B is for Brave, Books, and Bianca: As part of our supermom spotlight series, we are both honored and excited to share the story of Bianca Whitford, a Navy wife and mother who has bravely faced infertility, miscarriage, and a difficult labor amid the unique challenges associated with the nomadic military lifestyle, one that often requires her husband to deploy for months at a time.
Aside from her roles as wife and mother, Bianca is also a budding mompreneur who is translating her shared love of books with her son into a home-based business. If her story were a children’s book, it might be titled, B is for Brave, Books, and Bianca.
At Fit4Twins, we believe Bianca’s supermom story highlights the journey of a courageous woman with an admirably strong spirit and emotional resiliency that deserves to be applauded. In her own words, here is her story:
“Prepping” for Motherhood
I have always known that I wanted to be a mother. Before becoming a mom, I thought I had plenty of hands-on experience and the whole process would be a piece of cake. When I was six years old, I used to help my grandma, as much as I could, with her in-home day care. My sister was born when I was 11, and I was 15 when my brother was born. In high school, I spent many nights babysitting either my siblings or the kids in the neighborhood.
Bianca on preparing for motherhood: Little did I know that, even with all the experience I had in child-care, I would never be really ready for the reality of motherhood and the journey I would take to get there.
In college, I was a nanny to a wonderful family who had a one-year-old boy when I started; the family grew while I was working for them, and they welcomed a second child, a little girl. I used to take the children to do so many things that I do with my own child now: Music Together classes, visits to the playground, play dates, and library story hours.
So, of course, I was ready for this motherhood thing, right?!
Little did I know that, even with all the experience I had in child-care, I would never be really ready for the reality of motherhood and the journey I would take to get there.
Meeting & Moving with Mr. Right
I met my husband, Chase, while living in Denver, Colorado, and finishing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado. He was also working on his bachelor’s degree and his commission for the US Navy. Chase and I became engaged, and the Navy moved us just a few months later to Pensacola, Florida, in the summer of 2010.
The change was harder than I thought it would be. I was really excited to move, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss friends and the familiarity of Colorado. I also had to turn down and miss out on job opportunities because I was leaving town. In Florida, I had a hard time finding any work, much less in my field of study (marketing).
I finally found work in the service industry, which led to a job I loved within the same company. I spent the next year working, making new friends, and planning our wedding. In August 2011, we were married in south Florida and returned to Pensacola ready to start a family. (I was 31 after all, and I wasn’t getting any younger!)
Coping with Miscarriage
I had no idea the journey my husband and I would have to take in order to become parents. I got pregnant quickly and was so overjoyed that I would finally have someone to call me mom. Then, on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, I had a miscarriage.
It was a hard time. My whole family was in town for Thanksgiving, but only my mom and sister knew about the pregnancy. I knew the odds of miscarriage were high. (Thank you, Google!) My step-mom had even told me about her miscarriage before becoming pregnant with my sister. So, I put on a brave face, hosted Thanksgiving dinner, went black Friday shopping, and decided I was going to be okay. This was just not the baby for us.
We moved again, this time to Norfolk, Virginia. I got pregnant again, and this time, I was much more worried than I was excited. Once again, I had a miscarriage.
Bianca on miscarriage: So, I put on a brave face, hosted Thanksgiving dinner, went black Friday shopping, and decided I was going to be okay. This was just not the baby for us.
The second time was much harder than the first. We had not told anyone about this pregnancy, so Chase and I only had each other to lean on. I started to feel very discouraged and thought maybe I just wasn’t meant to be a mother.
At this point, the doctor referred me to the infertility clinic at the Navy hospital, and thus began a long series of tests and blood work. I had an abnormal pap, and I had to undergo a few procedures, including a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). Before the LEEP, I had to take a pregnancy test to make sure they could perform the procedure: it was negative.
The doctors kept saying that everything looked great and normal, but I had doubts. Could I really just be that unlucky? How could everything be normal when I wasn’t able to stay pregnant?
In April 2013, just a few weeks after my LEEP, I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive. I called the infertility clinic right away, and they had me come in the same day. Once again, I was filled with fear and anxiety that this third pregnancy would end in yet another miscarriage.
A Baby on the Way
When I arrived at the doctor’s office, I was sweating and scared of what they would say. To my joyful surprise, right away the midwife said, “Oh, look, there’s the heartbeat!”
Bianca on pregnancy: I had a wonderful pregnancy, except for the continuous worry that it was all too good to be true…So many of these terrifying stories kept finding their way into my Facebook newsfeed that I was almost sure something else would go wrong. I had to face most of these fears alone because Chase was deployed during almost half of my pregnancy.
I was seven weeks along, which meant I had been in the first weeks of pregnancy when they performed the LEEP, so they hadn’t been able to detect the pregnancy before. Thankfully, no damage was done, and everything looked great.
I spent the next few weeks worried and Googling every symptom I felt and didn’t feel. (This is not recommended!) It wasn’t until about 14 weeks into my pregnancy that we finally announced to the world we were becoming parents. FINALLY!
I had a wonderful pregnancy, except for the continuous worry that it was all too good to be true. There were so many fears: another miscarriage, fetal abnormalities, stillborn baby, and pre-term labor, to name a few.
So many of these terrifying stories kept finding their way into my Facebook newsfeed that I was almost sure something else would go wrong. I had to face most of these fears alone because Chase was deployed during almost half of my pregnancy.
Baby Caleb is Born
At 41 weeks, I was induced because our baby’s heart rate didn’t have “enough variability,” so the doctors were worried. My son did NOT want to come out, and after hours of labor and pushing, they said I would need a C-section.
This was not part of my plan, but the baby’s needs came first, so I got prepped and taken to the Operating Room. Not long after, on December 1, 2013, at 2:47 am, I was finally a MOM!
Caleb was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. (Of course, I am biased!) From the second I laid eyes on him, I knew I had never experienced a love as all-consuming as this! He was my son, and I was his mama.
Bianca on having an early riser: I always tell Chase that when Caleb is a teenager, or is home from college, I’m going to wake him up at 5am just to be like, “What’s up, man, let’s hang out!”
A Love of Books
We have since moved and are now living in Key West, Florida. A few months ago, Caleb and I started attending a parent-and-me program at the Key West Preschool Co-op, which we love! I was definitely not ready to put Caleb in a program where I would just drop him off, so a parent-and-me option was a great alternative for us.
Not only does it allow us both to get a feel for him being at school, but also helps us make new friends, which we are always on the quest for in each new town. I also love the parent involvement in the school; it’s so great to see parents taking an active role at their children’s school.
As a former nanny for a book-loving family, I used to say I wanted my child to really love books. Well, he does! We have read books to Caleb since he was just a few weeks old, and to this day, he LOVES books.
In particular, we enjoy Usborne books, which I learned about at Caleb’s co-op school. Kids love how fun and interactive the Usborne books are, but they are also very educational. I have since become an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books and More, and I love it.
A Mompreneur is Born
I had been searching for a little something I could do from home to give me a little extra income while staying home with Caleb. I am not a natural salesperson, so many of the options out there did not appeal to me. However, selling Usborne books combined my interest in books and my desire to instill the love for books in my son.
Caleb is enjoying the biggest perk of me being an Independent Consultant: FREE books! Right now, his favorites are: The Big Book of Big Machines, Planes Lift and See, A Look Inside Trains, That’s Not My Puppy, and Animally, just to name a few.
I am enjoying this new “mompreneur” adventure, learning to balance being a stay-at-home mom, Navy wife, and still finding a little time to do something that allows me to use a different part of my brain for a few hours a day. For more information about Usborne books, click here.
Fit4Twins Update: Since the first publication of this post, Bianca has added LuLaRoe to her home business portfolio. (Think super comfy leggings for moms and tots.) Check her out on Instagram here @lularoebiancawhitford or join her LuLaRoe Bianca Whitford VIPs group on Facebook!
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Bianca’s Reflections on Motherhood
- Do what works for you, and do not let people take away from your maternal instinct!
- Never say never; I learned this one the hard way! There are so many things I said I would never do or would never happen “when I was a mom,” and now I just feel so foolish for being so naïve!
- Go with the flow, mamas; some days will be hard (like really hard), but other days will be easy and wonderful, and you feel like this is what you were always meant to do!
I always tell Chase that when Caleb is a teenager, or is home from college, I’m going to wake him up at 5am just to be like, “What’s up, man, let’s hang out!”