Judith LaGier (36), Denver (8), and Serina (5)
Cincinnati, OH | Buffalo, NY
Judy shares -
“At 22 I realized I was pregnant, I did not want to be a mother at that moment in time. Although my sister had a young child at the time and she was excited at the thought of a cousin for her child, I knew she was the one person I could depend on to support my decision to have an abortion. At 11 weeks gestation I had an abortion. Since then I have had two children and when each was born I wondered what that other child would have looked like. However, to this day I still know it was the right choice at that time.
I am a function over form person. Parenthood made me appreciate the capabilities of my body. My endurance for pain, for losing sleep and still functioning, my ability to care for my children while enduring physical limitations.
I breastfed my son until a MRSA abscess in my left breast ended in emergency surgery. When my daughter was born, I breastfed for 18 months and was so appreciative for that time.
In September 2017, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early form of breast cancer. Although my prognosis was positive, my only available treatment was a double mastectomy including nipple removal. So, any thoughts I ever had about stretch marks, saggy breasts, or my thick thighs were removed that November day along with my breast tissue, my nipples and the cancer. I have since started reconstruction and still have one surgery ahead of me. I am thankful to be here to watch my children grow and am proud of this scarred, stretch marked, flabby in places, mostly pale, incredibly capable mother's body.
Postpartum with my first child included depression. My breast feeding career was cut extremely short. Breastfeeding was the only thing I was sure I would do before giving birth. I was lonely and felt like I failed my child. Postpartum with my second seemed easier only because I had a two year old and new born. No time to tap into my own feelings. Although I constantly felt inadequate to the other moms I knew.
Now they are 8 and almost 6, I've been through breast cancer, I understand none of the pressures I put on myself mattered. I could still carry a child at this point, but couldn't breastfeed. The pressure to breastfeed seems laughable now without my milk ducts. Fed is best, bottle or breast, period. My kids are healthy, I am healthy, we are here and we will endure.
I like the idea of my children seeing me celebrate this body I have, capturing it forever in photos. I wish my daughter a life of celebrating her capabilities, not obsessing over her appearance. I wish my son a life of accepting and appreciating the female body in all its glorious forms. I hope the visual of my scarred breasts, my thick thighs and flabby stomach will give strength to other mothers. Our bodies rebound, we rebound and continue.
Time will pass quickly, your body will change again and again, sometimes not by choice. Appreciate what your body CAN do, love those scars or stretch marks...reminders of all your body is capable of.”