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Jen McLellanHi I’m Jen McLellan and welcome to Plus Size Birth. The day my son was born I not only became a mother but also developed a deep love for my body. After settling into motherhood I wanted to empower women to find the strength and beauty within their body.

In April of 2011 I launched the Plus Size Mommy Memoirs blog, to help women navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, share tips for body love, and laugh along with the adventures of motherhood. My work has been featured in major publications such as Huffington Post, Today’s ParentEveryday Feminism, and International Doula. I’ve also been an expert guest on HuffPost Live.

I’ve built a Facebook community of over 166,000 plus size women supporting one another before, during, and after pregnancy.

In early 2014 I became certified as a childbirth educator. My background in non-profit management and patient advocacy has enabled me to have a strong voice for plus size women during pregnancy and childbirth. I share my message via speaking engagements and I’m excited to be rolling out classes in 2015. Be sure to signup for the Plus Size Birth e-newsletter to be kept up-to-date on exciting new developments.

I hope you enjoy exploring my website and you can contact me anytime!

Jen

Plus SIze Mommy Memoirs Blog

Love Your Body | Love Your Birth

Tess Holliday Talks About Being Plus Size and Pregnant

Today People Magazine was the first to reveal the exciting news that Plus Size Model Tess Holliday is pregnant with her second child. Huge congrats to her and Nick Holliday! Like most stories about people in the public eye, within a few minutes of the news breaking, media outlets everywhere were spreading the story (Do a Google search for Tess Holliday is pregnant and you’ll see what I’m talking about). This story is special though. Unlike most celebrity pregnancy announcements, the comment section of these articles quickly became flooded with negative and downright nasty comments because Tess is plus size and pregnant. These comments include many “concerned” trolls making assumptions about her health and the well-being of her child. ***News Flash*** Just because someone is plus size and pregnant does not automatically classify them as high risk! Women of all sizes have completely healthy pregnancies but you sure wouldn’t know that judging by the stigma attached to being plus size and pregnant. Get our 15 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Size Friendly Care Provider when you subscribe to our newsletter. Name Email Address Subscribe Tess addressed this very issue within her pregnancy announcement on Instagram.   Yes, it’s true! @nickhollidayco & I are having a baby! 👶🏻 We wanted to keep it a secret as long as possible, but we are finally able to share! Plus size women face so much stigma & doubt over what our bodies are capable of. It’s something I feel doesn’t get enough media attention, but I hope that the next few months of my pregnancy will help change the conversation. All bodies... read more

A New Way to Donate Plus Size Maternity Clothes

I have a love/hate relationship with plus size maternity clothes. I love them because they become a necessity during pregnancy. Plus, some of those tops and dresses are so adorable. On the other hand, I hate them because they are difficult to find and often double the price of straight size maternity wear. If we’re being honest, plus size maternity clothes are an investment in both time and money. I believe it is for this reason that, when it comes time to part with those jeans with the obnoxious band, it’s great to know they are going to be properly rehomed. So when it comes time to donate plus size maternity clothes, I have a new way I can’t want to share with you! Schoola! Schoola is my new favorite option because it’s the gift that keeps on giving and I love finding ways to give back! Through this resource you can donate your plus size maternity clothes (or your kid’s gently used clothes) with ease. They send you a bag that includes shipping (see photo below) and you just toss it in the mail. Hello! No need to leave the house or pay to ship your clothes somewhere to donate them. As a busy mom on a budget, I really appreciate that. (The bags are so big I had to lay the on the floor to photograph them!) After they receive your items, they’re sold on their website with 40% of the proceeds going to schools. These funds help to support programs like art, music, fieldtrips and physical education. If you wish, you can even select to support... read more

7 Ways to Have a Better Birth After a Difficult One

As a blogger and certified childbirth educator, I’ve had the immense pleasure of connecting with other birth professionals around the world like Anna Wilde from New Zealand. Anna is a birth trauma therapist and birth skills specialist. You can watch her interviewing me here – Essential Advice for Plus Size Mamas (and their friends). I’m delighted she’s sharing some of her wisdom here on the Plus Size Mommy Memoirs blog about how to have a better birth after a difficult one.     Here’s a common story. I was pregnant for the first time, and hoping for a natural birth. So I ate well, kept reasonably active and attended yoga classes. I even went to a calm birthing course and practiced my breathing every day. Yes, I was a little nervous about the big event, but optimistic and I couldn’t wait to meet my baby. I was as prepared as is possible. Labor started out okay, but at some point it all went pear-shaped. A bunch of things happened that were definitely not in my birth plan. I felt ‘done to’ and unsupported. I got my healthy baby, yet I felt disappointed, confused and a bit of a failure. The bad feelings about my birth didn’t go away. Now I want to get pregnant, but frankly, the idea of going through ‘that’ again is terrifying. This is not my story, but it is one I have heard from countless clients and friends. Childbirth is not always the positive event women hope for. Up to a third of women describe their birth as traumatic, and up to 6% may experience Post Traumatic Stress. The impact... read more

Large Arms and the Wrong Size Blood Pressure Cuff

I recently did something so silly I can’t believe I’m about to share it with you. I went to the doctor’s office and had my blood pressure taken (this wasn’t the silly part, stay with me). It was high. For the first time ever! It wasn’t even high when I was pregnant. I addressed my concerns with my new doctor and she said, “I never get too worried when it’s a first appointment with a new patient.” Yet, I was truly concerned. Later that evening, as I was trying to fall asleep, I jolted up! ‘Jennifer Rue McLellan!!’ (yes, I yelled at myself with my full name). In that moment I realized I neglected to do something I tell everyone to do. Literally, I’ve stood on a stage and told 200 birth professionals about this very thing, and yet I didn’t do it myself. Always make sure a large blood pressure cuff is used on a woman with big arms (most often an adult large or adult thigh cuff )!!! When the wrong size blood pressure cuff is used, you get an inaccurate reading. You get high blood pressure! I was in my doctor’s office a few weeks later for a follow-up appointment. A large cuff was used, and I had (you guessed it) normal blood pressure. I made a stink about it mainly because I didn’t want the words “high blood pressure” in my medical record. My doctor reiterated how she wasn’t concerned, but I asked her to please make a note about the wrong size cuff being used. She did just that, probably because she could tell I... read more

Curvy Deals

Woohoo! I’m super excited to share these curvy deals and small businesses with you! Some people get excited for Black Friday and Cyber Monday but here are Plus Size Mommy Memoirs we think deals should run for much longer! So any curvy deals you see below won’t expire until May of 2016!! Yup, you read that correctly. These business owners are Plus Size Mommy Memoirs community members just like you. They are working hard and would love it if you checked out their wonderful products and services. Don’t miss out on some of these awesome deals they put together just for our... read more

Postpartum Doula: Getting Fired is My Favorite Outcome

Postpartum…oh postpartum. That time in our lives when we feel so out of touch with our body and often question if we’re doing all the right things for our newborn. It’s a time of blissful uncertainty and insomnia. I’ve been a mom for over 5 years now and I’m still immediately triggered when someone asks me about my introduction to motherhood. My son came early and wasn’t quite ready to thrive. Breastfeeding felt impossible and bonding was challenging. I often found myself crying and questioning my instincts rather than following them. Looking back on those first few weeks I was so thankful to have amazing partner and family support. Yet, I really wish I would’ve set money aside for a postpartum doula. I feel like that could’ve made a dramatic difference for myself and my newly formed family. I’ve invited my friend, Carolyn Butler with Doula Wise, to talk about her role as a postpartum doula. She’s also a postpartum doula trainer in Colorado so she’s very knowledgeable and highly skilled.   As a Postpartum Doula my ultimate goal is to be fired by my clients. Sounds crazy, I know, but if I have done my job well, this is the best outcome. I teach new parents how to care for babies without having to make a lot of the common mistakes. I work in their homes on any schedule they choose, daytime or overnights. I like to start my first shift on the day the new parents come home from the hospital or birthing location so I can help them better organize themselves and their “stuff” right from the beginning. If mom is breastfeeding, everything needs... read more

Baring It All for the 4th Trimester Bodies Project

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project caught my eye when they were continuously banned from Facebook for sharing breastfeeding images. Yet, it wasn’t the controversy that grabbed my attention, it was the breathtaking images of mothers of all sizes, shapes, and colors. I couldn’t stop looking through the online gallery of women standing proud, many with babies in their arms or young children by their side, wearing only a black bra and black underwear. Each unique photograph proved that postpartum looks different for every woman and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Every image not only told a story on its own but also came with the woman’s motherhood memoir. I witnessed not only the physical representation but the emotional side too as I learned about each mother’s journey. As I looked at photo after photo, I admired each mother’s courage but never foresaw myself baring it all for the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. That was until I made virtual acquaintance with Ashlee Wells Jackson, the founder and photographer behind this amazing project. Being a body love advocate can be difficult work so connecting with others that share your passion is divine. Ashlee and I clicked right away and kept writing one another love notes via our Instagram posts. When Ashlee asked me to participate in her project, I couldn’t say no even though part of me really wanted to. While I’ve shared countless full-body images online, along with boudoir photos, I’ve never shown my bare belly or thighs. I can honestly say I love my body but, let’s be honest, there’s a few steps between loving your body and baring... read more

Why My Family Switched to Natural Healthy Products

In 2001, a movie called Bubble Boy came out and I thought it was pretty silly. Years later I became a mother, and the idea of keeping my son in a plastic bubble to protect his immune system seemed like a brilliant idea. I remember the first time Braeden got really sick and I went onto to Dr. Google (always a terrible idea) to research his symptoms and what I should do. Within a few minutes, I was convinced he had something akin to the swine flu. I immediately called a nurse hotline. After I answered a series of about 10 questions, a very kind nurse assured me that my worst fears were far from true. As time passed, I stopped fearing every sneeze and sniffle and started learning about essential oils and more natural ways of keeping my son healthy. So when a company called Maty’s Healthy Products approached me to learn more about their line of natural products, I was very open-minded. The photo below, of Maty’s Organic Cough Syrup, is the number one reason why my family now uses natural healthy products… Notice anything? Every word on their ingredients list is something you can pronounce and are all organic. Their products are also gluten free, dairy free, and alcohol free. Honestly, if I had skills in the kitchen and time on my hands, this is something I could have concocted myself! Why does this matter? Stop reading this article right now so you can head into your bathroom and start reading labels on the medications you’re putting into your kid’s body. It’s scary what’s lurking in... read more

How Dare I Exist in a Body Such as This?

How Dare I Exist in a Body Such as This? A poem by Corinna Dabling    How dare I exist in a body such as this!? It’s big and a burden and ugly like piss. You hide behind words and comments and phrases and act like a martyr when called on it later. “I’d never say that, you must be mistaken! Don’t take it so personal, you know I’m only fakin’.” You insinuate shamefulness with words spit from your lips. Like I should want to hide my arms, my legs, my belly and my hips. You’re shocked and appalled I could love who I am. Every lump and curve. Every dimple and ham. That I can be confident with a smile on my face. When my body isn’t perfection and to you, such a waste. But my body is glorious, beautiful, divine. And the best part of all is it’s completely mine. It wakes up every day and carries me along, every moment and adventure and memory and song. That time I was married, that time I lost hope. When I found in me my purpose and learned how to cope. When I carried my children all cozy within, and gave birth with ferocity, overwhelming love and a grin. So you see this body you think is grotesque, is actually a blessing, it’s wanted, and picturesque. Be gone with your hate for you have no place here. I have no desire to listen, I won’t shed a tear. How dare I exist in a body such as this? I exist with love. Cover photo by Shilowe Photography   If you... read more