The stunning Erin Sutherland, currently 39 weeks pregnant, and Colton (3).
Erin says that she was one of those "annoying women" who absolutely loved everything about her first pregnancy. She was never sick, and didn't really get uncomfortable until she was past her estimated due date. She ended up being induced with a foley catheter at 42 weeks. The catheter fell out at 5 cm dilated, and less than an hour later she was delivering. "I recall feeling so out of control and like the pain made everything a daze around me. I was very disappointed that I hadn't gone into labor on my own, but when I was able to have the natural "minimal intervention" labor and delivery that I desired those thoughts faded."
Erin had always planned on breastfeeding and took the hospital course and read several books on the topic. However, she says that nothing could have prepared her for the roller coaster of emotions that was their breastfeeding relationship. Colton was a rather large baby, 9 lbs 4 oz, and lost 9% of his body weight. By day 3 of being home he hadn't had any bowel movements and was struggling to produce wet diapers. She began pumping at the direction of a lactation consultant and using a SNS for feedings, and also to stimulate more milk production. Nobody in her family has breastfed and she lacked the support needed to continue past the cracked and bleeding nipples, the slow weight gain and becoming a slave to the pump. She never produced/pumped enough to fully sustain her son, and by 6 weeks he stopped latching all together.
Erin pumped until returning to work just shy of Colton turning 4 months old. She struggled, especially after stopping pumping, with postpartum anxiety and was certain that every call she got from his daycare provider was going to be a life altering one and feared that if he slept even a few minutes past his usual wake up time that something catastrophic had happened to him. She ended up seeking medical help and also went from working full time to part time for several months which helped her to get back to her normal head space.
This second pregnancy has been completely different from her first. Erin was sick and vomiting for the majority of the first 20 weeks and severe sciatic pain set in during the second trimester as the baby favors her right side. "I can see now why some women aren't in love with pregnancy. It's hard work growing a baby, especially while working to maintain a home, a family and keep a 2 year old occupied and happy."
"I don't necessarily think anything about my motherhood journey is stellar or incredibly unique, but I feel that many women may not fit the societal mold of what strong looks like, but can still learn to see strength in themselves. I have been on a diet the vast majority of my teen and adult life, and it wasn't until my best friend, at age 26, was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and seeing her shrink to a dismal fraction of her usual weight while fighting for her life, and ultimately winning her battle with cancer that it finally clicked that my body and my weight wasn't an issue. My body wasn't a problem to be covered, corrected, wrapped or manipulated, my body and my strength needed to be respected, and that started with me. It was time I started treating my body with the dignity it deserved, exercise wasn't punishment and eating healthful food actually makes you feel good. The timing of this shoot ended up being awesome in that it's the last few days of pregnancy and because I still feel strong and capable, despite this being the most I've ever weighed. I know that this is an incredibly special time in our lives, welcoming what is most likely our last baby into our family, and that overshadows any weight insecurities."