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My NOT perfect birth story.

By July 1, 2017March 5th, 2018Community, Mom Life

My NOT perfect birth story.

My twin girls were born early at 30 weeks and five days. Yesterday I saw a friend posted on Instagram, the birth of his beautiful baby girl. The pictures were incredible. His wife delivered naturally, he got to help in the delivery of his baby, and immediately after, they put their first child on her chest. Both parents were able to cherish that moment, in what seemed like a magazine article on the picture perfect child birth.

I burst out crying.

Selfishly, I was NOT crying out of happiness for them, I was crying out of sadness for myself. I had an unplanned C-section, and upon delivery my babies were immediately taken to the NICU after I had just barely had a glimpse of them. As I looked at these pictures on Instagram of my friends perfect birth, I realized I would never have that experience. No vaginal birth, no holding my baby and I didn’t have that immediate feeling of “LOVE like you’ve never felt before,” you know the thing that all parents talk about when they first have their child.

Instead, I spent the first 24 hours after my babies were born feeling completely disconnected as if I was watching someone else’s life happen. I didn’t feel like a mom or have an overwhelming love and connection. Instead, I felt the complete opposite. I was scared, filled with anxiety and freaking out that this is not the way I am supposed to feel after the birth of my children.

My parenting comparison had already started. I questioned everything. Asking myself, “is this how I am supposed to feel? I’ve only ever heard about the overwhelming love and joy. What is wrong with me? Is this postpartum? Is it because I didn’t do it the right way, should I have pushed more and stayed the course of a vaginal birth?”

I continued with the self-shame: I will never get the experience of holding my newborn after delivery. Will this affect them and me for the rest of our lives? What does this scar mean and how will it affect my body? How long will they be in the NICU, did I do something to make them come early… Am I going crazy?

How come no one talks about this stuff? The doubt, the unstoppable crying, the night sweats. OMG, the night sweats. After 48 hours of pure anxiety, I woke up and realized something…..

Here are these two girls who were just brought into the world who know nothing but how to wiggle their toes, while they are trying to figure out how to breathe. I am already putting the pressure on them and myself on having the perfect birth. This is how parenting shaming starts, and this is how we create unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our children. Seriously think about it, our kids start out perfectly innocent, knowing nothing. With no standard on how they are supposed to look, dress or how they were meant to be born they are just working on staying alive at this point.

A lot of us are following a program to what our life is supposed to look like and to be honest; it’s a false program. We think if we just do it right, always give 100% and make it look like it’s supposed to look, then we are successful. The fact is, no one can give 100% a 100% of the time, it’s impossible. So why are we trying so damn hard to be perfect, to one-up each other? The expectations we have accepted from what society puts on us are FALSE expectations, and we have to stop.

Birth and children are not all balloons and roses. I don’t even have my girls home, and I’m already feeling the pressure of what’s right and wrong and what feelings I’m supposed to be feeling. What about being present in the moment my girls are alive and thriving. All they need right now is support and love. They don’t care if I cry or second guess myself they care I am here holding them, reading to them, kissing them and everything else is B.S.

I am committing to a platform of raw, open and real honesty. I have done this on all my other blogs about body image, food, and alcohol and I am committing to it as a parent. I will be honest about ALL the stuff. The good, the bad and the worse because I believe as parents and as a society, we need to talk more about the hard stuff, so we know we are not alone. We have to remind each other that the “perfect family” on Facebook is NOT real life.

If we want the best for our children it has to start with us, the parents. We would never want to pass our insecurities onto our children: our body issues, food issues, and low self-esteem issues. It all starts with us leading by example, and working on our comparisons of ourselves to others. I want to change the message. Here are three things that hit me like a ton of bricks after child birth:

  1. Not everyone has the initial, “love like you’ve never felt before” immediately after childbirth, and that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. However your babies came to you and however, you feel is exactly how it is supposed to be for YOU.
  2. Comparisons, guilt, shame, anxiety, and uncertainty all are REAL. We all have negative thoughts. Don’t keep them inside. Find a tribe or one person to talk to, or even this blog to leave a comment on. You are not alone in how you’re feeling, let it out and let’s support one another.
  3. No one and I mean NO ONE has a grip on parenting. The person you think has it all together could be a complete mess and just scared to share the struggle. It’s time we talk about the struggle.

My birth plan was NOTHING that I thought it was going to be and you know what? It’s OK. Every day is a rollercoaster but I’m on it, embracing it and I’m mentally committing to being present in it, ALL OF IT. Even the dark stuff.

To any parent out there struggling, to anyone, anywhere struggling, with or without kids, you are not alone! I am here for you. We NEED to be here for each other. Let’s talk about the REAL stuff, let’s stop judging one another and come together. It’s time we teach the younger generation and each other that self-worth comes from what we think of ourselves, not what society has put on us. It’s time to change the conversation and lead by example.

I love you thank you for letting me continue to be honest, real, raw and open with you. Thank you for allowing me to continue to tell my story. I love each and every one of you, we are in this together!


Read more from Jenny here.


  • Nadia says:

    Jenny! Thank you for sharing this with us. I’ve been struggling with the same “aren’t I supposed to feel a certain way” all pregnancy. As I’m nearing the final days before we are to meet our son, I can’t tell you how much I relate to all your heartfelt words. We need to be sharing ALL of the feelings, not just the joyous ones. Do you mind if I share your blog on my Facebook? Thank you, Jenny. You are one strong woman that I admire so much! Xo Nadia

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Please share away and THANK YOU so much! Yes this needs to be the new normal sharing the “REAL” feelings. I am thinking about you and sending you so much love and energy during your pregnancy.

  • Brooke howell says:

    I didn’t have that overwhelming love feeling either and I remember crying and telling my husband, “what is wrong with me?” My baby blues only lasted about a week thankfully and now I love my healthy almost 2 year toddler fiercely!
    I had a vaginal delivery but I had an “interesting” labor that the nurses had never really seen before which meant I didn’t get to experience the escalation of contractions and pushing like everyone else. I think it is part of our DNA as athletes to find something with the labor and delivery and improve upon it the next time around, just like any competition, race or gym class.
    People put so much emphasis on THE BIRTH PLAN, when really our goal should be a healthy mom and bab(ies) at the end of the day, no matter what way they come.
    Unfortunately, the comparisons don’t stop here. You will hear varying opinions on sleep training, food, co sleeping, etc. When my daughter was 5 months old was when I realized that I knew what would be best for my daughter, just as you and your husband will know what will work best for your girls and your family. Follow your instinct and surround yourself with positive mommas! Mommaing in hard, but you are doing it right! Just keep loving those precious girls. I can’t imagine how hard it must be right now for you and your husband – prayers are coming your way for strength and endurance!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      THANK YOU so much and thank you for this advice, follow your instinct I LOVE IT and appreciate you so much!

  • Jacque says:

    Reaching out to give you a BIG HUG! Please keep it real. Love you all!!!

  • Jacki Anker says:

    Jenny: All very, very, very TRUE. The only things needed in life are love , kindness and compassion. You have all of that and more. Your babies will thrive. Life has its ups and downs and all are fleeting. Stay in the moment and enjoy THAT. You have more than many…..I don’t say that for “comparison” but as a reminder of ALL that you DO have. Keep well, peace, love and kindness to you and your family

  • Sue Steele says:

    Beautiful Jenny – look at those little faces now….precious….they are thriving and feel their doting parents love! Life is a miracle – you and Connor created two strong baby girls. Facebook and Instagram can and does skew people’s perceptions on life and can send some folks into a dark spiral…great message about staying in the present.

    Much love to your beautiful family of 4 – strong and true!


  • Melissa says:

    Nothing in life worth having is easy! While your story may not be someone else’s standard of perfect, it actually is perfection especially because you all are doing so well!! Glad to hear your story and thank you for sharing!!

  • Andrea says:

    Hi Jenny- Congratulations on your beautiful girls! They are simply precious!

    This is exactly how I felt after my c-section. My baby didn’t come early so I can’t imagine how hard it is to see them rush off to NICU, but I remember how hard the days, weeks and months were following. It took WEEKS to feel that overwhelming love. Maybe months (ugh I hate to admit this!), but now she is my world and I couldn’t imagine it without her even though some days are still a struggle. For me the hardest part was dealing with recovery from the c-section: the pain, the inability to walk, the rollercoaster of emotions, the crying, the struggle with breastfeeding and feeling like I was failing my daughter, and yes, the night sweats were horrible! My daughter also had a tongue and lip tie so she had to have a laser revision and then I had to massage the wounds 3 times a day while she cried which was horrible. She had to learn How to latch on all over again and it took 12 weeks for her To nurse well. 12 WEEKS!!!!! All the books said 4-6 weeks. I put myself under so much stress and pressure to nurse and I’m happy I did it but we had to supplement with formula because she lost so much weight and now I know that’s OKAY. We followed all the Lactation nurse’s recommendations (even though people still have to throw their suggestions out to me
    As if I didn’t TRY EVERYTHING POSSIBLE !) and after a month she still wouldn’t admit that maybe my body just wouldn’t make enough milk instead of making me feel like I was doing something wrong. I didn’t give a bottle. I supplemented with formula through a feeding tube and nursed on demand every 30 min to an hour for months.

    I remember a friend told me to just get through the first month and then it gets easier. Well, the month passed and I thought, what the heck was she talking about because it’s still not easy yet! Recently, a friend of mine had a baby and told me that she didn’t understand why some moms complain about how hard having a baby is. I looked at her and said that you can’t compare and judge. She didn’t gave a c section. She had tons of Milk and her baby latched right away. Her mom stayed with her for two weeks to help. I’m so happy For her positive experience but Its unfair to compare and that comment made me
    Feel really small. My story is more like yours and I share it with everyone so that other women know they aren’t alone or feel shamed.

    Anyway, I’m wishing you lots of love and hope that your baby girls come home soon. I promise you’ll feel the overwhelming love for them soon. It will come and when it does you will forget that you didn’t feel it on day one. In fact, this hard time will become a blur and only the happy moments will live in your memory.

    Good luck you’re doing an awesome job and you’re an awesome mom! Your baby girls are lucky to have you. Xoxoxo

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      I love you so much and THANK YOU for sharing your story I had no idea!
      I appreciate you so much and keep telling your story WE all need to hear it.

      Next time you’re in SB let’s get lunch!

  • Christine F says:

    Thank you for sharing Jenny. While my birth story was 24 years ago, I remember those imperfect days. Crying in the shower because breastfeeding wasn’t going as planned or the nights when inconsolable crying was all my child did. Trust me when I say we’ve all been there and yes it gets better. Not easier but better!! This journey of parenthood is definitely a roller coaster that’s worth the ride. When in doubt remember “Yes you can”.

  • Amy B says:

    Thank you.
    I had my boys, unplanned c section at 35-3. I didn’t have a “plan” necessarily but didn’t want to really do a c section. Oh well I guess, they got here safe and healthy. Also I didn’t get the hold your baby etc like “the movies” and I felt the EXACT same way you did. All the questions and how am I supposed to feel, why don’t I? It goes on and on. I didn’t feel contractions, nothing, did I get shorted?
    And the NICU, should I be there every second? Take time to relax, learn everything you can from the nurses, and adjust yourself because when you get them home, It. Is. On.
    All almost 14 months later, my boys do not care how they got here. They adore mom and dad and are happy, healthy little crazy men!!
    I wish you luck with your littles!! Take care momma (and dad)

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to hear other people stories THANK YOU – LOVE YOU!

  • Maliny Soukkhasem says:

    Thank you for sharing and being real, vulnerable and incredibly awesome! Your girls are so cute and I love the last photo of them, It looks like the girl on the right is throwing her hands up and saying “what up!” haha. You are a light and
    encouragement to our community!

  • Baret says:

    Thank you for sharing, Jenny. Your honesty is inspiring and your message full of grace. I can’t wait to kiss Hope and Haven. I love you.

  • Jamie says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so important to get the word out that nothing is perfect. Not even a vaginal birth where you get to hold your child immediately. Even that perfect social media post…probably not as ‘perfect’ as everyone thinks. You are so brave to speak out. We are all praying for your girls to get to come home very soon!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      THANK YOU and please keep the prayers coming we can feel it!!

  • Diane R. says:

    Oh how I wish I had this to read 21 years ago when my twins were born by c-section! And that was BEFORE social media even existed to make things worse. All I did was feel ashamed for every negative emotion I was having. Your advice is simple, true and pure. Stay in the moment, love them, and ignore the noise. God it goes so fast. Happiness and health to you and your beautiful girls…but when the tears come…welcome them, too!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      THANK YOU so much and I want any advice you have to give after 21 years with Twins I know you’ve got some!

  • Diann says:

    With our daughter’s due date on July 6th, yet she is already 7.5 weeks old, I’ve had similar feelings. One thing that still gets me is not having those last 2 months to enjoy her in my belly kicking, hiccups, and just knowing I’m providing for her and keeping her safe from the real world she has to face the rest of her life. But she is healthy and so happy, so I’m happy with her! Cheers, you’re daughters look happy & healthy!!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      YES I think about that all the time, they never hiccuped inside me and now in their incubators they hiccup. The nurses ask did they do that in the womb and the only thing I think is NO they hadn’t gotten that far inside. THANK YOU for this message it feels so good to hear others know EXACTLY what I’ve been thinking, NONE of us are alone. sending you so much love,

  • Emily Schwabecher says:

    Sending you love!

  • Jayne sigman says:

    You are a rockstar. Your girls are beautiful and this is so well put. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you but I appreciate your rawness! Every step of the parenting journey is worth it..even the hard stuff. Be gentle with yourself. Sending love and light.

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      I just got back from the hospital and I really needed the advice of be gentle with yourself. THANK YOU!!

  • Halley says:

    Love and support to you because all birth stories are different! I was dead set on breastfeeding my 2nd since I failed with the first . She was a C-section baby and was healthy. The lactation nurse tried to the point of stressing her out and me. We went home and saw a lactation consultant and that failed. I felt like a failure and cried and the decided to just keep pumping for 10 months to give her the same nutrition and love without that skin to skin bond. My daughter is 4 she is bonded to me despite a bottle and she doesn’t know the difference.

  • Michelle says:

    Jenny — Thank you for sharing. When you get as vulnerable as you do, you open yourself up for people to support and to say “me too.” That being said and having 5 children myself, my advice to you is you’re going to f*** it up. You’re going to make mistakes. But listen to your heart.
    because that’s what will help you fix it and guide your way. Your heart knows the way even if your head tells you different. Your family is unique and special and the crazy is what makes it that way. Motherhood is the highest highs and the lowest lows. That’s a fact. Welcome to the club!

  • Carin Sutton says:

    I love your raw honesty. As a mom with three kids one being a rare special need kiddo. I love sharing the real face of life. It’s not all smiles and him reaching goals. He cries for 30 min at therapy because we make him work to reach those goal. I share this, not just his success. It’s real life. Not all rainbows and sunshine. But it’s the same with typical kids. They will have fits and melt downs in the middle of the grocery store. It’s life enjoy it. Some may never get to experience this.
    Thanks for always being honest it supports us women. Reality is important

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Thank you and sending you so much love, let’s keep this conversation going and talking about the REAL LIFE!
      We are here to support one another!

  • Maegan Garcia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience so beautifully and honestly. I just wanted to share a resource you may find helpful. It is the Beba Clinic here in town. They focus a lot on birth and bonding and it has been super helpful to my family. I hope your precious babes get to come home soon!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Thank you I appreciate this resource and will look into it!

  • Nicholle Montalvo says:

    My son is 3 years old and I’m choking back tears reading this. I felt completely detached and disconnected after he was born, and it terrified me. He had a onesie that said “Mommy Loves Me” and I loathed it. I was so ashamed that it took weeks to get to that “overwhelming love” that everyone talks about, and that damn onesie made me feel like the worst mom/woman/human on the face of the earth. About a week after we came home, I reached my lowest. Hubby was at work, my parents were still in town to help and we had just finished eating dinner. I couldn’t hold it together another minute. I handed the baby off to my dad, got in the shower and curled in the fetal position, crying so hard I started gagging. What on earth was wrong with me??? Why was I stuck in this intensely dark place when I “should” be glowing and over the moon in love with my new babe? Why didn’t ANYONE warn me that this was coming???? We must talk about this. Thank you so much for being so open and raw. You and your babes are just beautiful!!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      You just made me cry, THANK YOU beyond words for your honesty. We must keep this going there are so many women who need to hear all our stories. I love you and appreciate you being so open and real!

  • Molly says:

    As always you speak to my soul with your candid. I’m so impressed and proud of you as you enter motherhood….the perfect birth, the perfect pictures…none of those things define or make you a mother, that’s done by those sweeet little bundles of joy!!!!! You will be an amazing mom as you’ve already learned such important lessons like self care, and not buying into parent shaming!!!!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      THANK YOU and yes I know it’s going to be hard but with this incredible community and women sharing their stories NO BUYING INTO PARENT SHAMING!! I love that statement Thank you!

  • Margery Tonna says:

    Oh, honey! Big hugs to you and those sweet baby girls. It’s only going to get better from here. There will be more hard times in the future, but know that they shall pass too and the joys will make it all worth it. Those girls are so lucky to have such an amazing woman as their role model and guide to this crazy world. You got this! xo

  • Michele Engelbach says:

    You are amazing! You are here to shed light on to those who have been shamed or feel they can’t speak up!! Motherhood is a crazy journey of emotions that we try to take on our own… but by you Sharing your story, you are opening the door to build a tribe of women to celebrate and share this journey together, even if it is scary, traumatic, unknown and anxiety provoking.
    Thank you for sharing your story! You are an incredible mother!!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Thank you for saying this Michele. It’s always scary to put yourself out there and messages like this make everything right!
      THANK YOU!

  • Christina says:

    Thank you, Jenny!!! This is such an important message and I love your honesty. I literally hated (sorry for the strong word) being pregnant (I have two young boys) and I felt so ashamed!! Society tells us to “be glowing”, to “be the happiest we have ever been”…and I felt so bad and so misplaced within my own body. I envied ALL OTHER PREGNANT WOMEN that seemed so perfectly happy and content that I kept feeling worse and worse.
    Even now, raising two kids is a rollercoster ride! People keep saying “this is positive stress”, “this is what you wanted”… but there are times where enjoying the time with my kids is so so hard (even impossible) and there it is again..the immediate guilt “what kind of mother does not enjoy EVERY second with her precious children?”. Yes, self-shame is real and we need a support system, thank you for being a part of mine!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      You are not alone sister I have heard so many women talk like this. I appreciate you and also your honesty let’s not allow this conversation to end. We need to be here for one another, sending you so much love!

  • Penny Odom says:

    Dear Jenny;
    What a beautiful, beautiful article. Thank you for sharing and just look at those two beautiful sprouts !!! You are embarking on the best exeperience of your lives. As Dr. Suess said “Oh the things you will SEE!!!” Best job EVER. You are so right the expectations and doubts start early and if we allow it they will stay late. The truth is NOBODY KNOWS WHAT TO DO as a new parent. Your family and friends can help with suggestions but the experience is yours and yours alone. OWN IT. I used to say that it would be really handy if first children came with an eraser (like a chalkboard) so that as a parent you could erase all those “mistakes” you make with that new person. You kind of get the hang of it with the second. But the unvarnished truth is BABIES COME WITHOUT MANUALS. I used to admit this to my children all the time – as in “Look this is my decision – I didn’t get a manual so your are just going to have to live with it”. We were all raised by parents operating children without a license. So my best advice to you is keep on the path of honesty you have started. Don’t be afraid to admit uncertainty, let both you and the kids fail at things and move on. Above all enjoy everyday (you won’t enjoy every minute) with the beautiful miracles you have been gifted with. Laughter often trumps knowledge. LOVE AND BLESSINGS Penny

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      This advice is spot on, I appreciate you and this message so much!
      THANK YOU,

  • Rachel says:

    I would love to hook you up with local twin moms who have gone thru this situation and can give you a shoulder to lean on. They started in nicu as early and now have thriving babies!! Just reply to my email- all will be private. Hugs to you and your beautiful family.

  • Polly Sumner says:

    This is why everyone loves you. You are not afraid to speak the truth, even when it doesn’t fit the “Facebook Perfect Life” profile. I wish more of us shared the internal messiness that comes with motherhood…because guess what…the Not Perfect Birth Plan turns into the Not Perfect Parent from one phase to the next. 😉 But the good news is that these feelings of guilt, questioning and that darn hormonal rollercoaster will be intertwined with unanticipated moments of elation, pure comedy, pride, relief and happiness. The first year is tough. But so are you!!! xo

  • kimini says:

    You are amazing for being able to have the clarity and vision to be true to yourself and share this with the world!
    After I delivered my second child (at home) all I wanted to do was scream “That SUCKED!” and “I never ever want to go through that again!” so I did. All i felt was anger at everyone in the room – “Its not fair I had to go through that and you didn’t!!” That was 5 years ago and it in no way interfered with developing a good bond with my baby, even though the midwife looked horrified! You gotta get your true feelings out to move beyond them!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      This is a great story I LOVE IT and yes you gotta get your feeling out and move beyond them I LOVE THAT!
      THANK YOU!!!

  • Mochock says:

    Thank you for sharing. I never had the immediate connection either so don’t sweat it. My tribe helped me realize it wasn’t the norm and would come in time. Parenting is a daily roller coaster and I appreciate you encouraging everyone to share the good, bad and ugly because you are 100% right in that not many people are will to open up and be honest about the rough days. You have already been an amazing mom for your little girls. Keep it up!!!

  • Shelley says:

    You are not alone Jenny! My daughter was rushed to NICU too. When I did get to touch her several hours later she cried. A nurse walking by touched her again and she stopped. I thought that was all the evidence I needed that I would be a terrible mama. And I never was that mother that could tell by the sound of my baby’s cry what was wrong. It felt like all of the mothers around me had it figured out except me. You’re doing great, and great is not synonymous with perfect! Much love to you and your family.

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Right back at you much love to you and your family THANK YOU for this message!

  • Judy says:

    YOU are non-stop inspiration. Just yesterday I felt the power of your listening…even as you are moving into your brand new experience of motherhood. YOU have the most beautiful eyes– that mirror your soul. Hope and Haven are so incredibly blessed to have
    you as their mother. Your experience is yours…no one can be you. And, we can listen and learn and cherish one another in times of question and challenge and celebration. May you find comfort as you grieve the birth plan that did not come to be for your family. May you forge a new path with lessons meant just for you all. Already, in their first moments and month of life, you are raw and real and full of inquiry. As you move through your journey with your girls in NICU and beyond, keep listening to your heart– it will continue to guide you. Blessed by your sharing.

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      It was so good to see you and I feel the same way about you, a non-stop inspiration. Thank you for this message and I can’t wait to see you again I hope very soon!

  • Doreen S. says:

    Thank you Jenny for sharing. I soo appreciate how you write , feel and express yourself. There is not a Mom out there who cant relate. Your going to be an AMAZING Momma! XXOO

  • Jillian H says:

    Love you Jenny!!! I can already tell you’re a great mom :). Childbirth is soooo emotional – I delivered Arwen “naturally” and I was still a mess- I think you are right some moms have the instant overwhelming love and joy. I didn’t either, I’m not sure when exactly it happened I just remember later a week? 2 weeks? A month? Being overwhelmed with love.

    Now I’m pregnant with twins (very unexpectedly) and I’m looking at women like you and others who are doing it (surviving!) and it gives me peace. Love you!!! You and your husband are the perfect parents for your girls (even though none of us are perfect)

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Congrats on the girls and I am here for you, we are all in this together!!

  • Cece Murfey says:

    Thank you for sharing Jenny! Your girls are beautiful!

  • Christie Lockhart says:

    Jenny I am a friend of your sisters and I went through pretty much the same exact thing you went through 16 years ago with twins and 19 years ago with my oldest. All of them preemies, all born at 29 weeks. That struggle was real but I looked on the bright side and once they got home I was recovered more and could care for them with more of me. They all came home between five and six weeks and as hard as it was 5 to 6 weeks were the last 19 years have been the best of my life. I remember we’re going to counseling with my first one because I thought this was so not the feeling I had imagined. I am the luckiest mom around with now 4 girls (adopted our 4th:).

    Hang in there. It takes time but keep the faith!!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Thank you so much for this message Christie. It truly helps when I hear other families stories so THANK YOU!!!

  • Stacey says:

    Thank you. As a woman who has chosen not to give birth but has taken on the responsibility, love, joy, fear, pain and awkwardness of being a step mom this was powerful. We are all doing the best we can and that is always enough. ❤️

  • Lisa says:

    I was forwarded your post from a friend and it touched me heart. I completely agree that we all need to be more open and honest about what motherhood (& it’s inevitable highs and lows ) looks like.

    I recently gave a TEDx talking about my postpartum experience that might resonate:

    sending well wishes for you and your family and your beautiful girls.

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Lisa! I am just seeing this and going to watch your Ted Talk today. Thank you so much for this message!

  • Am I the only “man”, husband, dad, step dad that understands this stuff? Probably not, but in any case, (since no other men have responded) birthing, parenting and building a family is not for the weak of heart, mind and soul. Of course I’ve been at this for a time and now give myself to developing parent mentors for exactly all the emotions you so graciously shared. Thus, I get it, in with you, and remember what the sacred wisdom says: “they that sow in tears, will reap in joy.”

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      I LOVE YOU RICHARD. Thank you for always being there to have the right words and thank you for inspiring me on a daily basis.

  • Cecile Lyons says:

    Haven and Hope are blessed beyond ‘perfect’ by having the love and guidance of a mother brave enough to speak ‘her truth’! I applaud you for starting a ‘courageous conversation’.


  • Susan moore says:

    Hi my dearest Jenny!
    I could. It begin to be as eloquent a son your friends comments. I LOVED your blog and thought it wasn’t right in. U speak for so many. I feel honored to have been your nurse for the first 2 days but also so sad I didn’t know these were the feelings you were struggling with. You were so nice to everyone and it sure doesn’t show. But then again, like you said, how many of us hide our true feelings and act as though everything is ok.
    I think I see I can share this on FB and would like permission to do so, I think it would be so helpful to so many.
    And believe me, you opened my eyes to the beautiful occasion we share with our patients who are truly struggling and we don’t always “get it”! Forgive me ignore there wasn’t more I could’ve done for you.
    I no want know your darlings names, Haven & Hope” and think they aren’t beautiful and perfect.
    Wishing you all the best in your recovery and their health and please let me know if there is ANYTHING at all I can ever do for you, just name it.
    Blessings to you, Conner and your adorable girls. They will bring you unmeasurable joy. Just take it one day at a time. And you taught everyone there is no right or wrong way to feel when one walks this path. It is very individual. I think you have a blessing to many.
    It takes a village!
    Hang in there!
    Susan z

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      You and the entire staff there are AMAZING and there is nothing else you could of done you did it all! I would love for you to share this and appreciate you wanting to do that. THANK YOU beyond words for what you do, you have no idea how much you help people and I appreciate you so much.

  • Susan moore says:

    Sorry for the typos. I’m famous for not proofreading. 🙂

  • Robbin says:

    Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.
    — Erma Bombeck

    I loved that woman, she was a funny, brilliant writer who made light of being a parent because we all know it’s the toughest job in the world but It gives the greatest compensation “unconditional love”.

    I love you Jen, Jen. Keep your sense of humor, stay close to those who love you and most of all follow the same manual all of us received who were once new fledgling parents. You can read it written in your heart. That’s the secret.. to pause when challenged and come from the place of love. Clearly you did when you wrote about this beautiful placeholder in your life.

    Keep the faith, you will be growing as a mommy just as fast as they will be turning into beautiful humans. Those precious little beings are so incredibly lucky to have you and Connor as their parents. I learned a long time ago, our children do not belong to us…we belong to them.

    And one more thing…none of us and I mean NONE of us parents are going to be free from our kids blaming us for something we did wrong to them. It’s part of the deal. But not to worry they will one day forgive and forget when they become parents. It only takes 30 years or so. Doh!!


    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      LOVE YOU ROBBIN like always you know exactly what to say.
      Thank you!!!

  • Rosario says:

    I don’t think that there is really any right or wrong way to feel. When I was pregnant with my daughter Ava, during a routine appointment two months into my pregnancy, I had blood levels that were rising, the pregnancy wasn’t progressing, so my OB/GYN scheduled me for a D&C. I will always be grateful to her for calling me the morning of my procedure and asking me to come to her office before I went to the hospital, she wanted to do one more ultrasound to be absolutely certain and I count myself lucky that I went in there, had my ultrasound and lo and behold a heartbeat! My oldest is my miracle child but she was also one hell of a colicky baby! There were days when she would cry and scream in the evenings for 4 to 5 hours straight and there was nothing I could do to calm her down. It took a lot out of me and there were days that I sat here wishing I could put her in a box with holes and ship her off to her grandparents or put her outside in her car carrier just to get away from the noise. We all go through our personal hell but I firmly believe that those experiences are what make us stronger as parents and as people. Her birth wasn’t an easy one, I was induced I had to have an emergency C-section because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck so I did not get that baby bonding experience until I got home and she was beautiful and I was in awe! I got so carried away that even though she was born in summer, for her first bath I made sure the heater was up to 80°, the oven was turned on, I didn’t want her to freeze, a little bit of overreacting!
    I never regretted having thoughts of the shipping her away because I knew that I would never do something like that and that was just my way of dealing with the constant, nonstop crying!
    I am now blessed with a beautiful 19-year-old daughter and an incredibly amazing 13-year-old son and it’s a hard road, you don’t anticipate everything, you can’t plan it out perfectly, you have to take each and every single thing one day at a time !
    You have this you have so many people there to support you!

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Thank you for sharing your story and being so honest and open. It’s amazing how many of us have this story of struggle and when I read each one my heart opens more and more. I appreciate you THANK YOU!

  • Monika says:

    Big HUgs Jenny! I appreciate your honesty. I was born a month early and ir was very hard for my mom dad couldnt be there. definitely wasn’t the plan!

  • Kristen says:

    I just had twin boys 10 mo ago . It is exhausting , we cry, we laugh, and we are up too many hours during the night ! But it’s the best thing ever and it goes too fast – their first months are a hazy blur . Hold on to every moment . Congrats they are beautiful!

  • Ann S says:

    As a SB community member I have been wondering about you and your little ones. Thank you for sharing such truth. Ironically I am grandmother to twin girls born seven years ago tomorrow at 30 weeks exactly. Their weight was good but no one prepares you for the severe ups and downs of premature birth. I will never forget the savage, raging fearful cries coming from my daughter two weeks after their birth~ filled with mournful innocence and insecurity. She claims that was the hardest time of her life (thus far :/). I want to share that they are thriving completely today. The nurses in the two months in the NICU placed them on a beautiful sleep/eat schedule that remains this day. They continue to be our miracles ~ how did we get so lucky to get two ~ to observe their bond is heart-melting. And super interesting! They look as though they are two years apart in size and maturity. It’s “fonts of fun” to quote Maya Angelo :). Congratulations. Continue to be good to yourself. Savor the closeness this is creating between you and your loved ones.
    By the way I love everything YOU from a distance since I haven’t been “back” haha! And while reading your eloquently written feelings I totally choked when I saw the names you gave to those two little gifts of yours…. the ones you gave to the world. They are truly your Haven and our Hope❣️❣️

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Thank you so much for this message ANN. I’ve said it to others and I really mean it, hearing other people’s NICU stories really does help and hearing twin stories is the best. Thank you for sharing and I hope to see you when we both go “Back”!!!!

  • Meghan says:

    Thinking of you and your new family and as always, I appreciate your honesty and positive energy. Looking forward to meeting Haven & Hope in September! XO

  • L says:

    Apparently the little lady on the right has her mommy’s personality and takes pictures like she does too.

  • Valerie says:

    Thank you for sharing. I had my daughter after 37 weeks, had come home from our 3rd of 4 birthing classes just hours before hand, they covered things like c-section, vacuum, episiotomies, etc…all the things that I was not planning so I don’t need to know about. Well…after the first hour of pushing, they saw her hair color….it was “one last push” for 13 more hours. I was to the point of throwing up with every pump of the epidermal meds, spiking fevers and sweats, her heart rate going too fast, I swelled to the point I couldn’t open one eye and barely could open the other…then they said they needed to do a c-section. I was too tired to think more and decided if I passed away at least she would live, my husband dreaded making the call thinking he was going to lose both of us. They couldn’t have done it fast enough- I even heard the “He is really jammed in there” said from over the curtain. (We didn’t know the sex of our baby so at that point I figured I had been wrong and it was a boy). My husband looked over the curtain and was convinced he saw every organ of mine laid out there…a vision he can’t get rid of. Well he was too nervous to announce the sex of our baby and they told me I had to do it. I just was ready to sleep, couldn’t keep my one eye open and although I thought it was a girl, always knew I was carrying a girl…they said “he” so obviously- what did I really know,…so I said “a Boy”. Everyone said NO!!! It’s a girl! That’s the umbilical cord. (I knew that). Well, she went to be cleaned up, I went to be closed up and don’t know how long later they wheeled her in to see me. (Turns out a 14cm head doesn’t easily go through a 10cm opening without issues). Now stage 2- Nursing didn’t go well…no one told me that milk doesn’t always come in on a c-section…so she tried every 2 hours, followed by me pumping nothing for 40 minutes for days until they had to supplement her because she was loosing weight. I felt defeated. I even would ask the janitorial guys to turn on the pump when no one was around to do it…modesty is out the window at this point. Day 5 we got to go home, jaundice was almost in the clear (no more naked light bed with newborn sunglasses she hated). Once home and pumping, something started to come, milk had come in. Now I produced more than the average mom, but apparently my baby needed more than the average baby so we still supplemented. But we still had to feed through a tube through a nipple shield after reagular nursing to try not get her hooked on a bottle. My husband was tired, I was exhausted and I doubted everything I knew. I have learned that nothing is normal. I am now a maternity, newborn and family photographer but I don’t tell my story to my clients. They are in the happy glowing dreamy stage and the last thing they want to hear is how bad it can go…They need to get through the 3rd trimester with hope. Some of my clients have had similar outcomes to me, when they call to have me come to the hospital to take pictures of their family, newborn in a room or NICU…I counsel them, tell them my story, show them my personal pictures and am there every step of their recovery to their new normal. I talk to them about the stupid leg balloons that keep you up the first night because you can’t move without the squeak. I remind them that if they need to sleep, it’s ok for their baby to go to the nursery, this is your time to recover so you can be there for them, take all the lactation appointments they will let you have, don’t be proud, take them!! I am an open book and they text me day and night with questions and feeling they have. It’s hard to believe that the worst moments of my life were the best as well. Glad to be on the other side looking back. You will too!!!

  • Lisa Hutchens says:

    Jenny, congratulations on your beautiful baby girls. You are going to be a great mom on your own terms. I’m so happy for you and your family. You are in my heart, always.

    • Jenny Schatzle says:

      Right back at you Lisa! I think about you all the time, hope you are doing amazing and I may be calling you for some parenting advice!

  • Danica Lozano says:

    I felt the initial love and then 2 weeks later I lost it. My innocent beautiful girl was colicky and crying all the time. I was devastated that I couldn’t give her enough to be happy or feel better. During one of our many 1 am drives in the car I said “I know I love her, but I don’t feel it yet.” Month 3 hit me like a ton of bricks. Deep down warm unconditional love. I wanted my time off to be so magical with birth photos and walks around the block. But truth was I was afraid to leave the house because all she did was cry and cry. Someone even told me I must have spoiled her and that was why she was crying. She was 3 weeks old. It was a very slap in my face reminder nothing goes as we planned. I do have an 8 year old girl with a heart of gold. We already have so many beautiful memories together and every year for the past 5 years in March she runs with me in Santa Cruz so she can give this super rad girl, Jenny a high-5!!!! We think you are amazing. Xoxo

  • Bruna Bowden says:

    Your such a positive inspiration for so many people and your now an amazing mama. Your girls are so lucky to have you and they will teach you so much in life. Nothing better than being a mom and it’s definitely not easy. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and one day you will look back and laugh about it with your girls. Everything happens for a reason and you have the best gift ever: your beautiful twin girls.

  • Franny says:


    I have been having you in my thoughts constantly for a while now and I have had you in my prayers after I read your blog regarding your first pregnancy. I wish at this very moment I could find you and know where you are so I can give you a huge hug and see a smile from your face. Jenny I can not compare my birth experiences with yours because EVERY woman faces a different birth challenge every second of everyday. EVERY woman feels a different pain and feels a different emotion, why? Because we are ALL different. The birth of my first son Kevin was my nightmare. I went in with my birth plan all set in stone in my head and even on paper, I walked in with a HUGE smile on my face knowing that I would be getting to meet my first son within hours. After 40 hours of failure (that was the only word my head could think of…failure) my doctor told me we had to go into the OR. That I had to have a c-section. You know, during all those hours of being there my nurses kept telling me to watch the educational videos, well I decided to ignore them and not watch the c-sec video, little did I know that reality was going to hit me in the next few hours). I cried for hours waiting for the OR to open up. I cried and I cried and even offended myself. Asking my self WHY? WHY? If soooo many woman can do it how come I COULD NOT? I felt like a failure I felt less of a woman, I felt sooo angry because if my mother did it HOW COME I COULD NOT? After a rough OR experience and post recovery, I was in too much pain to bond with my baby. I too felt that Jenny. I too felt that I was missing something. That the connection was taken away from me! I felt like a horrible mother like I was not giving my newborn the love he deserved because all I could think about was my failures as a woman and the pain I was going through, THE ANGER OF NOT BEING ABLE TO MOVE OR GET UP TO GRAB MY BABY, the anger that I had to push a button for the nurses to come hand him to me. Not being able to breastfeed him was my breaking point where it had gotten way to overwhelming and I felt numb. Jenny there is NOTHING wrong with you taking personal time to yourself and going for a walk or your jogs. You have to do it for yourself and your beautiful gorgeous baby girls. Why? Because after you take that time you will have gathered your thought and emotions and you will feel weight lifted off your shoulders, weight lifted off your mind. We fill our heads up with so many thought that it is hard to keep them all separated and under control. You need your momma time. The baby girls are being taken care of by amazing nurses that when your taking time for yourself take that time for yourself! That does not make you a bad mom, That does not make you a neglective mother. It makes you a BETTER mother because your head will be cleared and you will be connecting your emotions, you will be connecting with faith, with god, you will be thinking with a clear mind and sending all those positive clear thoughts and prayers to your beautiful strong girls, you will be thinking of the near future and walking that path and saying (I WILL be walking this path with my beautiful girls in weeks, in a few months). God sends us worries, concerns, complications but we learn from all of it and they will make us stronger. You baby girls will grow strong because you are the STRONGEST woman I have ever met and because of you they WILL BE STRONG AND GROW WITH THE MOST POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND THE MOST AMAZING SMILES because of you they will see obstacles in a positive way, they will have each other to smile, cry, laugh, and enjoy life with one another! You may have missed that first time bond, but really that bond was always there Jenny, it was just over powered by your thoughts. Your thoughts took over the emotional feeling. Those worries, sadness, concerns, anger, tiredness made their way to your heart and did not let the love you were feeling at the time come out but it was there, deep down it was there why? Because you were worried about your baby girls you were concerned, angry, and felt hopeless and all those feelings are feelings a loving mother feels. I still keep you and your gorgeous family in my heart in my thoughts and in my prayers. A day does not go by that I am not thinking of your baby girls, That I pray for their fast growth and recovery so that you can take them home and move to the next phase of a new mother…the lack of sleep from feedings. 🙂

    Sending Love and prayers to your wonderful family Jenny


  • Jessica Lime says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Unlike you, I had an easy delivery, but I had a very stressful, challenging newborn experience. My son was not feeding properly and after 6 weeks he was deemed ‘a failure to thrive’. I didn’t leave the house for 4 1/2 months as I was on an uphill battle – sweating, pumping 13 times a day, covered in stinky milk as I fed my son with a tube connected to my boob. I didn’t know anyone who has ever experienced what I went through. We all have our struggles as mommas and the guilt that comes with it. I remember crying and my husband said, “you don’t have postpartum do you?” and “isn’t this what you wanted?”. And I said, “Even if I did have postpartum that would be OK! And, it’s OK to feel stressed and not happy even if this is the thing you wanted the most in the whole world…to be a mom.” I was feeding him constantly, but he was always hungry and never satisfied. He was gaining a few ounces a week and the lactation consultant I was working with on a weekly basis wasn’t alarmed about his growth. So, I figured it was cluster feeding. It took the nurse 6 weeks and him barely making it back to his birth weight before she recommended supplementing. It was then I realized my left boob wasn’t producing any milk and my baby was probably starving. I had to take matters into my own hands and start supplementing with formula. The problem was, he absolutely refused to take a bottle. So, I had to use a tube that went to a nipple shield on my boob that I tapped on. I never could find the right tape that would stick and not make my boob sore and bloody. Thank God my son made it through and is now a healthy, happy, thriving toddler!! Thinking of you and your sweet girls! It’s so great you have a community to support you. Xo ❤

  • Meagan says:

    As a post partum nurse at cottage, i teach about post partum depression with each discharge. I have an almost 3-year old and now know how hard this period can be. I wish we could change “post partum depression” to “post partum adjustments”. It is a HUGE life change and every situation is unique…calling it “depression” makes people feel worse than they already feel. You gain so much when you become a mommy…but you also lose a part of yourself, or many parts of yourself, and I think it’s ok to mourn the loss. Our hearts always break for our nicu parents…but in one of the other posts, someone said to take care of yourself and give yourself permission to Not be at the hospital all of the time. Happy mommy makes happy babies and happy daddy. Take care of yourself and know that the nicu nurses love your babies too 🙂

  • Thomas Rooerson says:

    I unfortunately will never know the feeling of being a parent, however I have watched with sheer amazement and respect for the journey of friends to parenting each story uniquely their own. Yet, there seems to be a common thread of deep love and and endless heartache and concern as a parent . To hurt deeply also means we have de deeply ply . I applaud your encouragement for your encouragement for people to speak their truth, life is not always balloons and roses but truth and love and each other hold us up. This story was meant for you and if anyone knows better than you. Through adversity comes gifts, you had already gifted us by expanding our hearts with your sacrifice and truth I look forward to me your gifts Haven and Hope! Btw your kids have a great story too, How often do u hear a grown-up talking about how they had the “perfect birth”

  • Lauren says:

    Thank you for such an honest blog. I wrote a very similar blog nearly 15 months ago. It’s important that people learn the other side of a birth story, because there is always another side. I spent 8 weeks at the Cottage NICU, after having spent 6 weeks at CHLA, as my son was born with a known, high mortality birth defect. What I want to tell you, is the other side is amazing and the journey, although hard is a breathtaking, is also beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story ❤️

  • Angela Vera Najera says:

    Dear Jenny,

    Last week was my first day back at JSP after a 3 year break after the birth of my son. He was born premature at 33 weeks, I was working out regularly and did the JSP program as long as I could. When I went into labor early, I experienced the same feelings you did – why did this happen, did I overdue it working out, was it the stress, was it commuting to work in Thousand Oaks? What did I do to go into labor early? During the birthing classes I remember almost crying when they would place the baby on the mother’s chest and I could not wait until I got to hold my baby boy on my chest. Little did I know I would never get to experience that feeling, when he was born he was rushed to the NICU. Heartbreaking! When I was released from the hospital I didn’t get to take my baby home with me. That wasn’t supposed to happen either. 🙁 As soon as I was given the green light to work out again – I was back at JSP program, I wanted you to know that your program gave me more energy, a positive attitude and some me time. Before I knew it I felt like myself again and after all the workouts I felt like I could do anything!!

    Fast forward three years, my second pregnancy with my baby girl. This pregnancy was different, I did not have any energy to workout, I’m also carrying for a toddler but the thoughts start running through my mind, will II have this baby early also?! I was given some weekly injections to help me keep the baby in longer, one Saturday morning I woke up not feeling well. I was almost 35 weeks and sure enough I checked into Cottage Hospital at 10:45am and delivered my daughter via C-section at 1:40pm. I almost cried when I heard I was having a c-section, I was already upset that my baby most likely would be in the NICU again and now a C-Section!?!?! I was scared, very scared of having surgery. I had no idea how much more difficult the recovery for the C-section was and I hated that I had to ask for help. I had to ask for someone to wheel me to see my baby, I could not drive for two weeks and had to depend on others to get me to and from the hospital to see my baby. Why was this happening again? On the day we finally get to take our baby home after 9 days, I see your happy face! Little did I know you had also had a C-section? You looked great!! I was so impressed!

    Well, I wanted to share my birthing stories with you and let you know that I can relate to your blog! Thank you for sharing…. I am so happy to be back at JSP and can’t wait to see your happy face in class one of these days!!

  • Caro says:

    Jenny! I am so happy and thankful you shared this as i had my baby boy in november at only 28weeks! I couldnt help but blame myself and question what i did wrong or what i could have done different.. being discharged and leaving my baby in the nicu was the hardest thing for me and felt the disconnection and like a bad mom 🙁 but you are so right! I had to take a step back and realize my baby was fine, i was fine, and needed to focus on the present and be present!! Thank you so much! I dont feel alone anymore in knowing i wasnt the only one feeling the way i did!!

  • Chris says:

    The perspective I eventually came to, after a very “disappointing” birth long ago, is that it is a day in our life. Just a day. And it’s not a public performance. Thirty years ago I did everything possible to ensure an easy, happy, warm and fuzzy birth. I attended a yoga class for pregnant women, where the teacher was militant about doing it “our way” with a detailed birth plan, challenging doctors who want any kind of intervention, demanding this and that, strongly promoting home births, etc. At 8 and a half months the hospital legal dept decided they would no longer allow midwives to deliver there so I switched to an ob-gyn. Naively I drew up a birth plan that included no anesthesia unless absolutely necessary and other details. Baby was 3 weeks late, the last 11 days were nonstop contractions, visits for nonstress tests, almost no sleep. Eventually a C-section. I was not depressed but also not overcome with feelings of love, this was a stranger in my arms. It didn’t take long for that to change into complete infatuation. Even before social media it was disappointing to have had an ordeal instead of a fairy-tale experience, but in the end, it was just a (stressful) day that did not affect the course of our lives. (When I asked the doc weeks later why he had waited so long to do the C-section he said that, because I had the birth plan and had been seeing a midwife, he was reticent to interfere – I wish he had!) We all have organic, non GMO babies! They have strengths and weaknesses like everybody else. They’re not perfect and neither are we. It’s the years after the birth day that really matter.

  • Celeste says:

    Jenny, your babies are beautiful. Lots of love Celeste. …

  • Mimi says:

    God bless your beautiful daughters and you & your husband. I know this is a very hard time for you, the worrying, the anticipation, the up & down feelings. We are all praying for you and so happy for you. Your babies will be home soon with you. You will be smiling and laughing at their 3rd birthday party before you know it and they will be running around having wild fun. You are in my prayers. God speed.

  • Michelle says:

    Who’s a clever girl then ! Jenny they are beautifu ,I’m so happy for you both. Jenny thank you for being so real about the feelings you have been going through. I know it is hard to connect, when you & they are in the hospital, that will improve, and remember one day at a time. All the best, little foot , u da mama! Michelle

  • Ashley Ziegler says:

    This is awesome. I just gave birth, and my son spent the first 15 days of his life in the NICU. I doubted every decision, and blamed myself for things, or tried to find reasoning behind why it was happening.
    This is beautifully put, raw & honest. We’re all home now, and I can tell you- the love is crazy strong between us. It’s all part of something greater. Lots of love to you! I’ll keep you & the little ones in my prayers ❤❤

  • Vonnie Davidson says:

    Jenny- your raw honesty is an amazing thing to hear. You are the most motivating person out there, even though I have only trained with you a few times your voice is frequently in my head when I’m pushing my limits.
    I was fortunate enough to deliver both of my boys naturally, but my labor with the first took me over 5 days. It took everything I had to stick with it and get to active labor/delivery. Thank goodness for my experiences pushing myself in workouts, because I needed it. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how he got here, or what any of us mothers did to create/grow/deliver our children we get to enjoy & embrace them every day as their moms.
    Enjoy your little girls every moment, and never doubt yourself as their mother. You will cry, question, worry, smile, laugh, and LOVE!

  • Anne Wells says:

    Hi Jenny, After a wonderful pregnancy, my daughter found herself awkwardly stuck on delivery attempt. Stroke, brain hemorrhage, and a few other injuries later, she emerged into an unfair, imperfect world. I went through and still go through so much pain and loss, as if it was my fault for her cerebral palsy (cuz it kinda was my bodies fault!). She is 11 now. Her life is 100% bootcamp. Everything is earned. Now, she walks, swims, earned her karate purple belt, is mainstreamed in school, and sails as a result of Herculean effort every day. Her substantial physical, mental, and speech deficits remain, but her spirit is strong.

    The perfect family is a complete fairy tale at my house. Every time I work out, which is frequently, I push extra so I can remind myself how challenging her every day is. Life really didn’t turn out the way I thought it would and mourning is a daily activity for Julie, her brothers, my husband, and for me. We do rejoice more than mourn but, damn, you aren’t kidding when basic life expectations (holding your baby after delivery, watching your child grow into a self-reliant teenager, basic health…) are unrealized. We are not in control! Not at all.

    It is easy to feel isolated. Not too many people can relate to our story. And, the isolation continues because cerebral palsy requires a lot of attention and is very expensive (we work extra hard to earn more money, to give Julie as many opportunities as possible). Despite the isolation, I can’t imagine being more happy. I can imagine more grace, more calm, more downtime, more participation in the regular world, and less worry. But happiness? We have that one NAILED!

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your honesty is deeply appreciated.

    Much love,

    Anne Wells