My open letter to pregnant women everywhere.

Many women experience infertility, a premature birth, or infant loss, but we don’t talk about it much.

Pregnancy is no walk in the park, and I know this all too well.

With a tiny human slowly growing inside of you for more than nine months, you are bound to be uncomfortable. But, while pregnancy challenges both your mind and body, I have a request: I want to ask expectant mothers to embrace the bump.

Let me explain: I’m a statistic, one of the millions of women out there who didn’t experience the perfect pregnancy and would give anything to reach full term with a child.


I guess you can say I’m the trifecta of mishaps. I spent years dreaming of having a child, only to face infertility. After my husband and I found out we were expecting triplets, a series of medical setbacks caused me to go into labor at 22 weeks. And while we have one beautiful survivor now, two of my triplets eventually passed away because of their extreme prematurity. That’s why my heart sinks when I see expectant mothers publicly post about how "over it" they are when it comes to their third trimester.

I remember spending several weeks on bed rest in the hospital, constantly praying for my triplets to sit tight for just a few more weeks.

Even a few days could have made a difference. By 20 weeks gestation, I was almost the size of a full-term pregnancy and I could barely turn from one side of the bed to the other.

All photos here by Stacey Skrysak, used with permission.

I had three babies using my bladder as a boxing bag, yet I was only allowed to get up a few times a day due to my health. On the day I went into labor, it felt like I had been punched in the gut. The pain from contractions was tough, and the attempts to stop the labor were even more difficult.

But, even worse than all of that pain combined was the emotional, unbearable pain of knowing that my children would most likely die. In that instant, as the doctor told me I had to deliver, I wanted to go back in time. I longed to feel my babies kick and remember the carefree days when my pregnancy was easy.

Many women experience infertility, a premature birth, or infant loss, but we don’t talk about it much.

For those women, like me, pregnancy can be a painful memory. I was robbed of my pregnancy and never got that magical delivery room experience; there was no picture-perfect moment of me happily holding my children.

Instead, I delivered my first triplet and held her in my arms as she passed away shortly after birth. The chaos, fear, and heartache is what I remember, not the beauty of bringing a new child into the world.

So here’s what I want you to know: I’m not asking you to stop complaining.

I'm not asking you to censor your experience either or to walk on eggshells when you feel the physically and emotionally draining side effects of pregnancy. Pregnancy is hard. And even three years later, I still make fun of my squishy belly, a post-pregnancy problem that I’m stuck with for good, much like those pesky chin hairs that forgot to go away after my children were born.

Instead, I’m simply passing along an observation from someone who’s had another kind of experience, and I’d like to encourage you to be empathetic to moms like me. As you stare at your swollen feet and clench your chest with heartburn, please think of your friends and social media acquaintances who might be silently struggling.

Until I shared my journey of infertility, I didn’t realize how many women also secretly struggled with it. I had no idea how many families experienced life in the NICU until I was in the midst of that journey. I think you’d be surprised at how many people you know are praying for the chance to someday have a healthy child.

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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