that his mommy loved him very much, everything was going to be okay. I would be there when he woke up. We were taken back to the recovery part of the labory and delivery. We sat in our room waiting for the call that he was out of surgery and was perfectly fine. About an hour later we got the call. We rushed down to be by his side. He was still the most perfect little boy ever. They were able to do what they needed to in one surgery. Now for the first time in 5 months i could breathe. Even though i knew there were still hard days ahead of us. I knew the hardest part was over, the next couple of days were very important. They told me he would spend at minimum a month in the NICU. Next We needed to see if he could absorb the liquid food he was getting threw this IV and that he could poop. After a couple days of waiting, i changed his diaper, when I saw his lil poop, I jumped up and down and said u did it baby, u did it! Since we knew his intestines weren’t damaged from being out so long in the whomb. We had to wait for him to start eating breast milk, finally the time came to actually feed him. That was the first time we were able to be alone. Just me and him. Even though we were still in the hospital. I forgot about all that, it was just be and my baby boy. He quickly started eating more and more. I put everything on hold to be there with my baby over the month he was in the hospital and after he came home. I didn’t want him to be alone for one second. I spend everyday and night that he was in the NICU, right there by his side. We made it to his 1 year appointment! They said that his inside incision was comepletely closed and that he was as perfect as perfect could be. They told me I had nothing to worry about anymore, I still found myself checking his belly bottom to just to make sure. Over the next year he grew, and grew. He met all his milestones. Since then, I’ve graduated high school (on time) , now making plans for college, we even got our own place. Were doing really good. Its almost his second birthday and he’s still perfect! He’s sooo big and smart, he’s the smartest lil boy in the world and he’s all mine! Everyday I thank god for helping my baby threw the hard times. I’m the luckiest mommy in the world! Thank you for taking time to read my story! It means a lot!

    First picture- The day Tanner was born.
    Second picture- His first day home.
    Third picture- Almost 2 years old.

    5 Weeks PP, Almost There – Update (Anonymous)

    Previous entry here.

    Ahhh where can I begin? Its been 16 weeks since I welcomed my beautiful baby boy into the world. I feel very happy about the place I’m at. So far since my last update I lost more weight and I’m back into my pre pregnancy jeans once again. My tummy is completely flat and I’m starting to get my abs defination back. My breast went down so I’m back to pre pregnancy. I still feel empty at times like I failed my baby. In the first update I forgot to mention that my son was born at 28 weeks weighing two pounds two ounces. I was hurt and very embrassed. I feel sad and angry that women who are heavy pregnant complain about the marks and the weight. I would have been happy to have a mommy tummy atleast I would have known that I wouldn’t have failed my baby. I pray everyday and ask god to show mercy on my son and he has. I never realize how stupid and selfish I was by not enjoying every minute that my son was inside of me. I didn’t have a tradition babyshower with a big belly I didn’t have a happy birth where I left the hospital with my son in my hands I had to see my baby have blood transfusions and Iv lines all through his arms and feet. I had to wait six weeks just to hold my son for the first time. I had to get a phone call from my sons doctor saying that my son has stop breathing and they had to bag him. Its so many things that I didn’t do or get to do that I’m most hurt about. I didn’t get a chance to even see my son when he was born or even get to touch him. Im still very emotional about the whole ordeal and I’m in tears as I write this. I had to wait three months just to finally bring my baby home a week before his due date. Premature babies go through so much but my son is healthy and happy. He has no brain bleeds IVH which is so s common with babies born his age he’s not on any medications or on any breathing machines which is very common with babies born at his age. I proud to see he’s such a greedy fat baby and love his milk he poops a lot and is perfect in everyway. So far he has no lasting effects of being born prematurely which I’m so very thankful for. The doctors don’t know why I had PROM (pre mature rapture of the membranes) but with my next child I will be seen by a high risk doctor and I’m very hopeful that I won’t have another preemie. My sons birth gave me a complete understanding of what love is and how to have compassion for other people. This ordeal brought me and my sons father even more closer as a family and we now live together and talking about marriage. He tells me I’m sexy and cause me his little sexy girl :) Life couldn’t be any better I’m working and going to school to become a nurse. I want to show another family the same compassion that my sons nurses should us. I want to work in the NICU with preemies. I’m learning to love my body at times I hate it and get so angry when people say oh u don’t even look like u had a baby. What I would give. This update is for all of the moms who hate there post baby bodies be so thankful that your body grew your babies and protected them because mines didn’t. Sometimes I wish I would be on the other end of the stick and complain about my post baby body. I didn’t get to breastfeed only pump but after six weeks my milked dried up so now my son is formula fed I’m hurting with another thing my body failed. I will have another baby and I will enjoy every moment of pregnancy. My pregnancy body was so beautiful I was nice and ripe sometimes I still touch my belly wishing I still could be pregnant. I included my pictures. The first picture is of my belly a week before I had my son. The next picture is of how my breast look now and the third picture is of my tummy now and the fourth picture is me now and the last picture is of my beautiful baby boy :) who I love so very much. When I get down I just think of all of the mommies who will never leave the hospital with their babies and i feel grateful that I have a healthy and happy beautiful baby who I kiss all day everyday.

    I Hate My Stomach (Emma)

    I never liked my body before I got pregnant at 18, but after going through a very rough pregnancy, I wish I had appreciated it more when I could. My pregnancy was unplanned, and I spent much of it wondering if I was making the right decision. It was also rough on me physically – I was out of shape to begin with and I put on a lot of weight very quickly. Because I have type 1 diabetes, my baby grew larger than average, and as a result I was measuring full-term at about 27 weeks. I literally could only walk for a few minutes at a time, and was in almost constant pain – so much so that when I went into spontaneous labor at nearly 33 weeks, all I felt was relief that I was done being pregnant. When Zoey was born she weighed 7 lbs 10 oz. Even though she looked like a full-term baby, internally she was still 7 weeks early. She stayed in the NICU for 3 weeks and came home with no complications, thank god.

    Before pregnancy I weighed 160 lbs (at 5’2″ I was already overweight). When I delivered, I was 218. I managed to lose most of the weight fairly quickly, but my clothes still didn’t fit. Almost 7 months after giving birth, I’m down to 150 lbs (with a goal of 130), but I still can’t button most of my jeans. I still look like I’m pregnant. I keep my gut constantly sucked in. My love handles are humongous. Even my back is fatter than before. My breasts… oh, my breasts. Zoey struggled to nurse, so I’ve been pumping so I can still give her my milk. But now my once full, high breasts droooop halfway down my stomach. I don’t even care about the stretch marks. I just miss having smooth, unwrinkled skin. I miss having a decent shape.

    My baby girl will be 7 months old in a few weeks, and I’m still in awe of her. I can’t believe how amazing and perfect she is. But I wish I could love myself, too.

    Pic 1 is me at 27 weeks
    Pic 2 is me about 1 month postpartum
    Pic 3 is me 6.5 months postpartum
    Pic 4 is me 6.5 months postpartum
    Pic 5 is Zoey, the day she was born
    Pic 6 is Zoey today

    ~Age: 19
    ~Number of pregnancies and births: 1
    ~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 7 months

    Mom to 10 month old twins (Ariel)

    I have been engaged to my fiance for 2 years when we moved out of the dorms and into our first apartment together, less than a month later I was pregnant, about a month later I found out ‘it’ was ‘them.’ I found out I was pregnant with twins at an abortion clinic. I wanted a baby but not at that point in my life, not when I was at the end of my teaching program, not before I was married….NOT NOW…is all I kept saying. When I was laying on the table in the clinic and the lady looked at me and said ‘I detect multiples.’ I cried, for the first time I cried because I knew they were here for a reason. There was no history of twins in my family, I wasn’t doing IVF, and I was only 20! Nothing says that I should have had twins. I felt like it was a miracle.

    Anyway, I was happy about my pregnancy and told my parents and family when I was 9 weeks pregnant. We found out at 21 weeks that we were having a boy and a girl! We were super excited. It took forever to figure out their names but we finally chose them: Delilah AnnMarie and Leon Jason Paul and we were thrilled! I was going to school full time while my fiance was working full time.. At 31 weeks along I went to my OB for my appointment and he said ‘you are too complicated for the local hospital, so here are all your records, go find another doctor.’ I didn’t get names to other doctors but it didn’t matter because the next night at midnight while I was getting in the shower my water broke. My fiance drove me to the ER and they sent me by ambulance to a wonderful hospital over an hour away. I stayed there for 5 days while they tested me and tested me. I was borderline gestational diabetic and severe pre-eclampsia. At 9am the doctor said ‘there is no way she is leaving. We’re keeping her here until 34 weeks and then we’re taking the babies.’ At 5pm, the same doctor walked in and said ‘we’re having the babies in the morning.’ I was FREAKING out…to say the least.

    My sweet baby girl was born at 8:04am and her little, yet bigger, brother was born 2 minutes later. Delilah weighed 3lb and Leon was 3lb 3oz. I saw them for 2 seconds and then they were ran down the hall to the NICU and they lived there for 48 days. They came home a week before their due date. During that time I was recovering from my c-section. It was brutal!

    Concerning my weight and body image: I have never thought I looked good. I hated my body. A week before my twins were born I weighted 299lb…that is my highest weight. I don’t know how much, if anything, that I have lost, but since the beginning of the year I have set the goal for myself to love my body and to get to a healthy weight. I know I have a lot of work to do but I feel so much better since I’ve been eating better. I have been eating little to no junk food, no carbonated drinks, eating whole grains, and low fat, low sugar foods.

    I’ve included pictures of me in the hospital, pictures of my belly when I was pregnant (all those pictures I keep off facebook) and a picture of me breastfeeding my son (to show how huge my boobs were) and a picture of me last week trying to get a picture of the 3 of us. That one is the hardest for me to look at, because I look so wide. Anyway, I think this site is amazing and will help me love my body.

    Your Age: 21
    Number of pregnancies and births: 1 pregnancy and 2 births
    The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 10 month old twins

    New Mommy to 10 day old twins!!!! (Katie)

    I started reading this website when I first started getting stretch marks about 30 weeks into my pregnancy with my boy/girl twin pregnancy. I felt AWFUL about them. It consumed me so much I couldn’t even be excited about the pregnancy because every morning I woke up with more and more lines across my belly. I spent hour researching ways to get rid of them.

    The day I gave birth to my babies changed my life forever. The second I saw that first little screaming face being lifted over the c section curtain I forgot about every stress in the world. My two little ones are my life now. My body will be scarred forever because of this pregnancy, but I would take any amount of body scarring to equal them being here and healthy. It’s not about me now, or having a good body. It’s about being healthy so that I can give nutrition to my babies and live a long life to always be there for them.

    I attached some pictures of my belly at 10 days postpartum. I am still hoping the stretch marks fade – not gonna lie! But if they don’t it really doesn’t make a difference to me. My body is beautiful for the sole reason that it produced and nurishes the most beautiful and perfect babies in the world.

    I hope that if anyone reads this while pregnant and stressed about your body changing to know that it’s all worth it. And you will know that the day your little one(s) come!

    Also — I have lost a lot of the weight already due to breastfeeding (I gained 45lbs!! Down 35 so far). I would highly recommend it. Not only does your body go back to normal quicker (it burns cals and shrinks your uterus), but it’s so great nutritionally and for bonding.

    There is also a pic of my little baby boy and my little baby girl! They were born at 34 wks 5 dys and he was 5’8lbs and she was 4’8lbs. Probably going to be leaving the NICU and going home with me before Xmas!!!! I love them so much I can’t wait!

    ~Your Age: 22
    ~Number of pregnancies and births: 1 pregnancy 2 births
    ~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 10 days post partum

    Mom shocked by diagnosis (Penelope)

    Age 30

    Hello Well my name is Penelope and I am a mom of 3 beautiful children. My oldest daughter is 7 with a normal pregnancy and birth my second daughter is 3 with a normal 40 week pregnancy and birth. But after She had not passed the meconium and the doctors noticed her belly was veiny and distended they rushed her to the OR at 12 hours old. She under went surgery to remove the meconium that had hardened in her intestine. While she is recovering in the NICU my husband daughter and I play the waiting game,finally the surgeon comes to tell us that they suspect Cystic Fibrosis is the culprit in all of this. What is that ? We were both blown away , we had no idea what all this meant. It was confirmed after genetic testing that she did in fact have Cystic Fibrosis. I was in tears for about 3-4 months after that. She was released from the NICU at 3 months old…..My husband and I always wanted a lot of kids, but after this shocker, we didn’t feel right bringing another baby with a life threatening disease into the world. Although we felt strongly about this we were happy to find I was pregnant again!!!:) We wanted to know right away if the baby had CF. I underwent a CVS test and the test revealed the baby was free and clear of all CF genes and was not even a carrier. And it’s a Boy!!! So much stress went into that test we had to wait 12 weeks before we could take it and another 2 weeks for the results…..Anyway long story short, my little girl is doing well .With with all her therapies and feeding problems she is a normal energetic kid…… We are so blessed, Have never looked back and keep moving forward:)

    These pics are 18 months post partum
    7 year old girl
    3 year old girl
    18 month old boy

    Mother of two miracles (Mikayla)

    AGE: 20
    NUMBER OF BIRTHS: 2 both vaginal, 1 with no pain meds.

    Wow, where to start. First of all I love this site. I feel like I am the only mother who got stretch marks or who is not in her pre pregnancy clothes a few months after birth. I hate that society expect that. I WAS 128 lbs pre pregnancy, and a size 6. Now I am 170 a size 12 or 14 at 5’6.

    I got pregnant with my son Dec. 2006. I was a senior in high school and not at all ready to be a mom. I knew that I could do it. My boyfriend and I had been together three years already (since we were 15) and I knew it was a little soon, but we were going to be excellent parents. It was funny I thought I had the flu and after a few weeks realized hey you haven’t had a period for awhile. I took a pregnancy test one of my closest friends bought at work. When I came out of the bathroom laughing saying I was pregnant no one believed me. I went straight to my boyfriend’s house after work, he was asleep. I turned on the light and told him to look at the test. He was scared ,mad but he eventually came around and said, we were having a boy he just knew.

    My grandmother died April 4, 2007 unexpectedly it was very hard, she was very special to me and we had a very close relationship, she was definitely routing for me, and always believed in me. I know she never got to meet my lil man, but in a way I believe she did

    I graduated high school June 7, 2007 with a honors diploma, and at about 7 ½ months pregnant – barely showing. Life was going good and baby Noah was growing perfectly inside me. I had the epitome of perfect pregnancy.

    I thought I was having contractions on July 25, 2007. I went to the Dr. who sent me to the hospital because I was contracting regularly and was 2 centimeters dilated. They gave me a shot at the hospital and some antibiotics in case I did deliver. The contractions stopped and I stayed the night to be monitored. I went home the next afternoon, with some pills to take 3 times a day till I was full term.

    They didn’t work I was back at the hospital at 10 p.m. I was far enough along to just let it take its course. I gave birth to Noah at 35 weeks and 1 day. He didn’t need any help breathing. He was 6 lbs. 4 oz and perfect. It was amazing. I felt so happy and so blessed. The next day the Dr.s told me they thought he had hydrocephalus (meaning water head literally) and needed to run some test. Noah had a cyst develop causing the spinal fluid to build up in his head making it larger and larger. They sent us to a bigger hospital 2 hrs away. Noah got surgery at 4 days old. They placed a shunt on his left side of his head right behind his ear. His cyst drained and we spent 2 weeks up there getting him to eat properly. With a premature baby especially one who undergoes surgery that can be a battle. But, he caught on and on the day we left the hospital he weigh a whopping 5 lb 9 oz.

    I started college online in Sept. through my local community college. I have always wanted to be a nurse and that is what I am working toward. I am currently still in school and almost ready to apply to the program yay!

    Everything was going smooth and life was good till Dec. 8, 2007when my sister at age 27 passed away very tragically. It is and was the most horrible experience of my life. It is has been 1 ½ and it is still hard. I cry at least 2x a week. But, some days are better than others.

    On Dec 21, 2007 I found out I was pregnant again, my son was only 4 months. I was scared, but my boyfriend had a good job, I figured I could take a year off school and we would be okay. I did know I better say bye to my body though. With Noah my body looked good, almost went right back down to same size. But, I would never let my fears of losing my body keep me from bringing life into this world. It was much sooner than expected; my due date was my grandmother who passed birthday August 23, 2008. Crazy huh?

    My pregnancy went by so fast probably because I was so busy with my baby boy. At the end of June my mom took me, Noah and my nephew to Arizona. We had a blast, lounging by the pool and just getting away. My boyfriend just stayed behind and watched the house and dogs.

    When we got home I was really sick, I think from the plane I caught a cold. Right when I was getting over it about 6 days after we returned home, I knew I was going into labor, 2 months early. My mom took me to the hospital so my boyfriend could take care of Noah till we knew what was going on. They said I was 3 cm dilated. They gave me steroids, hooked my up to a monitor, gave me a shot to stop the contractions which didn’t work the way it did with Noah. They were still coming.

    When I was checked at 12 p.m I was not dilating anymore and the contractions got lighter. I tried to sleep, visited with my mom, boyfriend and son. They decided to head home for the night around 6pm. They figured I had a couple of days.

    At 7pm when a new nurse came in I told her how uncomfortable I was and I couldn’t possibly feel like this for days. She checked me and said I was 9 cm and my water was about to break.

    I replied, “so should I call my boyfriend and mom?”

    Lol my mom and boyfriend made the 20 min. drive in about 10. The doctor broke my water about 7:30 and I got to 10 cm by 8pm. I pushed for about 2 hrs and my daughter Gracelynne was born at 4lbs 14oz. She was very healthy but due to her prematurity at 32 weeks gestation she spent 8 days in the nicu needing to learn how to eat.

    So that is basically everything haha. But, now I struggle with all the weight gain after the two back to back pregnancies. It took a toll on my body, sometimes I cry when I look in the mirror. Then I feel so guilty for caring what my body looks like when it gave me my two beautiful children. I am slowly losing weight. I cut out regular pop, and trying to only drink 1 diet a day…the stretch marks are fading and someday I hope to smile when I see my body, but for now I take it 1 day at a time.

    1st picture is me about 9 months pregnant with my son, 2nd photoe my beautiful bay boy right before his 1st surgery 3rd photo is my big ol belly with my daughter, I was about 8 1/2 months there. 4th is my little girl. 5th and 6th are my body currently and the last one are my miracles now :)

    Still Trying to Adjust (Emily)

    Age 19- Mother of One Beautiful13 month old boy Aleckzander

    I was 17 When I found out I was pregnant. My fiance now my husband and I had decided that we were ready to start our lives regardless of what anyone thought even though a lot of people thought we were crazy we were just living our dreams and running on faith and love. I married my amazing husband in December of 2007, and our son was Born April 12, 2008. This had to be the best day of our lives! Aleckz defiantly gave us a run for our money. I went into labor officially at Midnight on April 12, all though I later found out that I had been having contractions since about 10 o clock the previous morning! At 10 am the Dr’s told me it was time to push 4 hours went by and sure enough with the help of a vacuum my beautiful son was born weighing in at 6 lbs 4 oz and 19 in long. He was immediately taken to the NICU because they said he wasn’t breathing right. I got to see him 4 hours later. He was perfect. That night they had to put in a feeding tube because he wouldn’t eat but he ripped it out. My little man sure was a fighter.
    Now at 13 months he is full of life, running around, laughing, and making everyone he meets ogle over his beautiful blue eyes, blond hair, and bright smile. I am reminded daily when I look in the mirror that my body may not be perfect but my son is =) I went from weighing 145 too on the day of labor 198 I’m done to one 160 but still not happy with my body, the stretch marks alone remind me of the battle that’s ahead of me =) All in All, I would take the stretch marks over anything to see my son Smile every single Day. He is the love of my life and the stretch marks remind me of the battle that he came from =)