All Articles Tagged "pregnancy"

Pregnant Employee Fired For Frequent Bathroom Use

December 8th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Pregnant Employee Fired


Have companies declared it open season on pregnant women’s jobs? Dawn Steckmann, a former technician at Maxim Integrated Products, was fired for taking too many bathroom breaks while pregnant with her second child. Steckmann developed a bladder problem during her pregnancy that made her go to the bathroom frequently.

In court documents acquired by People magazine, a Maxim Integrated Product supervisor told Steckmann they terminated her employment because she did not clock out when using the bathroom. According to their reasoning, she was stealing company time. Maxim Integrated Products proposed Steckmann could have been goofing off and “watching a movie” during her bathroom breaks. Steckmann says her supervisor told her “not to bother” clocking out when she used the bathroom, which makes sense.

Steckmann will be suing her former employer for $400,000 in a gender and discrimination lawsuit. She also noted that her supervisor “seemed unhappy” when she told him she was pregnant for a second time. This is not the first time Steckmann has complained about her job. After working at Maxim Integrated Products for 10 years, Steckmann stated, she has observed male co-workers received better treatment than women and were disciplined lightly. Thanks to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission’s updated guidelines, Steckmann may win her case; the improved guidelines say women’s medical issues should receive the same treatment as male medical treatment.

H/T Cosmopolitan 

“Shove Off From Here” Pregnant Woman Confronts Anti Abortion Advocates, Leaves Them Speechless

December 5th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Pregnant Woman Confronts Anti Abortion Advocates

Source: YouTube

Abortion is a tricky, moral debate for a whole lot of people. Personally, it’s a decision I can’t see myself making; but I can say with certainty, judging someone else for making that very difficult decision is not cool.

Bringing a life into the world is not something to take lightly. And it’s not a decision someone should pressure you into or attempt to make for you. Which is the problem I have with people who protest and attempt to shame women in front of abortion clinics. It’s not just a problem in the southern, conservative states in the U.S.Apparently it’s an issue in London as well.

And one woman, who happened to be very much pregnant herself, had had enough of it. She told the protestors who were filming the women entering the clinic that they were wrong on so many different levels. And even called one protestor, who admitted that she had had an abortion herself, a hypocrite for attempting to deride others for a decision she had made herself.

The woman happened to be an advocate for girls and women who have been molested and abused. So she knows the complexities of the issue.

She went IN. And the group was left speechless afterward.

The video is compelling, no matter what side of the argument you’re on. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Among The Many Obstacles Pregnant Women Face On The Job, Add Business Travel

December 4th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Airline Discrimination Against Pregnant Women


Pregnant women face all sorts of obstacles in the workplace. Add business travel to the list. Inc. lists the various issues: seats are uncomfortable for pregnant women to fit into; depending on the length of the flight, they would need to remain seated. When it comes to security, pregnant woman are endlessly questioned when they choose to not go through scanners. On top of all that, one of the perks of business travel are the points. Pregnant women run the risk of missing out on that as well.

Morra Aarons Mele founder of WomenOnline/The Mission List, who was expecting her third child, had to put flying on hold during her last two weeks of pregnancy. When she called to put her miles on hold as well, airlines told her no. She  shared with Medium Post:

 “American Airlines said she could ‘repurchase status lost at the end of 2014.’ Virgin America and Delta didn’t have any ‘maternal leave’ policies either. The one airline that did have a maternal leave policy was British Airways, which offered to put Mele’s miles on hold if she sent them a doctor’s note.”

Mele believes when travel policies are regressive, it shows they are not made to encompass the different life stages for women. “[F]requent flier status is a subject of near obsession for business travelers, and with good reason. It’s not about perks, but about making life on the road bearable. If you don’t have status in the world of airlines, you probably won’t make it out of Chicago in a snowstorm in time for that big meeting, or get home for your family. It’s a big deal.”

Mele adds a few more stats: 70 percent of women in the work force have children under the age of 18 and are the breadwinners in their families. With inflexible airline policies, women are run the risk of losing money on airlines they remain loyal to throughout their careers.

Did traveling change for you, once you became pregnant?

Revealing Photos Of Childbirth In Sub-Saharan Africa

November 7th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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22-year-old woman finds out she's 9 months pregnant while vacationing in Europe with her three best friends; gives birth days later.


From BlackVoices

According to the World Health Organization, a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death — that is, the likelihood a woman would eventually die of a maternal cause — is 1 in 160 in developing countries. In developed countries, the probability is 1 in 3,700.

In his intimate series “Birth is a Dream,” photographer Paolo Patruno takes you inside public and private hospitals in rural Africa, providing a rare glimpse into a version childbirth far from the Western vision of white walled hospitals and scrubs. The images are at once strikingly personal and ultimately universal, depicting the often unseen circumstances of one of humankind’s most ubiquitous rituals.

See the photos at 

Things That Happen During Pregnancy That People Don’t Warn You About

September 23rd, 2014 - By Opal Stacie
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dating while pregnant


Although being pregnant is beautiful, there are some downsides to being an expectant mother. Your hormones get all out of control, your appetite either increases or diminishes due to morning sickness, and why didn’t anybody mention how tortuous the last month of pregnancy could be? I’ve been pregnant three times and have two children ages 4 and 1. Besides the basics that I mentioned above, pregnancy can come with a ton of “side effects” and changes that people really don’t tell you about beforehand. Here are a few things I wish someone had warned me about so I could have been prepared…

“BBWLA” Star Brandi Maxiell Talks Battling And Beating Ovarian Cancer And The Infertility Issues That Came With It

September 18th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Pic Courtesy of Maxiell

Pic Courtesy of Maxiell

This month, in order to spread more awareness to our community about ovarian cancer, MadameNoire is speaking to several ovarian cancer survivors about their journeys.

We first spoke to BreAnne Middleton and LaTrisha Reid. Now we’re chatting with Brandi Maxiell, reality star, wife and mother. At the age of 24 she was diagnosed with cancer and struggled as her health and body went through the wringer. Maxiell was declared cancer free in 2008 and thought it would be smooth sailing from there. But the reality star says that her body still was going through turmoil nearly two years later, and she struggled with infertility issues.  Now 30, Maxiell has overcome a lot, kept her faith and positive outlook and has good health and her son (whom she calls her “miracle baby,” born in 2011) to show for it. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition spokesperson shared her journey with us and inspiring words for women battling with ovarian cancer, or any cancer, for our “Survivor Series.” 

MN: Could You Describe What That Day Was Like When You Found Out You Had Ovarian Cancer?

Maxiell: I was 24 and I was stage 1C, I believe.

I was devastated because it was something that I…I was healthy. I’m healthy. My family’s healthy, everybody’s healthy so it was something that was new to me. It was kind of like I was in a movie. ‘Are you serious right now? Cancer? Not me!’ It just didn’t really hit me or register. I just really thought it wasn’t true.

I had got engaged and I wanted to stay with my husband for a year, live with him and see how things were and all these things. But I started planning my wedding after I got cancer because it was like, let’s just do this thing. Let’s get married. It was kind of like one of those things where we were like, what are we waiting on?

MN: Did You Have Any Symptoms Or Pain Beforehand That Let You Know Something Was Wrong?

Maxiell: I had every symptom. I had back pains and I went to the doctor and they told me it was just back pains, so they gave me medicine for it. But after I was taking the medicine for it I was like, my back still hurts. My stomach? I was bloated. It looked like I was four or five months pregnant. I was huge! I had to use the bathroom like every five seconds. Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it to the bathroom. I would have to pee and then I would pee in the bed and be so embarrassed because my fiancée, my husband now, was like ‘This is embarrassing.’ It was just crazy. I was like, ‘what’s going on inside of my body?’

MN: After You Got The News, What Did You Do Next?

Maxiell: When I got the news, I knew my blood levels were crazy so I did every research possible, but they knew it was cancer. They just didn’t know what stage I was in. For like a week after I got the news I was in fear for my life because they knew something was wrong and they had to do immediate surgery. I literally thought–you know when you think of cancer, you think of death. I was thinking, ‘what the hell did I do with my life to deserve this? What’s going on? What are you telling me? What are you asking me? What do you need?’ Because it was like, how did I get this? I didn’t know if it spread or if it did anything until I got the surgery.

I remember my mom telling me that she was praying really hard. She said ‘I spoke to God and he wanted me to know that everything is going to be okay. He’s going to let you know that everything’s okay.’ I remember having that surgery and my mom wrote in her journal, she said, ‘when you came out of surgery the first thing you said was, Mom I spoke to God and he let me know that everything was okay.’ And I was like, ‘that’s crazy! I didn’t say that.’ I do remember feeling like everything was okay, but I went into surgery so tensed up so scared for my life.

MN: I Know You Said You Had Side Effects And Your Body Went Through Hell During Treatment. Could You Elaborate?

Maxiell: I had every possible thing wrong with me. With the cancer, after the surgery, I had blood clots and I passed out. I went to the hospital and they said I had blood clots in my lungs. I had to deal with that. I had to deal with chemotheraphy, blood clots, dealing with the right medicine to take and what not to take. Then I had bad side effects to the chemotherapy once I was done with it. My body was out of wack, even after I was cured, for about a year and a half or two. And then the fertility issues came about.

MN: How Did It Feel When You Found Out You Were Cancer Free After All That?

Maxiell: I knew that I was going to overcome the cancer. When I was done with it we had a party. We all went out and hung out and I probably shouldn’t of done it, but I went crazy. I let my hair–well, I didn’t have no hair [laughs]. But I was free. It was just a freeing moment. I was just so happy and felt like I could live my life. I feel like when I have something going on in my life I dedicate my time and my energy to just that. And I felt like I dedicated a lot of energy to the cancer so I could get well, so it was such a struggle. I was so weak. I could barely get out of bed. I could barely eat. But when they said I was done, I think that was the happiest that I’ve ever been in my entire life.

MN: What Advice Would You Offer Women Suffering With Infertility, Whether Due To Cancer Or Not?

Maxiell: I would say to hang in there. I know the struggle. I’m still dealing with it because I want a second child, but I postponed that. But dealing with the whole issue and not knowing, you worry. But the more that you worry, the more that you let stuff get to you, the more that you let things bother you, that’s a health risk in itself. You have to be careful and have positive energy or it all will really wear on your body. And for any woman who can’t get pregnant whether they have cancer or not, there are other options. Of course I want my second child, but I’m so blessed that I have my first baby. So if my doctor says that I can’t have my second child biologically, I can adopt. There are other options.

MN: Have You Forgiven Sundy Carter [Of “BBWLA”] For Comments About Your Struggle To Get Pregnant?

Maxiell: I don’t think about Sundy. There’s nothing to think about. I don’t even want to talk about her. There’s nothing to…I mean, I let go of everything.

MN: Who Was Your Biggest Supporter Through The Whole Grueling Process?

Maxiell: My mom was my biggest supporter. My husband, who was my fiance at the time, was a big supporter. But my mom suffered from that situation probably more than I did. Watching her, I thought I really needed to get well for her. To sit and watch my mom in so much pain, it was just heartbreaking. No mother should have to see their child go through what I went through–not knowing what was going to happen or the future. When I was cancer free, so was she.

MN: How Has Your Journey Changed You?

Maxiell: It changed me because it taught me to live life to the fullest and live every day like it’s your last. You never know what tomorrow will bring. You never know what can be taken from you and I think a lot of people take that for granted.



Can Baby Fever Damage Your Health?

September 11th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Amanda Chatel, From YourTango

There’s nothing worse than wanting to have a child, then realizing, after years of trying, that motherhood just isn’t in the cards for you. It’s one thing to be childless by choice, or as those women prefer to call themselves, “childfree,” but it’s another thing to be childless because of physical issues that are out of one’s control. While there’s always the option of adoption, for some, having a baby of their own is the only thing they want, and when that dream is taken away, it’s hard to recover.

Considered the “unfulfilled wish,” a new study found that after trying with as many fertility treatments as possible, women who still can’t conceive are three times more likely to end up suffering from depression. Even after a decade of realizing that their hope to be a mother will never happen, women still continue to suffer from the disappointment and sadness of not having kids. While some women are able to accept the harsh reality and release their desire to have kids are far less likely to suffer from depression, I think we can all agree that this is no easy task at all.

Scientist studied 7000 women who had taken fertility treatment to see how that extreme level of disappointment or, in some cases, success had affected their lives 11 to 17 years after the treatments. Even after years had passed and the fact for some was that children were impossible for them, 6% still desperately wanted to have kids. So, what does that mean for those women? As Dr. Sophia Gameiro and her team discovered, “We found that women who still wished to have children were up to 2.8 times more likely to develop clinically significant mental health problems than women who did not sustain a child-wish. For women with children, those who sustained a child-wish were 1.5 times more likely to have worse mental health than those without a child-wish.” These are heartbreaking statistics. Even those who already have children, but would like more, still suffer from the depression of not being able to conceive. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants.

However, having a child doesn’t mean you’ll be happier. As Gameiro also pointed out, children can be difficult, not just emotionally and mentally, but there’s the stress of it, financial concerns, and just the overall responsibility of providing for someone beside yourself. It isn’t easy to be a parent.

Read more about conceiving a baby at

Surviving Ovarian Cancer At 24: BreAnne Middleton And Her Journey

September 3rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Courtesy of BreAnne Middleton

Source: Courtesy of BreAnne Middleton

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. While many of us can tell you why we paint the town pink in October, there’s a general lack of awareness when it comes to the teal ribbon. This month, in order to bring more awareness to the subject of ovarian cancer, MadameNoire is speaking to several ovarian cancer survivors about their journeys. 

First, is BreAnne Middleton, a 26 year old who learned of her cancer diagnosis when she was pregnant with her son Riley and raising her three year old daughter Leila. 

What were your symptoms?

I was diagnosed when I was 34 weeks pregnant. And I had to get a vaginal ultrasound because Riley was breech and backwards and they were just trying to see the position of the baby. And when they gave me the ultrasound, we could see the tumor right next to the baby. That happened October 2. Then when I was in the office, they gave me all these kind of vague hints but they told me that they wanted me to go see this oncologist. They were referring me to a doctor who specializes in pelvic cancers. And I was like, ‘Ok, so I have cancer.’ And they were like, ‘Well, we can’t tell you that but we do want you to see the oncologist.’

So two days later I had an appointment with an oncologist and I found out that it was in fact ovarian cancer. And all of the symptoms pretty much line up with being pregnant. So I didn’t know that there was anything wrong because I was bloated but I was pregnant so I was big and I couldn’t tell. And I had to use the bathroom all the time but I just chalked that up to having a baby sitting on my bladder. I was full after two or three bites of eating but that also happens when you’re pregnant. So all of the symptoms pretty much line up with that.

I always call Riley my life saver baby because I’m not one to go to the doctor. When something’s wrong I just take a nap or pop ibuprofen, just go on and keep it moving. I just happened to be going to the doctor for one of my prenatal appointments.

So you don’t think you would have caught it otherwise?

I definitely would not have caught it at stage two. A lot of people call ovarian cancer the silent killer because it’s really not easy to detect. If you talk about breast cancer, you can kind of do that at home. You can do the test where you feel around for lumps. There’s absolutely no kind of test that you can do for ovarian cancer like that. You either have to get a blood test or you have to get a vaginal ultrasound. A lot of women think you can detect it with a pap smear but they can’t. It’s those two specific ways.They don’t really detect it until it’s too late. You end up having these symptoms for a long time and then these women will finally go to the doctor.

How did you feel when you learned you really were dealing cancer?

I shut down. I was in my room for the next two days. My blood pressure actually rose so high that it sent me into premature labor. So I got diagnosed on October 4 and then on the 6th, I went into labor with Riley. And I got to the hospital and my blood pressure was just out of control. And I know for a fact it was because I was stressing out. I internalized everything because I hadn’t shared anything with my family yet.

I couldn’t believe it because at 24 you think you’re invincible. And you don’t think that things like that happen to you. And also no one in my family had ever battled cancer except for my grandfather who went through a few radiation treatments for prostrate cancer about seven years ago.

I don’t know that there’s a way that you could prep yourself for being 24 and hearing the doctor telling you that you have cancer. And then it just made it that much more stressful because I was like, ‘Well, I’m supposed to have a baby in six weeks.’ And I didn’t even know what was going on with him. It was a really, really stressful time. I went home, I cried, I couldn’t eat I couldn’t sleep.

“I Never Wanted Kids:” Aisha Tyler Says It’s Okay To Choose A Professional Life Over Motherhood

September 3rd, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Aisha Tyler Says It's Okay To Not Be A Mother

HuffPost Live

Last year on “The Talk,” host Aisha Tyler openly shared with her co-hosts and viewers that she struggled to conceive. Married for 22 years, the Daily Mail reported Tyler wasn’t able to get pregnant after going off of birth control and she also has a tortuous Fallopian tube, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg for fertilization to occur.

After the tearful revelation on the show, Tyler decided to share her story with more media outlets to let women know it’s okay if they don’t have children. Yesterday on HuffPost Live, Tyler spoke to host Nancy Redd about the validity of women choosing a career over parenthood, saying:

“It was important to me for two reasons, three actually. The first one was that I have been a professional woman for my entire life and I think this is a relatively new issue for women who have chosen work over family, which is a completely valid choice and no one should ever feel embarrassed or regretful about that. It’s a valid choice. Men never have to make that choice. It’s one that I’ve also embraced fully. I never wanted kids. I loved what I did. I was really passionate about it. And then my husband and I got to a place where we were like ‘Well we’re going to run out of road soon. If we’re going to do it, we should try it now.’ And we started to get into it and when we found out that it was going to be difficult to impossible, it really was a choice to stop. I feel like I wanted families [and] couples to know that it was a valid choice not to get on this crazy merry-go-rounds of IVF and [spend] tens and tens of thousands of dollars.”

And for people who still shout “IVF” as if it’s the answer to all fertility problems, Aisha added this reminder:

“People who do what I do for a living can afford that stuff, but most people can’t. They mortgage their homes and they break themselves. And by the way, most of them don’t get pregnant. We only focus on the Cinderella stories. We don’t focus on all the people that don’t do it. And I wanted people to feel — men and women — it’s okay to say, ‘I love my marriage, I love my life, I choose not to have children.'”

Although Tyler and her husband stopped trying for children of their own, she has not confirmed if they will adopt in the near future.

Watch Tyler’s segment on HuffPost Live, below.

Do Moms Who Have C-Sections Get Less Respect?

August 30th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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Since I first found out I was pregnant early this spring, in between building my dream nursery on Pinterest and trying to balance the little paid time off I have left with all my pre-natal appointments, every second of the day I am secretly freaking out about giving birth. I don’t know how other first-time mommies deal, but in my work interacting with pregnant teens and young adults and now being pregnant myself, I can verify one thing: I don’t care about the potty training advice, the decision to breastfeed or even what car seat is the safest.  All I care about is surviving giving birth. If I can get through that in one piece, deciding on breast pumps and breast pads doesn’t seem nearly as intimidating.

There isn’t a birth video I’ve watched where I’ve felt like, “Hmmm, that might not be so bad.” The idea of NOT getting some sort of pain management while I squeeze a watermelon out of a walnut has never crossed my mind and I have yet to be comfortable with the fact that my body, albeit amazing, is doing things it’s never done before. It seems like I have very little control, which for someone who doesn’t even like the DVR schedule disorganized is a problem. So last week when the doctor told me because of a condition called placenta previa, I could be looking at a c-section in about two months I was somewhat relieved. It was possibly the first sense of control I felt over anything since I first saw that pink plus sign in March.

If you’ve never heard of placenta previa, it’s basically a condition where the placenta sits too low in the uterus increasing the chance of complication during vaginal birth (or even making vaginal birth impossible). My case isn’t as severe, but it was enough to make my OB/GYN uncomfortable with a vaginal delivery as far as me and my child’s safety and start preparing me and my fiancé for the chance that our baby elephant could be arriving via c-section. “It can be scheduled,” she said. “And it means you will definitely have me delivering your baby, “she said. Wait, scheduled?  You mean like a day and time I can put in my planner? You mean I won’t be riding the El train when my water breaks and have to track down what part of the city my fiancé is working in?

I’m aware I’m going to have to let go of these control issues since children can be anything but predictable, but I’d be lying if I said the idea of being numbed and not having to push for hours didn’t provide me with some comfort. Since I didn’t know as much about c-sections, I did what anybody else would do: I googled it. After I passed WebMd I came across the article, “10 Celebrity Moms Who Had C-Sections”. Many celebs, like Christina Aguilera had opted for elective c-sections stating all kinds of reasons from not wanting “surprises” or “tearing” to simply “being tired of being pregnant”. But actress Kate Winslet’s explanation was truly alarming to me:

“I’ve never talked about this. I’ve actually gone to great pains to cover it up. But Mia was an emergency C-section. I just said that I had a natural birth because I was so completely traumatized by the fact that I hadn’t given birth. I felt like a complete failure. My whole life, I’d been told I had great childbearing hips. There’s this thing amongst women in the world that if you can handle childbirth, you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth, and I felt like in some way that I couldn’t join that ‘powerful women’s club.’”

Wow, is this really an issue?  Pregnancy is truly life-changing in an incredible way, but it’s also the beginning of a lot of sacrifices. I haven’t slept comfortably in months, I question everything I put into my body like It’s applying for a job at Apple and now I have to deal with the fact that there’s some kind of mommy snobbery going when to comes to how babies are born? I can’t deal.

My supervisor was explaining to me the other day how before 4D ultrasounds and Doppler, women would find themselves exhausted from hours of labor only for a doc to tell them their birth canal was too narrow or the baby was breech and they were left with c-section as they’re only option. So although I’m fully for the moms who think natural birth is best, I embrace the fact that technology is available to not only increase the chances of a woman bringing a healthy baby into this world, but also making sure momma is around and healthy as possible to take the baby home and have some chance at hitting the ground running. It’s not about you feeling like birth has to be hard or you haven’t done it right. You don’t get a gold medal because of the pain you endured. Lesson 1 in parenthood: It’s not about you and your accolades anymore. All you can hope to have is a happy, healthy baby in the end and hopefully all of your organs still intact.

Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s the fact that in order to keep women from panicking their entire pregnancy, people think its comforting to say things like, “Women have been doing this since the beginning of time without all the machines and white coats,” or “Your body was made for this.” Well, people were also dying from the black plague before proper sanitation and advances in medicine, but you don’t hear anyone talking about, “It’s natural.”

When I tell people the news of what is looking like will probably be my baby’s “scheduled” birthday, the look of sympathy on people’s faces is pretty funny. It’s almost like they want to say, “I’m sorry,” like I’m “The Butler” and just got snubbed for an Academy Award nomination. But I’m not ashamed to say that a big part of me is relieved, and if the fact that I’m literally growing another human being inside of me isn’t proof that I am anymore of a woman, I don’t know what is, but it damn sure isn’t the fact that I suffered through anyone’s labor for a whole work day.

When it comes to pregnancy I don’t think there’s any wrong way to feel. If Kate Winslet feels like less of a woman because her child emerged from her abdomen and not from the birth canal, that’s OK. And if other moms want to jump from their hospital bed and rip off their hospital gown to reveal the “S” on their chest after giving birth, that’s cool too. But I’ll have a whole lifetime to obsess over what I’m not doing right when it comes to raising a child in this world. I refuse to feel guilty for all the pain I didn’t have to endure getting her here.

Did you have an elective or an emergency c-section?  Do you feel like less of a “superwoman” because of it?

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.