Bethany C. Meyers talks gender, miscarriage, and honoring pregnancy.

By Caroline Tell | Photos by Jennifer Trahan

They’ve shared their fertility journey with their loyal Instagram community, and now Bethany C. Meyers is sharing the journey with us. As the founder and chief executive officer of the be.come project, a super empowering, wholly accepting body-neutral workout platform, Meyers is a prominent voice and advocate in the LGBTQ+ community, with particular ambition on making movement accessible to everyone. (Their book, I am More Than My Body, is available for pre-order before hitting shelves next June!) Now, along with partner and actor Nico Tortorella, Meyers is focused on the next big adventure, becoming a parent.

We sat down with Meyers in their 16th week of pregnancy to chat everything from miscarriages to the shame surrounding infertility, to doing it differently than our parents did by raising gender-accepting babes from the get-go. Read on.

How are you feeling? What’s going on?!

Every week is exciting and makes me feel more confident and less anxious. I’m sure all kinds of people experience anxiety through pregnancy. But after getting pregnant and having a pregnancy loss earlier this year, it provided a lot of anxiety. So I’ve been trying to focus on celebrating all the little wins and every ultrasound, and we had an awesome prenatal appointment yesterday. I have the app where it’s like, ‘Your baby is the size of an avocado today.’ That kind of stuff helps. And then as far as how I physically feel, I’m a lot better than I was in the first trimester. Everyone was like, ‘Oh, you’re going to hit the second trimester and feel great.’ That felt impossible, but it really shifted. So overall I’m feeling pretty good. I felt the baby move for the first time, which was exciting.

Was there a moment when you felt like you were able to let up a little on the anxiety part?

There were a couple of things. One was passing the point when our last pregnancy ended. It was like six weeks. So that was helpful. Going into that appointment, I could barely stand up, I was so shaky. I was like, after this, I’m going to feel great. But then that wasn’t the case. Then at 10 weeks, we did the non-invasive prenatal testing, and we actually found out the sex of the baby, and I was not expecting that would be something I would do. Like, I don’t really care what I have, you know, gender is a construct. But we found ourselves feeling strongly that we wanted to find out because we had never gotten to this point in a pregnancy before and it made it feel real. Surprisingly enough, knowing the sex of the baby did help ease my anxiety

Then, once I got to 12 weeks, that felt a lot better because percentage-wise, you’re more likely to carry it. So yeah, I think every little bit helps. I have some awesome midwives I’m working with, and everytime I meet and talk with them, we do a lot of work around the experience. It’s almost like therapy, just talking about anxiety and how I’m feeling, and being able to voice my fears with my care team has been helpful.

I would imagine your community is so grateful for all that you share. Did you always set out to be open about your experience through the fertility journey?

I had no intention of sharing, nor did I have any intention of having a fertility journey at all. I would’ve bet millions of dollars that I would’ve gotten pregnant easily. In fact, that’s been something I’ve struggled with – like having such an intuitive feeling and feeling a little bit backstopped by my own intuition. I’ve never been on birth control, I’ve always been a cycle tracker, I’ve always been so in touch with my womb. I’ve always wanted kids, and it didn’t even occur to me that it could ever be a problem. So right away, when it wasn’t happening, I was upset.

I found that I wanted to talk about it, because so much of what I share publicly is personal. But I was completely scared to do so. I felt like there was going to be so much outside advice, which there was, so much of everyone feeling they knew more than me, or the shame that came along with my belief that I would get pregnant quickly.

I think that infertility brings up a lot of shame for people. This is what we’re on this earth to do, to bring forth, right? So I think there’s some ancestral trauma built within that. So I was really nervous to talk about it. What I found was that it shifted for me and that the more that I talked about it, the more it helped me come to terms with what was going on and find other people who felt the same. During the course of this time, specifically on my Instagram, I started to boundary-set in the sense that I I told people what I didn’t want to hear.

Can you share an example of something that you specifically did not want to hear?

People would say ‘just relax.’ That was probably the most cringy one for me because I run a company. I’m pretty high energy, I’m a bit high stress and it helps me to remember that people have been getting pregnant since the beginning of time and they have been stressed. Or someone would say, you just need to have really good sex, or you just need to go on vacation, or you just need to eat this. It felt so infuriating. I started doing acupuncture, and I didn’t respond well to acupuncture. All the things that I did acupuncture for, both in pregnancy and the miscarriage, didn’t yield the results I was hoping for. I felt like a pin cushion. And people were like, oh, just to acupuncture, it’s going to fix everything. 

But then you found the people who had been through it, and they understand that you’re not doing anything wrong. Sometimes this is what it is. The people who can hold space and hear where you’re at is where I found a lot of healing. In the end, I found a lot of healing through the community on Instagram.

In thinking about your pregnancy, do you have a birth plan? What’s your vision of how everything will go, ideally?

I want to keep myself open to whatever may happen and not have too many expectations going in. But I’ve wanted a home birth since before home births were cool. Nico and I watched The Business of Being Born like 10 years ago. We were like, well, we don’t know if we’re having kids together, but we definitely want that. And with my love for movement, and the work that I do, the idea of being able to birth at home is really appealing.

I also have fears of doctors for younger childhood reasons. I don’t particularly want to be in a hospital. If we need to, then we will. I really see the birthing experience as something spiritual and magical. I want to try to honor that in as many ways as possible. I’m the most excited and the least nervous about the birth currently. I’m the most nervous about the pregnancy and getting there. And breastfeeding. That terrifies me.

“Someone would say, ‘You need to have really good sex. Or go on vacation. Or eat this.’ It was infuriating.”

 In terms of self care and wellness, what have you been leaning on during this time?

I had an anticipation during my pregnancy – and I’m still pretty early, so we’ll see what happens – but I had this idea that I was going to be eating salads and smoothies and doing a prenatal yoga class everyday and giving myself facials all the time. And so far, I’ve just been getting by. I had night sickness every night in the first trimester. My dinner was Honey Nut Cheerios because that was all I could keep down.  So the most supportive thing has been my partner. Nico has been there for me for every single moment, every craving, every frustration, every bit of happiness, every bit of discomfort. We’ve known each other for 16 years. We’re best friends first. I didn’t know that we could even get closer.

How Nico has handled your journey and all of the ups and downs? What do you think they’re most excited about?

Nico’s been great. The fertility piece was hard. It was a lot of communication. I think that for anyone who’s gone through it, it’s hard for the person who’s carrying and trying to get pregnant, because they carry so much of the physical weight. Everything was going on inside of my body. But Nico was able to show up and listen. That was the piece that brought us together. It was us being on two different pages, but we were able to get back to the same place. Now we’re just excited. We know it’s going to be tough, but this is something that we’ve been wanting so badly.

In terms of the gender fluidity conversation, where do you see that going once you become parents?

We’ve talked about it for a long time, and we’re also brand new, so who knows? But our thought is more about educating our kids from young ages, which is something that neither Nico and I really grew up with. And honestly, neither did most people in our generation, because I don’t know that queer conversations were that much a part of people’s upbringing. But what we want to do from a young age is explain the difference between gender assigned at birth, someone’s gender expression, and someone’s gender identity, and how those can be three different things. I don’t feel passionately about our kids being gender neutral until they can define it, but it’s great for the people who choose to do that. I think for us, it’ll be more about education and the exploration surrounding gender and teaching them what we know.

I feel like it’s a journey for all of us who are one step in how we grew up and one step in the now.

Right. I have three older brothers, and it was very much like, these are the rules for the boys, and these are the rules for the girls. Everything was so segregated. I’m more interested in allowing my kids to be exactly who they are, without any box being placed around them – like without having to like gender colors, and gender clothing and gender books and all these things. And instead, just like, What do you like? And let’s honor that. I think that can do so much for children in allowing them to explore and grow and learn about themselves. So that’s my primary goal.

As the founder of the be.come project, what are your thoughts around body changes and even “bounceback culture?” Or the conversation around the body during pregnancy?

First of all, just the fertility journey really took a toll on my body in many different ways. I experienced weight gain, which is fine, and in a way that I think it allowed me this pregnancy that I have right now. I think there was a cushion that needed to be on my body in a warm, fuzzy coat sort of way. But seeing body changes happening and hormones going up and down, it does a lot to you. There’ve been times over the last two years where I felt the least like myself and the least like my own body. There’ve been times in the past two years where I’ve struggled the most with body neutrality, which is what I live and breathe everyday. It was surprising to me, how much came up surrounding my physical self.

And then in getting pregnant, I was also really surprised. I felt surprised by how much conversation there is surrounding your weight, how much weight gain is appropriate or not. I haven’t weighed myself in years and that’s part of my eating disorder recovery. Meanwhile every doctor wants to know how much you weigh. My midwives are totally fine without that, but it is a very big piece of it.

Then of course, diet and nutrition is also another piece of it. I think its diet culture’s way of labeling everything as, ”this is for health” without necessarily thinking of ourselves holistically. So yeah, I’m interested as I go on, and my body continues to take shape and then I’m also interested post-baby because that’s the piece that I’ve thought about the most. I’ve worked with clients post-baby and that’s the part I feel most in touch with. I didn’t really consider how much of this would come up in early pregnancy.

In starting to dress for pregnancy, is there anything you’ve been enjoying style-wise? Would you say you’re embracing different silhouettes?

I’m excited to continue to pop. I’ve got some really tight body-con dresses, which isn’t my normal go-to, but I really enjoy wearing body-con right now and celebrating that piece. I wore a tight dress the other day and someone on the subway gave up their seat for me. So I was like, okay, I’m really pregnant now. That’s how you know. I also just did a bunch of shopping on HATCH. So I’m really excited because the clothes. They’re super, super cute. I don’t know exactly what my pregnancy style is going to be yet, but I’m very excited about it.

Are you feeling sexy?

In my first trimester, I couldn’t even think about it. I’m hoping it’s going to shift though. Like, I feel like I got a bit of a glow going on. I feel like I look a little bit different, definitely. So I hope it shifts. I think pregnant people are the most beautiful creatures.

Have you thought about your maternity leave plans?

I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Part of the reason I started the be.come project four years ago was the anticipation of having kids. I knew that teaching in studios wasn’t sustainable. I wanted to bring my teaching and my business online mostly for setting myself up for our family. My team is incredible, and we all work nicely together. So we’re going to be making some changes to the be.come platform that will allow me more time. The good news is, is we did a bunch of user research and it’s actually changes that our clients want to so everyone wins. 

I really want to honor the fourth trimester. I think there’s spiritual healing that can happen within that time, and it’s important to take it all in and give it to yourself. I’m giving myself between three and four months where I’m not needed. Then I’ll go from there and see how I feel.

Lastly, what are your hopes for this baby when you think about bringing them into the world?

This may sound strange, but I had my birth chart read a while back. And I feel like my life purpose on this earth was to break the generational thread of the patriarchy in my family and giving women back power. I was the first Meyers girl in generations on one side of my family. Then all of my brothers primarily had girls. There’s like, 10 girls and and three boys. So I have tons and tons of nieces. They’re amazing. I never got to grow up with other women in my life, and now I have all of these littles beside me. Regardless of our baby’s gender, I’m excited to watch myself grow the family and do it differently than what it’s been done before. And that’s not to say that anyone did a bad job. My mom was amazing. She used every tool that she could possibly use. But we’re living in a time where society and culture is on the precipice of change, and I’m  excited to be a part of that and to bring forth the future that’s a part of that.