LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Time now for The Call-In. Today is Mother's Day, and we asked you to share your stories about your mom or becoming a mom.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: Hi, NPR.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #4: I gave birth to my daughter on Mother's Day 33 years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #5: I recently became a mother nine days ago.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: Becoming pregnant did change my view of motherhood and my mother in particular.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #7: And there was a note from the police that said call your mother (laughter).
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: I had to explain to my new husband that my mother was not completely crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: I had the greatest mom in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #10: And she gave me the best words of wisdom.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #11: And I feel like she's way overdue for a proper appreciation.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #12: Thank you, mom.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #13: Love you, mom. Miss you.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #14: All right, thanks. Bye.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lindsey Johnson of Minneapolis told us about her difficult road to motherhood.
LINDSEY JOHNSON: We tried for about two and half years. And I had this fear that with every step we took, we would learn something that it would confirm my fear that I couldn't have a baby.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She struggled with anxiety, but eventually she got pregnant through IVF.
Tell me about that moment when you first saw your daughter Hazel for the first time. I mean, how did that feel?
JOHNSON: Oh, my gosh. It was - it was incredible. I mean, first of all, I was in labor for 24 hours.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, Lord.
JOHNSON: It just felt like it was never going to happen.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: After all that, you had a 24-hour labor?
JOHNSON: I was so exhausted. And all of sudden, we just had this baby. The nurse was handing me this baby, and she's poopy. And it just was so messy. And it just - both of us immediately just started crying. It just was so joyful. It just felt perfect.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Before Hazel was born, though, Lindsey had a lot to worry about.
JOHNSON: When she was 20 weeks old - the 20-week ultrasound, she was diagnosed with a fetal heart condition. So we weren't sure what condition she's going to be in when she came out. And she just let out this big scream and just kicking. It was just like she burst into the world. And, you know, just immediately we kind of knew this is a healthy baby. She is alive and...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She let you know.
JOHNSON: She let me know, I know. She was born with a perfectly normal heart. So for a whole variety of reasons, it was really special to meet her. You know, going through IVF, it's a very planned and purposeful pregnancy. Like, you're really (laughter) we really had to be committed to the idea that we wanted to be parents. So we're really happy it worked out the way it did.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, you reached out. What did you want people to know from your story?
JOHNSON: Yeah. That's a good question. I've been asking myself because I haven't talked about my infertility experience very often. But I just had this impulse. There's a lot of taboos around infertility. There's a lot of taboos around talking about being a new mother in any other way besides in glowing terms. And now that I am a new mom and I'm working with other new families, I realize how stressful it is and how normal it is. In the event that someone out there can relate, that's what would be my hope.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Happy Mother's Day.
JOHNSON: (Laughter) Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are you doing for Mother's Day?
JOHNSON: I don't exactly have any plans. I think what would be really nice is to not do anything at all. My main hope is to just get a decent night's sleep. That is really what I want.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: May you get a decent night's sleep.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lindsey Johnson of Minneapolis, Minn., thanks so much.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Next week on The Call-In, a look at criminal justice reform. This past week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to return to tougher mandatory sentences for certain crimes, including drug offenses. That's a reversal from the Obama administration's focus on leniency. We want to hear your questions about law enforcement's approach to drugs and crime rates. Call in at 202-216-9217. Leave us a voicemail with your full name, where you're from and your experience or question, and we may use it on the air. That number again - 202-216-9217.
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