Erin Hansen (29) and Eden (18 months)
Erin shares -
“I had a miscarriage at the beginning of this year, in early January. The pregnancy wasn’t planned and we were still spinning from the news. My partner and I had a child who was barely a year old at the time and were having a hard time envisioning starting the process all over again. We decided that termination wasn’t an option and decided to embrace the pregnancy and be excited. We went ahead and booked our midwife.
It was just a day or two later that I started bleeding. I had shared the pregnancy news with so few friends that I didn’t know what to do - so I went to work like normal and bled while I massaged and taught a fitness class. I have friends and clients that have had losses at much later stages in pregnancy and because I hadn’t announced to anyone yet that I was pregnant it felt like I couldn’t really mourn the loss. I also felt guilty that I felt a bit relieved as well. Those contradictory feelings of sadness and relief were a lot to feel at the time.
Becoming a mom has made me feel a whole new confidence in myself. I know I was meant to be a mom and Eden brings me so much joy every single day. She wasn’t a planned pregnancy, we had a planned homebirth that didn’t quite go as planned either, and then at 2 weeks old Eden got RSV and we had to be hospitalized. It was such a rough introduction to parenthood.
Taking the time to process these events has made me realize how truly supported I am in this parenting journey—by my partner, by my family and by my community. I think wading through the hard stuff shows us how strong we are. Despite a lot of moments where I felt like I was floundering and doing it all wrong, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood have made me feel strong and capable. I started teaching group fitness classes to moms this past year and that’s what I hope they see in themselves—that they’re already so strong even before they step into my class.
The first 6 weeks of my postpartum journey were so rough. This caught me by surprise because I work in the birth community in Reno, NV. I’m a pregnancy massage specialist, a group fitness instructor for pre and postnatal women, and I teach baby massage classes. I thought I would know what to do. I thought I was prepared for everything. I was well supported in both family and community life and everything still seemed so hard.
I thought that the physical healing would be the hardest part. And while that was difficult, mostly because I refused to listen to guidelines to rest and kept overdoing it, recovering from the emotional trauma of a birth experience that didn’t go as planned was hard. We tell people that the only thing that matters is that you end up with a “healthy baby.” This sentiment feels impossible to argue with because of course I feel grateful that Eden and I are both healthy. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you’re also given space as a new Mom to say “I’m really sad I didn’t get to deliver at home,” “I felt belittled and condescended by every doctor that talked to me at the hospital,” and “I felt physically violated by the OB. I think she could have had better bedside manner and given me more warning before doing that manual sweep of my uterus.” Those are all the things that took me a long time to process.
The other thing that made those early weeks complicated was Eden got RSV at 2 weeks. We monitored at home to start and then we needed to be hospitalized. Just 2 weeks after needing to be transferred by ambulance from my home to hospital to give birth we were again being transferred this time from the pediatricians office to the hospital for Eden. It all felt wrong. And it all felt like it was my fault. Failed homebirth, sick kid, shifting hormones, changing relationship dynamics in every relationship I had. It all felt so heavy and I felt guilty. I was supposed to be overjoyed with my new baby, right? Luckily I work in a space that allowed all those feelings and my family really made me feel seen and heard. I think all the pressure to savor those early weeks also made me crazy. I just wanted to get through it.
Trust in yourself and it will all work out ok. As a parent you have so many voices in your ear and at the end of the day it’s all your decision. It doesn’t matter what other people think because you’re the one who has to feel good about your decisions. If you’re loving yourself and doing your own self work and self reflection then parenting becomes an easy task because you’re just loving on another human which is such a natural state. It’s when we let all those other voices in about what we should be doing that we worry we’re not doing it the right way—as if that exists. We’re all just doing the best we can.
I wanted to participate in this project because growing up I don’t remember a single woman in my life saying positive things about her body. Now that I’m raising a daughter I want to set an example that it’s not dirty or shameful to take pride and pleasure in your own body. I want Eden to know that there is so much power in embracing and in taking the time to process the stories that our bodies hold.”