The marvelous Maria Turvin and daughter Natalia Kattaina Romån "Kat" (19).
Maria and first husband married very young while still in university. She jokes that she was more interested in her school than him and he was more interested in her than his schooling which meant things were never going to work out. Maria continued the relationship even though she knew that her husband was being unfaithful. It wasn't until she was pregnant, however, that she realized it was her best friend he'd be cheating with. While her husband wasn't the best spouse she says he was an amazing labor partner.
Pregnancy had gone well for Maria and she felt amazing throughout. She had moved home for the final two months of her pregnancy and ended up being induced at 41 weeks so that she could begin school on time. Her labor was quick and uncomplicated and she says that Kat was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Breastfeeding went well and she continued until Kat was a year old. When Maria weaned her daughter and her hormones shifted and she says the haze lifted and she finally asked her husband to leave.
Single motherhood was difficult on Maria, she was working three jobs, going to school and parenting hours away from her support system. Her friends helped but they were all so young she didn't want to place those responsibilities on them. There were days she would just come home and collapse and felt horrible about it. Just six credit hours short of her degree she decided that school needed to go and she moved back in with her parents so she could have the support she so desperately needed. Her father traveled a lot for work and her mom and sister were wonderful second mothers to her daughter as she found her way. Though Maria always wanted to have lots of children and only had one she found that as her daughter grew older her friends adopted her as a bonus mother and she was able to find that fulfillment in providing them support.
Growing up Maria never felt pretty but was always confidant in her strong healthy body. She spiraled into depression near the end of her pregnancy and put on 25 lbs in her final 2 months through comfort eating. After the birth of her daughter she struggled with body confidence due to the heavy adipose tissue and stretch mark scarring she acquired during those last few months of pregnancy. The excess fat and scarring in her abdominal area has been the source of many tears throughout the years and she says it is only now, at 42 that she's finally seeing the beauty in what she used to view as disfigurement.