Illia Ludwig (32), Daniel (4), and Oliver ( 1 )
Illia shares -
“I have had three miscarriages. I have endometriosis and PCOS. I have always wanted a BIG family - 5 kids just like my grandma and grandpa but with each loss, the dream of a big family was shattered but if I had of had those babies it wouldn’t have been Daniel or Oliver. My 2 boys are amazing and my whole world. The losses made me fight for my story, take my life in my own hands, and not let someone tell me that my life could only be one way.
When I was pregnant with Daniel, I was 85lbs. Every day i would step on the scale hoping that I would finally hit it triple digits. Never in my 28 years of life was I ever 100lbs but I never got there. I would look at myself and think “yuck”. I could see every rib, every bone, size "00" was so in. But I was unhealthy thin and I realized recently that I had suffered from anorexia without knowing it.
I had a hard childhood, people constantly telling me i needed to eat more or tell me I need to eat a few hamburgers gain some weight. I never looked at myself as beautiful but just skinny. When I finally hit that 100lbs I was yelling, I was so excited. I felt good. I felt healthy. Like I could be pregnant forever.
I was 165lbs the day I had Daniel. No one could judge me now, I would keep the weight on and everything would be great, but soon as Daniel was born the weight fell off.
My pregnancy with Oliver was tough. I had a hard time gaining weight and I didn’t hit 100lbs until the very end of my second trimester. I was excited when i finally got stretch marks and prayed they would last - battle scars. I call them proof that I did it, when all the doctors told me it was never possible, I did it and I have the scars to prove it.
When I was pregnant with Daniel I lost my job working at an apartment complex and lived on property. So along with losing the job, I lost our home and we had to move into my moms house. The day we brought Daniel home my grandma (who was my everything) was having issues and died in my husbands arms. The hospital was able to revive her and we got 6 more months but those 6 months of being a new mom and caring for my grandma were a world wind. My grandma passed away and I was lost. I spun into depression.
My husband got a new job and we moved to a very small town 45 minutes away from anything in a one bedroom apartment, four flights up, no washer and dryer, no trash, carpet in the bathroom… I could go on and on but the biggest hit to my mental health was the isolation. I was alone while my husband worked long hours. We finally moved into a really amazing house and it makes up for a lot but still the isolation is hard.
I started going to church when Daniel turned two and that changed my life. I dug in and my faith grew strong my out look on everything changed.
My pregnancy with Oliver was rocky from the beginning - the first ultrasound there was no heart beat and the doctor started talking about next steps and the steps we will start taking to try again even though I already had a baby growing inside me. That week was one of the longest of my life. I had a follow up ultrasound a week later and we not only got to see a very strong heartbeat but we got to hear it! i will never forget that heart beat and that feeling of pure JOY!
My midwife started me on anti-depressants at about 3 months and postpartum and I started going to therapy when Oliver was 5 months old - it has helped so so much! I thought I would be the perfect mom, wife, housewife - cooking cleaning, playing, and taking care of my husband. The reality is that's not me at all and I still struggle with my expectations of myself. The perfect mom role model was my grandma but it’s such a different era. Church and therapy were my saving grace!
I wanted to share my story because it shows hope, love, life, grace, god’s timing, victory, freedom, strength, faith - there is so much of my story I want to share. I will tell it to whoever wants to listen … seeing the growth and lessons. Just hearing about LIFE is such a beautiful thing. How we can all come together is amazing!”