Jessica, mom of 1 year old Julia, had quite the journey getting her here to earth.
I was inspired by her faith and the experiences that helped her, pre-conception as she struggled to get pregnant and throughout her pregnancy and birth.
Listen in as we talk.
So my name is Jessica Mohammed I actually was born and raised here in Utah, but I met my husband in Florida. I have a master’s degree in theater and I am actually a first-time mom. So the baby that we have right now, her name is Julia. She just turned one about, two weeks ago, and she is our rainbow baby.
So we were very excited to welcome her into our home and have been learning a lot ever since.
Jessica has Felt Spiritually Uplifted from Listening to the Gift of Giving Life Podcast
Sheridan: Great. Wonderful. So I always ask this question first I’d love to hear how you found out about The Gift of Giving Life,
Jessica: I actually have not heard of the podcast or the book previously before, but I am a part of the natural and home birthing for LDS women on Facebook. It’s a Facebook group. And you had posted a blurb on there that just was asking for interviews for your podcast. And I was like, I would love to do that.
I loved my birth story and that’s actually how I found out about, your book and your podcast. And so when you actually reached back to me and said, “Hey, I’d like to interview you. I’d love to interview a first time. Mom.”
Jessica: I started thinking like, oh my goodness, I need to actually do some research and find out really what this whole podcast and everything actually is about.
So I started listening to the podcast and ever since I’ve cried at almost every single episode that I’ve listened to, I have felt so spiritually uplifted and strengthened and actually related to most of the. Most of the topics that have been discussed, it’s been really beautiful for me, and it has excited me so much to want to buy the book as well.
it had the podcast alone has been such an inspiration for me that I am really excited to get the book and to dive into the book and learn even more, beautiful things that can help me in future, in the future with more babies to come and all of that. So I’m just really excited in general for all of it, but I’ve loved it so far.
Jessica: So I’m excited to learn more.
Sheridan: Great. Thank you. It’s interesting because when I record the podcast, even if I’m reading ,essays that our other authors have written, I often cry while I’m reading them. I’m like, oh, that touches me. definitely there’s touching things and many of the episodes. So I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed them.
Married at 26, got pregnant quickly, but then miscarried
I’m excited to dive right into you sharing times that you’ve experienced the divine nature of pregnancy and birth and or mothering.
man. I don’t even know where to start. so it’s interesting because I’ve always wanted to be a mother, was always excited for it kind of a conflict of interest with my, career choices as well.
Jessica: So that’s definitely had to be put on hold, but ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a mom. and It was hard for me that, I didn’t get married until I was 26 and then I didn’t get, I guess I got pregnant for the first time within that first year, but we had a miscarriage, early on and that was really devastating.
I always knew it was a likelihood because I have a really erratic period. And so I always knew that it would be difficult and challenging to get pregnant, but I chose to have faith in my patriarchal blessing, which directly states that I would be able to bear, children with little difficulty and that I would have a family.
Jessica: And so I was always trying to hold onto that hope.
But even knowing that’s a blessing, you still think in your mind like, when is my opportunity, when is it going to happen? How long do I have to wait? And especially in the LDS community, there is a lot of stigma about waiting to get married and I wasn’t intentionally waiting.
It just happened that way, but,I’ve found myself quite often, not realizing just how much it has affected me over the years, but I have found myself quite often saying that to people when they’re like, oh, is this your first? And I’m like, yeah, we waited for a little bit, or I got married later in life when, the reality is it doesn’t really matter, but I’ve definitely felt that stigma throughout time and sure.
Actually pretty grateful that it happened the way that it did. You know, we had a lot of time to humble ourselves and to be emotionally and prepared and more mature, in a lot of ways. So when it did come time for us to have a kid, I feel like we were more. Ready and prepared more emotionally and spiritually centered.
and this isn’t on anyone else’s part. This is just for us, but I think that it was the perfect timing for us to wait until, I was 28 when I had my first child and I’m almost 30 and a couple of weeks. I’m like, oh, great. One, I had one before 30, so I feel accomplished there. But, so that was pretty much the beginning journey.
Willing to share and be open about her miscarriage, helped others
and it was really emotional and it was really devastating to lose that first child. It’s not something I would ever want for another person, but I was always open to share and talk about it. I’ve always been pretty open to talk about anything that I’ve experienced in my life, because I feel like one helps me to cope with it better.
Jessica: If I can openly talk about it. And two, it brings other people in my life who have similar experiences who are willing to talk about it. And, um, in the ward that I was in, after the miscarriage, I had talked about it at a f ast and testimony meeting. And another sister later texted me. A sister who I’d never spoken to before, but she had just texted me this long text and she has five kids.
And she had just said, thank you so much for sharing. She said, I had a miscarriage and I never was able to share. The pain and the sorrow that I felt from that experience,she said, I felt like I went through the whole thing alone and that’s just heartbreaking for me. That’s devastating because it’s a real thing.
And unfortunately, it’s actually a really common thing. one of every four pregnancies is terminated through a miscarriage and that’s, not something that women should have to go through alone. And so that’s something that like, I’ve really wanted to raise awareness for that.
That it is okay to talk about it, that it is common and that, women aren’t alone when you go through that. but in a lot of ways, I feel like that experience actually prepared us even more for our baby that we have now, our little Julia she’s, she is so sweet. after that experience, it was pretty devastating and we decided to make a lot of shifts.
We actually moved to another town. My husband decided to go back to school. So we live in Logan, Utah right now. and we met a lot of really wonderful people in the ward that we were going to, and had a lot of really good friendships. And so that helped us a lot with coping and healing and trying to move past that.
Jessica attends her sisters homebirth, and is amazed.
Jessica: We were actively trying and nothing was really happening and it was a little bit of a struggle. And then my sister, she got pregnant and she actually invited me to the birth. And so this is her third child and she had her baby at home with a midwife. and so it was exciting for me because I had never really seen that.
And I was a little skeptical cause I was like, well, what, what does a midwife actually have to offer in your home? Like they don’t have the same equipment. And I was all really skeptical about midwives and home births and things like that. And so I was excited to be a part of it to see what it came to. that was an emotional experience. In it’s own. And, but I was there to be her main support and I was blown away by her midwife. I was absolutely amazed with how hands-on she was
with how gentle and kind and how thoughtful she was. It really showed me that, my sister, wasn’t just a number. It wasn’t just another baby that was being born into the world.
Jessica: That it really was a genuinely good experience. And how they have a lot of equipment with them. They have a lot of knowledge, they go to school, And so it was really comforting to me to learn just how much and how involved and how invested they are in you personally as a person.
And so that was what started my journey in wanting to have a midwife and a home birth. my husband, he is actually from a Catholic family and his mom is the youngest of 13 and he is the oldest of nine and so she was always big on big families and, she,my husband was born in 1988. And so she.
Was one of those people who invested in midwives early on in a time when it was actually looked down upon, actually think it was illegal in Florida at the time and so they had to keep it hush, and they weren’t allowed to talk about it. And weren’t allowed, if someone was to come over, they couldn’t divulge who the midwife was.
It had to be a secret because she could actually get in a lot of trouble for that. And so I’m really glad that we’re past that stage, but I’ve had a lot of support with my sister having midwife care and With my husband and his mom having a lot of knowledge with home births and stuff like that.
So my mom was a little skeptical of it, but I had a lot of support, so that helped a ton. But after my sisters, birth.
Jessica’s Baby Conceived 2 weeks after watching her sister birth.
Jessica: It was two weeks later when I was able to conceive for my baby. And it was it was a miracle in and of its own. I almost think that in a way it was supposed to happen that way that I experienced hers first, before I became pregnant with my own child, that I would be bringing into the world So her experience really started off my whole journey.
A blessing while being set apart, brings reassurance.
Jessica: obviously I can see that I didn’t know right away when I was pregnant. I had some, different feelings and I was wishing I had a child after watching my sister go through her birth. And I really, felt that yearning and that longing. And you watch all the other women in your ward getting pregnant and wishing that it would happen to you. And at the time I was called into a new calling and the brother had pulled me aside to, give me the blessing and to do the setting apart. And
he had placed his hands on my head and was giving me this blessing. And then at the end of the blessing, he pauses and he says, you will be able to bear children and it will be soon and God will be with you and everything will be okay.
And by the time he ended, all of us were crying. All three of us, my husband and him and myself were all. And I found out two weeks later that I was pregnant. And I remember talking to this brethren before, and telling him like, did you know? And he said, yes, I did. And so he was actually the first person who knew that I was pregnant, because he had been told by the Lord, he said, I felt like I had been given some kind of secret and that I was intruding in your life a little bit.
He was like, I felt like I shouldn’t know that, but I did. And it was just this really amazing, beautiful experience and that he was such a wonderful, servant of the Lord to just be willing to share that information at the time when I needed it the most. And it gave me comfort and solace.
So that was the very first blessing that I received when I was pregnant with my little girl that started off this really spiritual journey to know that the Lord was there for me and that He loved me.
And then He cared for me and that He heard my prayers and my concerns, And so he took that opportunity to bless me in that moment.
A second blessing at the hands of her family, helped ease worries
Jessica: And the second blessing that I received was actually, I was about four weeks pregnant at the time. And we had flown to Florida and we were planning on keeping a secret cause my husband’s family is from Florida.
So we went out there to be with his family and the plan was to keep it a secret and not to say anything. Cause you know, our first pregnancy, we said too soon and then, it turned out the way that it was and was really devastating. And so we decided to. Not divulge the information with anybody. But the flight out there, I had a lot of different cramps and pains and discomforts, and I was really concerned and I was really sick to my stomach a lot of the time while we were there.
So when we did show up. I was not really sure what to do and what to say. And I felt really kind of a lonely and alone. And, we went to church with his siblings that they weren’t going to, a Catholic church. They were going to a non-denominational Christian Church, but they invited us to come along with them. And at the end of their meeting, they had this moment where there I’m not sure if he’s a pastor or a preacher. I’m not sure. What he goes by, but he, was inviting anyone who felt like they needed to have a blessing to speak up, you know? And I was watching all these other people getting blessings that was interesting because
they anoint your head with oil and they place their hands on your head.
So it was similar to how we do it, but I just kept thinking like, no, if they’re not a part of our church, I shouldn’t, I, and then I got this really strong impression from the Lord. that said,
” It doesn’t matter where it comes from. If the people believe in the Lord and they trust in him, then the blessing comes from me.”
And so I did, I raised my hand and I divulged the information at that point to, the four of my in-laws at the time and said, that I’m pregnant. And I was concerned because we had lost our first child and I just really wanted a blessing.
To make sure that everything would be okay and all of my in-laws my brothers and sister-in-law’s jumped up and they all placed their hands on me cause they were all part of praying for me and on my behalf. And it was one of the most spiritual strongest, spiritual experiences that I’d ever had outside of the church.
And it was amazing, but I just felt the Lord’s love so much in that moment. And just a testament, that the Lord’s love is so strong and so encompassing, that it doesn’t matter who is administering at that point that, the Lord will provide in the time of need. And that, these people were genuinely good Christian people who loved the Lord and strive so hard to follow Him, and that being said, the Lord’s power was just as strong and He was there, and my husband was there too.
But it was. Beautiful blessing to know. And I think that me having the willingness and having the faith to trust in Him in a moment like that was something that saved my child. I don’t know what would’ve happened without it, but I genuinely believe that me having faith in Him in that moment was something that helped to protect my child, and helped to bring her closer to me.
And it started off our, the whole pregnancy with a really beautiful.
Pregnancy was Easy and Birth Started Easily too.
Jessica: So my entire pregnancy actually went really easily. I honestly don’t even remember having Braxton Hicks, to be honest with you. And , I didn’t have any morning sickness. I had very little acid reflux until the very end.
It got heavy, but it was manageable. and even when I started labor, it was easy, I started labor at 5:00 PM the night before. And it was like the pre-labor and were at a store walking around and I just looked at my husband. I’m like, I think my contractions are starting, he’s do we need to go home? And I was like, nah, we’re fine. Let’s just keep shopping. And It was more amusing to me. Like I remember smiling and laughing each time that it happened because I just thought it was so cool that it was happening and the baby was coming
and, and we went to bed that night and woke up the next day.
I texted my midwife and let her know. And she said, just keep me posted. I have another baby coming this morning. She’s so not that we have control over it, but if you can hold off until the evening, like that would be great. And sure enough that’s actually exactly how it happened.
it was a nice, a slow progression. And I had my mom there and my sister, the sister that I had attended, she was there with me and she was really supportive the whole time. And we would laugh and talk in between and joke. At one point, they started getting closer together. So I had texted my midwife and she said, I’m wrapping up things here. I’m going to send another midwife to you just to check on your progression and see how things are going. and she said, I’ll be there when the.
Jessica: you know, when I get the chance. And so this other midwife came and she was super sweet and she checked on things. She actually didn’t say anything to me at the time. She was just like, all right, I’m going to go ahead and give your midwife, a call just to give her some updates. And hopefully
you’ll see her here when she’s done at the other one. but she didn’t say, where I was at. I didn’t ask. I didn’t even think to ask. And then she just left. And later when my midwife came, we asked her, so like how far along are we?
“My mom thought I was at 2 or 3 cm, based on how I was acting. I was actually at a 7!”
Jessica: My mom based off of how I was handling the situation was like, ah, she’s probably like a two or three.
The midwife’s actually she was dilated to a seven at the time that the other midwife came. And so apparently the labor had already progressed a lot and we were none of the more aware. So it was a pretty cool experience.
Pushing the baby out did not go as expected.
Jessica: The birth itself happened very differently than I expected.
I don’t think anyone can really expect what is going to happen in pregnancy. And it did happen differently. Cause I did, you’ve talked about this before on other podcasts, but I did hypnobirthing. And so I was so excited to have this gentle birth and all of these things, but, I had to take, an antibiotic for, strep B. So I took the, I got the IV for that. cause I was concerned my oldest sister, she had a baby who was born with strep B and it
had progressed really severely and she actually had spinal meningitis and it was this really big thing. So that was a fear of mine. And I know that it doesn’t always happen that way, but I was really concerned about that.
So I got the IV taken care of and And I think the IV that I had was like an eight hour one. And so she’d given it to me when she got there and it took exactly eight hours before the baby was born. And so it was the last hour of the IV and my midwife was telling me, you’re going to need to push a little bit harder, which is a little bit contradictory to the hypnobirthing.
They want it to be much more of a more natural progression in that when your body is ready, you’ll be ready. But because I was on that last hour and I was in transition. they call it differently in hypnobirthing, but I was in transition and, she was telling me that I needed to push a little bit more, cause she didn’t want to administer another IV
Jessica: and I only had an hour left and she was concerned about that. And I was also having my surges every 30 seconds, And so it was like coming quicker, but the baby wasn’t progressing as fast as she had wanted the baby to be coming. And so she was just told me that I needed to push more and it was a lot more intense than I wanted it to be.
but I understood that the circumstances needed it to be that way. I just remember thinking a lot of different things, like when, in all the movies they show, just push one more time and here’s the baby. And I kept thinking like, when is my last push, can someone just tell me when my last push is? And it was never coming.
Jessica: And I was so frustrated, it only took an hour. So it really wasn’t that long. I’m sure it felt longer. but I was I remember in hypnobirthing, one of the things that they talk about is that not only is your husband, your birthing companion, and that he’s there with you and working with you, but that your baby is your birthing companion.
And that it’s important to talk with your baby throughout the process and to encourage your baby, if there are any difficulties to encourage your baby, that they are going to be in a safe environment and that you will protect them. Provide for them. And I actually did talk with her when I was going through the, the different surges.
I would rub my belly and I would just say, “Hey sweetheart, I’m here for you. I’m watching over you. I’m I will protect you. I will take care of you. We’ve got this together. You and me, we’ve got this together” you know, And my husband just held on to me. I originally wanted him to deliver the baby, but my sister actually was the one who ended up delivering the baby.
Cause he was holding onto me and supporting me.
Jessica’s sister helped clear a block, that helped her to push more effectively.
Sure enough when my sister was actually the one who helped kind of unstop a block that was in my mind. Cause you know, I was pushing, but there wasn’t a whole lot of progression. And then she traced along my side with her finger and down my hip, she said, this is the direction your baby needs to go.
And it unlocked a thought in my mind cause I had kind of been pushing forward and down without the realization that the baby needed to go back and around that bend, you know? And so. When she had said that it opened up this channel in my mind, it was like, oh, I think I had unconsciously been pushing the baby in the wrong direction.
And so when she said that I, you know, kind of opened up my mind and opened up the. Kind of the physical channel that was needed to push the baby. And, um, she was actually in her sack the whole time. And so, um, when I did make that connection and I started to push her differently, that’s when the water broke.
She was actually in the birthing canal when the water broke, which scared me. Cause I had no idea what it was, I had no idea that the water hadn’t broken yet. And so when it popped, I actually remember shouting, it didn’t hurt, but I remember shouting cause it scared me and the midwife was like, you’re okay. It’s just the water.
That’s a good thing. I was like, okay.
15 minutes later, her baby is born!
Jessica: And then, within 15 minutes after that, the baby was born and everything went really smoothly And I was just, I dunno, it was a really beautiful experience and I was just tired by that point, and I just remember holding the baby and she was crying and my husband’s leaning over me and he’s crying.
I’m patting both of them and trying to help them to. to calm and to soothe these two. And here I’m just like tired and exhausted, comforting, these two crying, birthing companions of my life, but it was a really beautiful experience and one that, I’m glad was my first experience, because I know it will set the stage for all future births from here on out.
So I’m really excited for just the journey that it took for us to really acknowledge the Lord in the birth and to acknowledge the journey and how involved He was and, to acknowledge my baby the way that I did, from the very beginning that she was always a part of my journey.
And I just, I love that.
This sweet baby girl has changed everything, so many unexpected blessings.
Jessica: And yeah, that was, basically my experience, the spiritual experience that brought my rainbow baby to my life. And she is a blessing. right now she’s on a walk with her dad and they’re enjoying, the beautiful clouds and the flowers. And he was telling me this morning, She’s his biggest reason.
Like he’s always struggled with work and different things, but ever since she’s been born and watching her and seeing how smart she is and how driven she is and how independent she is, he just looks at her and marvels. And he says that she is what has given him his desire in life to continue to work hard and to provide for the family.
And that it doesn’t matter necessarily the job, as long as we are taken care of, like that is what is so important to him. And he never felt that way before, because he always wanted to do something that he truly loved. And, wanted to explore the world, but now he feels confident in whatever choice he makes, because he knows that he’s providing for
our child and for future children that are coming, and that gives him a sense of pride and responsibility. So in a lot of ways, that’s given us so many blessings that we didn’t even expect to have, but it’s beautiful. It was a beautiful journey.
2 big take aways!
Sheridan: Great. Thank you so
much for sharing that. I loved so many different parts of that.
One thing that really jumped out at me is when your in-laws like all jumped up to give you a blessing in that moment. And I thought, what a beautiful bonding experience for your family,
and to know
that their prayers and their love was there to support you in that experience at that moment. But then through.
Your life and throughout your daughter’s life. They’ll always remember that
Jessica: too. Yeah. So I love that. And then,
Sheridan: Your expectations, how like your birth didn’t go exactly how you expected. It sounds like it was amazing. And then that end where you’re like, Hey, I’m going to need to push in a way that you weren’t expecting to, but that you were able to shift and do it.
And then how your sister was able to just with that touch and brief explanation, shift your understanding and open up that pathway. And. That to me was very powerful as well. So everything was powerful, but I loved
those things, especially.
Why it is so important to take natural childbirth classes!
Jessica: I know I’ve thought about that a lot with just people in general, a lot of pregnancies nowadays.
I have a lot of friends who are even a testament of this that, they just expect to go to the hospital and be told what to do and to not really question anything, and they’re not to me. I wanted to be more involved in the birth, and I wanted to know exactly what was happening.
Jessica: I’m a really big supporter that regardless of how you have your child, you can take the medications, you can have your child at the hospital. That is totally fine. You may, it may even be a C-section I think, any way that the baby comes as a blessing and a miracle, but I wish that everyone would invest in taking natural birthing classes, just because you get so much more information and knowledge about the whole process and I think it really can just increase the spiritual experience. you guys talk about the book and how it’s centered on the spiritual experience of birth, whether it’s pregnancy during the birth or even after. but I think it’s, like we can encourage that experienced. As soon as possible and that it really can be a spiritual experience,
but I think the more knowledge you have and the whole process and what your body is doing, and what’s happening with your in and, my husband with hypnobirthing, it’s expected that the spouse comes to the birthing classes with you.
And he was a little skeptical. like we’re going to hypnotize you to give birth, thats not way hypnobirthing is. So he really appreciated coming to the classes and learning a lot more about it and it opened up his mind. And, so when we were actually going through labor, he felt a lot more in control and a lot more calmed and at ease, obviously it was hard for him to see me go through a lot of.
He felt a lot more confident because he knew what to expect and he knew what was happening. And he was such a strong pillar for me during the entire thing. And he didn’t express any of his concerns during the entire thing, was that’s what they encourage you not to do. And so he, kept that to himself, but he just, the entire time states so strong and such a spiritual foundation for me in the whole process.
So that was nice.
Sheridan: That is awesome. So great.
All right. So I’m excited to ask you the last question, if you could give advice to a young woman just starting out her mothering journey, what would it be?
Honestly, it probably would be what I just said there with the natural birthing saying, I think it opens up a lot of.
Jessica: Unanswered questions that women have, especially going into having a child for the first time. there was a lot of questions that I had that I didn’t know I had until taking our natural birthing class that were answered questions that had been on my heart, that I’d never actually brought to the forefront.
And so the natural birthing class really. Helped me to understand a lot of things that also helped me to ask other questions that I didn’t think of before in preparation for bringing our child into this world and that, helped me to turn to the Lord in a lot of ways and to say, okay, if these things happen, what should I do if this happens?
How can I prepare for it? I had, I honestly felt like the more knowledge I had, the more questions I had, but the more understanding I was able to receive and the more blessings and the more that the Lord was able to support me through the whole thing as well.
It is OK if things don’t go according to plan, Gather Knowledge, make a plan, then relax.
Jessica: I think one of the biggest things to know, especially when having your first child is that,
to know that. It doesn’t go according to the way that you expect it to, because you create your birth plan and the expectations, but that it’s okay. If things happen contrary to the way that your plan is that is totally normal and that it is okay. Allow yourself to accept that.
I think a lot of the times we can get overwhelmed and stressed when things go differently and we dwell on that and all of that stress and that fear and that anxiety can affect the whole birthing experience, not just, the way you think of it, but the way that it actually happens, cause fear can cause your body to tense up and can make the labor a little bit harder for you.
and so really just acknowledging that it is okay. even if it does happen differently, it is okay. And to let your body be at peace and to let yourself to relax. and then you can enjoy the birthing experience, even that much more, even if it is different than what you planned, you can still enjoy the experience and know that, it was through a divine reason that the Lord is with you and that he’s helping you through that.
Jessica: And that honestly, probably whichever, however, your baby is born is the way that it needed to be for your baby to be safe and to be born into this. And that’s okay. So that’s probably where I would go is don’t just expect don’t I wouldn’t say go into the birth with no knowledge and just expect to be told what to do.
I would say go in with as much knowledge as you can take classes that can help, as much about your body and the baby’s body as possible. That way you’re ready. For any of the possibilities that do come and then be ready to just accept them as they come and to be excited and happy and, just supportive of your baby and your own journey throughout the whole process.
And it will happen the way that it needs to happen.
Sheridan: Thank you. I love that.
Jessica: I’m always more than willing to share and talk about my story and to talk to others.
So if anyone does want to reach out I’m also on the home and natural birthing Facebook group as well. So anyone who does want to reach out to me please feel free to do
Sheridan: I can link to that Facebook group in the show. So they can click on that, join the group and then easily find you that way.
Jessica: For sure. thank you, Jessica so much. It was so great to talk to you today and hear your story and your advice.
Sheridan: It was great. I love.
Jessica: Thank you for letting me be a part of your show.
Find Jessica Here – in the Natural Birth LDS Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/430856127077281
Follow us on Instagram @giftofgivinglife