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Natalie, 37
Alabaster, AL
mom of 7
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       My name is Natalie.  I live in Alabaster, Alabama.  I am a part-time photographer and a full-time stay at home mom.  I became a mom when I was 23.   My husband and I had religious beliefs about birth control, and so we were prepared to have a large family. We ended up with 7, and I had 2 miscarriages along the way. I chose homebirth for my first baby (and 4 of my other babies) and had a 10 pound, 8 ounce baby girl!  

       After my first, I started having a baby almost every year.  I quickly became overwhelmed and at one point, I was nursing the 3, 2, and 1-year-old while pregnant with my 4th.  I wouldn't say that any one thing was my biggest challenge.  Being a stay-at-home mom was lonely.  Being overwhelmed with many small children and living in survival mode constantly for years was a challenge.  Doing everything differently than every other parent around me was challenging.  Homeschooling 7 children was, and is challenging.  Motherhood is just a challenge for me, personally.

      My biggest accomplishment as a mother would be raising kids that I like. They're just really cool people.  

      My hope for my children is that they treat others with kindness.  I don't care if they succeed at much else in life, but if they're kind, I'll feel like I've won.  For myself?  I just hope that I continue to find beauty in everything, and that I will be brave.  I've always struggled with anxiety, so being brave is something I aspire to be.

      My words of encouragement to other mothers would have to be to take care of yourself.  If you can't do it, find someone that will take care of you.  Ask for help. Don't lose yourself.  If your cup isn't full, you can't pour into anyone else's cup.

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Kia, 36
Charlotte, NC
new mom

       My name is Kia, and I live in Charlotte, North Carolina.  In addition to being a new mom, I am a business owner.  Prior to becoming pregnant, my life was so busy, and I was clueless as to how we'd fit a baby into our family's schedule.  My prayer was "When the timing is right, please bless us with a child." 

     I hadn't been taking the ovulation testing like I was supposed to, so one day my husband said, "You need to take getting pregnant more seriously."  Welp, I did, and now our new daughter is here!

     My biggest challenge as a mother is the pressure that I put on myself to be a good mom; I truly want to be successful at it.  My biggest acomplishment?  Nursing!  It's like a third job, and yet I'm still doing it!

      My biggest hope as a mother is to have a relationship with my kids where they can talk to me about anything.  I have an employee who says that her mom is her best friend, and that her mom has just the right balance of nurture and discipline.  That's exactly what I want to be.  I want to raise kind, empathetic, smart, funny, and well-rounded kids.

     My encourage to all of you moms is to do the best you can, and let God do the rest...actually, let Him do MOST of the work!