The radiant Heather Parker Roe, Silas (4), and Goldie (1).
When Heather and her husband met, neither of them intended to become parents. She says that she is not a kid person and was looking forward to a future where she and her husband would have the freedom to be independent, travel, and focus on themselves. She had assumed that she couldn't easily conceive with her history and was floored when she found herself pregnant just a few months after her wedding. There was a period of time where both she and her husband felt devastated and thought there was no way they could keep this baby. And then another period where they decided to just go for it. They didn't know how they would accept being parents, but they knew they would keep and love this baby. It was a hard shift of consciousness.
Pregnancy was far from easy for Heather. She was hit by a drunk driver in 2000 and has a double spinal fusion with a cage on her lower vertebrae as a result. Heather takes medication for breakthrough pain daily and also worried about the stigma that brings with it with new care providers. She was even accused of being drug seeking in attempt to manage her pain and while under the watchful eye of a supportive care provider. The plan was made to deliver via cesarean due to the potential for damaging her cage but Heather went into labor on her own. It took some time to convince the hospital that she was actually in labor as a nurse insisted she likely just had a UTI. When that came back negative, they finally started to listen. Her doctor gave her the option to attempt a vaginal delivery but the risks were too high, and she ultimately delivered via cesarean.
Heather had hoped to breastfeed Silas and says that she naively thought it would easy. She had delivered over the Christmas holidays and there wasn't a lot of support in the hospital. One nurse tried to give her a bit of coded message that there was an issue with her babies mouth that later got her written up by the doctor. They learned that Silas had a tongue tie that they had corrected but he was never able to get a good latch. Heather pumped exclusively for 6 months but had a hard time being tethered so frequently and wonders in hindsight if her relationship with Silas would be different had they been able to nurse directly. She struggled to form a bond with him and realized after a few months that she was experiencing postpartum depression on top of having navigated general anxiety and depression throughout her life. Medication changes were able to help Heather feel more in control but it took some time and she still has days where she wonders how they could be better connected.
Parenting was very hard Silas' first few years. They love him dearly but it was difficult around the clock. It wasn't until Silas got past toddlerhood and came into his own that they realized how amazing it could be and decided to take a chance on having another. They were able to conceive quickly but lost the pregnancy to miscarriage early on. They were able to get pregnant again soon after and this pregnancy brought with it a bit more concern emotionally and physically. Heather carried differently this time which put more pressure on her spine and led to more discomfort throughout her pregnancy. Goldie was born via scheduled cesarean which allowed for a much easier recovery and though it wasn't without it's challenges Heather has been able to establish a solid nursing relationship with her daughter.
Heather says that one of the best choices she made for this pregnancy and birth was to encapsulate her placenta. She says that even if the benefits were psychosomatic she felt so much better this time. Heather chose to have a tubal ligation during her delivery and while at the time felt it was the best decision worries if it's contributed to the way she's feeling recently. She has been feeling poorly, short tempered, and very unlike herself. Testing has revealed that her thyroid levels are off and there is some concern that she may have Hashimotos or a similar disorder.
Coming to a place where she can love and appreciate her body throughout her unexpected journey into motherhood and beyond is a work in progress for Heather. She's felt like she's continually had to fight her body which puts her in a difficult place both physically and mentally. She wants to get there though and she wants to model positive dialogue for her children. She hopes that participating in this movement will help the process and allow her to see herself in a new light.