"I was determined to have natural childbirth, I wanted to feel all of it. When I was giving birth in the hospital I clearly remember a doctor coming in to have me sign the forms permitting an epidural in case I should I need a cesarean and I said to him - The epidural does not exist. He closed his clipboard looked at me and said - Ok. Good Luck. It was rough but I delivered a nine pound baby and I learned through that experience how mentally strong I am. How emotionally strong my relationship with my husband is and of course how physically strong I am. I wonder sometimes if men are jealous that women go through childbirth and they don't." - Corrine Ellingson is the mother of two children and the director of operations at the New York International Children's Film Festival.
"Having the role of Mother teaches you more about yourself. You have the responsibility of teaching this other person. You have to push yourself further. I am going to create and raise an amazing human being. And you have to push a little bit harder to show them things are possible." - Wanda Fraguada is a mother and she works at Parallel18.
“The work that I do now, and the life and profession that I’ve created with my husband is due in part to being a woman. My real love is home cooking and I’ve been able to explore it naturally and parley that love into my work partially because I am a woman and that is a real joy. Sometimes I do beat myself up b/c I felt I should be doing something grander. But at the end of the day I don’t think there is anything more important than feeding people or teaching people to feed themselves.” – Kate Winslow is a recipe developer and editor. To see her work visit kateandguy.com or @andweate.
"Having a child has changed my life. I didn't go to college but I did want to go. Now I am just trying to make it in this town without a college degree. But even if you do have a college degree the options are either working at Walmart or working some job on the Plaza. Rent is expensive and the locals can't afford it. Motherhood is hard and I am just trying to get enough sleep. I still feel like I have bouts of postpartum depression and I am just trying to have enough motivation to get out of bed." - Ella Romancito is a young mother living in Taos, New Mexico.
"I am enjoy my life. I am a mother, grandmother and in charge of taking care of the house. I have my animals and I enjoy all the blessings that God has given me. I am content and I feel happy to be living my life here in Xacana." - Graciela Cabrera lives in Xacana, Guatemala.
"Sometimes I just can't imagine my life without my son. By the time children are 18 months you notice how unique they are and it is such an amazing experience watching them grow. He is 21 years and in the National Guard and was deployed for the day he finished training. Fortunately he is not in combat and we Skype once a week." - Bonnie Novella is a real estate investor in Schenectady, NY.
"I've done a lot of things that women don't typically do. I made a conscious choice not to have children. In my twenties I raced stallions in the dessert with an Egyptian man. In 2008 I became one of 200 women who have summited Mount Everest. All these adventures, and all these decisions have shaped me and my idea of what it is to be a woman." - Nicole Lowry.
"The experience of being pregnant and giving birth offers a unique intimate connection of bringing that tiny being into the world. Even once the baby is born your body reacts physically to their cries. It's a special thing about being a woman." - Delia Paine is a button artist with ViaDelia
"I gave my body over to science to have a kid at 45 years old. I tell my friends everything else I did before having a baby was just a hobby. I didn't get married until I was 40 and then we had to try different infertility methods, IVF and eventually assisted hatching worked. She was born with a genetic spinal condition but she is doing great." - Sharon Alexander is teacher, vocalist and community leader with ShirEcstasy.com
"When I gave birth my husband suggested I give birth at home. I though the idea was a little crazy but he really thought I would feel empowered by it so I did it. And I had a really short and intense labor. During it I said, "I think I am going die." I really did think I was going to die and then somehow you just do it, you just push through it. She was born on Christmas and we were all there and my Mother cooked us chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast." - Arielle Randle was at the DNC convention with Jews for Jesus.
"When I was giving birth to my first daughter - she was a face presentation, so the doctor did an emergency C-section. They didn't tell me I was having surgery, they just put me under. They told my husband, but he wasn't allowed in the room. I was in my twenties and I woke up with this big scar and felt that my body had been mutilated. I was very athletic and in good shape, I considered it a failure that I didn't deliver my baby on my own. Then, I had two more daughters, two more C-sections - when the third one was born my oldest daughter was only two." -Barbara Hull, retired genetics counselor and mother of three.
“Did you have a natural childbirth? – That's the question that women are often asked. I was at the gym working out two days before my daughter was born – I was healthy and strong. I never even considered a C-section would ever be a possibility for me, I viewed them as “unhealthy”. But the day she was born, I realized you can do all the thinking and planning you want in your life but ultimately you aren’t in control of what happens. Afterwards I realized, I didn’t do anything “wrong” – that no woman who doesn’t have a vaginal birth has done anything wrong." - Ursula Liebowitz
"I loved giving birth. I loved the experience of surrendering to the pain and the rhythm of my body that knows how to give birth. I did natural childbirth both times and both times I went in to the hospital at 8 am and delivered my babies by 3pm. It was all in a day’s work. I look back at those two births as the most incredible experiences, and no one can take that away from me." Lynee is a Principal and Urban Planner at Williams and Works where she is also the youngest and only female Principal.