How having a baby actually transforms women's bodies — and how they feel about it.

On Broadway, She's Elsa. At Home, She's Mom.

As all mothers know, strength can arrive in forms you don't expect. It can look like giving birth to your son six weeks early via an emergency c-section. It can also, it turns out, manifest as the ability to perform before a live audience night after…
By Allison Piwowarski

Maysa Washington Took Being An SVU Detective In Stride. Then She Had A Daughter.

Motherhood is inherently unpredictable: schedules change, toddlers tantrum, last-minute meetings are scheduled, someone needs stitches, diaper blowouts happen. On any given day for Detective Maysa Washington of the Newark Police Department, emergenci…
By Danielle Campoamor

For This Mom, Motherhood Is A Long Hike. Literally.

Think you have to tote a lot of stuff with you on a morning outing with your baby? Trying heading out for six months in the woods. That's what Bekah and Derrick Quirin, both 26, did shortly after their daughter Ellie turned 1. The idea to through-hik…
By Janet Manley

After Her First Baby, This Mom Re-learned How To Fly

Laura Valpey has always identified as a thrill seeker — so the first time she stepped off the 23-foot platform, swinging from a horizontal bar tethered by two metal ropes, she wasn't even scared. As she puts it, "it was an adrenaline rush." Becoming …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

Alicia Graf Mack Thought She Might Never Dance Again — Then She Became A Mom

To be a dancer is to live fully, often painfully, in one’s body — to intimately know every tendon, to feel every life change play out through your muscles and bones. A dancer’s body is her everything: her tool, her craft, her product, her livelihood.…
By April Daniels Hussar

When You're A Mom & A Filmmaker, You Never Stop Rolling

As a new mom, you’re supposed to hate pumping — the interruptions every three or four hours, the sudden, deep identification with dairy cows, toting a piece of machinery around all day, cleaning all those parts — but documentary filmmaker Ambika Sama…
By Margaret Wheeler Johnson

Here's What Med Students Actually Learn About Pregnancy — And What They Don't

By the time a pregnant woman has her baby, she is likely to have become a partial expert in topics like c-section interventions, preeclampsia, analgesia, episiotomies, skin-to-skin contact, cervical effacement, hep-locks, caffeine consumption, and th…
By Jenna Flannigan

Moms Are Totally Abandoned Under The 6-Week Checkup Model Of Care

Christen Clifford has given birth twice — and her vagina has torn badly, in the same place, twice. At both of her 6-week postpartum checkups, she was told that she was "fine." But Clifford wasn’t fine: She started to experience debilitating, painful …
By Jenna Flannigan

This Body Has Carried 3 Of My Own Babies, & 2 Of Someone Else's

I have given birth to five babies. Three of my own, and two surrogate babies (twins). I was the first one of my friends to get pregnant and have a baby. Back then, I was single and 23 years young and knew nothing about the female body or what happens…
By Tiffany Burke

Can The Link Between Movement & Memory Help Us Find Ourselves After Birth?

After you give birth, what remains of the happy, striving, pregnant person you once were? For me, it wasn’t the healthy eating habits (as soon as my baby worked up a full-throated cry, kale was out, and chocolate was in), and it definitely wasn’t the…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

I Was "Cleared" For Exercise With No Abdominal Strength — My Advice For Running Postpartum

At my six-week postpartum appointment, I felt ready, but not necessarily eager, to exercise again. My bleeding had stopped, my walks were much easier, even when wearing my 11-pound baby in a carrier, and I had made it through an easy yoga class the w…
By Heather Caplan

Why Moms Suddenly Have Super-Human Strength When They Need It

When you become a parent, the instinct to protect your child is almost a given. Pretty much every person in the world who has children would say that they’d do anything — yes literally anything — if it meant keeping their little one from danger. That…
By De Elizabeth

Meal Trains Are A Radical Act Of Care By Moms, For Moms

It’s been a year and a half since I cooked my first meal for a new mom — a lentil casserole with a pastry lid. I was eight months pregnant with my second child, and instead of rising, the puff pastry had sunk down over the lentils like a damp pool co…
By Janet Manley

My Vulva Was The Hardest Thing To Love After Pregnancy

Before my daughter was even born, messages around the need to "fix" my body postpartum, to undo the damage, had already begun to sail in from every direction. YouTube videos promised to strengthen my sagging body, Instagram recommended post-baby work…
By Marie Southard Ospina

Yes, I Give Myself As Much Care As My Baby

People tell you that having a baby will change you, but until that baby drops, you have no idea what they mean. During my first pregnancy I followed all the rules — no caffeine, no lunch meat, and a daily throat-fisting of prenatal vitamins. Taking c…
By Crystal Henry