Amy Thayer Cosens (33), Savannah (2), and Margaret (5 months). Also mother to Scarlet miscarried around 9 weeks.
Photographed in Tampa, Florida.
Amy shares -
"Savannah was conceived through IUI after a long struggle with infertility and many unsettling diagnoses. We were given an overall chance of 15% of conceiving and carrying a child to term. My pregnancy was, for the most part, uneventful though I struggled to maintain normal blood sugars throughout the pregnancy. Savannah was breech until 37 weeks, and though I desperately wanted to go into labor on my own, that didn't happen. I was induced at 41 weeks, and endured a nearly 24 hour labor. When she was ready, she came quickly, after less than an hour of pushing.
When Savannah was 9 months old, we found ourselves staring at a positive pregnancy test. I was still breastfeeding on demand, and hadn't had a period (without medical intervention) since my late teens so this was beyond shocking. As awful as it may sound, I tried desperately not to connect with this sweet baby as I knew in my heart, she wouldn't be staying long. I even told my best friend that I knew I would lose her.
We lost Scarlett around 8/9 weeks and got the call the night before my birthday. It was nearly 4 weeks before she physically left me. This loss shattered me. I heard the unfortunate typical comments: "At least you never felt her move", "Oh you weren't that far along", "All women miscarry, it's no big deal," etc etc.... This was the very first time I had conceived a child without a doctor's help and I couldn't protect her. At this point, we decided we would never go back through fertility treatments again. There was something about the pain of the loss, and how it made me feel. I wasn't being the mom Savannah deserved, that told me I wouldn't be able to endure rounds of treatments with the possibility of failure hanging over me.
Margaret was conceived less than 2 months after my miscarriage. Margaret's pregnancy was terrifying but uneventful. She flipped breech around 36 weeks and kept flipping. When she was head down at 39 weeks, we opted for induction as soon as possible. Labor was excruciating, but just like Savannah, she came quickly when she was ready. I pushed for less than 10 minutes, and she was here.
I've struggled with body image for most of my life. When I began the struggle with infertility, I felt like this body- the one I had worked SO hard to keep healthy and in shape- was failing me. Pregnancy did amazing things for my body image. Rather than worrying about how much weight I was gaining or how it looked, I embraced the fact that my body was growing a person- and that it would gain whatever it needed to keep her healthy. Even now, after nearly 6 months of tandem nursing, I'm regularly amazed at what my body has been able to do. Savannah nursed my entire pregnancy, and both girls have settled into tandem nursing with little difficulty. I never thought I would tandem nurse. I used to be someone who said "if they can ask for it..." - oh how wrong I was. I wouldn't trade this part of my relationship with my girls for anything, and I'll reserve that time for them for as long as they need it.
I am lucky that my postpartum journey with both girls was pretty seamless. I've always felt like a mom, I just needed the children to make me one. I settled pretty easily into my new role and being their mom is the most rewarding, joy-inducing, motivating, and awe inspiring thing I've ever done. I feel so blessed that these amazing girls chose me.
I firmly believe that we are all here to do everything we can to make life easier for those around us. I realize that is a 'big' statement but what other purpose is there than to take care of each other? How hard is it to just be kind to the people around you? We all have our battles - some visible, some not. Make life easier for someone - you won't regret it. Help someone reach a shelf at the grocery store, give someone your perfect parking spot, treat the person behind you to their morning coffee. For me, right now, making life easier for others, is breastmilk donation. Since Savannah's birth I have donated more than 3,000 ounces of breastmilk to moms in several different states. I'm not sure there's anything more fulfilling than a crying mom hugging you and saying "thank you for nourishing my baby."
I chose to participate in the 4th Trimester Bodies Project because I believe that all bodies are amazing and strong and powerful. I want my girls to grow up recognizing that there are many more important things to 'be,' than the 'ideal body type.' Our bodies can grow and nourish children. Our stretch marks are badges of honor. Do people realize what many women would give to be covered in stretch marks from pregnancy? They would literally give anything if it meant they could carry a child. I want my girls to love themselves. I want them to recognize that we all need to support each other. We all need to strive, every single day, to make life easier for each other. We are each other's keepers."