The gorgeous Kelly Howland with her boys Judah Ari (2) and Oliver Vincent (10 months). Kelly is also mother to Tovial Rain, her first pregnancy lost to miscarriage at 8 weeks.
Kelly wanted to be a mother since she was a little girl but was afraid that may be difficult for her because a lot of women in her family suffer chronic infertility, including her mother. Her mom tried for 10 years to have her and she is an only child as a result. When she and her husband got engaged they decided to start trying right away and leave things open to whatever happened. Just before their wedding she found out she was pregnant but two weeks after, she miscarried. They never learned scientifically what they were having but both felt the child was a boy, and so they named him Tovial Rain. It rained the day she learned they'd lost them, and there was a rainbow the next day which gave her hope.
They wanted to try again and had difficulty, she found with fertility tracking that she went 6 months without ovulating. They considered using Clomid but found out they were pregnant just before they got started. Her progesterone was very low in early pregnancy and had to be supplemented so she was able to maintain her pregnancy. At 26 weeks she had what she now believes were Braxton Hicks contractions. She went to the doctor, however, thinking she was in labor and an ultrasound revealed she was already 2cms dilated. He told her she was in preterm labor and needed to go to the hospital right away. Kelly was on hospital bed rest for 6 weeks which was very difficult for her. At one point she didn't leave her room for 17 days and felt like she'd been imprisoned. In hindsight, she now feels that this was unnecessary and was a medical manipulation by the doctor. Once she went home she continued bed rest for 36 weeks and Judah was ultimately born on his own terms two days prior to his due date. Kelly wanted a gentle and natural birth in hospital but hadn't been able to take any classes. She was physically and emotionally overwhelmed by her contractions and felt like she was drowning. She ultimately got an epidural and because she was so panicked it allowed her to calm down and birth her baby.
Kelly felt emotionally traumatized by the experience of her pregnancy and birth. She went on to nurse him but he had a class 4 upper lip tie that needed surgery and she was diagnosed with Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT) and struggled with low milk supply. She switched to formula when Judah was 4 months old and subsequently felt empowered and regretful back and forth. When Judah was 6 months old she learned she was pregnant with Oliver which was very surprising. It took her some time to accept being pregnant again after her first experience. She panicked at the though of going to the hospital again and decided to do the opposite of everything she'd done with Judah with this baby.
They opted for a home birth midwife and hired a wonderful doula. She took a natural childbirth class with her husband and chose to use this pregnancy to heal, educate and own her choices. She had an easy pregnancy and had him at home at 39 weeks in a very fast labor and delivery. From the time labor started and her water broke until he arrived was just one hour. She almost delivered unassisted as her midwife arrived while he was crowning. She says she has never felt more beautiful, strong and whole and the experience felt like redemption. She went into nursing this time knowing there would be struggles and supplemented with an SNS. She continues to breastfeed and supplement with a balance that works beautifully for her family.
Kelly has had a difficult relationship with food throughout her life. She had an emotional relationship with food and has wrestled with food addiction, depression and anxiety. She struggled with body acceptance and body positivity - seeing it in others but not being able to embrace it herself. She has learned to overcome her food addictions, cope with emotions via healthy outlets and embrace herself and her body through her journey. She is no longer abusing food for and emotional escape. Still being plus sized is not of concern to her because she knows on the inside she is healthy, she is living and coping and has a much better outlook on life. Once she found herself in that better place she knew the time had come for her to express her journey, how far she's come and celebrate herself.