The lovely Jessica Pelenberg with her daughter Hunter Gray (17 months).
Jessica has Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and hypothyroidism which was mostly untreated as she tried to conceive. She realized her fertility was being affected and began to got serious about taking her medications. Once she conceived, she was able to have mostly uncomplicated pregnancy. She hadn't really focused too much on her birth and never really considered doing thing anything other than a typical hospital birth with epidural. She isn't sure if the epidural took fully as she felt quite a bit. Hunter was born with just a little bit of tearing but they feared she had aspirated meconium so she was taken away by the NICU team before Jessica ever got to hold her. Jessica attempted to breastfeed as soon as she was able but was initially told her nipples were too big and she needed to use a shield. Thankfully she was able to attend a lactation class in hospital and learned how to latch without the shield. She and Hunter still have a wonderful nursing relationship today.
Jessica has struggled with her body image for much of her life. She was always taller than the other kids and was made fun of for it. She was used to hearing women constantly critique themselves, overvalue their appearance and worry about their weight. She has had bouts of anorexia herself but feels that since pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that phase of life is behind her. Jessica credits motherhood has changed her outlook on so many things as well as her empathy, understanding and ability to love.