Victoria T (48) and Jack (21 months)
DC | San Francisco
Victoria shares -
“I came to wanting a bio baby rather late in life. Honestly, more than a little bit inspired by my love of my dog who I consider my first child. After finding out that I couldn't have a biological child of my own, my then-fiance and I started looking into adoption and egg donation. The latter was ultimately what worked for us. While I got pregnant on the first try, the medically-necessitated getting-pregnant process was brutal due to an allergic reaction I had to the drugs. I was amazed that my body and the little blastocyst inside were able to survive such bone-racking pain and fever.
I was quite scared of giving birth, but in retrospect, even my not-so-smooth laboring for more than a day and cesarean were nothing compared to the process of getting and staying pregnant.
Like most women in our society, I've had a fraught relationship with my body for as long as I can remember. While the 60+ pound weight gain of pregnancy-prep and pregnancy was mentally and physically tough, breast-feeding came easily to us. It was an unexpected joy. If found it calming and empowering, in the true sense of that over-used word.
Today I'm probably happier with my melanoma-removal and cesarean scared, body than ever before in my life. I attribute this less to pregnancy than the power and fulfillment I got from breastfeeding. My only regret in this journey was not breastfeeding longer. After about 14 months I felt some vague sense that I should stop. I wish I had continued for longer. To this day, Jack is a "twiddler"; he reaches into my bra for a breast or two anytime he wants a bit of reassurance.
As someone who has had to actively-manage her depression for decades, I was acutely aware of the risks of postpartum depression. The 60+ pounds on my body during pregnancy had be freaked out. While I was proactively managing my mental and physical health throughout pregnancy and thereafter, I've been surprisingly non-depressed. I attribute a great deal of this to the combination of yoga and breast-feeding.
At 39 weeks pregnant, I did yoga in the morning and went in to the doctor for routine testing that afternoon. The routine testing ended 48 hours later with Jack. While I didn't formally practice yoga for the 6 or so weeks after the baby was born, in my mind, I didn't really ever stop the practice. The combination of yoga and breastfeeding were the twin practices that really helped me grow back into myself and my body as I now know it.
Parenthood comes to us in so many forms. We used an egg donor, something that is still very hush-hush, much in the way adoption was considered taboo 50 years ago. Moreover, I truly believe that one can love an animal as a child. In my case, my first child was and always will be my dog Winston. I miss him to-tears.”