The stunning Susannah Numme and Miles (10).
"Motherhood is a really complicated idea in our society because we expect so much of mothers but we also don't give them enough space to make mistakes. Women are expected to have a baby and get back to the beach in a bikini. When women deviate from that, they are shamed." Susannah herself felt quite alone through her pregnancy and afterwards.
She met a guy she was having fun with but they didn't want to be together. Even though they were being safe, she got pregnant. She was 20, had just moved back to Alaska to live with her parents and had an unstable job. Yet, from the very instant she found she was pregnant she knew that baby was hers and she was excited. Susannah was alone in her excitement because everyone around her was so upset about it. Thankfully, she had wonderful midwives who supported her through it all. There was external upheaval but she felt peace through it all.
Susannah says that her pregnancy and her birth were the first time she felt present in her body since she was very small. She is a survivor of sexual abuse and was just starting to process things through therapy. She had been out of her body for so long she forgot what it felt like to be in it. She couldn't run away from the pain of childbirth, she had to be present and see it through to the end. A process she says both saved and changed her life in many ways.
Pregnancy and birth have that potential but Susannah still wishes she had more support. She found her way but there were many ups and downs in learning how to survive on her own and raise her child. She didn't know how to be loving and affectionate because she hadn't had that herself but learned along the way that she could be tender, that it felt good to be. As a young, working mom, breastfeeding was one of the only things that Susannah felt she could do to give her son a leg up so even though it was difficult she was dedicated.
"All the people who have participated so far are so brave to be so vulnerable and I want to honor that. I want to become a nurse midwife and I believe in the whole spectrum of women and those who identify as such. I just want to celebrate that and stand with the people who have done that. If I can inspire someone to participate or help someone identify, if they can see that I'm okay and know they'll be okay too it's worth it. Seeing other moms do it has help me to know I can to."