Trigger Warning: The content of this blog includes topics of baby loss and traumatic birth experiences.

Lia Higgins is a graduate of Barnard College and NYU School of Law. She is currently a litigation associate in New York City and a proud mother to Baby Jackson with another on the way.

Higgins not only wrote an article in the Huffington Post about her miscarriage and traumatic birth experience, she frequently takes to TikTok (@onelitmama_) to share honest insights into all things baby and balancing life as a working mom.

In this blog post, she shares her birth story, her story of loss, and how she is preparing for life with two under two.

One of our favorite quotes from our time with Lia—

“You’re really contained much more when you have kids, and so you have to find new ways to get that fill if being an adventurer is something you’re into. So, it’s not always that you’re picking up and traveling to some exotic country; it’s that you have to find a new activity that’s local to you that’s exciting and fills your cup.”

We were so inspired by Lia and hope you will be too. Now, let’s get into it.

Q: Were you always someone who wanted to be a mom or did you come to that decision later? What was your journey and entrance to motherhood like for you?

A: I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I just didn’t think I would do it as young as I did necessarily.

My husband and I both have older parents, which I think is really helpful background. There’s a term that’s called the “Sandwich Generation,” which is where you’re taking care of both your kids and your parents at the same time. My husband and I fall pretty squarely into that to some degree. Our moms are super capable and our dads are struggling a little bit more with their health. So, part of the reason why we ended up having kids younger is because we had older parents and we saw a little bit of the struggle that we were having in balancing being in our 20s and having to take on greater responsibilities in caring for our parents. I think it compelled us to want to have kids just a little bit younger.

I also just got that mommy urge at one point and I didn’t know what I was waiting for. Especially, once COVID hit, what really sparked me trying for my son is that we were supposed to go on a really amazing trip to Egypt. We all got COVID. The trip got canceled. I had been waiting for all of these trips for me to have kids, and then I realized there is no guarantee, especially in this world, that any of this is going to happen. I wanted a baby. So, we went for it.

So yeah, I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I love kids. My husband and I both have nieces and nephews from our older siblings and half-siblings that we adore and have helped with and been around their whole lives. We’ve both been there for the birth of all of them because we’ve been dating for so long. So, yeah, it was always something I wanted.

Q: How old are you now?

A: I just turned 30 in January. I was 28 when I got pregnant with—and had—my son. So, late 20s felt like a good time for me personally. It is different from the pattern that you see, especially in a place like New York City where I live and grew up in for so long. You see all these women who have kids older.

I can kind of get into my view on that. There are so many factors into that and a lot of it I think is how women have been told that we need to have a career and financial independence, which is important. I had already started at my law firm by the time I had my son, so I felt comfortable in that sense that I had kind of started to establish myself in my career. Should I have waited longer? I don’t know. It’s all up for debate. I’m really in the camp that there’s really no good time to have a baby as far as your career goes. There’s never going to be a perfect time.

I had also been with my husband a really long time. We’re high school sweethearts and we had been married for three years by the time we had our son. So it felt like a good time for me.

I think that there’s a lot of competing pressures on women to have kids, but also have this amazing, mind-blowing, glass-ceiling-shattering career—and it’s hard to date, especially in these big cities like New York. I literally cannot imagine what that’s like. I have so much empathy there.

One issue that I really have is that women have been told that having a baby is so easy and you can just do IVF and freeze your eggs and all of it can wait, which is what my mom and mother-in-law both did. They were significantly older when they had their kids. I just think society has kind of oversimplified how easy it is to just get pregnant through IVF and egg freezing, but I just don’t think it’s quite so simple.

I remember going to my doctor at 28 pregnant with my first and he was like “Yeah, you’re kind of past your peak for this already.” I’m like, “Excuse me?!”

I don’t think our generation of women was taught this information, and I don’t think it was explained to us that those are real risks. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have been in a position where I felt comfortable enough to have kids at a younger age. I don’t think that everyone is in that position, whether that’s because they don’t feel financially stable enough or they don’t have a partner that would be ideal. And, doing motherhood without a partner, truly, I can’t imagine that whole other struggle. So, I say this from a place of gratitude for my situation, but I do think that there was not enough information disseminated about the hardships of having kids later in life given to our generation.

Q: What’s your reaction to a mom saying “If I’m not working, I’m not productive and I’m not ‘doing enough.’”

A: Yes, I think that’s so real. I think I’ve experienced that almost more now with my second pregnancy than I did with motherhood initially.

I was on maternity leave and I have struggled with depression and anxiety at different points of my life triggered by different things, and so I think when my son was born I was a little relieved to have a temporary break from my career in big law to be able to focus on my son—but then I was overwhelmed in a totally new way that I was not prepared for. Any time I wasn’t taking care of him actively or if I let someone else help me, I would spiral into this similar sort of dialogue/monologue of “I don’t feel productive right now, and that’s a problem.” I think as he got older—I had a long maternity leave, I had six months, which was incredible and my law firm has great benefits in that sense, so we get a good amount of time off—but as he needed me a little less and less and we transitioned into having help before I went back to work because we need that obviously, I think I felt more and more in terms of a lack of productivity that triggered some anxiety and depression and I wasn’t sure how to channel it.

I eventually did and started writing. But in that sense, it didn’t feel fulfilling enough for me. One thing I noticed was that my husband would come home and talk about his day at work and have interesting things to contribute to the conversation, and I was like “Well, Jackson had a ginormous poop today.” That was my contribution to the conversation, and that felt not enough for me personally at the time.

But I think this all gets entangled with how anxiety-inducing being a new mom is. I know some people don’t feel this way, but for me, I was like “What the eff did I do to my life?” for a few minutes there. Like, I called my sister-in-law sobbing because I was like “Is this normal?! I’m terrified about everything. I feel trapped. I can’t move. I’m breastfeeding. I’m pumping. I’m a cow.” It was really hard for me. I did not like the newborn stage at all. Not my thing. I’m about to do it all over again, but I didn’t love it.

Q: What is your mindset this time around?

A: No one is ever as excited about your second pregnancy. Maybe it’s a different experience if you’ve struggled and people are aware that it’s something you’ve been wanting and it’s taken some extra time or more of a journey. That might be a different story. With me, it was just like “Seriously? You’re pregnant again. It’s been ten months.”

It’s funny, I just hit the 30-week mark, and so ordered things for Baby Two and, when the boxes came the last time—first of all, I did it way earlier—I was so excited to get everything and everything had to be washed right away and it was all so exciting. Now I’m like “I gotta unpack all these boxes? I’m so tired.”

It is less about you’re glowing, you look amazing, you’re doing great—and more about I have five million things right now, including taking care of the tiny human that I already produced so I am certainly not glowing. I am tired as all hell. I look like trash most of the time. I’m exhausted. I’m doing the best I can.

But that sacrifice that you had initially, it just rolls into the second time. You don’t have all of this beautiful time to nap and rest and pamper yourself as a first-time mom. Now it’s like “Please don’t get me gifts. I have enough stuff. I’m getting what I actually need.” You don't have the same time to invest in self care and be as indulgent as you do the first time around I think.

Q: What inspired you to begin showing up on TikTok? Did TikTok come first? Did writing come first? What was your inspiration for both?

A: I started writing the Huffington Post article towards the end of my maternity leave, which was also around the same time I started the TikTok. I needed something to channel my energy into—and I was nervous at first. I’m sure there are tons of people that watch my TikTok from high school or whatever and are like “She’s so cringe. She’s trying to become a mommy influencer.” Whatever. Basically, I had to get over that and I felt like what I was going to be saying for the most part—not every TikTok I put out—was hopefully going to be helping women in a way I felt that I could have used specifically.

I’ll talk about my two big hurdles with motherhood initially. I had this chemical pregnancy, a really early miscarriage. I felt like I couldn’t talk about it because it’s so early and people have much more traumatic stories. I think there’s probably a scale of how hard pregnancy loss and infant loss, if it comes to that, gets. I never wanted to be insensitive about it, so I felt like I couldn't talk about it. In that, I realized that I had never heard of a chemical pregnancy. I didn’t know what that was until I had it. I am an educated woman. I had never heard of it. Why? Because no one talks about it. So I felt so alone going through that miscarriage and, even though it was early, there was such a sense of loss. I remember bleeding and just feeling so terribly alone and bewildered. I literally didn’t think you could miscarry that early in a pregnancy. I had no idea.

So that, combined with my birth experience, which also didn’t go so hot. I had a postpartum hemorrhage. I also didn’t know what that was until I had it. I had no fears going into birth. Nothing. I thought, this was super naive of me, worst case scenario, I’d have an emergency c-section with some of the best doctors in Manhattan and everything would be fine. Like, delusional. I just didn’t know. And again, it’s because no one talks about it.

Those two incidences kind of made me feel like, by writing the Huffington Post article and having this TikTok, I could maybe talk about things that were a little lighter like helpful baby products that I love intertwined with some more deep, meaningful conversations about what it’s really like to try to get pregnant, go through a pregnancy loss, have a traumatic birth, how much I hated the newborn stage—stuff like that that’s a little more candid than “Oh it’s great. Pregnancy is beautiful. Newborn stage is beautiful. Are you so happy and grateful?” Yes. Happy and grateful. 100%. Did shit hit the fan and get hard at certain points? Yes. We also need to be talking about that because I would have felt a lot less alone if I had known I wasn’t alone.

Q: Talk to us about your birth experience.

A: My labor was actually pretty easy. My water broke, which is rare. Some people know that and some people don’t. No one really tells you that the majority of the time, the doctors actually break your water for you. Oh no, my water broke everywhere on its own. It was early, which I had a feeling. I could feel that he was big. Never discount a mother’s intuition. I think it’s a real thing.

So, we went to the hospital. I got an epidural really early, which I’m not so sure I will do this time around. I might wait a little bit. But I didn’t have extreme labor pains. It wasn’t a difficult labor. I slept through a lot of it. It kind of felt like bad period cramps, which women experience every month. So, this was not the end of the world for me. The doctor says it’s time to push. I thought maybe that happened a little early, because I didn’t feel the urge to push. That’s another thing maybe I will do differently this time is to wait until I feel that urge. But it had been about twelve hours, so maybe they were worried about timing. Normally, I think the goal is from the start of your labor to the end, it’s twelve hours—which it ended up being on the nose for me. So I pushed for about an hour and a half. Things were kind of okay until the very end where my son got stuck. I thought it was only in the movies when the woman screams “You need to get the baby out.” Not just in the movies—it’s a real thing. I was like “You need to take him out right now.” So that hurt.

He came out. He was having some trouble breathing because he swallowed a good amount of amniotic fluid, so all of the doctors and nurses in the room were really focused on trying to get my son to breathe normally and cough out the amniotic fluid—as they should be. I was really nervous. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t crying and gurgling. Everyone was focused on that. My mom had come back into the room and my husband was there, and they were all over his bassinet area trying to see what was going on with him. I had been yelling from my bed “Breathe for mommy. Cry for mommy.” I was just trying to get him to, I don’t know what I thought that would do, but I was hoping hearing his mother’s voice would do something.

At some point, I remember thinking to myself “I don’t really feel the way a lot of these moms look in their photos after giving birth. Isn’t this supposed to feel a little better after the baby comes out?” I did not feel great, and I started not being able to communicate anymore and I wasn’t able to really talk or verbalize what was going on, so I kind of just stopped talking I think. This is really fuzzy for me, because I was out of it. The way I’ve been told was that my mom and a nurse both kind of looked over at the same time, and my mom especially realized that my vitals were actually kind of starting to plummet and I was bleeding a lot. A bunch of doctors rushed in to deal with me. One was actually assigned to my husband to make sure that he didn’t pass out, because it became very clear that this was an urgent situation. My epidural had worn off so I was in a lot of pain and they tried to administer a second epidural through an IV in my hand, not my back, but they didn’t have time for it to take effect.

So I think what happened was a small piece of my placenta had broken off and was still in my uterus, preventing my uterus from clamping. So I was still bleeding out. So they had to reach back into my uterus two or three times to get everything out. Once they finally got everything out, they administered some other medication to make sure that my uterus was closing on its own and not bleeding anymore. Eventually it stopped and they got it under control. I was in the labor and delivery room until later that night. I delivered at like 12:15 in the afternoon, and I was there until way later because they couldn’t really move me. I had a catheter in.

One question I get asked a lot is whether or not I had a blood transfusion, and the answer is I did not. I was at the border. My doctor said I was really young, healthy, and in good shape. It’s going to suck and recovery is going to be brutal, but there are risks with blood transfusions that I was capable of avoiding at the moment. He was against me having the transfusion unless it got worse, but I seemed to be improving. In my really dazed state, I made the decision with my husband and my doctor that I was going to pass on the transfusion as long as it wasn’t absolutely critical. It was just a choice I made. He was right. My recovery absolutely blew. I couldn’t pick up a water bottle for a while. I was super anemic, but I think I ultimately made the right call for me.

I didn’t know what to look for because I didn’t know what a hemorrhage was, so I didn’t know what I was experiencing. I remember thinking, “I don’t feel the way I feel like a lot of women look like in photos,” but I didn’t know that maybe I should be looking for other signs and could have advocated for myself. Of course, we were all so focused on my son. Women don’t know—and also for men too, or other partners. Oftentimes, I think they get left out of the dialogue and, oftentimes, that’s for good reason because it’s women who experience a lot of these issues.

But I think one of the most traumatic parts of the experience for me was not being able to communicate, being in so much pain, but looking over at my husband whose eyes were bloodshot in absolute terror and not being able to comfort him. He bottled up how he felt about the whole thing, thinking his son was not okay and his wife getting into pretty treacherous territory, and he bottled that up for a really long time and still kind of does. That’s another part of it that’s not discussed enough is that things like this can be really hard on the partner.

Q: For any moms who have thought about showing up on TikTok, is there anything that helps you stay so consistent with it and be so open?

A: Consistency is hard. So, take some of the pressure off of yourself. If you are not someone who can get out three videos a day—I certainly cannot, I don’t have time for that—that’s okay. If you’re looking to really build a community, it’s more about the content and the quality of the content than the quantity. Are you putting something out that’s authentic?

My biggest piece of advice is to put out content that’s helpful, something that you wish you knew or someone had told you or would have been helpful for you to reference. Sometimes it’s like, “What should I put on my registry?” and sometimes it’s tips on how to pump or breastfeed better or have an easier experience or different ways to hold the baby—things that you plugged into Google that you couldn’t find the answers to. That’s the kind of content that I have found has resonated most with my audience.

Try to film when you’re excited about what you have to say, because that also shows. Try to withhold judgment. People are going to be mean on TikTok. If you’re putting yourself out there, you’re going to get some heat back. That’s just the name of the game, and you have to be okay with that. If you’re not, that’s fine too—but this might not be something you want to pursue then. It’s really hard to try to speak honestly and vulnerable without having someone come at you. It’s lame. People shouldn't do that. I don’t understand people who take the time to write mean comments on social media. It’s bewildering to me, but people do it.

The idea is that if you don’t want to invite judgmental people into your life and into your comments, try to make content that is not judgmental of others. I think it’s about phrasing. Really take a minute to think about what you want to say. If people from high school or middle school think you’re cringe or have something to say about it, that’s on them. You’re doing the best you can. You’re doing something you think is helpful for other people and that’s what’s important so you can’t worry about it.

Q: What are some of the trends that you’re seeing that are inspiring or annoying you, or how have things shifted since you first became a mother?

A: I think there are a lot of inspiring mom creators who are vulnerable and open about the difficulties of motherhood, which I find really useful. I guess that’s what I’m trying to do as well, but I love seeing that in other women—and it’s not something I saw a lot on TikTok when I first started, and it might be because of the algorithm. I’m sure there are other people who have been doing it for a long time.

But it is helpful to see that more and more and a little less judgmental videos about “You can’t be doing this.” and “You’re a terrible parent if you’re not breastfeeding.” There’s definitely been a shift in that sense where everyone has chilled out a little bit with “breast is best.” Like, if you can do it and it works out for you, fabulous—but if your baby is getting fed, that’s what we’re going for at this point. So that’s a big change.

One thing that can be a little hard to watch is—I’m really into health and wellness to some degree, but I’m also a huge foodie so it’s not all the time, but—seeing all these glow up trends and being like “Is there something for me? I’m 30 weeks pregnant. Like, what’s more doable?” So, that’s content I’m thinking about maybe making for people postpartum: realistic glow up goals and ways to maintain your health and wellness during pregnancy. And the truth is, it’s just really hard and I don’t want to be lying and telling people that I don’t eat gummy bears sometimes at 10 o’clock at night. Sometimes I do. Or, that I’m ready and powered up every single day. I’m not a dietician and I’m not an expert in this sense. These are just certain things I’m trying to do to maintain my sense of sanity, self, health during pregnancy and postpartum. But it can be really hard to watch all these 20-something-year olds who are really young—and this content is valuable for other people, just not for me. I can’t relate to being able to do this. Or, people who live somewhere like LA where it is warm year-round. They’re like “Make sure you’re outside for 20 minutes every single morning.” I’m like, “Well, it’s five degrees and pouring and snowing, so that’s not in the cards for me today.” So, that kind of content can be frustrating, along with content that still surfaces about the only way to do motherhood is x way.

Honestly, I’m kind of loving this tradwife trend. I’m kind of here for it. My version of modern feminism is that women need to be able to choose what they want to do. If they want a seat at the corporate table, that’s wonderful and they should be able to have it and have it with the same level of access as men do. We’re not there yet. But if women also want to stay home, that is a really hard job and one that women need more credit for. Personally, I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think it’s for me. But I have so much respect for stay-at-home mothers. I think it’s really hard, and we need to stop shading women for making that decision to be with their family. I’m over it. This is, of course, baring all sorts of financial factors that come into play. Not every woman has that option for financial reasons, but I think that those barriers aside, modern feminism should embrace women’s ability to make a choice there. So I’m here for this tradwife trend. I’m here to watch Nara Smith make donuts and pop tarts from scratch and the most beautiful magical bagels I’ve ever seen. I’m jealous. I love to cook. I could never be that, so I think it’s incredible—and she works. I don’t know that she necessarily falls into what an actual tradwife is, but I’m into all of that content. I think it’s fun. I think it’s great if you want a slower-paced life where you’re home with your family. I don’t know that that’s slow—screaming toddlers is a lot for me and pretty overstimulating.

Men are doing a much better job than they ever were, and there’s more expectations placed on them now to be a present dad, to help around the house. That said, I think my husband is absolutely incredible. He’s very hands-on. He’s a wonderful dad, and he’s very helpful. There’s still a different mental load that women deal with especially. I wonder what the difference is between traditional working moms versus stay-at-home moms. Like, for me, I’m still scheduling doctor’s appointments and doing laundry and ordering toilet paper and all of that and groceries and cooking in addition to being a mom whenever we don’t have a nanny. So, in addition to my parenting responsibilities as mom, which I love, and also work responsibilities, I don’t know if other women experience this, I have a feeling that they do, but that mental load is so different for women than men. I don’t know the last time my husband ordered toilet paper. Not to be rude to him. It just hasn’t been ingrained in them and doesn’t occur to them to take care of.

Q: What are you most excited about for Baby Two?

A: The interaction between my son and my newborn, and I also really do love watching my husband be a dad. He’s incredible and loves them so much. To fall in love with someone is one thing, and then you fall in love with them all over again when they’re dedicated to their family the way my husband is. That has been such an incredible joy for me to see him be a dad. But I can’t wait to see how my son and my daughter play together, and to see the love grow with another person that’s already in our family is really exciting to me.


This blog post was written based on kozēkozē Podcast Episode 358: Maternal Health and Influence with Attorney Lia Higgins.

If you’d like to listen to the conversation first-hand, tune in here.


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