The lovely Lauren Johnston and June (18 months). Lauren didn't know what to expect from pregnancy but was able to conceive rather quickly about a month after she and her husband married. She had very intense morning sickness her first three months which made it difficult to continue to work and feel whole which sent her on an emotional rollercoaster. She started feeling better physically about half way through her pregnancy but found that she struggled immensely with her body image. She's always had a complex relationship with her body and her pregnancy was filled with anxiety worrying about her body.
She also focused a lot on having a natural birth and making sure that happened. Researching and planning. Her pregnancy went well other than being hyperaware of her body and her birth experience was very fast. Her water broke and within 7 hours June was here which allowed her to have the natural birth she had desired. It was intense and raw and all went well.
One of the first people Lauren saw after giving birth was her sister, who commented that she still looked pregnant and then shared the story of their cousin who'd only gained 14 lbs her whole pregnancy. Lauren says that sent her spiraling and sent her to a place where she was feeling frantic to get her weight off. All of this was complicated by the fact that her pelvis had been injured and was tilted which was causing a lot of pain and mobility issues.
A year later she was still dealing with pain and discomfort and finally found doctors who could understand what was happening. She began physical therapy and counseling and says it's been a long road but she is just now feeling as if she has a handle on it. She never doubted her ability to mother but felt she didn't have a grip on herself. The physical pain she had endured brought her emotional pain to the surface and they fed off one another. Simultaneously, however, as she gets better she says that she never could have made it through therapy or physical therapy without the other component.
Postpartum care for Lauren was nonexistent and while she's happy that she's been able to stumble and piece something together it took a long time to feel like she'd found a team to support her. She doesn't feel like she has an extreme story by any means and realizes the newfound appreciation she has for every woman she sees. When Lauren was lacking support she drew strength from others stories and connectivity. She was able to hang on and find her way and she is hoping to redefine herself. All the hard work that she has done has brought her here.