Stephanie Thompson (40), Fletcher (3), and Arthur (18 months - pictured)
Elk Grove, California | Missoula, Montana
Stephanie shares -
“ I have struggled with poor body image from a very young age. My weight has always fluctuated and being teased was common. I don't think I have ever truly been fit and have more negative thoughts than positive when it comes to my body. However, after having kids I am learning how to be kinder of myself and embrace the amazing thing my body was able to do twice.
We were never really sure if we even wanted to have kids, but found ourselves talking and playing with the idea more and more; so we decided to give it a go. To our surprise we became pregnant quickly, the excitement was followed by panic, did I mess up? I have no idea how to raise a child. One day while driving by myself It hit me, I was in fact now, not alone. I was now sharing and giving my body, there was no getting "away".
We started of with an OBGYN and quickly followed our hearts to a nearby midwife clinic, the best decision we could have made. We eased into what I would call a normal pregnancy. All of my check ups were going great, then at around 24 weeks the midwife noticed my belly wasn't measuring where it should be and sent us for an ultrasound. Fletcher was diagnosed with IUGR, (intrauterine growth restriction). As if we weren't already shaken enough by the new direction our lives were headed. We kept up with frequent trips across town for check ups, there was talk of early induction but I wanted nothing more than to give my baby a chance to choose when HE was ready- so we fought. Rest, smoothies and Netflix.
The one thing that I read over and over again was "to have a birth plan, but be flexible"- yes indeed. (This truth can be applied to many things.) There was no music or swaying by the parents to be, Fletcher came earth side at 40 weeks and 2 days and seconds after his entrance I hemorrhaged and the room seemed to go from calm to chaos. Once we were released from the hospital, our household of two was flipped upside down and was now a house of three. My world was rocked, and it was as if I was in an alternate universe. I was exhausted and breast feeding was hell for at least 8 weeks, I dreaded the baby waking up to eat (that always makes a mom feel good) and I wanted to quit just about every single day but something wouldn't let me. After tremendous effort, we finally made it! Thanks to the support of the local breastfeeding and postpartum resources along with those who have gone before me. Three years later It still seems like it was yesterday.
Once the dust settled enough for us to realize we were going to be okay, along came the idea of baby number two. I felt more comfortable in my body this time and more relaxed in having at least an idea of what to expect and already knowing what my body was capable of, but I had no idea what was in store this time. Nine days before Arthur was due I went into labor at home, despite a bath and tea the contractions steadily continued and by the time we decided we should go to the hospital things had progressed pretty fast and Arthur was born around midnight about 15 minutes from the hospital in the front seat of my husbands truck. MY hands caught him, MY hands brought him to my chest. ME. I DID IT. It was a liberating and amazing experience, and as crazy as it may sound I would do it again. Two very different birth stories and I'm thankful for them both.
We must recognize the strength and beauty of our bodies and support each other on this journey - if we don't who will? The pictures and stories are amazingly beautiful and real, I feel fortunate to be a part of this.”