"I have a twin brother and grew up in a Cuban family that was very old school and traditional and quite a bit machista. Having this person that was the same age - the same everything made me aware when my brother got more liberties than I did. And at a young age I would tell my parents that it wasn't fair and they acknowledged what I was saying- and it changed them. There was no room for argument because we were twins. That shaped me. I was able to to stand up for myself in a very concrete way." - Cristina Tamayo works for parallel18 and is pregnant. She is expecting a girl.
"I used to think procrastinating was a good thing. But when I was pregnant with my third child, I was at a photo shoot when the contractions started. I kept working, I said, just one more photo and then I'll go. But I waited until the contractions were four minutes apart to go to the hospital and I never made it to a room, he was born in the hallway. The hospital staff called him "hallway baby". Now I don't procrastinate." - Rakia Reynolds is the founder and CEO of SkaiBlueMedia and the mother of three children.
"I have two boys. Going through the pain of labor and then forgetting the pain once you hold the baby and then an overwhelming feeling you are responsible for a person. I constantly question whether I am doing this right." - Carolina Rojas lives in Los Angeles and is the mother of two boys.
"I gave birth to my younger child, Jacob in my home and that was so empowering. It made me feel like I could do anything. In contrast to my first pregnancy and my daughter's birth, where I had so much doubt about becoming a new mother and read books and got lots of advice. Also, after she was born I had postpartum depression. With the second pregnancy, I realized I had the intuition to deliver him and raise him myself. We had a family bed and I was just calmer, not as anxious." - Melissa Tomback is a mother, lawyer, photographer and doula.
"I told myself if I didn't have a baby by the time I was 25, I wasn't gonna have one. I wanted to have a baby, raise her and still be able to be young and live my life. I raised my baby. I'm still young, I move around and I enjoy life." - Dianthe Johnson works in the construction field and is also a Lyft driver in New Orleans.
"I have one child and one on the way. I've had the opportunity to give birth and the opportunity to be a guide for them, to teach them to be good people and to help others." - Michel L. is originally from Guatemala and lives in Santa Fe, NM and sells clothing near the plaza.
"I was born in Sri Lanka and my family and I were planning to move to Nigeria. My parents had already bought the plane tickets. And then, fortunately their green cards came through and we moved to the United States. If we had moved to Nigeria, I would have lived in the region of Boko Haram. Here, I could become anything I wanted. This made the Let Girls Learn campaign very personal for me. It helped me have the empathy and determination to be a champion of women's education."
"I had a son that I gave up for adoption when I was 22 years old. It was the biggest heartbreak of my life, but now we are in touch and he has a child and get to sneak peaks at my grandchild. I have four more children who I have raised - three daughters and one son. Motherhood has really been the most empowering thing in my life. My youngest child, my son, is transgender and wants to be called Hazel. So I guess I really have four daughters." - Cara Valente Compton is a Truman Scholar and she attended the Truman Foundation's 40th Anniversary Party at Gracie Mansion earlier this month.
"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.
"After becoming a mother I felt I lost my identity - I struggled with feelings of failure, shame and insecurity. But getting through this has inspired me and lit me on fire and it's why I started Babies on the Brain, to support new mothers and families. Now, I have a sense of unstoppability. I used to say to my baby daughter, " I'm going to change the world" and then we would laugh together. But now, in the last few months, I say, "I'm going to change the world," and I don't laugh afterward. This vision that I have is much bigger than me." - Jena Booher is the founder of Babies on the Brain.
"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.
"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.
"I used to work at a Law firm but I found it boring, so I took courses at FIT and became a jeweler," says Bekerman while standing beside her Grand Central Station pop-up booth. I asked Victoria the same question I ask all of the "Eves" I meet. "How would your life have been different if you weren't a woman?" She admitted that when she was growing up she wanted to be a boy. "They have more opportunities to be successful and that they seem to be more athletic and more focused." And then she explained that as she got older she realized, "Being a woman means that I have more layers. I see things that guys don't see. I can see other sides to a situation." And then she got that far away look in her eyes and said, "The most amazing thing about being a woman is being able to give birth. After my daughter was born I realized that I would much rather be a woman." Then she laughed. "But," she said, "There are no priorities given to pregnant women in the United States. I'm from Argentina and there people will give you priority in line or for a seat. Here in the U.S., not so much."
She makes great jewelry, I bought a friend of mine one of her bracelets and she wears it all the time. VictoriaBekerman.com