The beautiful Melissa Boustedt and her daughter Daphne Bo (6). Melissa has struggled with body image issues for much of her life. She was the target of criticism from her classmates and even more devastatingly, from her family. She had never anticipated wanting to be a mother herself but when she met the love of her life she felt that slowly start to change. They quickly conceived Daphne and she loved being pregnant, feeling life and feeling like she was doing something special. She says she still didn't love her body though. She was interested in an unmedicated birth so they found a midwife and things were going well. She ended up carrying post dates and came down with shingles at 41 weeks, though they didn't know whats what it was at the time. She went into labor on her own at 41 weeks 5 days and labored fine for the first day. They went into the birthing center the following day and she she stalled. They tired everything to speed things up, including breaking her water but nothing helped. Hours later she was still only 5 minutes apart and was becoming exhausted so they transferred to the hospital. Once they got there she says that things were terrible and she felt very out of control. Her midwife had to transfer full care and she felt that her birth plan was completely disregarded. She had a horrible epidural and couldn't feel anything. 4 or 5 hours later it was time to push which was difficult being unable to feel anything. The doctor told her she needed to push the baby out quickly or she would have a cesarean. Melissa's husband looked at her and told her she could do it and about 30 minutes later Daphne was out. Melissa says she was perfect and so beautiful. They gave the baby to her husband for skin to skin because Melissa started hemorrhaging due to retained placenta that had to be manually extracted. She said that it was so busy and then they were alone. She had nurses that would allow her to rest and disregarded their wishes with Daphne. She just wanted to go home but had to wait there. Melissa very much wanted to breastfeed but struggled for several days. When Daphne was 5 days old, Melissa's husband came down with Chicken Pox and her only support was suddenly gone. Because he was so sick he couldn't help with the baby and couldn't go to work so Melissa had to return to work when Daphne was just 3 weeks old. She couldn't keep up with pumping and quickly burned through her stash and had to transition to formula. Melissa felt a huge sense of failure that all of her plans were thwarted. She feels fortunate to have an amazing daughter but has needed to learn that expectations can be so quickly dashed.
Melissa and her husband were in the midst of a rough patch when she unexpectedly conceived about 3 years later. It wasn't an ideal time and brought a lot of mixed emotions but it pushed she and her husband to really work on things. Just as they started telling people and got used to the thought of having another baby they went in for an ultrasound and learned that his heart had stopped beating. She was able to see a perfect little face and learned he had likely passed just a day or two prior. She struggled to understand what she had done wrong to cause it and felt guilty that with the pain was also a sense of relieve. She lost this baby during Thanksgiving week so she had to make a quick decision on whether she wanted to wait and see if her body miscarried naturally or if she wanted a D&C. They spoke with an OB and decided to have the procedure. Melissa recalls waking up from it feeling so empty and struggled with the fact her baby was gone. She says that when she felt the worst, that she had somehow failed that baby even though she knows logically that isn't the case. Melissa and her husband made the choice to not have any other children and she still struggles with life would be like if they had another baby and if her daughter had a sibling.
Melissa says that it has been a journey and one that isn't always easy to expect. She is happy and adores her daughter and is constantly blown away by her ability to mother her. She wants to be able to provide a positive example for Daphne, for her to be the fireball that she is and know that she is good enough to fight for whatever she wants. Even beyond that the ability for her positivity to translate to other women she encounters and her children if she has them someday. Melissa says that women are rockstars and they need to understand that more. She ultimately hopes to also find for herself some healing with the baby she lost. Mother, she says, is absolutely a definition but losing most definitely is not. It doesn't make her less of a woman or less og a mother it just makes her part of the human race.