The lovely Laura Mears, Madilynn (3) and Jamyson (15 weeks).
When Laura and her husband first started dating he didn't want to have children but she did. After about a year, he changed his mind and she was so excited. She went off birth control and got pregnant within about 9 months. She says they weren't really trying but weren't preventing either, so conception was really relaxed. Laura was 18 at the time and her pregnancy with Madilynn was going well. Her blood pressure began to creep up in her third trimester and at 39 weeks she had to be induced due to preeclampsia. Laura says that she feels a little cheated that she didn't go into labor on her own and birth the way she'd hoped to.
The real trouble for her with Madilynn began when they got home. She had tried to latch in the hospital but her baby was unable to. Laura has flat nipples and tried a nipple shield but it was still incredibly painful. After two weeks, she decided to exclusively pump and she feels that all of the work involved caused her to miss out on some of her daughters infancy. She is passionate about breastfeeding but felt like she couldn't go anywhere because she was constantly looking at the clock knowing she'd need to pump in two hours. At 9 months, Laura returned to work but didn't have accommodations at work to pump as often as she needed to. Her supply dwindled and she was able to transition Madilynn to cows milk.
As soon as she was done pumping, Laura wanted to have another baby but her husband wanted to wait until they had a house. The week after they closed on their home, she learned she was pregnant again. Laura knew she wanted to do everything she could to have more success breastfeeding directly this time and hoped to avoid the pitocin, epidural and interventions she thought may have contributed to some hiccups in her first breastfeeding relationship. Laura had hoped to have a home birth but was unable to due to insurance and finances. She carried to 41 weeks when they wanted to induce but she asked to wait. Just after, she went into labor and labored at home for as long as she could. They transferred to the hospital in the middle of the night but Jamyson was having heart decelerations. Laura felt forced into getting an IV and pressured into getting an epidural which she had hoped to avoid. The epidural did help and though she felt guilty it was what she needed at the time. She's thankful everything went well and Jamyson latched right away. She used a nipple shield initially until he was diagnosed with a tongue tie. One month ago they tried to latch without the shield and he's done great, they haven't had to use one since.
Self esteem is something Laura struggled greatly with in high school. She came home almost daily in tears due to being bullied or for not measuring up to her own standards of who she thought she should be. That all changed when she met her husband but she's had a difficult time with her body again since she's had her children. Just two days ago, Laura's daughter lifted up her shirt and said "Look mommy, I'm fat". Laura was devastated knowing the only place she could have heard that is her. Laura wanted to participate in this movement to share her story and help reframe her own body image in a positive light but now she's even more motivated to stay positive and change the dialogue for her daughter.