The marvelous Mamie Shuptrine and Asher (3.5)
While Mamie and her husband always planned on having children when they talked about their lives together, they found that after several years of marriage, they were okay with the idea of not having any kids. She was also told that due to her increasing amount of ovarian cysts that she might have had a reproductive problem. After 7 years, most of which without birth control, they were happy with their life plan without children. Then out of left field, she conceived.
Her husband responded with happiness and excitement, she responded with tears of fear and anger. Mamie was two months along when she found out and smoked her very last cigarette while she waited for the pregnancy test results. Her first two trimester's were rough with all day sickness, depression, and anger. Finally by the third trimester she started to feel better physically and emotionally. "Looking back I wish I had relished more in carrying such a precious gift inside of me. However, I wish I hadn't felt so isolated in how I responded to the pregnancy. Most people couldn't understand why I wasn't "glowing" with joy and anticipation. While I know the immense struggle some go through in trying to conceive and/or the permanent stabbing grief that results from the loss of a child, I felt very alone and guilty in my emotions that I was unable to control".
Mamie's mother passed away in 2009 and the last 15 years of her life were spent locked in a world of paranoid schizophrenia. After witnessing that, she feared that she would one day snap and her child would bare the same burden she did. "I'm a firm supporter of pregnant women not being scrutinized and judged because they lack excitement and joy. Each of us have walked a journey that deserves as much sensitivity and validation as the next expectant mother in line".
Mamie knew from the get go that she would get an epidural. Her labor started around 12:30 in the afternoon but she didn't know it was labor, just thought she had an upset stomach. She called the doctor who said it was nothing to worry about and after several more hours of constantly having bowel movements and blood appearing, the doctor still said he didn't think she needed to come in. An hour later, she found herself crying on the floor and decided to head to the hospital. She arrived at the hospital around 8 pm and upon examination they found her to be 4 cm dilated. She started pushing at midnight and pushed for 3.5 hours. The doctor said she had one more push before he made the call for a cesarean as Asher's heart rate was dropping. She was utterly exhausted but pulled together all her strength, and with help from forceps Asher finally made his entrance. "It saddens me to this day that I don't really recall the moment I first saw him. I think between 3+ hours of pushing and the drugs I was pretty out of it at that point. Overall I'd say it was a good birth experience, but I never really set an expectation of what I wanted. I would say if I had known the things I know now about birth I would've chosen a different birth plan but he's healthy and happy so I view it as a success. Through it all I had amazing support from my husband, family, and friends".
Mamie originally planned on bottle feeding but a very close friend of hers encouraged her to at least try breast feeding. He latched very well and she felt immense joy in the breastfeeding experience and continued for his first 6 months.
"I chose to participate in this project for several reasons, but the main one is this: I've been thin for most of my life and because of this I've dealt with constant criticism and judgement regarding my weight/shape/eating habits. Our society has created a double standard when it comes to acceptance of body types. While there has been a huge movement to embrace the big and beautiful women in our band of sisters, the general population still has little consideration for thin people. I can't even tell you how many times I've been shamed for my size. I believe ALL body types are beautiful and EVERY person has the right to not be judged and stereotyped because of a number on the scale or a size on a tag. I want to celebrate my body for doing something utterly amazing. I was recently informed that I in fact have Endometriosis and that conceiving Asher was statistically a stroke of luck for us. I must admit I don't believe I was built to be a Mother, but I give it my whole heart and I have such gratitude to God for bringing Asher into our life. I might not be a natural at it, but I love being a Mama nonetheless. This project is so beautiful and the message it shares with the world inspires me look in the mirror and love myself."