Shannon_Haumea Mama.jpeg

Shannon Hellenbrand

Upon learning of my long-awaited pregnancy, I was given the title, “Advanced Maternal Age” (or AMA) and reminded of it often by medical staff. I believed that made me high risk, but then I met my wonderful doctor, who told me I was among his healthiest patients, and to let him worry about the impact age could have on a pregnancy. This was so relieving, and thereafter, I referred to myself as “Awesome Mama Age”.  I encourage all who join me in this category to adopt that acronym; like me, it probably suits you much better!

I was so fortunate to have had a great pregnancy. I did not gain much excess weight and stayed very active (thank you, yoga and spin!) until 38 weeks. I felt tired but great. Where I struggled, was after the birth of our amazing daughter, Tenley, now ten months. I forgot to take care of myself. I was, and am still, nursing, and until I went back to work, I felt as though I couldn’t leave Tenley for more than an hour or two. I did not have a stockpile of milk, which I allowed to stress me. Exhausted, I did not make time for much self-care or exercise. In particular, exercise has always been very important to me for my overall health and wellness, but also, my job is dependent upon it.  I’m an active duty Army National Guard Soldier. I get to wear a uniform every day (yes, we even have maternity uniforms). We are required to meet physical fitness and body composition standards within 6-9 months after birth.

Eventually, with the help of my husband, family and friends, I put myself back on my priority list, realizing we would all win if I just took some time and attention for myself. I work out 4 days a week now, and I also get periodic massages. Now, I feel great about motherhood and the care I’m giving to our happy girl.


Rochelle Ratkaj Moser

“What’s surprised me most about this pregnancy is that it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. Yes, women have been doing this for millennia—but today women have to be smart, confident, capable, and infallible at all times. I run my own business, and managing clients, timelines, and expectations—all while struggling with ‘baby brain’ has been difficult (and why is it that you can think so clearly at 2:00 am but not 2:00 pm?).

There are also a ton of uncertainties about around having a baby. I think my biggest is, ‘can I do this?’ Seems like simple question, with a simple answer—but it really isn’t. It’s a moving target—every day is different, and each day you notice or learn something different and that can be so scary. I think I got the best advice from my mom—‘you’ll figure it out, you always do.’ This is what’s getting me through those scary tough days—and it’s also the mantra that goes through my head on the days I rock it, too. Part of it is that I’m learning that I can’t control everything. That’s especially hard for me, who is as ‘type-A’ as they come.

My journey to motherhood has been hard. We didn’t get to pregnancy the traditional way—we needed help. I didn’t know until I started this journey that so many other families don’t get pregnant right away, or have trouble in one way or another. It seems so simple, but for many families, it just isn’t.

One thing that’s important to me during this pregnancy is to make sure I’m taking time for myself. Even if my schedule is crazy, my phone is ringing off the hook, and I have five excuses for why I need to be doing something else—I make time for me.”

Laura Ursin

"I’m an outgoing, organized, Type A person who enjoys spending time with family and friends. I’m a mom to a toddler, and a middle school teacher, which leads some people to think I’m a little crazy. I think it’s what actually keeps me (mostly) patient and sane. Ben is almost three years old, and I have another boy due at the end of February. I guess I was meant to be a boy mama! 

One of the things I’ve enjoyed through both of my pregnancies is prenatal yoga. I also see an acupuncturist, which helps me deal with stress and the challenges that come with pregnancy. I also enjoy cooking and treating myself to a pedicure once in awhile. Being a teach and on my feet all day, they get tired!"

April Hudzinski

I’m a woman in her 30s who is learning daily how to be a grown-up. ;) My time is spent being an intentional parent, business owner, and rocking out to impromptu dance parties in our kitchen!

I have two kids — Lucy is five, Tiger is three, and I’m pregnant with my third. I’m not great at taking care of myself during pregnancy — I’ve certainly tried, but I haven’t been great. With this pregnancy, I’m working to be more active and trying to eat better. I have seen amazing benefits with yoga for both my body and mind, so I continue to indulge in a good stretch session with amazing instructors as much as I can.