The lovely Julie Fisher and Ian (6 months).
Julie has never had a wonderful relationship with her body but through her pregnancy and birth learned to love it in ways she never had before. Julie has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and lost half of an ovary due to a cyst in 2007. She knew it may be difficult to conceive but they set out trying. After a full year, Julie and her husband decided to see a fertility specialist where she learned that everything looked great other than slightly low progesterone and estrogen levels. They started IUI cycles and she got pregnant on the second attempt but she miscarried at 5 weeks. After a third attempt without a successful pregnancy they decided to take a break.
In her time focusing on herself, Julie had read a study that indicated women with PCOS who cut gluten and dairy out of their diet were able to get pregnant easier. She went on a diet for four months and felt better than she ever had before. They decided to save for IVF and see what happened in the meantime and much to her surprise, Julie found herself pregnant with Ian.
Other than high blood pressure that developed around 27 weeks and was treated with a low dose of medication, Julie's pregnancy was wonderful. She felt healthy and beautiful and more comfortable in her body than she ever had. Julie was induced at 39 weeks and delivered a healthy boy about 24 hours later.
Julie had very much wanted to breastfeed but after three weeks and four lactation consultants they just weren't getting the hang of it and she has recommitted herself to breastfeeding through exclusive pumping. Julie says that in hindsight she may have been experiencing postpartum depression during that time as well. She is grateful to not only be able to pump enough milk for her son but has an oversupply that allows her to donate to another baby as well.
After dieting and struggling with her self image for much of her life, Julie has finally come to a place where she can appreciate her body for all that it is. Focusing on health rather than external standards of societal beauty has allowed her to continue to find the worth and self love she struggled with for so long.