The beautiful Kara Bittner and Rockwell Holladay (21 months).
Kara lost her father when she was 19 and her mother when she 23. After that immeasurable loss, she felt as if she wasn't ever going to be happy again. She thought that was just her story now and sadness was just part of it. Her husband was the first person she'd ever imagined having children with and once they decided to go for it were able to conceive very quickly.
Kara's pregnancy was awesome. There was a three week period she felt quite sick and only wanted to eat Frosted Mini Wheats but beyond that, things went beautifully. She's been an avid cross-fitter for seven years and continued to work out through her pregnancy. She celebrated her growing baby with monthly muscle ups rather than bump pictures and felt great staying active.
Labor and delivery presented challenges that Kara hadn't foreseen. She says that Hollywood had given her a depiction of how you have a baby that couldn't have been further from the truth. She thought her water would just break and then she'd have this beautiful baby. She had never imagined laboring in the hospital for long, needing Pitocin, an epidural, or labor lasting 50 hours but that is her story. She had moments of feeling like she was failing in the moment but with the support of her husband, doula, and strong self resolve she's able to see that every bit of that was what she needed in the moment.
Kara experienced postpartum anxiety in the weeks after Rockwell's birth. She was terrified to leave him with anyone and couldn't let go of the thought that something horrible was going to happen to him. Her husband suggested she go to the grocery store alone once and her first thought was "Sure, I'll drive into oncoming traffic". She immediately called her OBGYN and they asked her to get there as soon as she could. She began taking Zoloft and was soon able to be the mother she'd hoped to be and parent her son in the ways she'd imagined. After working through things she's been able to wean off medication and is doing great but wishes this was something that more women were willing to talk about.
The happiness, joy, and wholeness that motherhood has brought Kara has been so full circle. She has permission to experience life again in a way she wasn't certain she ever would after loosing her parents. She speaks to the collective strength of women and mothers and is in awe of the new ways in which she's now able to love.