Giovanna Otavalo (38) and Bronson (3.5)
Ecuador | Photographed in Chicago, IL
Giovanna shares -
"At 18 years old, I was told in my very first OB/GYN visit that I had abnormal cervical cells which led to routine biopsies every 3 months, then every 6 months for several years. By the time I was 30 years old, I was told that I would not be able to conceive or carry to full term due to the severe scar tissue on my cervix for all of those year. I learned that I was pregnant during my consult with a fertility specialist. It was a true miracle and incredible surprise!
Prior to becoming pregnant, I was an avid runner and yogi. Due to complications in pregnancy, I was placed on an exercise restriction which limited my movement. Complications in breastfeeding led me to be placed on a prescription medication, which led to drastic weight gain in a short amount of time. All of that led to my body going thru incredible changes that were oftentimes overwhelming, and took a huge toll on my self-esteem and confidence.
I prepared quite a bit for birth as I assumed that would be the hardest part of becoming a mother. I had no idea how challenging the postpartum period and breastfeeding would be! I assumed breastfeeding would be easy and "natural," so I was incredibly unprepared for when my milk never fully came in and my baby continued to lose weight despite nursing around the clock. I sought the help of professional after professional for several weeks only to be told to keep trying, that nursing is about supply and demand, and that my body will eventually make the milk by baby needed. I continued to seek answers until I was finally able to connect with an IBCLC who was knowledgeable about IGT and low milk supply. Her support was a godsend and I truly credit her for rescuing my breastfeeding relationship with my son!
Becoming a Mom has been the hardest and most rewarding role I've ever had! Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and Low Milk Supply are very real and common, and hopefully sharing my journey will help new moms be more comfortable seeking support.
Trust your instinct! You have spent 9 months with this tiny being and no one knows him/her the way you do! Seek help and support during the 4th trimester. If something feels off with you or your baby, don't be afraid to seek answers."