Pregnancy & Birth Story from Jora

April 14, 2010

Early last year, I found out I was pregnant.  At the time, our little boy was three years old  and our daughter had just turned a year.  Parenting them seemed to take all the time and energy my husband and I had.  Needless to say, the pregnancy was a surprise and it took some time for me to get used to the idea of three kids four years and under.

With my first two, I spent time planning the pregnancy, reading about it, trying to eat healthy and take care of myself.  This time was different.  Pregnancy was almost an afterthought.  No time to read “What to Expect” and Babycenter and count grams of protein and write birth plans.  There were also some difficulties in our family at the time – nothing that others hadn’t been through, but stressful just the same.

Toward the middle of my pregnancy, I felt myself slipping very quickly into a very dark and lonely place.  I had never before experienced depression, but the signs were there and I couldn’t deny what was happening.  In a matter of a couple of weeks (interestingly, during the exact time I weaned my 19month old daughter), I had lost my appetite, I couldn’t sleep, I was having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.  Perhaps most difficult, I felt completely disconnected from other people.

I frantically began looking for help out of that scary place.  I was having a hard time connecting with my baby and I was worried the baby was going to be harmed because of what I was feeling.  Could the baby feel what I was feeling?  Was the baby scared too?  Am I giving it enough nutrition?  Would it be born premature (a risk of babies born to depressed mothers)?  Would we have trouble bonding?  These anxieties weren’t helping me get better, and certainly weren’t helping the baby..

I reached out to friends and family. When I think back on that time, I get emotional remembering how much love and support was demonstrated to me….  Putting one foot in front of the other was a struggle, but with my family and friends and even some strangers there for me, I pulled (or maybe was pulled) through. Slowly, I began feeling better. And the last month or so of my pregnancy, thankfully, I was functioning enough to feel pretty close to normal. Still though, the worries were there about my baby.

At about 1:45 in the morning on my baby’s due date, I woke up to go to the bathroom and my water broke. Right on time. My son had been born almost 2 weeks past his due date and my daughter 3 weeks before. This baby was going to be different, for sure. I eased into contractions (not that they were easy, but they built up steadily and predictably and I was able to manage the pain).  We arrived at the hospital at about 7:30 a.m. I was 5 and a half centimeters. Very good news. But even better news was that surrounding me in the room that morning, was my husband Bryan, doula Ann (who had helped during the birth of my daughter as well), my dear friend Elise (in town from Boston, hoping to be there for the birth), my mom and my two sisters. Each of them had helped me so much in those months leading up to the birth…it seemed natural they would be there for the conclusion as well, you know?

The rest of my labor went smoothly and quickly, and yes, it hurts and you’re tired and you reach a point when you think you can’t do it anymore, but then someone whispers in your ear “You’re almost there, Jora” and you simply can’t wait to meet your baby face to face and put her in your arms and the next thing you know, you’re pushing and everyone you love is in that room cheering you on and laughing and crying and smiling and witnessing the most wonderful thing a person can hope to witness on this earth.  And then you get to say, with the most delight imaginable, “It’s a girl!” A perfect, beautiful, healthy, screaming baby girl. Pink and round, clenching her fists, looking around for the first time.

I cried and cried that morning for my baby girl. When I held her for the first time, I looked deep in her eyes and told her, “I love you so very much and I am so, so sorry for what we went through and I will never, ever let you go.”  It was only my baby girl, Emilia Rae, that was with me the whole time during that dark, lonely time and I knew our connection was different and somehow…maybe….deeper.  I love her more than I could have ever imagined, and I will never, ever, never, ever let her go.

From Jora of Domestic Reflections


Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I’ll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I’d love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jamie April 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. When I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter, it was only weeks after my father passed away from Brain Cancer after a 10 month battle. I couldn’t believe I was pregnant. I didn’t even remember having sex. I was so depressed. I thought, “This is the last thing I need right now.” My Dad had just died, my older daughter was 2 and I felt like I had absolutely nothing to give to anyone. I was so scared that I would not be able to love this baby inside of me and I was so ashamed for feeling this way. Friends and family and strangers helped me through and about at the 7th month, I started getting a little excited. When my daughter was born, I instantly fell in love with her. All the bad feelings went away and I was so thankful she was in my life. Looking back, I call her my miracle. Although I was depressed during my pregnancy, and not eating AS healthy as I did the first time around, I took care of myself because of her. I know in my heart that I stayed healthy for her an did not drink excessively or do bad things to myself to cope with the death of my father.
All life is a miracle and sometimes it takes a while to recognize that we DO get what we need. Life is def hard with two kids under the age of 5, plus dealing with life’s hardships. But is is worth it.

Thanks for sharing!


2 Denise Laborde April 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Thank you Jora for sharing your story.

Thank you Gabrielle for the weekly pregnancy posts. Our stories of birth and motherhood are all so different but I feel connected reading them. Expecting our third son this July and am going to miss the posts once your baby arrives :( but am glad for you that you’re almost there!

Bises, D


3 Deb April 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this, Jora. I just bawled my eyes out as I pictured you holding your dear daughter after she was born.


4 adrienne April 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm

sweet lovlieness!


5 Sara April 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Thank you for this. I’m going through this very thing right now during my third pregnancy. The words you wrote express exactly how I am feeling. It’s comforting to know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that I’m not completely alone in this. Thanks again.


6 Jenny April 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm

What a beautiful story! I teared up reading it.


7 Emily April 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story and experience, Jora


8 KateB April 15, 2010 at 4:46 am

That was candid and real, kind and loving, as always.
You are brave and generous to share that, and I am so glad you got your perfect little girl!


9 Sharon April 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Love this story. My daughter’s middle name is Rae, too. (Sophie Rae)


10 amber April 16, 2010 at 9:39 am

this was deep, touched my heart…thank you so much for sharing


11 Zoe April 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

What a sweet, straightforward, lovely story. Thank you for sharing it.
I’m expecting our third child in July and also have a son (age 4) and daughter (2). This pregnancy was also unexpected and it’s been a bit of a rough time. A lonely time. I applaud you for being proactive in seeking help from your family, friends, and medical professionals. I’m gearing up to do the same.
Oh, and the name Emilia is at the top of our list too! We would call her Emi or Mimi as a nickname. I cannot wait to hold her in my arms and see that she is healthy and strong and beautiful.
Enjoy your family.


12 180|360 April 17, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I am really glad you shared your story, Jora. Depression is frightening enough when you’re not pregnant! I am so happy you pulled through.

You are an amazing woman and mother and I am positive that Emilia will only remember all the love you give her now! xo


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