The radiant, Morgan Rogers and Lola (3)
Morgan says that the past three and a half years of her daughters life (both in her womb and in her arms) have been an over the top ride of all of the emotions under the sun, some of which she never even knew existed beforehand.
When the initial shock of finding out that she was pregnant at 17 wore off, she started researching her options and soon knew that she wanted to seek out a midwife, and have an unmedicated birth at a birthing center. While that was her plan, the people in her life supporting her, told her those choices were unsafe and she needed to deliver with a doctor in the hospital. It was driven home to her that she would never be able to deliver without medication or interventions and she ultimately felt she had no choice except to do as she was told. Morgan was continually told she was too young to make her own decisions and that, no matter how much research she did, she didn't really know anything about "how this really works".
Her doctor told her that the things she wanted didn't actually happen. Her wishes, including a strong desire to breastfeed, were shut down with one form or another of "the doctor knows best" attitude. Morgan continually felt silenced by her age. By the time that Lola was born, Morgan was a married adult, but was treated like "just another kid having a kid." She felt stuck and was frustrated to feel like her choices didn't matter. Even in the delivery room she was not listened to and was given medication she didn't consent to and had specifically asked not to receive. She felt cheated out of natural pain management techniques she'd hoped to rely on and after 26 hours of a pitocin-induced labor, frustrated and exhausted, she gave in and got an epidural which was accompanied by even more snide and demeaning comments.
Morgan still wishes that she could go back in time and tell herself that all of this dialogue surrounding her wasn't true. That her pregnancy and labor were hers and it didn't matter if she was 18 or 48. Since she can't do that, she hopes that she can tell her story and send a message to other young mothers that they are allowed to make their own decisions.
Despite being told that it would be too hard and she was too young, Morgan nursed her daughter until 24 months. Through the process her breasts became a source of pride and connection for her. They were her friends, feeding her baby and making her proud. Her mother however, was diagnosed with breast cancer and Morgan began to have very strong feelings about this part of her body. She recalled breast shame in her younger years and though that had been mostly overcome, seeing her mother struggle with her health due to cancer and then mental health, made this an important time for Morgan to wean and reclaim her body as her own.
While we hear often hear about postpartum depression, depression during pregnancy is discussed much less and still stigmatized quite heavily. Morgan struggled with depression her entire pregnancy, and it got significantly worse in her third trimester. She has suffered depression most of her life in one form or another, so everyone was quick to warn her about the "baby blues" and PPD. They would tell her to just enjoy her pregnancy but she couldn't help going home to her room to cry. It wasn't that she didn't love being pregnant or that she didn't love her baby, it was that EVERYTHING felt dark and heavy. Morgan had never heard anyone talk about depression during pregnancy and was afraid to talk about it herself. There was already so much dialogue surrounding her, dismissing her choices and ability to mother, that she worried admitting she was in such a difficult place would reinforce everything they were saying.
Morgan wishes she had known that perinatal depression was normal. That it happens to a lot of women. She wishes she had known she wasn't alone. "For some people pregnancy isn't all baby booties and glowing and wonder and unicorns. Some people get depressed, and they can't express why, and it's okay to ask for help.
Morgan wants the world to know that ALL mothers have a mother's body. When friends and family came to visit her postpartum so many told her, "Don't worry, you're breastfeeding! The weight will just melt off," They focused on her body and recommended stretch mark creams. They had come to celebrate the beautiful new life in her arms but were still obsessing about her appearance. While Morgan was pregnant, she and her husband made an agreement that their daughter would never hear them speak negatively about their weight or appearance. Morgan herself feels wonderfully confident with her body as a mother but she sees so many women her age obsess about their post-baby body. "They seem to feel that they're too young for a mom body, and I want to share mine and show that mothers of ALL age have mom bodies, and they are ALL beautiful".