Erin Loughran (43) and Aislin (18 months)
Erin shares -
"The first time I got pregnant I miscarried at 8 weeks. While it wasn’t surprising at 39, it was very disappointing. We’d only been trying for 3 months and the due date was the perfect timing for my job, so it felt too good to be true and it was. After that it took a year and a half of infertility treatment, after infertility treatment to conceive again with IVF. There were a few moments along the way that were devastating, where we questioned if and how we’d ever be parents. We were very lucky to have access to amazing doctors and insurance coverage that enabled us to have our daughter.
I’ve never had a great body image. I was always a little chubby. I expected to put on a lot of weight during pregnancy and was surprised when I only put on 25 pounds, despite having a voracious appetite, and then was back to my regular weight within six months. It made me realize how out of my control my weight might be - for both better and worse. During pregnancy and after, every time I experienced a side effect I felt like that was how I was going to feel/be for the whole pregnancy or forever, when I’m fortunate to say that most things were really temporary. They resolved in a few weeks or months. I’m also much more likely to seek medical help for any issues I experience with my body now, as a result of having such positive medical experiences (with both Western and Chinese medicine) while seeking treatment for infertility.
I was really lucky to have the postpartum experience that I had. I was depressed during pregnancy and so was at a high risk for postpartum depression. I was shocked when I didn’t have postpartum depression. The depression really resolved itself when I gave birth. It was such a relief. I had an easy time breastfeeding, had a healthy baby, a relatively uncomplicated birth, and a supportive husband and family. I had a decent amount of paid maternity leave, if not as much as I would have liked. I’m incredibly grateful for all of it! Though I might not have the same energy level I might have had as a younger parent, I appreciate the advantages I’ve had as a new parent at this stage of my life. I was so ready for it all! I’d waited so long, worked with children, been around friends’ babies for so long. It came more naturally than I expected. That said, there were still hard moments for me and my husband.
I feel like I’ve been given a second life. For years, I didn’t think I’d get to be a parent in this lifetime. I do wish I’d done it sooner, but I’m glad we got lucky enough to have a child at this point in our lives.
Motherhood, birth, and parenting have been profound experiences for me. They fascinate me. I hope to hold on to the memories of this period of my life-to mark the moments. It upsets me when I realize that some moments are already getting blurry-that I can’t quite remember the feeling of being pregnant or nursing a newborn anymore.