Leila Margolis (29), Elle (6) and Sidney (7 months)
Leila shares -
"I had one abortion at age 19. I grew up pro choice and always, and still, believed that women should have the right to safe and legal abortions. I also grew up in an emotional, and physically abusive household full of domestic violence. I was surrounded by people who were incapable of providing for their children both financially and emotionally. I knew deep down in my heart that when I became a mother it would only be if I could provide the better situation that I was raised in. So being 19, in college and living paycheck to paycheck without a stable partner was not what I promised for my future children.
What I didn’t expect was to have such a negative emotional reaction. The only way I can explain it is that my head knew that having an abortion was the right thing to do but my heart ached to be a mother. I feel into a deep depression after having my procedure. I felt like a bad liberal because I wasn’t automatically relieved after the procedure. BUT I knew I had made the right decision after my on again off again boyfriend explained to me his plan to abandon the unborn child and me if I chosen to have the baby.
I struggled with an eating disorder form the age of 12. After having my daughter my body image hit an all time low and I feel into a vicious cycle of bulimia, over exercising, and starving myself to lose the “baby weight”. But I never lost enough weight, never looked good enough, and created my total self worth based on what I weighed. The one thought that caused me to seek treatment and ultimately find recovery from my eating disorder was the thought of my daughter face down in a toilet bowl purging because she thought she was fat. I couldn’t continue to harm myself and expect my daughter to love her body. She was going to learn how to treat herself based on how I treated myself, and I was being a horrible example.
I was surprised to find my idea of feminism changing drastically after I had my daughter. I always thought I would be a hard working career mom because that is what it meant to be an empowered woman. But I came to realize that I adored my children and wanted to be there for them full time, so I quite my job at Planned Parenthood to become a stay at home mother. I am so lucky to financially be able to stay home with my children, and I am thankful for it everyday. I struggled to find acceptance as a young mother, I often felt judged and looked down upon. People often assumed I was my daughter’s nanny or that I didn’t know what I was doing as a parent. I often felt like I had to justify my right to have my daughter young.
I also struggled to come to terms with my own childhood. Becoming a mother helped me realize that my parents never loved me in the way I love my daughter. I was lovingly attached to my daughter, and that is how I realized I never had that attachment to my own parents. I realized that as child I was often neglected, unfed and abused. It was a long struggle to deal with the years of suppressed trauma but I did, in an effort to stop the cycle and give my children a fighting chance at a happy childhood.
After Elle turned 5 my husband and I decided to have our son Sidney, he arrived 6 years ,9 days and 5 min after my daughter, weighed the same 7 pounds 7 ounces and arrived sunny side up just like his sister. After struggling with breastfeeding his sister - I ended up pumping exclusively and supplementing with formula for 6 months with her - I was determined to breast feed my son. After engorgement, latch issues, bleeding nipples, and an emergency surgery for Sid where he couldn’t eat for 36 hours we finally found a groove. I love breastfeeding Sidney and I am glad I personally decided to work so hard for it.
Trust your gut. And take all the help you need, no one does it alone."