In the same way that no two births are ever the same, neither are any one parents' experiences. This series explores any and every topic relating to pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, from a featured parent's perspective. This week our featured mom is Sia Foryoh, an anti-racism activist who runs Mom Let's Talk, an inclusive space for moms of all cultures to share stories & narratives in a place of solidarity & raise our children to foster a brighter future.
As I sit here and think of everything going on in our world, I realize how much pain and hurt I’ve held in. But on the flip side, I think about how much love there is in this world and how for a split moment we were all at the same pace, momentum – a complete stand still.
This is kind of how I’d describe my birthing experience.
Let's take it way back to the beginning. I’m sitting on the bed in the doctor's office, and he walks in and informs me I am pregnant. I did not try to get pregnant. I was not married to the father, we were just dating. Not like it matters, but trust me, later on our marital status was something people really cared about…
But let's get back to this doctor's office. It's a boring, plain white office and I just peed on a stick and am now casually on my phone watching my law and order SVU when the doctor informs me of the news.
Stillness. I hear nothing but the last few words he said. He quickly begins to tell me about my options, clearly he can tell I wasn’t prepared for this. In the span of what feels like seconds I am given pamphlets of information about keeping this child or aborting it.
I decide to keep my little man.
During the first 14 weeks I started to experience Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is persistent severe vomiting leading to weight loss and dehydration, as a condition occurring during pregnancy.
It came on suddenly out of nowhere. I was so sick that I was in the ER getting liquids constantly. I was losing weight and could not keep anything down. There was no cure and all the medication I was given did nothing. Constantly vomiting everyday, my newfound home was the toilet and hospital for four months straight.
I fell into a depression during this time, feeling alone and not being able to talk to people about this at that moment in time. The option for abortion was brought up again with the doctors.
Again I choose not to have one, and to instead fight through. But I was mad that no one ever spoke to me about this. I mean, this is not what pregnancy was supposed to be like! The average pregnant woman does not spend most of their pregnancy in a hospital bed getting fluids because they can't keep anything down.
I was seen by doctors and specialists, and no one had answers for me. Even my midwife didn’t have an answer for me. I was disappointed and felt let down. Why didn’t I know that there was a possibility of this happening?
I can't be the only person who is going through this, I thought. I felt very let down and alone.
Then finally, on New Year’s Eve, it went away just like that. I was able to eat, did not need to go to the hospital, and the vomiting just stopped on its own. Nothing special. Just, boom! It was gone.
Fast forward to being six/seven months pregnant and the next thing they tell me is to keep count of the baby’s movement because there's a chance something could go wrong and they could stop moving. By this point now I am like, WTF!
I always had a timer around my neck, it was my new accessory. Keeping track of little man’s movements.
During that moment, I started to think about all the women who spoke of pregnancy like it’s this easy process. Just a little bit of morning sickness, slight discomfort and then a few hours of labour and you’re in this blissful world of pure joy.
Well, let me tell you something… There is a whole LOT that most pregnant women don’t tell you. I get it. If we all fully knew the truth about what to expect, the stress, emotional turmoil, pain, depression, loneliness and pain (have to say this twice because there is a lot of it) we would think twice about things.
Now, I know not all women go through this. But believe me when I say pregnancy is NOT easy. From beginning to end.
By the time I finally came to terms with my pregnancy it was time to give birth to my little human boy. After 36 hours of labour and 45 minutes of painful pushing he finally enters this world on April 16, 2018.
They lay him on me and all I can think of is the relief of how it’s finally all over and I can feel "normal" again. No, I did not have that "moment" with my child like you see on TV or women talk about. I literally looked at this little alien-looking human laying on me and wondered how the hell he got here. Well, from my vagina, but you know… It took a day or two for us to connect and have that moment.
That’s when I realized that everything I had been through was worth it for him. Truth is, I never want to have a baby again. After giving birth I went into a deep postpartum depression for a while (another topic not discussed fully in public). Those were dark days for me, but somehow I climbed out of it and worked my way to being in a better place.
I love my son and now I want to help make his generation's world a better place. That’s why I started Mom Let's Talk, a platform for mothers of all ethnicities to come together and talk about those hard topics.
We can't just leave it to the teachers and schools to do it. We are responsible for them. Let’s talk and share about these hard things, teach our kids and raise them differently. They look up to us and follow us, so we have to choose to do better.