Elaine Welteroth Created the First-Time Millennial Mom Pregnancy Community She Couldn't Find

In her new IG Live series, journalist and TV host Elaine Welteroth changes the conversation on the conventional expectations of pregnancy and motherhood with maternal health experts of color.

Elaine Welteroth had just had a beautiful day on an island in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula with her husband Johnathan Singletary and her baby bump in a swimsuit for the first time. It was their babymoon, and it was much needed.

"I went out into the water and felt the sunshine on me after the really rough holiday after getting COVID and being stuck in freezing New York City for 10 days I hadn't planned on," the journalist, New York Times bestselling author, and judge on Bravo's Project Runway says. "It's been a trying period, this pregnancy—and it's just been thing after thing after thing that's just challenged us."

Finally, almost into her third trimester and enjoying the sun and the warmth, Welteroth was in a "state of bliss." Her husband, music artist and producer Johnathan Singletary, snapped a series of photos of her and the baby bump for the memories and the 'gram. That night, she posted to Instagram and disconnected, choosing to be present on what was a practically perfect day. Then came the bad day.

"I've had a lot of those, and when I say it was a bad day—physically and emotionally," she says. "Spiritually, I just felt drained and in pain."

Welteroth has a pregnancy-related condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which affects about one-third of pregnant people. The often debilitating condition is caused when the hormone that's meant to loosen pubic ligaments to prepare for childbirth overreacts, opening up the pelvis prematurely. The result is instability in the hips that makes it difficult to walk and move. "Sometimes, it's excruciating to even roll over in bed. You need help going to the bathroom. You need help putting on your socks and your underwear and your shoes and your pants. You need help," says Welteroth.

The next day, after a simple breathwork class at the hotel turned into a movement-heavy class and she could not move or get back up, her husband had to pick her up off the floor. "I just felt this wave of emotional defeat come over me," she says. She went back to her room, cried under the sheets, and logged back into Instagram.

"That was the first time that I saw the outpouring of support and just like the sweet comments from people on the previous day's post, which was happy and sunshiny and the beach and the bump," says Welteroth, who announced that her and Singletary's son was delivered in a home birth on April 26. "I just felt, in that moment, so dissociated. I felt like there is this person, this avatar, representing my pregnancy online that I'm responsible for that's being showered with superficial praise about a superficial post that I put up yesterday when I was feeling in a very different headspace."

Elaine Welteroth pregnant at the beach
Jonathan Singletary

As a journalist, Welteroth felt a responsibility to contribute an honest, authentic portrayal of what pregnancy looks like—a recognition that it ain't always pretty or nice: "As somebody who really thrives in communion and building community with women around truth-telling, if I can't be fully vulnerable, transparent, and just truthful and honest on this platform, it starts to feel toxic."

In her conviction, she decided to build the pregnancy community she hadn't yet found—one that gets real about the challenges of pregnancy and walks through solutions, resources, and practical insights from experts of color. Welteroth's new IG Live series, MaterniTea: Expecting…the Unexpected, premiered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will recur Sunday nights at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.

The first live in the series featured Loom CEO and author of Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood—and Trusting Yourself and Your Body Erica Chidi on why it's OK to be ambivalent during pregnancy and resources for birthing people of color on finding a supportive and anti-racist birthing experience.

Also inspired by her search to find and connect with pregnant people with SPD that led her to a single Reddit thread and not much else, each live will answer the questions Welteroth, and so many other first-time pregnant people, have been searching for.

"Inadvertently, we created the forum that I needed so desperately and then realized so many other women needed too," says Welteroth. "Overnight, I felt so much better. I felt lighter. I felt less alone."

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