I was told I could never have kids — but then I got pregnant

I was never supposed to get pregnant.

I'd been told by seven of the best doctors in the country at the tender age of 19 that I would never carry a child. They told me that if I did somehow manage to get pregnant, that I wouldn't be able to carry my baby to full term because of complications with my uterus. Basically, my baby would spontaneously abort due to lack of space.

I tucked this painful knowledge away, because I was far too young and unversed to deal with such devastation, and forged ahead.

Fast forward five years. I was 24 and suddenly I'd started to feel…strange. I had new aches all over my body. I wanted to eat peaches, which I'm allergic to. I had violent mood swings that were way out of character for me. I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I took six more tests. They were all positive.

I called my sister, who was in the medical field, and asked her if drinking too much coffee could give you a false positive. She laughed and said, "Absolutely not." I went to the doctor a week later and confirmed it – I was six weeks pregnant.

After a few months of freaking out, I heard the heartbeat and that sealed the deal; I finally believed that I was really growing a human. As it sunk in, I could feel something emerging inside me, a new feeling I had never known before. I couldn't name it but I knew it was going to be out of this world.

I held my breath, however, because the words of those seven "best doctors" kept echoing in my head. Despite reassurances from my current OB, I had this deep and permeating fear that I would lose my baby, that their prophecies over my future non-pregnancy would come true. Nevertheless, my baby and my body kept growing, everything was normal and healthy, and I began to breathe a little bit easier.

As my belly grew, I came slowly to believe that I would actually have this baby. I found out I was having a girl, and I knew I had to choose a name. I was due in June, and I felt like that should be a part of her name. A Gemini baby required a strong, wild name. I began to research the word June and its relatives. I stumbled across the name "Juniper" and, as I read on, I realized that was the only name for my impossible baby.

The juniper plant has 50 varieties. It can grow in any climate and any environment, based on the variety. There's the juniper fir, juniper berry, juniper bush, juniper tree, and so on. It's a hearty plant that's been used by generations and its uses include food, fuel, medicinal purposes, furniture, utensils, and oils. It could potentially provide all of the necessities of life for a group of people.

It's impossibly resilient, just like my impossible baby. As I read more and more, I was filled with hope for my unborn baby girl.

Amidst this hope, I recollected in agonizing detail the depth of disappointment and sting of pain I felt upon receiving the damning words from those "best doctors" that my body wasn't fit to grow a human and it was an impossible dream. I had only been 19, but I'd already thought about children and how much I wanted to be a mother.

As I caressed my belly and felt my Juniper kick and push, I fully understood the correlation between the determination of my body to overcome this negative prophecy and the resilience of this name, and it filled me with an incandescent, wild hope. I think it was at that moment that I let go of all doubt about the viability of my pregnancy and stepped with total confidence into the new title of mother.

I delivered Juniper via cesarean section on my mother's birthday, strengthening her Gemini spirit with her grandmother twin. She was small but perfect, and there were absolutely no complications for either of us. I recognized her cry right away and, as I stared into her chocolate brown eyes and held her tiny hand, I knew she was the embodiment of her name. She was the impossible baby, forged from my optimism, grown from hope, and born from the wild determination of her mother.

Juniper is seven now. She's on the autistic spectrum. She's brave and smart and compassionate. She's beautiful and an utter delight to talk to. She knows her story. She knows her name and she knows the resilience that created her and continues to create her. She lives in it every day. I can't wait to watch her grow up and change the world.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


My first son was born via a non-medicated vaginal delivery. I felt like a mama warrior after I delivered him. (I was all—“I am woman, hear me roar!"—and everything.) So when I went into labor with my second son after my water broke at 34 weeks, I knew I would be having a much different experience.

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