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What Happens When Porn Stars Get Pregnant?

"How do you think you're gonna raise a child when all you do is suck dick for a living?"

Bonnie Rotten was watching football in her living room one Sunday when a comment popped up on one of her Instagram photos:

"So is she gonna stop porn or be one of those disgusting, horrible mothers?"

The comment was in response to a photo Rotten posted of herself with her two-week old daughter. She didn't reply—Rotten says that she tries not to feed the trolls—but comments like this have become routine since the 22-year-old former porn actress announced that she was pregnant last May.

"Every single day, I get the most ridiculous comments," she told me. "'What kind of mother are you?' 'How do you think your daughter is going to feel when her friends bring up to her that her mom was getting railed by a bunch of dudes?' Or, 'How do you think you're gonna raise a child when all you do is suck dick for a living?' Just stupid shit, all day long, from all angles."

Rotten stopped performing in February of 2015, in anticipation of her pregnancy. She was at the height of her career; in 2014, she was the second-youngest woman ever to win Performer of the Year at the AVN Awards. But her pregnancy, she says, has changed her life and her career.

According to Mark Spiegler—one of the top porn agents in Los Angeles, who's represented the likes of Rotten, Sasha Grey, and Asa Akira—it's "pretty rare" for one of his clients to get pregnant. When they do, though, most drop out of the game.

"I don't really have too much to say about this," Spiegler told me, "because when girls get pregnant, they usually quit porn."

When porn actress Dana Vespoli was 33 (married to fellow porn actor Manuel Ferrara), she decided she wanted to have a baby. But when she and Ferrara started trying to conceive, it affected the way she approached work: She had to take fewer risks with her body.

For one thing, she started only doing girl-on-girl scenes and working with fewer people, since "you're more prone to infection when there's that much exposure to different people, different flora."

Vespoli, who has been in the adult industry for 11 years, stopped performing for the majority of her pregnancy. After giving birth, she realized getting back to work would be a challenge for her postpartum body. Porn actresses use their bodies as instruments for their work; new moms use their bodies as instruments to nourish or nurture their children. Vespoli found the divide too taxing.

"I breastfed all my children," said Vespoli, who is now a mother of three, "and my body didn't really feel like it was entirely mine during that time. I felt like it belonged to my children. I didn't want anything else touching my breasts, or to catch an STD and have to go on antibiotics. It's really hard on the infant."

Rotten echoed the sentiment: "I'm a very all-in person," she said. "I'm either going to be all-in as a performer, or all-in as a mother. I can't do both."

While that may be the standard trajectory, there are also ways to capitalize on pregnancy within the porn industry. Sierra Simmons was a freshman at Florida State College at Jacksonville when she and her boyfriend found out they were expecting a child. Simmons had been toying with the idea of working in the adult industry to put herself through college, and when her pregnancy test came back positive, her decision was made.

"I was in school and trying to pay for all of that," says the now 20-year-old biology major. "I needed to have the funds to do everything, and I was so concerned with not trying to stress myself out with working from nine to five."

Her boyfriend, agreeing that they needed the money, gave her the green light. "I was like, 'OK, alrighty,'" she said. "I went ahead and committed."

Unlike Rotten and Vespoli, Simmons decided to use her ballooning belly to her advantage. She started doing fetish work, performing in incest-themed videos like Daddy Made Me A Mommy. She also suspected—and hoped—that fewer people would discover her that way.

"There's a very small number of people who are actually into pregnant fetish porn," she said. "I figured there's not that many people that are gonna see it, so I wasn't worried about anyone finding out."

Vespoli eventually jumped back into the porn industry, but her body wasn't quite the same. Getting back into shape wasn't a problem, and her children were born via C-section, so she didn't have to worry about vaginal tearing. But her breasts had changed from breastfeeding ("they were deflated," she said) so when her twins were two, she had a breast augmentation.

Since becoming a new mom, Rotten doesn't have plans to reenter the porn industry as a performer. She's invested in a sex toy company, and she is planning a burlesque tour later this year. But in the meantime, she says, discovering her desire to settle down with a family and exit porn has been enjoyable.

"It's the weirdest feeling in the world," she says, "but it's the best feeling in the world."

Follow Jessica P. Ogilvie on Twitter.