After my first baby, I had postpartum depression for about two and a half years. During this time I isolated myself. I spent all my energy on taking care of my baby and I didn’t want to think about myself or how I was doing. It took a long time for me to actually seek help, but I am so thankful that I eventually did. After my second baby, I wanted to be proactive and mindful about taking care of my mental health. For me, a huge part of this is staying connected with other people, even when I might not feel like it, and knowing that it’s ok to need other people. I learned to tell my husband when I need help emotionally, even when I really don’t feel like admitting it. Before, I thought being strong meant staying silent about my own pain and being self-sufficient. I think what helped me the most is hearing other people share their own experiences. I still struggle sometimes, but I don’t feel that same sense of being alone now. I feel like the more we hear people tell their stories, our capacity to care for ourselves and others gets bigger.
During my pregnancy with my second baby I gained 50 pounds. I thought that I would lose the weight pretty quickly, but I didn’t. My “baby bump” has stayed with me. At first this upset me and I thought about the body I would have in the future after I lost weight. I wondered how long it would take before my stretch marks would fade. I was living in the idea of a different body and rejecting the one I was in. Then I started hearing other women talking about and celebrating their post-baby bodies and I began to see images of women who look like me. This is all it took to start feeling different about my own body. I feel like I’m back in my own body now. I love every one of my stretch marks and the softness of my belly because they remind me of my journey as a mother. I feel humbled and so thankful for the journey.
Thanks to Jade Beall Photography for showing us how beautiful we all are and thanks to the Mid Drift Movement for helping me accept my body exactly as it is.