From the time I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer. My first stroke of brilliance was this poem: ”Flowers are nice, pretty, and good. I like flowers and you should.” My teenage years were spent pouring my soul into my beloved journal. I wrote dark poetry about how my parents were so mean and how my first love, Adam, ripped my heart to shreds. After graduating high school, I quickly learned my parents set boundaries because they cared and when it came to the meaning of love, I was clueless.
While my adolescence seemed to drag on forever my twenties passed me by in a blink of an eye. Here’s a quick rundown…At the age of nineteen I took a leap of faith and moved from the only life I had ever known in Southern California to Denver, Colorado. It was a culture shock I wasn’t quite ready for and I learned many lessons the hard way. My journal was replaced by a laptop and I wrote often about what I was experiencing. At the age of twenty-four I fell in love and found it difficult to write from a dark place when my life was full of light. Plus I wasn’t sure my story was all that fascinating; Suburban Girl Eaten Alive by City would never live up to the glitz of Sex and the City. Before I knew it I was thirty with a job I was passionate about, married to my best friend, just purchased a house, and was about to embark on the craziest journey of all – parenthood!
My pregnancy forced me to pause and really look at my lifestyle. I made some dramatic changes to my diet and level of physical activity. I started to feel better than I ever had! For eight wonderful months I adored being pregnant and on August 24, 2010 I went into labor a month prior to my due date. During sixteen hours of natural childbirth I was forced to relinquish control to a body I always thought had failed me. The experience was transformative! When my son was placed into my arms I became a mother and a whole new version of myself. I spent the next few months being a new mom, or better yet, a sleep deprived zombie who functioned purely upon natural instincts. Once I returned to some resemblance of myself I had a huge urge to write! When I was plus size and pregnant, I yearned for pictures of pregnant women who looked like me as well as inspirational birth stories. I knew I wasn’t the only big girl who had a healthy pregnancy and natural childbirth, but most pregnancy media outlets sure made me feel that way. So I started to write from a very happy place and it was invigorating.
On April 6, 2011 I started a blog called Plus Size Mommy Memoirs and thought it might be fun to create a Facebook page to promote it. I remember telling my mom I’d be thrilled if the page received 50 likes in a month. Within a week, the Plus Size Mommy Memoirs Facebook page, quickly shortened to PSMM, had over 100 likes and it kept growing just as rapidly. I soon realized the page wasn’t about me telling my story. It was a community of women who were just as eager as I was to have someone to whom they could relate. A place to ask questions, share fears, and support one another! I poured my heart into my blog posts and soon developed a website, Plus Size Birth, to share inspiring pictures and resources.
The following June, I was interviewed by the lovely Gena Kirby of the Progressive Parenting radio show and in August, Babble named PSMM as one of the top 50 mom blogs in 2011. I’ve shared the courage it took to trust my body in a post called Birth – Letting Go and Embracing My Body, and laughed at myself within Lessons in Mommy Land. Guest posts have included a breathtaking birth story of a mother who wanted a home birth after two c-sections and a special post by the passionate January Harshe of Birth Without Fear. I’ve also linked up with the dynamic Kelli Stapleton of Birth Stories on Demand to build the largest collection of Plus Size Birth Stories. I’ve developed such remarkable connections and am honored by the encouragement I’ve received. It has been quite an exciting year and you could say I’ve come a long way from: “Flowers are nice, pretty, and good. I like flowers and you should.”
The Plus Size Mommy Memoirs blog and Facebook page wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of my family, my incredible editor, the awesome ladies who help manage the Facebook page, and most importantly YOU! It’s the readers of this blog and followers of the page who make every moment I dedicate to this effort more than worth it. Thank you for your support! Here’s to the next year of PSMM…
PSMM community members join in the celebration!
“I am sharing a picture of myself 38 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I've hated this picture for a long time, I hated being the "fat pregnant" girl (twice) and when I found your page and saw all the other beautiful mamas out there, I decided I had to share and join in the beautiful army that you have created! Thank you for starting this community! And thank you for helping me see the beauty in this picture!” - Danielle
"Birth was the most empowering and transformative time of my life. I searched inwards deeper than I ever have, embraced the beauty within me, and trusted my body, despite the love/hate relationship we had in the past. Thank you Plus Size Birth for empowering other mamas and mamas-to-be, for encouraging and supporting us on our journeys - whatever they may be - and creating such a strong and lively sisterhood that I feel truly honoured to be a part of. <3" - Trista
"I just wanted to write to say thank you for your FB page, blog and website. I wish I had found you when I was actually pregnant (my kids are now almost 4 and almost 2), however enjoying most of your posts anyway. I was very self conscious of my weight with both pregnancies. I worked really hard to conceived my daughter only to be faced with "why would you get pregnant at your size" comments from some of the closest members of my family. I don't even consider myself to be extra large, I have always struggled with my weight and a round of cancer in my early 20's didn't help it in anyway, so when I was harassed about my weight while pregnant, it took a lot of strength not to take to let it affect me. It is nice to know that it is normal to be "fluffy" as me and my a good friend call it.” – Sharon
“Before this group I had no support for a plus size mommy VBAC that we have planned for next year and thanks to this group I have lots of support and I love my body and I know I can birth my baby! Thank you PSMM!” – Tiffany
“I was 36 weeks here, almost 38 now, plus sized and haven't had any major problems! My doctor is awesome, and I'm so glad to have found this community for support - even though I don't say much, I read a lot!” - Steffanie
"I love your blog, and facebook page because it has helped to teach me to start loving and appreciating my body for everything it has done for me regardless of size. THANK YOU!" - Danielle
"Congratulations Jen on your one year anniversary! We came together in the end of October 2011. So we celebrate 6 months! Matching birth stories and resources for plus size mommies is a match made in heaven! You are so AWESOME and making a difference in the birth world and the REAL world! I'm honored to be your bff <3" - Kelli, Birth Stories On Demand
"I love plus size mums because it is like minded people giving good advice and you get to chat to people from all over the world your size.” – Lizzie
“Why I’m a fan…because I was told that I would need to lose weight before getting pregnant...when I already was.” – Hannah
"Me at 6 months with baby girl! My first and due July 16th. I am apart of this page because I now know I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who goes through the things I go through, and I know if I have questions or concerns, I can turn to PSMM and get real answers and advice from mommas who have been in my shoes. I more than support PSMM, and love being apart of this "community"." - Rachel
“My Sister Mandy Unruh encouraged me to check out PSMM when I found out I was pregnant. I was 236 lbs. (5'7" tall) when I got pregnant and at 260 lbs. and 7 1/2 months along, I couldn't feel more supported and cared about by the wonderful women who participate with PSMM. I have utilized your site for questions that have arisen throughout my pregnancy and always gotten love and sound advice from women I have never met in person. I can't describe my gratitude for this site and look forward to many more years to come! Happy Anniversary.” -Courtney
"Hi, I'm sad to say that this is like the only good pic of my bump that I had. Now I regret not taking more pictures of my first pregnancy bump. I just never felt pretty enough for pictures or that I was too heavy to have a cute bump. I enjoyed seeing those beautiful pictures of plus sized bumps so that is why I'm putting this out there Now I don't see this picture as a "have to just get done so I can remember the bump of my first" but as a special picture of my baby in my tummy" - Rachael
"Even though I'm a new liker on FB...I appreciate the fact that I'm not the only one who wants to give up on that OK body. There is so much advise and so much support. the real world is cruel...it takes a lot to come out and say I'm a big beautiful women... Plus Size Mommy Memoirs has helped a lot." - Wendie
“My husband and I have been married for 3 year and we have no kids but we have been trying for 2 years. I have PCOS and I’m very much overweight. I found your web-site a few months ago and just love it. It’s nice to visit a place that has very positive and caring women and I hope one day I can share my baby bump with you all. YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!!” – Cynthia
"I love your page and you are doing a very wonderful job. I think its great that us plus size mommies have someone to turn to when we need advice." - Shawnace
"Being "Plus sized" does not limit me in any way, especially how I choose to give birth to my children." - Gina
“This is me with my 19 mth old daughter and aprox 9 weeks pregnant with my next child. I love being a part of your FB page cause when I was suffering from PCOS and had been trying for 9 mths I thought there was no hope for me being a Plus size mama of ever conceiving again and that my weight dictated that I wasnt a good enough mom to deserve another. Here I am now Pregnant expecting another and conceived at 272 lbs my highest Pre Preg weight. Thanks Plus size mamas for helping me believe in myself and body and helping me to empower myself through support !!!! I look forward to sharing great news of a plus size delivery in October.” - Heather
"This is a picture of my husband, daughter and I minutes after her birth. This is my 3rd baby and I was thrilled to birth in a birth center this time. Especially as a plus size mama, it is so empowering to have the birth you wanted and dreamed of. There may be things this body of mine can't do but birth is not one of them!" - Aimee
"I think groups like Plus Size Birth are great! Women in general like to feel connected and common. We don't want to be "the only one" in anything. Just like working moms will want friends who also work, or single moms want to connect with other single moms, I think it's great that plus size moms have a community where they know they "aren't the only one". Thank you for providing this community and helping these mommas realize that they not only need, but deserve to be respected!" - Shannon (Doula)
“I found PSMM's facebook page in the Summer of 2010 after having my daughter. I found it empowering in today's society to have something that I as a bigger woman could find other women like me to chat with, vent to, and get advice from. When I was pregnant with my son Winter of 2010. PSMM helped me with information on a VBAC and gave me the support I needed to look into it. Sadly I did not get the same support from my family and opt for a 2nd csection. After having my son I have had problems with self image and PPD PSMM has helped me overcome a lot of that. Not by my asking questions or vents only; also by just posting positive self loving post. Thank you PSMM and PSMM mommas like myself.” – Veronica
“PSMM has been a great place to find support and information. Thank you so much!!! Love to all the plus size moms out there!” – Sarah
“PSMM lets women know that a beautiful natural birth is possible for women of all sizes. This is me and my Jonah seconds after his natural birth. Most amazing experience of my life.” – Whitney
"This is me and my gorgeous children right after giving birth with the help of my midwife. I love PSMM because it reminds me that the shape of a mother is a beautiful one." - Whitney
“I am a member of Plus Size Birth for many reasons. As woman we come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It would be a pretty boring place if we were all a size 2. I myself am more like a size 24/26. All woman should be able to have options in pregnancy and not just a routine "Your fat", "Your BMI is too high" etc.... treatment. Even if our dress size is 2 numbers instead of 1 we deserve respect and appropriate care. I don't think we always get that. Many times options are limited not by tangible numbers on a lab report but just by our shape and size. I've been a birth advocate for a while. At some point I would like to be a midwife. A few years back I had been attending births as a Doula. However, it was REALLY hard to keep my mouth shut and not tell off doctors and nurses. When you see poor or just totally inappropriate care or out right abuse it really is hard not to be proactive and NOT say something. So I am no longer acting as a Doula. Just so everyone knows, I am NOT anti hospital nor am I talking about standard medical practices. I am talking about things that are down right abuse and inappropriate treatment that I have witnessed with my own eyes.” - Laura
"I am very proud and honored to say I have been a fan of this amazing page since the start. I was told at 36 weeks chances of a csection were high because of my BMI. I was even shipped out to a bigger hospital during my first lot of labour because a Dr deemed me "too fat" to deliver at her hospital. This amazing page gave me.courage and support and I am proud to say I gave birth naturally with only 4 hours of labour " - Michelle
"With my first daughter I felt so helpless and alone when my OB told me not to gain any weight at all. After an unnecessary induction, I committed to finding resources that were by and for plus size women. Plus Size Mommy Memoirs has gone beyond my expectations and provided support and information and has helped restore my self confidence in my own body and what God designed it to do. Thank You! " - Jaylene
"I cry every time I look at it, and would love to share that inspiration with other mamas! I had a home water birth on Feb. 25th. with my baby girl. Most amazing experience EVER after a not-so-great hospital induction experience with my son 2 years ago. Thank you for your inspiration to all us mamas!!" - Heidi